Piriye Kiyaramo, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, says the newly introduced transportation system in Bayelsa will boost tourism.
Kiyaramo, who is also facilitator of the South-South Tourism Roundtable Initiative, reacted to the development while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa on Friday.
He commended Gov Douye Diri for unveiling a new transport scheme with a fleet of 106 vehicles, which he described as a major catalyst in stimulating growth in the tourism sector of every economy.
The SSA spoke against the backdrop of the unveiling of the 106 vehicles as part of measures to cushion the hardships being faced by commuters because of the recent removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
Kiyaramo stated that it was impossible to dream of having a viable tourism sector without putting in place a good transportation system like what Diri just unveiled.
According to the governor’s aide, an effective and efficiently managed transportation system will link tourists with various attractions, including restaurants, resorts and amenities within the state or region.
He said such would also act as stimulus in the growth, development and promotion of the tourism industry, adding that tourism was expandable more with a well organised transportation system in place.
He said that transportation, through its role of movement of goods and people, also influenced other sectors of the local economy, including domestic tourism.
Kiyaramo noted that without an efficient transportation system, there won’t be a viable travel and tourism industry as people won’t have the means to reach places they desired to see.
“The significance of transport consists not only in the function it plays in the development of the socio-economic complex, but also has an important role in the amplification of the relations between cities, towns, states, regions or nations.
“Therefore, the development of transportation is linked to the development of tourism. If domestic tourism grows, regional transportation also grows.
“For tourists to reach their destinations, they have to choose between four main types of transportation means – road, rail, water or air – depending on many other factors. Tourism expands more efficiently when there are better transportation options in place for visitors to a destination.
“For tourism to expand and grow in the South-South region, there is a need for the states to have efficiently managed transportation systems with a proper maintenance culture of existing facilities, including adequate security networks.
“Tourism development can even grow bigger if more provisions are made in the various elements of our transportation systems with the region,” Dr Kiyaramo stated,” Kiyaramo said.
The aide called on stakeholders from both public and private sectors in the South-South region, including the multinational oil and gas companies, to be actively involved in the development of the tourism sector.
He said the sector had the potential of opening up the economy to the global community for investments.
Kiyaramo also explained that many developed nations across the globe had taken advantage of tourism to cover their budget deficits, to add more value to their economies, pointing out that, it was the reason “tourism is called a factory without chimney”.
He stressed that the tourism sector had its own unique features that differentiated it from other sectors of the economy.
According to him, when tourism services are performed in a destination that has a well developed transportation infrastructure such as good link road network, conducive vehicles, airport, rail, and water transport systems, the visitor’s experience becomes most memorable and indelible.