The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo says he commenced a statewide tour of communities to collate cultural assets, pointing out that tourism provides insight to economic standings of various cultures.
Mr. Kiyaramo who stated this during a collaborative meeting with the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo, the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom on Wednesday, explained that culture and tourism have a mutually beneficial relationship which can strengthen the attractiveness and competitiveness of places, regions and countries.
The SSA said, who maintained that local culture is becoming more important due to the increase in competition among tourism destinations around the globe, said based on the significant role communities can play in reviving and sustaining cultural heritage sites, his office was ready to collaborate with the state traditional rulers council to effectively promote and document the cultural tourism assets in their domains.
According to the governor’s aide, nations all over the world are taking proactive steps by going the extra mile to promote and document their cultural heritage sites, with a view to encouraging more visitations and investments in the tourism sector, pointing out that “it is time for the royal fathers to take responsibility in playing active roles in community-based tourism activities to stimulate the local economy.
He said the prosperity administration of Senator Douye Diri has identified community based tourism as the right tool to engage rural communities in creating wealth, jobs as well as generating revenue at the grassroots through the facilitation of local festivals, adding that one can gain experiences by acknowledging and understanding the social and cultural differences among communities.
According to the governor’s aide, through tourism, our communities can promote peace and understanding, just as he maintained that community based tourism lays emphasis on active participation of local communities in tourism planning, management and empowerment of the local people.
He stated that creating a plan to attract to tourists to rural communities will positively contribute to prosperity of the people by way of boosting the local economy, adding that a well articulated tourism plan can also help in defining communities as cultural and artistic destinations.
Mr. Kiyaramo further reiterated that culture has become an increasingly important element of the tourism product development as it creates distinctiveness in a crowded global marketplace, pointing out that since the environment is the fundamental component of tourism, its sustainability, management and impact on it is important for the tourism industry.
Responding, chairman of the state traditional rulers council, His Royal Majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo who also is the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom in Yenagoa local government area, expressed joy for the visit, saying that the request for collaboration made by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism valid and therefore has been granted by the council.
The Royal father, however lamented the high level of poverty among rural communities in spite of their rich cultural heritage and natural resources, which he blamed largely on ignorance, saying that his doors were wide open for collaboration and partnership in the development and promotion of state’s cultural tourism assets and heritage.
Recall that cultural tourism experiences include architectural and archaeological treasures, culinary activities, festivals or events, historic or heritage sites, monuments and landmarks, museums and exhibitions, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, religious venues, temples and churches.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism was accompanied on the visit by Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Samuel Numonengi, Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Henry Bazigha and Coordinator of Kids in Tourism Bayelsa, Dr. Jenet Ekpefa Abdullahi.