As stakeholders from Bayelsa State join the rest of the globe to celebrate World Tourism Day 2022, with the theme: “Rethinking Tourism”, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo, said that the complete reduction of poverty has remained the greatest challenge of the world in this millennium.
Mr. Kiyaramo, who made assertion while speaking with newsmen during the World Tourism Day 2022 celebration at Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre in Yenagoa, noted that though the global community considers tourism as a unique factor in reducing poverty, create employment and bring about social harmony, adding that achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs 1, is still a cry in developing states.
SDG 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Its objectives include ensuring that the entire population and especially the poorest and most vulnerable have equal rights to economic resources, access to basic services, property and land control, natural resources and new technologies.
He informed that the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), comes up with annual slogan or theme every year to inspire stakeholders to move forward, with a view to providing an opportunity for people to understand the importance of tourism through the observance of World Tourism Day.
While making reference to the various infrastructures put in place by the prosperity administration to create an enabling environment for tourism to thrive in Bayelsa State, Mr. Kiyaramo lauded Senator Douye Diri for focusing attention on biodiversity conservation, education, sports, health, agriculture entertainment, fashion, cultural and heritage tourism which form the foundation for a holistic tourism industry.
The governor’s aide further stressed the urgent need for stakeholders to leverage on the immense tourism potentials, which range from rich biodiversity, cultural heritage, historic monuments and slave routes, to underwater cultural heritage and ecology which enhance the tourism offerings in the areas of health tourism, ecotourism, marine and coastal tourism, as well as growing the global interest in the ancient health practices of healing through traditional, complementary and alternative medicine.
He stated that “it is not an exaggeration to note that tourism is the key that opens every door of development in developing nations,” reiterating that it is high time stakeholders began to rethink on how they can convert the tourism potentials into a driving force to alleviate poverty, create jobs and bring about social harmony in the state and the country at large.
“Being an important medium for educational and cultural exchanges, promoting international understanding and goodwill, there is a pressing need for a re-evaluation of the perceived importance of the tourism sector in Nigeria and Bayelsa in particular.
“The point has been repeatedly made that tourism can contribute to social and economic development of rural areas where most poor people live. Tourism is the only industry, which, directly or indirectly, involves a wide range of stakeholders.
“Starting from the tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers, transporters, tourist guides, drivers, food suppliers, equipment manufacturers and ending at taxi drivers and porters, it can bring employment and economic benefit for everybody. Tourism has been a key driver of economic growth and employment generation in many countries around the world,
“Therefore, focusing on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve positive changes in their local communities should be the new drive of stakeholders, both public and private sector; by Rethinking Tourism, we should envisage transformation in our localities,” he explained.
Mr. Kiyaramo added that with such a large potential market in Bayelsa to attract tourists, the state can actually benefit greatly by pursuing specific niche markets such as marine archaeology, culture, cuisine, marine and coastal tourism, adventure, wildlife, and heritage tourism, where it can offer something distinct from its possible competitors.