The Bayelsa State Government says it will leverage on its rich tourism endowment to boost its revenue generation, create jobs for the citizens and reverse the status of Bayelsa as one of the country’s insolvent states.
The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) had, in a States Viability Index Report of August 2020, listed Bayelsa as insolvent because of its low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Iti Orugbani, made the assertion on Friday in Yenagoa while inspecting departments and agencies as well as tourism facilities under his ministry.
He stressed that tourism could boost the IGR of the state and create job opportunities, adding that it had the unique potential of fast-tracking the economic revival of the state.
He said that the government was ready to revamp the infrastructure of the tourism sub-sector across the state, while resuscitating moribund hospitality facilities via the implementation of a strategic tourism development plan.
Orugbani said that the plan would rejuvenate cultural heritage, arts and tourism to enable the sector to reach its full potential and play a significant role in the socio-cultural and economic development of the state.
He said that the state government was prepared to reposition the tourism sector by supporting and making the appropriate strategic involvement to achieve expected results that would attract national and international tourists to the state.
He said the tourism industry was capable of totally changing the image and negative perception of Bayelsa from a state thought to be unsafe, hostile and dependent to an exceptionally safe, peaceful and prosperous destination.
He said that the tourism sector was on a rising trajectory and prospects for more growth in the future were very positive, adding that the ministry was, therefore, exploring strategies aimed at growing the sector to its full potential to complement other revenue sources of the state.
Orugbani pledged that the state government would protect cultural heritage resources, hospitality facilities, promote the arts and creative industry, while supporting and participating in community cultural projects and engagements.
“The government will also promote cultural festivals and events across the state,” he said.
He added that the ministry would seek public-private sector collaboration and partnership to fast-track the development of the industry.
While inspecting the Two Star hotel at Swali, the commissioner expressed shock at its state, describing the theft and vandalism of the construction materials, essential equipment, fittings and fixtures at the site as a great loss to the state.
He called for a thorough investigation of the incident, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
He, however, pledged that the state government would put appropriate security measures in place to forestall further theft and vandalism at the site.
Besides, the commissioner said that government would improve the infrastructure at the Oxbow Lake, complete the construction of the its water park for children, while encouraging private sector participation in the development of recreation centres across the state.
Orugbani promised government support for the International Institute of Hospitality and the State Council for Arts and Culture to reposition them for optimal service delivery.
He also said the Peace Park would be remodelled to accommodate the new plans for the facility.