Realising the major role of the media as critical stakeholder in tourism development, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has agreed to throw its weight behind the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) in promoting and preserving the cultural heritage of Bayelsa State.
This was disclosed by chairman of Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Comrade Samuel Numonengi when he met with the National Vice President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), South South zone, Mrs Justina Ovat and the South South Zonal Public Relations Officer, Mr Ubong Ekpe at the Golden Tulip in Yenagoa at the weekend.
According to Comrade Numonengi, cultural tourism promotion requires the media transmiting and showcasing the cultural heritage of a people to others such that those who are not aware of it become fully aware and acquaint the incoming generation with their culture.
He told the visiting FTAN South South Zonal Vice President that under his tenure, as chairman, he created the Travel Writers Corps of the NUJ as arm of the Council and the Ernest Ikoli Visitor Information Centre at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, Yenagoa, adding that the media in Bayelsa State has continued to play complimentary role in support of the prosperity administration’s tourism friendly efforts.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Tourism, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo informed Mrs Justina Ovat that Bayelsa State has enormous tourism potentials to be harnessed, noting that the prosperity administration under Senator Douye Diri is focusing on community based tourism as channel to create wealth at the grassroots.
The governor’s aide said tourism contributes to both social, economic and sustainable growth of a state or country’s economy by bringing in numerous values and benefits to bear on the local economy as well as helping to build a brand value, image and identity, which makes the tourism industry go beyond just attractive destinations, to being an important economic growth contributor.
In her response, the visiting National Vice President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) South South zone, Mrs Justina Ovat said she was in Yenagoa to inaugurate the State Executive Working Committee of FTAN, even as she reiterated the need for a cordial working relationship between FTAN and the Media through the platform of the NUJ.
Mrs Ovat said the media has made a huge impact on the tourism industry as consumers engage with social networking sites to research about their trips and make informed decisions about their travels and equally share their personal experiences of a particular hotel, restaurant or airline.
Chairman of Akwa Ibom chapter of the Institute of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) and Public Relations Officer of FTAN, South South, Mr Ubong Ekpe Okon stressed the urgent need to promote the abundant tourism potentials of Bayelsa State, saying that positive social media presence can help tourists discover emerging destinations like Bayelsa, just as he promised to post the fun and exciting experiences he had while in Yenagoa on his maiden visit to the Glory of All Lands.
The Bayelsa State Coordinator of FTAN, Arc. Tom Nkotaria and the PRO, Alabo Williams Parker were on ground to receive the august visitors to the State for the inauguration.