Gov. Diri’s SSA On Tourism Tasks South-South Governors On Regional Tourism Agenda

… As Governors Meet in Benin City Thursday

As South-South governors meet in Benin City, Edo State, under the auspices of the BRACED Commission, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism and Chairman, Board of Trustees of BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative (BTPDI), Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has stressed the need for a regional tourism development agenda for cooperation and integration to drive the development of the sector in the region.

Speaking with newsmen in Yenagoa on Tuesday, Dr. Kiyaramo who described regional cooperation and integration as a process by which countries or states come together to coordinate, collaborate and invest in joint ventures in order to strengthen their economies to mitigate shared risks and prevent conflicts with a view to assisting neighbouring states in fragile situations and to preserve common resources.

He maintained that the cooperation and integration among the South-South states of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta would go a long way in helping them to overcome seeming divisions that would rather impede the flow of goods, services, capital, people and ideas, adding that such political interferences were constraints to economic growth, especially in developing countries.

The BTPDI board chairman who expressed concern over the seeming inactivity of the BRACED Commission was an initiative of South-South governors in 1999 for joint development of the region, regretted that the mission and vision of the Commission has remained elusive, as the governors seemingly preferred to go solo in developing their respective states to detriment of regional integration and cooperation.

While commending the Director General of BRACED Commission, Ambassador Joe Keshi, for his untiring efforts towards actualising the vision and mission of the regional body, Dr. Kiyaramo expressed hope that with coming on board of Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, as the next chairman, he may spring surprises in rejuvenating the body with a view to jump-starting the Commission to actualise its objectives.

“Reintegration helps countries or states to promote regional integration through common physical and institutional infrastructures. On the other hand, divisions between countries or states created by geography, poor infrastructure, and inefficient policies are an impediment to economic growth.

“Deliberate regional cooperation and integration efforts will make the south-south states to overcome the seeming costly political divisions to be able to integrate goods, services and market factors, thus facilitating the flow of trade, capital, energy, people and ideas. Regional integration can be promoted through common physical and institutional infrastructure. Specifically, regional integration requires cooperation among states.

“The idea of the BRACED was the outcome of the first south south economic summit held in Calabar in 2009 and the Commission was created thereafter to drive the region’s development aspirations of a sustainable regional economy strong enough to provide employment and prosperity for the people of the region and one that would be globally competitive,” Dr. Kiyaramo stated.

He noted that BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative was focused on promotion of tourism through organized tours, seminars, symposia, conferences, capacity development trainings for tourism practitioners and stakeholders, using the platform South-South Tourism Roundtable discussions and Programmes, as well as identify and honour outstanding tourism promoters in the region with awards of excellence to encourage them.

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