The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo has said that given the calibre of notable indigenous artists, Bayelsa could become an arts tourism hub, informing that arts and culture-related industries have the capacity of providing direct economic growth local communities.
Mr Kiyaramo, who made the remark when he visited a “Free Hands Live Drawing and Arts Exhibition” organised by a renowned indigenous artist in Yenagoa, Mr Jones Paniebi, CEO of Pages Arts Gallery, described arts and culture as important complements to community development which also enriches the local amenities.
The governor’s aide said arts and culture create job opportunities in local communities as well as stimulate local economies through consumer purchases, just as he emphasised the need for arts stakeholders to draw public attention to the economic benefits of the arts sector, reiterating that arts and culture drive tourism in every destination all over the world.
“Arts drive tourism. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, who may stay longer and likely spend more to seek out authentic cultural experiences in the destination. Arts destinations also grow the local economy by attracting more visitor spending in the destination.
“In hospitality, local art brings a cultural touch of warmth, sense of community and solidarity that allow customers to interact and connect with the local environment. It also encourages community gatherings as well as serves as centre of other tourism activities”, the SSA said.
According to him, art enthusiasts often travel round the world because art attracts visitors from far off destinations as art increases tourism activities, adding that “there is need to support investments in the arts being a channel of creating jobs in the community and to generate government revenue.
He maintained that the arts sector remains a cornerstone of tourism, stressing that arts strengthen local economies because arts are good local business avenues any day, when properly planned and managed
The SSA pointed out that art tourism motivates people to travel, just as arts facilitate communication with different cultures and enhance social pride, while contributing significantly to the local economy, noting that destinations with artistic and touristic attractions are usually very active with art tourism because art enhances brand of a destination.
In his remark, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Ijaws in the Diaspora, Mr Tunde Apanari hinted that his office was making efforts to bring the Ijaws Diaspora together to chart a common course for the rapid socio-economic development of the state through Summit in Yenagoa next year.
Earlier, the organiser of the arts exhibition, Mr Jones Paniebi had expressed worry over the poor attention being given to the arts sector in the state, saying that the exhibitions were part of his advocacy for recognition to be given to arts.
Mr. Paniebi appealed to the relevant authorities to accord the arts sector and provide more opportunities for engagement with both public and private sectors with a view promoting arts education.