As the people of Bayelsa state anxiously await the take off of the inaugural commercial flight from the new Bayelsa International Airport, Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Samuel Numonengi has commended Governor Douye Diri for actualising the dream of making Bayelsa the true “Glory of all Lands.”
Mr Numonengi, who also applauded the immediate past administration of the state for initiating the airport project, described air transport as the driver of global trade and e-commerce which allows globalization of production, adding that small volumes of air cargo amount to big values in world trade.
The NUJ chairman, who stated this while exchanging views with Travel Writers Corps chairman, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo in his office at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, Azikoro Yenagoa on Tuesday, said Bayelsa International Airport, when fully operational, will stimulate direct foreign investments through good air transport connectivity which is crucial to developing productive assets for economic growth.
According to him, air transport activities will certainly affect multiple sectors of the local economy, especially tourism, as business connectivity brought by air transport will be at the heart of tourism development, providing substantial economic benefits for all those industries involved in the tourism value chain.
He maintained that: “If tourism is well developed and managed with a strong support by air transport, it can reduce poverty levels through employment of local people in various tourism enterprises, goods and services provided to tourists.”
“Business tourism activities through the running of small and community based enterprises, especially meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions activity (MICE), relies significantly on availability of air transport, which has the potential of generating bigger economic impact.
“This is because business travellers spend more than leisure visitors do. In addition to expected benefits in hotels, restaurants and retail sectors, tourism will also foster growth in industries as varied as agriculture, business services, construction and real estate,” he said.
Chairman, Travel Writers’ Corps of the State Council of the NUJ, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo, who described air transport as an enabler to achieving economic growth and development, added that airport will facilitate integration of the local business community into the global economy by providing vital connectivity on a national, regional, and international scale.
According to the travel journalist: “Air transport will help to stimulate trade, promote tourism and create employment opportunities for the teaming unemployed youth, informing that event tourism has emerged as an important sector of tourism strategies and leisure behaviour globally.
He noted that the importance of transport consists not only in the function they have in the development of the national socio-economic complex, but also in the important role exercised over the amplification of the relations between states, pointing out that transport, through its role of movement of goods and people, decisively influences the other branches of the world economy, including international tourism.
Mr Kiyaramo said without transportation there won’t be travel and tourism industry, as people won’t have means to reach other places that they desire to see, just as he maintained that the development of transportation is linked to the development of tourism.
“If international tourism grows, international transportation also grows. To reach their destinations, tourists have to choose between four main types of transportation, depending on many other factors, while expressing the hope that the newly constructed Bayelsa International Airport will facilitate domestic tourism, reiterating that air transport helps in several ways to generate economic growth as well as alleviate poverty,” Mr Kiyaramo noted.