The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo, has called for the creation of a ‘Tourism Police Detachment’ in the Nigeria Police Force, adding that safety and security are very vital to providing quality tourism services in any destination.
Mr. Kiyaramo made the call when he paid a courtesy visit on the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ben Okolo at the State Police Command Headquarters in Yenagoa on Wednesday
He also commended the Commissioner of Police for the low crime rate in the state, just as he solicited for collaboration with the command to sustain the existing peaceful atmosphere in the state.
The SSA on Tourism said more than any other economic activity, the success or failure of a tourism destination depends on being able to provide a safe and secure environment for visitors/tourists.
Mr Kiyaramo noted that safety and security represent many things, including stable income, consistent housing, clothing, and food supplies as part of predictability of daily life, protection from crime, and psychological security.
The SSA reiterated that the Nigeria Police Force, being a key stakeholder in the tourism industry, needs to put in place a special squad to address the issues of tourism safety and security at tourist destinations across the country
He pointed out that the wide scope of impacts influencing tourism safety and security have become important factors for the development of safety and security measures in any destination.
“The security and safety of tourists is the most important factor in the tourism business. Security incidents are incidents where tourists suffer harm as a result of the deliberate actions of others, such as wars, terrorist attacks, civil and/or political unrest and crime, while safety incidents can be conceptualized as incidents where tourists are injured accidentally and without malice aforethought,” he explained.
The governor’s aide stressed the need for safety and security indicators at tourism destinations to make such places more appealing to tourists, noting that most tourists select their destinations not only on the basis of price and destination image, but most importantly, on personal safety and security.
He emphasized that though the tourism experiences in a particular destination could be unsatisfying for many reasons, but when a tourist encounters physical harm, it could pose problems for the destination and change the tourists’ perception of safety and security about the destination.
Responding, the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ben Okolo who commended the governor’s aide on tourism for the visit, pledged the command’s willingness to collaborate with the SSA to boost public safety and ensure that the state is safe and secure for visitors, tourists and investors alike.
He said his doors were always open for consultation and and collaboration, saying that there could be no meaningful development in an atmosphere of insecurity, just as he called on all stakeholders to join hands with the police to make the state a safe haven for investors.
Recall that safety and security issues in travel and tourism came to the front burner during the evolution of mass tourism at the beginning of the 1950s.
The SSA on Tourism was accompanied on the visit by the Chairman of Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Samuel Numonengi, Special Assistant to the governor on Special Duties, Henry Bazigha, Membership Secretary of the Yenagoa Boat Club, Victor Christopher, Jude Dominic, Kachi Kenechukwu and Joel Josiah.
By Glory Edoni