BTPDI Canvases For A South-South Tourism Development Fund

… As Gov. Diri Plays Host To BRACED Commission Council in Yenagoa, Tuesday

As governors of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta states meet in Yenagoa under the auspices of the BRACED Commission, the immediate past Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Douye Diri on Tourism and pioneer Chairman, Board of Trustees of BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative (BTPDI), Dr. Piriye Kyaramo has called for the inauguration of a South-South Tourism Development Fund.

Speaking with newsmen in Yenagoa at the weekend, Dr. Kiyaramo maintained that such a regional funding for the tourism sector could be a catalyst for tourism development and growth, saying that it would be equally essential to balance tourism growth in the region with sustainable development.

He reiterated that such regional funding would go a long way to support the preservation of our cultural heritage and other assets in a bit to protect the fragile ecosystems to ensure that they remain sustainable and attractive destinations for years to come, as according to him, the power of regional funding in tourism development is undeniable.

Dr. Kiyaramo who also doubles as Director General of Ernest Ikoli Visitor Information Centre Yenagoa, noted that regional funding has the potential to transform destinations with a view to improving the quality of life for residents, and to preserve cultural and environmental treasures, pointing out that the source of regional funding could vary, coming from both private and public sectors.

“However, wise allocation and strategic planning are essential to avoid potential downsides, such as over-tourism or misallocation of funds. Also, balancing growth with sustainability remains the key challenge in harnessing the full potential of regional funding for tourism development.

“Equally, public funding, often backed by taxpayers, tends to prioritize the overall well-being of the citizenry. Therefore, striking the right balance between these two funding sources is critical to ensure that tourism development aligns with the region’s goals for accelerated sustainable development.

“The local governments should be able to allocate funds to maintain the delicate equilibrium between economic growth and environmental preservation as part of efforts to achieving the sustainable goals targets. Our local governments should endeavour to invest in eco-tourism initiatives and promote responsible tourism while enforcing visitor limits in sensitive areas with appropriate policies, “Dr. Kiyaramo emphasized.

“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 genuine cooperation among states.

“The idea of the BRACED Commission which was the outcome of the first South-south Economic Summit, held in Calabar, in 2009 was to drive the region’s developmental aspirations such as a sustainable regional economy that would be strong enough to provide employment and prosperity for the people of the region and one that would be globally competitive,” Dr Kiyaramo stated.

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

Director-General of the BRACED Commission, Amb. Joe Keshi, had earlier hinted that BRACED Commission Council meeting would hold in Yenagoa on Tuesday to review ongoing efforts to revive the commission’s aspirations with a view to reinvigorating the body to achieve its objectives of regional cooperation and integration of the South-South region.

It would be recalled that at the last meeting of the BRACED Commission in Benin City, the Director General has noted that the rationale behind the establishment of the commission in 2011, was to improve on agriculture, education, environment, power, security and utilisation of sports to empower youths of the region.

He, however, highlighted some challenges of the commission and urged the commission to take prompt actions to address the various issues affecting the regional economic bloc.

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