The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, Comrade Samuel Numonengi says the lack of proper Information dissemination is the bane of tourism development in the Niger Delta Region.
Comrade Numonengi made the assertion while inaugurating a 15-Man Visitor Information Centre Management Committee, named after veteran journalist and nationalist, late Ernest Sese Ikoli at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, Azikoro Road in Yenagoa.
He said the public perception of the region, which is based on hearsay, is detrimental to the socio-economic development of the region, stressing that it is high time the people of the Niger Delta began to re-write thr narrative to correct misrepresentations about the region.
Comrade Numonengi said the absence of proper documentation of the rich cultural heritage of the Ijaws was a huge challenge in the promotion of the tourism potentials of the Niger Delta, noted that millions of jobs and businesses are dependent on a strong and thriving tourism sector.
The NUJ Chairman said that tourism has been a driving force in protecting natural and cultural heritage as well as preserving them for future generations to enjoy.
He said Visitor Information Centres (VICs), otherwise known as “Tourist Information Centres, are primarily established to provide travelers with helpful information to improve their stay in the particular destination visited.
READ ALSO : Bayelsa NUJ chairman, Numonengi inaugurates Solalina Media Chapel, charge members to be professional
Comrade Numonengi said the Ernest Ikoli Visitor Information Centre Management Committee is expected to provide a friendly and welcoming environment for visitors who are visiting the state for the first time to have vital information about tourism products and services, as well as provide travel advice or guide for such tourists.
He explained that members of the management committee of Ernest Ikoli Visitor Information Centre, who were carefully selected are expected to embark on tourism promotional activities by way of marketing local tourism products and services to create direct impact on the local economy with a view to enhancing the recreational well‐being of both residents and visitors.
According to the State Council Chairman, the initiative is part of the NUJ, Bayelsa State Council’s attempt to compliment the socio-economic development efforts of the prosperity administration under Senator Douye Diri.
The Ernest Ikoli Visitor Information Centre Management Committee has the chairman of Travel Writers Corps of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bayelsa State Council, Comrade Piriye Kiyaramo as Director General, while Secretary of the State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Ogio Ipigansi is to serve as secretary.
Responding, Director-General of the Ernest Ikoli Visitor Information Centre, Comrade Piriye Kiyaramo, who also doubles as chairman, Travel Writers Corps of the NUJ, thanked the leadership of the state council for finding him and other members worthy to serve, just as he promised to deliver on the mandate given to them.
It will be recalled that a destination visitor information centre, sometimes referred to as a “welcome centre”, provides a one-stop, physical location from which travelers can connect to local businesses and services.
In addition, the visitor information centre is expected to provide space to generate revenue through the sale of merchandise and local handicrafts as well as capture and analyze important traveler information and statistics for planning purposes.
Other members of the newly-inaugurated 15-Man Visitor Information Centre Management Committee include former state chairman of the union, ComradeTarinyo Akono, former state secretary, Comrade Stanley Imgbi, Coordinator òf the International Institute ofJournalism (IIJ), Yenagoa Study Centre, Roland Elekele and Business Manager of Silverbird Rhythm FM, Oxbow Lake, Swali-Yenagoa, Oyins Egrenbido.