The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo has appealed to movie producers to explore the beautiful landscapes, rich cultural heritage, historic sites and the pristine sandy beaches for their movies.
Mr. Kiyaramo who made the appeal when he received the youngest female Nollywood actress and film director, Miss Okwara Chinaza Jesinta in his office in Yenagoa, recently explained that film tourism is a branch of cultural tourism which has to do with the growing interest and demand for locations as a result of their appearance in movies and television series.
He pointed out that the film tourism increases the overall economic effects of tourism as well as establishes a new link between the film and the tourism industry, both of which provide not only pleasure and satisfaction for film tourists, but also spiritual enrichment and novel learning experiences for both residents and visitors alike in a particular location.
Mr Kiyaramo, popularly known as Mr Tourism, reiterated the need for movie producers to take advantage of the peaceful safe environment in Bayelsa state to shoot their movies, noting that the pristine white sandy beaches in Okpoama, Odioama, Akassa, Fishtown, in Brass local government area, Koluama, Ekeni, Ezetu and Foropah in Southern Ijaw local government and Agge in Ekeremor local government areas of the state can serve as best locations for film makers.
He added: “When these locations appear in movies the locations will become visible in the media, thereby exposing these areas that were not regarded as tourist hotspots, will start to attract numbers of visitors even though majority of new visitors would not have necessarily visited these areas previously.
The governor’s aide said films and cinemas play major role in building positive images for emerging tourism destinations, like Bayelsa, having the longest coatline in Nigeria, adding that consistent promotion of these potential locations will help to draw the attention of potential tourists as well as influence the perception of potential tourists to visit the destination.
According to Mr Kiyaramo, ‘film tourism, or film induced tourism, is a specialized or niche form of tourism where visitors explore locations and destinations they see in films and television series, informing that: “film tourism is becoming a growing interest nowadays as it creates significant impact in connecting audiences to destinations used as film locations.”
He noted that through film tourism, more people can be encouraged to experience these scenic spots in real life, which will go a long way to boost the tourism industry in the state.
Earlier, Miss Okwara Chinaza Jesinta had told the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism of her plans to shoot a short movie in the state captioned “School, College TV Series” which will focus on secondary school kids, teenagers and youth, including parents’ attitude towards the upbringing of their kids.
Miss Miss Okwara Chinaza hinted that the proposed short film which will be aired on African Magic and Nollywood monetised YouTube channels will showcase the rich cultural heritage, generate revenue as well as create jobs for many young persons, many tourists would like to visit the locations that would be featured in the movie.
The youngest female Nollywood actress and film director/producer said the movie will involve schools going on excursion visits to noteable places such as airports, eateries, seat out bar/lounge, local festivals, school parties and karaoke lounge among other activities.
She said top Nollywood stars and upcoming actors will feature in the short movie, saying that the TV series which she compared that of Johnsons and Jennifer’s dairy will last on air for years.
Experts believe that film tourism positively impacts a destination, and with the use of modern technologies, it creates new experiences for travelers, while stirring local tourism, revitalizing destinations in danger of depopulation, and boosting the economy of a country.