As part of concerted efforts by the media to stimulate domestic tourism drive, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, Mr. Samuel Numonengi has hinted on plans to open a Tourists’ Information Centre to improve the tourism offerings of the state.
Mr. Numonengi who gave the hint when he received the Chairman of Travel Writers’ Corps, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo in his office at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, Azikoro Road Yenagoa on Thursday, added that the tourists’ information centre, when opened, will facilitate tourists’ movement within the state.
Explaining the relevance of the centre to visitors, Numonengi said: “Tourist Information Centres are one of the stalwarts of the English tourist industry and are traditionally the first points of contact for thousands of tourists and visitors every year who rely on such centres for up-to-date information and advice on what to see and what to do while on their trips.”
According to him, Tourists’ Information Centres offer services such as accommodation booking, tourists’ route planning and tickets for theatre events, noting that tourists’ information centres remain ideal places to purchase local tourist maps, travel books, guides, gift items such as arts and crafts, including souvenirs.
Mr Numonengi recalled that he inaugurated the travel writers’ corps as part of the state council’s efforts to compliment the governor’s tourism promotion initiatives through effective dissemination of information about tourist sites across the state.
Earlier, chairman of the Travel Writers’ Corps of NUJ, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo had stressed on the importance of having a tourists’ information centre at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, Yenagoa, saying that a successful visitors’ centre will add real value to the local visitors’ experience, reiterating that the centre will make visitors to understand the reality of their locations while visiting the various tourist attractions in the state.
He maintained that the centre will inspire many visitors to make more local trips, informing that tourist information centre is meant to assist visitors to source relevant travel related information during their visits to a place, adding that visitor centres also serve to interpret natural areas to tourists as well as suggest best places to visit
According to Mr Kiyaramo, though most tourists have become regular users of tablets and smartphones, and automatically turn to their digital devices when looking for information, traditional information centres have continued to be an important and reliable source of informing and educating visitors about local areas and available tourism products, despite increasing numbers of people using digital channels for searching, selecting and booking travel.
The Travel Writers’ Corps chairman maintained that recent research findings indicate that while fixed and mobile internet services have a growing influence on trip planning, tourists information centres have continued to be the leading information source for tourists and visitors during their trips.
Tourist information centres serve not only to inform visitors about what they ask, but can also take a step further and focus on quality of service and communicating more interesting things and/or educating visitors on environmentally protected natural areas.