The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Iti Orugbani, on Thursday stated that the media is central to tourism development.
The commissioner made this disclosure when members of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association (BIPA) paid him a courtesy call in his office at the state secretariat in Yenagoa, the state capital.
According to Orugbani, the media, especially local publishers, have been at the vanguard of promoting culture and tourism in the state, using their different newspaper outfits.
He pledged the ministry’s continuous partnership with newspaper publishers in the state, adding that he would support members of BIPA in any way possible to ensure they can access modern-day publishing technology.
The commissioner, who was flanked by the permanent secretary, directors and other management staff of the ministry, expressed his gladness at having members of a highly reputable profession in his office.
In his address, BIPA chairman, Mr Francis Dufugha, thanked the commissioner and his management team for giving the group a warm reception.
Dufugha recalled that BIPA was formed to create an enabling environment for members to ply their trade.
He noted that BIPA had been in developmental partnership with the Bayelsa state government with members using their various newspapers to propagate the government’s policies and programmes.
Noting the importance of the tourism subsector, the BIPA chairman said if properly harnessed, it would boost the revenue profile of the state, promising that the publishers would use their different outfits to highlight the tourism potential and cultural heritage of the state to the rest of the world.
The chairman also used the medium to inform the commissioner of BIPA’s 20th-anniversary celebration, which will come up later in the year.
Also speaking, the publisher of the Environment Watch Newspaper, Dcn. Braeyi Ekiye averred that there were many untapped tourism development potentials in the state such as the proposed Age Deep Seaport, the Okpoama Beach, Oloibiri Museum among others, noting that if harnessed, Bayelsa would become Nigeria’s foremost international tourist’s destination and home of hospitality.