July 11, (THEWILL) – Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu of Lagos State has reiterated his administration’s commitment to the attainment of a robust implementation of short, medium and long term plans in different areas of tourism activities in the state. He assured that 20 years from now, the state will be one of the best five attractive destinations for tourists in Africa.
“This will also help in the attainment of a robust execution and implementation of short, medium and long term plans in different areas of tourism activities,” Sanwo-Olu said while presenting the state’s Tourism Master Plan and Policy.
The two documents, which are described as tools for a new era of systematic implementation of tourism activities across the state, can translate into increased GDP, improved job creation, better quality of life, among other numerous advantages.
Sanwo-Olu described the event as evidence of the present administration’s commitment to inclusiveness and stakeholders partnership knowing that this sector thrives on public-private partnership and collaboration.
“Our resolve to ensure that the production of these documents came up to fruition speaks to our sincere intention to better the lots of Lagosians, promote ease of doing business, attract more tourists to our state and domestic tourism activities in the centre of excellence.”
The event which was recently organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and culture in collaboration with Sterling Bank PLC took place in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
Continuing, he said: “There are numerous tourism potentials in Lagos State that are yet to be fully harnessed. The need to harness these untapped tourism potentials necessitated the development of both tourism master plan and policy. With these documents in place, efforts in the tourism sector would now be directed to six strategies areas which are: Culture and heritage, film, art and entertainment, business and MICE-Beach and leisure, nature and adventure and others.”
The gathering of eminent personalities and distinguished stakeholders in tourism, hospitality, film, entertainment, arts and culture sector signalled a new narrative in the tourism sector. Considering the fact that all these six areas of focus have not been fully harnessed for economic and tourism value before now, this administration’s determination to focus on them will change the tourism narrative for sure.
The event witnessed award presentation to certain stakeholders who have greatly contributed to sustainable tourism and economic growth in the state. They include renowned artist, Chief Nike Okundaye, organizer of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko and others.
Special Adviser on Tourism, Arts and Culture to the governor, Mr. Solomon Bonu to the governor said: “The Ministry ensured that the stakeholders were involved from inception of compilation and review of these documents up till its final stage. It is a widely known fact that the tourism policy of any nation or state is designed to provide a set of guidelines, rules, direction and facilitates consensus around specific vision, strategies and objectives for a given destination.”
“Apart from this, it helps to map or pinpoint a course of action for savvy decision-making and forms the basis for effective structuring of an organization while also providing direction or basic information on responsibilities and human capital utilization and deployment.
“It is on this premise, that the idea behind the Tourism Master Plan and Policy was conceived in order to provide a more holistic approach for implementation of tourism activities across the state such that there will be uniformity and orderliness in this sector.”
According to Bonu, while using the event to unveil plans by the ministry to train 500 youths from the five IBILE Divisions of the state as Tour Guides, he equally stated that the Tour Guides in place would complement efforts at domesticating tourism activities in the local government areas. “With this idea, tourists that visit our state would now have a better experience as they would be professionally guided and accompanied to all the tourism sites in the state by local people with local knowledge of their respective communities.”
“In addition to this, the establishment of tourism clubs is also being considered by the ministry across these IBILE zones. The members of these clubs would also be instrumental to the promotion our tourism sites. Some of our stakeholders are already partnering with the ministry in this area to enhance the capacity development of our youths as it relates to the promotion of community-based tourism.”
“In the same vein, the youths would also be given access to loan facilities under the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, (LSETF), upon completion of their training.
“In a nutshell, the same way the ministry is training creative practitioners under its Lagos State Creative Industry Initiative, LACI, Tour Guides and members of Tourism Clubs will also be trained to meet the needs of tourists in all our tourism sites, evidently, the administration is touching every segment of the Ministry from Tourism, to Arts, Culture and Entertainment.”
But was the commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akibinle-Yusuf truly convinced this could be achieved within these specific years?
“I think it’s possible,” she said. “Lagos State in 20 years would be one of the top-five urban tourism destinations in Africa and recognised as the Face of Art in Africa for its multiple creative and innovative tourism products and experiences.”
On the vision, Akibinle-Yusuf said that the tourism master plan developed for Lagos State proposes a bold and audacious vision for Lagos over the next 15-20 years. On tourism mission, she said: “Build on the inherent creativity of the people of Lagos and establish the state as a vibrant and innovative tourism destination that diversifies the economy, creates jobs across multiple tourism segments and offers the world access to the ingenuity and hospitality of the residents.”
On goals: “This will generate tourism revenue for business and government which will lead to job creation, enhance the quality of life for Lagosians and align with state development plans.”
Bonus pointed out that with the public presentation of Lagos tourism master plan and policy, another feather has been added to the state tourism activities which, on the long run, will translate to a better state and quality life for residents of Lagos State.”