The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Tourism, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo hinted that the hosting large-scale sporting events in Yenagoa, has not only attracted countless domestic and foreign sports tourists to the state, but also promoted the host city’s culture, tourism potentials and the local economy in several ways that may not be easily acknowledged.
Mr Kiyaramo, in statement issued in Yenagoa on Thursday, maintained that sports tourism events under the Senator Douye Diri-led prosperity administration have attracted more high-yield visitors and repeat visitors to the state capital, adding that sport tourism provides opportunities for the development of new infrastructures in host cities.
The SSA, popularly known and addressed as Mr Tourism, described Yenagoa, the state capital city as an emerging niche sport tourism hub in the SouthSouth region, informing that sports tourism generates tax revenues which accrue to the host city and the adjoining communities.
He explained that in most sporting events, efforts and expenditures were usually made by the sport sector, but the revenues flow to the tourism sector in form of tourists spendings, saying that the sports community often does not see itself as being part of the tourism industry and therefore may not know how to share in the revenue so generated.
He pointed out that events like the just concluded 2022 edition of the Bayelsa Governor’s cup, tagged, Prosperity Cup which finales took place at the Sampson Siasia stadium in Yenagoa last Tuesday, among others usually come with myraid of business opportunities for tourism enterprises like hotels, restaurants, bars, saloons, tour operators, museums, galleries and car hire companies, just as the locals also benefit through cultural interchanges with visitors while the events last.
According to the governor’s aide, participants of sport tourism related events always have positive emotions such as fun and excitement, giving them a sense of togetherness of fellow travellers, and feelings of accomplishment and self-esteem.
He commended Governor Douye Diri for bringing his past experience in sports administration to bear on the sports sector as a former commissioner for youth and sports in the state, reiterating that sports tourism has come to stay as one of the cardinal areas of focus by the prosperity administration because of its wealth creation and peace building potentials.
Mr Kiyaramo said focusing on sports tourism will bring economic value, social benefits and civic pride to the state, pointing out that some of the
benefits of promoting sports tourism may occur at the time of the event, while most other benefits will come as legacies that will make positive impact on the hosting city over time.
The SSA acknowledged that identifying events that create the greatest economic value for a destination, such as youth soccer, basketball, traditional wrestling, swimming, golf and scrabble tournaments, among several others will provide more leisure opportunities for residents as well as encourage visitors to stay an extra day in the host city, resulting in a robust local economy.
He pointed out that sporting events have a ways of bringing people together from different regions and cultural backgrounds, offering opportunities to re-invigorate depressed parts of an urban area, stressing that his office was keen to support ventures
that will bring more businesses and tourists to the state, with a view to developing new tourism niche market in the state.