Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo has called on investors and estate developers to put their funds into ecotourism projects as a way of promoting conservation education in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Kiyaramo made the call when he visited the Managing Director of TEOET Island Eco-resort at Okutukutu community in Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State, Mr. Tuebi Sapere-Obi, as part his routine visits to hospitality facilities in the state.
He said investing in environment friendly accommodation facilities such as ecolodges in rural settings will help to conserve the natural environment and the cultural assets of the people, reiterating that the Niger Delta environment needed more of ecolodges than conventional hotel facilities.
The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Tourism noted that the pristine environment and breathtaking views found in the Niger Delta present investment opportunities to property developers and would-be investors in the hospitality sector to explore.
According the SSA, popularly known as Mr Tourism, one of the best ways to give back to host communities in the Niger Delta, was to invest in eco-friendly projects such as ecolodges where most of the construction materials are sourced locally.
He said in addition to creating new jobs in the host communities, ecotourism activities and practices will also stimulate the local economy through wealth creation.
The governor’s aide further explained that affordable ecolodges would attract more visitors to rural communities, pointing out that the more visitors a community attracts will translate to more businesses for the local tourism enterprises.
Earlier, the Managing Director of TEOET Island Eco-resort, Mr. Tuebi Sapere-Obi had explained8 that his iniatial plan was to build a bridge across the Epie-creek to collect toll from pedestrians, saying that access was a challenge of residents.
Mr Sapere-Obi said he later discovered a small island at the middle of the Epie-creek, which he bought and developed a suspended wooden relaxation because of the unique and airy location.
According the MD, TEOET Island Eco-resort now hosts many businesses, ranging from a bar, guest house, POS/daily savings, betshop, barbers shop, beauty salon, water sales and phone charging points, restaurant, indomee corner, shawarma, bread,
Snooker, table tennis, Isiewu, nkwobi, pepper soup, with a staff strength of forty-one workers.
Eco-tourism contributes to conservation of biodiversity, sustains the well-being of local people, involving responsible actions on the part of tourists and the tourism industry practitioners as well as promoting small and medium tourism enterprises.