The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo has applauded Senator Douye Diri for sustaining the tourism development efforts of the immediate past administration, by securing accreditation from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to start National Diploma courses at the International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Yenagoa.
Speaking with newsmen during the maiden matriculation ceremony of the State-owned International Institute of Tourism & Hospitality in Yenagoa on Saturday, Mr Kiyaramo said, given the fact that the tourism industry is a labour-intensive sector, it is undeniable that practical training is as important as the theoretical training.
He maintained tourism education, which plays a major role in preparing students to gain professional and practical skills required by the tourism industry, remains the best instrument to build up indigenous knowledge on tourism services, with a view to equipping graduands to achieve excellence in the tourism business and professional career.
Mr Kiyaramo said tourism can boost revenue of the local economy, by creating thousands of jobs, develop infrastructures and plant a sense of cultural exchange between foreigners and the local community, saying that the tourism industry needs more comprehensive analysis than just providing skilled graduates to work in the sector.
According to the governor’s aide, tourism, which has become a major science, being taught at the higher education level as tourism education, was first taught in the form of vocational skills and later evolved to be taught as a study in more academic nuances, informing that tourism education was developed to balance the demands for fulfilling the broader perspective of managing tourism.
He said proper balancing of vocational skills and the liberal aspects of tourism education which is vital to producing well-rounded graduates should be the yardstick for measuring the quality of graduates at the institute, stressing that concentrating on just the vocational skills could also impoverish students and render them less likely to be able to respond to stakeholders needs expectations in a competitive tourist society.
The SSA noted that it was the need for a well groomed managerial cadre in the tourism industry that necessitated the demand for graduates with more academic insight to solve tourism management problems in the society, adding that tourism is one of the activities that brings the largest profit to the economic and cultural sectors in cities all over the world.
“Hence, the need for developing a tourism education curriculum with academic perspective, reiterating that internships and apprenticeships in the industry, as well as academic subjects that are closely related to specific needs in the field such as marketing, finance, management, and human resources to enhance the students’ development and competence.
“Tourism offers opportunities to people from all walks of life, supporting vulnerable groups, including minorities, youth and women, among others. Tourism is a driver for peace. It helps to promote tolerance between people as they learn and better understand each other’s cultures”, Mr. Kiyaramo explained.
Recall that the International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, which was established in 2012, through a Bill passed into law by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and was subsequently signed into law by the immidiate past governor, secured accreditation from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to run National Diploma (ND) programmes in Leisure and Tourism Management and Hospitality Management in 2021.
The institute is currently listed on the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB, Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and other quality assurance bodies. Forty eight students for the National Diploma programme for the 2021/2022 academic session matriculated.