Chairman, Board of Trustees of BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative (BTPDI), representing Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta states, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has commended governors of the South-South on their plans to reposition the BRACED Commission, saying that commission has a significant role to play in shaping the socio-economic landscape and address common challenges in the region collectively.
Dr. Kiyaramo, who stated this while speaking with newsmen in Yenagoa over the weekend, noted that current efforts by the governors towards regiging the seemingly inactive BRACED Commission, comprising Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta states, were capable of improving regional integration and cooperation on various issues, including political, economic, social, and environmental matters.
He maintained that democratization of tourism decision making in the oil rich region would be realized with the involvement of many stakeholders on a wider range who would be in the best position to introduce change and improvement on the tourism landscape of the area which boasts of natural beauties, sceneries, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, museums and amusement parks, national parks a and rich cultural heritage.
Dr. Kiyaramo who doubles as Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, reiterated the need for collaboration among stakeholders, noting that collaboration occurs when a group of independent stakeholders of a problem domain engage in an interactive process, using shared rules, norms and structures to act or to decide on issues related to that domain.
The governor’s aide on tourism said involvement of several stakeholders on tourism would increase the social acceptance of tourism related policies so that implementation and enforcement may be easier to achieve, pointing out that collaboration of parties directly affected by tourism would bring their knowledge, attitudes and other capacities to bear on the policy-making process.
He explained that BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative (BTPDI) focuses on promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability, offering leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies in the South-South region in collaboration with relevant institutions within and outside the region.
“Promoting tourism products and services is important for several reasons. Firstly, it can contribute to economic growth by creating job opportunities and generating revenue for local businesses. Additionally, it can help preserve cultural and natural heritage by encouraging the conservation of historical sites and natural landscapes.
“Regional Tourism Organizations provide regional leadership and support a more coordinated and collaborative approach that maximizes resources, encourages strategic planning and investment, resulting in a stronger marketing with better reach.
“An important role of regional planning is to identify and coordinate tourism industry and cross sectoral development initiatives across regions, towards maximising the impact of this activity for tourism, as well as ensuring destination outcomes that would enable communities to reap the benefits of a sustainable visitor economy.
“Tourism is an important economic driver which contributes to the growth and development of a region through job creation, investment and attraction, and infrastructure development. Equally important are the social benefits delivered from tourism, such as added vibrancy and the lifestyle benefits that attract visitors and residents alike,” Dr. Kiyaramo emphasised.
Recall that governors during the last meeting of the BRACED Commission hosted by the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki resolved to foster regional economic cooperation and integration with a view to achieving sustainable development through the creation of a strong regional economy for the collective benefit of the people of the South-South.
Establish and inaugurate the BRACED Business Council to forge closer partnership with the council to improve the business climate and attract investors and businesses into the region.
To collectively engage the Federal Government on the development of key infrastructure in the region, particularly roads, rail development (fast train from Lagos to Calabar), the decentralisation and rehabilitation of the seaports in the region as well as the management of security in the country.