Tourism Benefits: Wike Orders Culture, Tourism Policy Reappraisal In Rivers State
…Urges NANTA To Savour The Culture, Hospitality, Leisure, Of The Garden City
The Rivers State Governor Barr. Nyesom Wike has directed a policy reappraisal in the Culture and Tourism sectors in view of the many benefits which a well regulated tourism environment can be for state’s development.
This is just as he said that tourism which create job for about 6.7 million people on sustainable basis has the potential to double the number of persons it employs provided governments, investors and stakeholders commit themselves to their various responsibilities.
The Governor made this known while speaking at the National Association of Travel Agencies (NANTA)42 Annual General Meeting (AGM)in Port Harcourt, Rivers State , added that., the theme of the programme, “The Symbiotic Relationship of Aviation & Tourism: The Key to Economic Sustainability” is very central to Nigeria’s national aspiration in tourism development.”
Wike, who was represented by the Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Tonye Briggs said that tourism is a big and serious business ,adding that the sector would yield maximum result if all the stakeholders play their part.
The Governor of Rivers State, she stated was aware of the many benefits which a well regulated tourism environment can be for state’s development and as a result has directed a policy reappraisal in the Culture and Tourism sectors.
“It is hoped that in no distant time, arising from these reappraisals, several thousands of sustainable employments will be created in these sectors,” she said
On the opportunities in the tourism sector and the jobs, the industry can create, she said, “Suffice to say however, that tourism is the world’s 2nd largest industry, employing about 6.7 million persons on sustainable basis and has the potential to employ more than twice that number if the government, investors and the stakeholders commit themselves to their various responsibilities. I say this because government has its roles to play in policy formulation, implementation and regulation; investors have their roles to play in funding and managing their business interests while stakeholders have a role to play by safeguarding the legacies in the sector.”
She pointed out that in whatever perspective people chose to look at it, air transportation and tourism complement each other mainly because of the benefit they derive from each other, stressing that tourism depends on transportation to bring visitors while the transportation industry depends on tourism to generate demands for its services.
The Commissioner added that air travels in the international routes are now on the increase due to more inter-regional movements, long distant travels in search of health care, leisure, religion among others and that these movements increase demands for tourism attractions.
She also, said that aviation sector, more than any other, facilitate mass and quick transportation between countries under safe, standardised and economical conditions and boost the volume of tourism visits to any country.
“What this brings to focus is that accessibility is the main function behind the basics of tourism transport. It also means that air transport is the main mode for international tourism which should be replicated in countries seeking to achieve a sustainable tourism environment,” She said.
Nigeria, she said is one of the few countries in the world which enjoys a double dose of wealth generation potential through oil and tourism sectors.
She called on the Federal Government to take immediate steps to open up the tourism sector by ensuring that air transport in the country is safe, standardised and economical as a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Federal Government, she said should also encourage periodic modernisation of facilities at airports, encourage investment in air travels, adopt a pragmatic ease of doing business index and take urgent steps to develop national and artificial centres of attraction which abound in the country.
The state governments, the Governor’s representative stated should see the need to promote sectorial growth in tourism and promote synergy with the local transport industry.
One of the ways to achieve this, she said is to ensure that states implement existing policies in the culture & tourism sectors and tailor them to meet the needs of the state’s population.
She urged NANTA to visit places in the state, such as the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, experience the safe environment and assist the state in telling the world not only how safe and conducive Rivers State is for tourism but that there are investment opportunities therein.
According to her, “Indeed, it is our desire that you see the hospitality of the Rivers people during this visit as a welcome embrace to your investments in the state. The Rivers State government is daily reconstructing roads, addressing infrastructural deficits, and providing legislative framework for investments in the state, and we invite you to come and invest.”
She continued, “Tourism business, be it in the transportation sector, travels planning and execution as well as sites development and management, is huge business. Rivers State has it all. Come, invest in and tour Rivers State. It is a destination of choice.”