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Bayelsa An Emerging Food Tourism Destination To Watch, Says Gov.Diri’s SSA

Governor Diri of Bayelsa

As the world marks the sustainable gastronomy day 2022, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo has alluded to the fact that sustainable gastronomy practices can play huge role in sustainable development.

Mr. Kiyaramo who spoke with travel journalists at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Yenagoa, on Saturday in commemoration of this year’s sustainable gastronomy day, described Bayelsa state as an emerging gastronomy tourism destination to watch in the South South region because of it’s assorted mouth watering local cuisines.

He noted that the predominance of traditional cuisine in rural areas is an opportunity for sustainable development, since food can be offered to tourists to meet their culinary, cultural, historical and leisure needs during their trip, adding that sustainable gastronomy practices in rural communities are beneficial in terms of business and health wise because sustainable gastronomy practices will reduce greenhouse gases in resources used in transporting food, as well as boosting the local economy by supporting local farmers.

Mr Kiyaramo maintained that quality local foods are tourist resources in themselves, which contribute to the development of tourism, while the promotion and commercialization of it, comes with positive economic impacts on the local community in creating wealth and improving rural livelihoods, in addition to enhancing the appeal and image of the destination. 

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, reiterated that the use of food as a form of expression and connection with the local culture and biodiversity of a destination, makes food or culinary tourism experience a delight to tourists, just as he advised customers to be mindful of the sources of the food they choose for health reasons. 

The governor’s aide explained that gastronomy or culinary tourism refers to travel motivated by the pursuit of  enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences in far and near destinations, including travelling to new towns and neighbourhoods to eat or drink in special grocery stores or restaurants. 

According to the SSA, gastronomy tourism has become a way of promoting understanding among different cultures, while bringing people and traditions closer together, noting that “gastronomy or food tourism is emerging as an important protector of cultural heritage, which helps to create opportunities, including jobs, most especially in rural settings. 

Mr Kiyaramo, popularly known and addressed as “Mr Tourism” reiterated that traditional food and cuisine are excellent ways of attracting tourists to rural destinations, saying that eating local cuisine has become an integral part of the travel experience because food serves both for entertainment and a cultural activity.

He also stressed the need for host communities to substantiate authenticity by offering gastronomic products and experiences that faithfully communicate an intimate link between food, place and the local community to enhance the appeal and image of the destination.

It will be recalled  that June 18 is usually celebrated as sustainable gastronomy day. This United Nations-designated day is observed to highlight the role that sustainable gastronomy plays in terms of sustainable development.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world will have over nine billion mouths to feed by 2050. Despite such staggering numbers, one-third of all food produced is lost or wasted.

The international organisation also mentioned that the human population around the world is dependent on oceans, forests and soils in largely unsustainable ways. 

The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution on December 21, 2016, and designated June 18 as an international observance, Sustainable Gastronomy Day. The resolution acknowledged gastronomy as a cultural expression related to the natural and cultural diversity of the world.

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