The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Douye Diri on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo, has appealed to communities in the state to form tourism platforms such as travel clubs or associations to liaise with appropriate agencies, institutions and industry associations to profile their tourism potentials.
According to Mr. Kiyaramo, who described community based tourism as an alternative economic activity that bridges the social and economic gap of rural communities, maintained that tourism is suitable for communities seeking to generate additional income in their daily economic activities, utilising the cultural, natural and local resources in the area.
Speaking during a meeting with a delegation from Ekeni community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, led by a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Special Duties, Hon. Watchman Ebebe James, in Yenagoa over the weekend, the SSA on Tourism, explained that community based tourism affords the inhabitants of the area to become tour guides and provide services to visitors.
He pointed out that community based also provides communities with an opportunity to play a role in generating movement in the elements of production and exchange of goods and services in a given locality, adding that the prosperity administration of Senator Douye Diri is poised at ensuring that prosperity spreads to all nooks and crannies of the state through community-based tourism activities.
“Today community based tourism is in constant evolution, not only in the advanced nations, but also in Africa, Asia and Latin America, generating more active tourist participation in the customs, traditions and habits of social groups in rural communities.
“Some local communities in the Caribbean islands have been able to identify opportunities within tourism and are now effectively participating in the industry. Communities are involved in the design and implementation of tourism, as well as facilitating community participation with the aim of contributing to economic growth.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism reiterated need to strengthen the capacities of the relevant institutions and agencies to support the development of community based tourism with special attention on conservation on wildlife, just as he stressed the importance of participation of community representatives, government agencies and non-governmental organizations, including industry associations in community tourism activities.
Mr Kiyaramo, popularly known as Mr Tourism, explained further that community based tourism entails a more participatory approach to tourism and that it has the ability to become a viable tourism product.
Earlier, the leader of the Ekeni Community delegation and Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Special Duties, Hon. Watchman Ebebe James had informed the SSA on Tourism of the forthcoming Ekeni Community cultural festival, known as Korobere Festival, which comes up every November and solicited support from the state government.
Also speaking, the Chairman, organising committee of the Ekeni Korobere annual cultural festival, Comrade Vallantan Amaegberi, enumerated events earmarked for this year’s festival, include, traditional wrestling, canoeing, beach party, beach volleyball, masquerade displays, music and cultural dance competitions, among other activities to spice up the event.
Those on the entourage of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties included, the community youth, President, Comrade Selekebuna George Woniowei, Braladei B. Wuku, Kingsley Amakiri, Ebidei Aneri, Perenanabofa Abraham, Indukari Martins Sintei, Leizou Fuel, Shagari Baradei Sakpu and Ebikiri Moses.