From Cancun to Nembe via Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and Tourism
There is a city in Southeastern Mexico located on the Caribbean Sea. In 1970, there were less than a thousand people living on this beautiful Peninsula. There had been disease outbreaks, issues of sea piracy, and a fair share of drug trade in the area in the past and like every other place faced with such negative situations, populations dropped and the place was more or less bare.
However, the Mexican Government saw the future of Tourism quite early and in a bid to attract foreign investors to the naturally beautiful Islands and Peninsula, financed the first nine hotels in the area. That city is Cancun, and today it is arguably one of the top ten destinations for visitors worldwide. Tourism in Cancun is not just a business, it is a lifestyle that sustains over 12,000 hotel rooms and attracts more visitors than The Bahamas, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
Major challenges facing development in Cancun included its distance to Mexico city, which was over 1,000 miles away, lack of trained manpower to sustain development of Tourism and a dearth of modern transportation including a functional highway to open up the area. This aside, Cancun rose out of nothing and is something spectacular today. Cancun and Dubai have one thing in common. Nobody believed anything good could come out of both.
Back home here, on the Islands of Bayelsa State, there are major issues of connecting roads for easy access to tourist sites. as well as security concerns that are thankfully being tackled head-on by Governor Dickson`s administration with glaring results in over just a year in office. Then again if you have not been to any of the Islands, you may not understand why waterway transportation needs to be seen as a viable option to road transportation.
After visiting three Local Government Areas in Bayelsa State, Brass, Nembe and Ogbia as part of Governor Dickson`s Thank You Tour, it is evident that the Dickson Administration has keyed in to a salient fact about Tourism development. Yes, we all need infrastructure and signposts of modernity, but before all of that, we need education. We need enlightened people to take over managing our long term investments. In this regard, Bayelsa State has laid down the building block properly. There is no doubting the effort of the Government to boost the education sector.
This, is a major and futuristic plus with international scholarships, infrastructure development in schools and partnerships with foreign institutions to train Bayelsan`s, and expose the few who will benefit from educational exchange schemes and programs to the possibilities of development seen around the world.
Also, if this administration takes tourism seriously as it has shown early promise already, heavy investments in Hotels and Resorts on a couple of Islands will be inevitable. In as much as the State capital is booming with construction works of all sorts, the future of business and commerce in Bayelsa cannot be excluded from the Islands.
Beautiful Bayelsa is one part of the Niger Delta that holds so much promise for the future. If only we the people can be brought up to speed with the implications of peace and security. Government cannot do it all alone, we the people have to embrace peace and develop security. We have to manage our communities better.
Governor Dickson is faced with an enormous task of delivering first class facilities as a platform for attracting real investors. It is surmountable. It is do-able. It is very possible. However, it will take some investing in educating the people about a future based on peace and security, and making us understand and appreciate how Local Government Areas can have over a hundred standard hotels operating at good capacity and thus provide employment and commercial boom for the Islands.
Bayelsa State Government seems to be on track with the suggestion by the Governor that a Stadium is proposed for BrasS LGA. That Stadium will require support services of hotels and restaurants in the long run. Another Island will need hotels and restaurants to support Africa`s largest Aqua Tunnel if built for example, or the biggest hotel in the Niger Delta area with accompanying entertainment options. We only have to dream big and put our minds to achieving big feats.
I dare say a visionary leader can not do without intellectual and experienced support from his team. This thankfully is not lacking presently in Bayelsa State. There is every reason to believe in the future of the state therefore. It will be enlightening to see the potentials of other LGA`s in the state and I look forward to the next phase of the Thank You Tour with eager expectations.
I look forward to beautiful Bayelsa, The Glory of All Lands.
Ejiro Eghagha. Writer, Social commentator
Posted on December 5, 2013, in Economy and Development, Guest Columnist and tagged Bahamas, Bayelsa, Bayelsa State, Cancun, Governor Seriake Dickson, Nembe, Niger Delta, Nigeria, Ogbia, Puerto Rico. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.