The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor of Bayelsa State on Tourism, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo says museums are meant to create an ambiance that would captivate visitors, having historic objects of cultural value that tell the stories of the world and offer a sense of place.
Mr Kiyaramo who stated this during a collaborative meeting with the management of the Bayelsa State Heritage Museum in Ovom-Yenagoa, in company of the Acting Curator of the National Museum (Oloibiri Oil and Gas), Mrs. Rachel Adelani, on Wednesday, noted that museums play crucial roles in the success of any tourism destination by attracting domestic and international visitors to the host destination.
He said cultural and heritage attractions should be maintained as the cornerstone of tourism, offering tourists and visitors lasting experiences, such that they would always desire to repeat the visit to the state on account of its touristic appeal, created by the undulating landscapes, history, cultural heritage, art and craft, festivals, pristine sand beaches, salivating local cuisines, arable lands and wildlife, both aquatic and terrestrial, in addition to its hospitable people.
The Senior Special Assistant reiterated that it was essential that the tourist attractions in the state were properly maintained, cared for and further developed to continue to offer the visitors value for their money with quality experience, adding that: “museums serve our communities in a multitude of ways, playing crucial roles in preserving the local culture and heritage”.
According to governor’s aide, “for centuries, museums have played an integral role in preserving the history of societies with exhibits, telling us stories about how our nation, our communities and our cultures came to be, and without them, those stories could have been forgotten”.
Mr. Kiyaramo maintained that with careful documentation and artifact preservation, the Ijaw culture can be recorded and remembered, as well as shared and understood by those from different cultural backgrounds, saying that a single visit to a museum can give an in-depth information on a particular subject matter.
He said that the surrounding atmosphere of the museum should have an inspiring ambiance where tourists can spend as much time as they want to explore it, pointing out that museums have an ability to educate people, especially tourists who are unaware about the destination.
While emphasizing the potential of museums as poles of tourist attraction, Mr. Kiyaramo said museums also offer a full experience for those who are truly interested in a subject, as they offer personal and very engaging experiences, displaying important physical artifacts, which otherwise would never be viewed or appreciated by the masses, unlike when viewing artifacts on the internet, which seems distant and detached.
The SSA further stressed that: “Increased incomes, improved living conditions, better accessibility, communication networks and increased vacation time, have stimulated tourism as an industry of enormous potential which contributes decisively to the economic and social prosperity of several countries”.
Also speaking, the Acting Curator of the National Museum (Oloibiri Oil and Gas), Mrs. Rachel Adelani, said modern museums are saddled with the task of collecting, preserving, interpreting and displaying objects of artistic, cultural or scientific significance for the education of the public.
The Acting Curator of the Bayelsa State Heritage Museum, Mr. Ayerite Mangete said knowing that the museum being a permanent institution in the service of society with the responsibility of carrying out researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage, he was working on a robust marketing strategy to make facility more accessible and inclusive, in a bid to foster diversity and sustainability.
Earlier, the head of education unit, Mrs. Bridget Okoro, had taken the SSA and his entourage on a tour of the various sections of the museum, starting from the leadership section, to ancient forms of worship, to Colonia era, economy and social life.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as an industry with more than 1.1bn tourists each year, with a growth of 4.4% (1,135m tourists) in 2014, tourism continues to be an unstoppable force and one of the main drivers of the global economic recovery.