A Tourism Master Plan and Policy which seeks to make Lagos State a top-five tourism hub in Africa was today presented to the public at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja.
Speaking at the presentation, the State Governor, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu represented by his Deputy, Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat described the event as a critical step to further unlock aspects of Lagos towards becoming Africa’s tourism giant.
“Since we assumed office, over two years ago, we have taken decisive steps to explore the abundant possibilities in this very critical sector by allowing the practitioners and key stakeholders to be directly involved in every one of our policies”.
He stated that the tourism potentials of the State are yet to be fully harnessed adding that the policy is also an attempt to unlock these potentials.
The Governor disclosed that the event is evidence of his administration’s commitment to inclusiveness and stakeholders’ partnership since the Tourism sector thrives on Public-Private Partnership and collaboration.
He disclosed that the policy was developed with the consent of relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry, noting that it was reviewed to reflect the policy thrust and plans for the Entertainment and Tourism pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
“The launch speaks of our sincere intention to betters the lots of Lagosians, promote ease of doing business, attract more tourists to our State and domestic tourism activities in the Centre of Excellence”.
According to him, the policy document will direct efforts in the tourism sector in six strategic areas, namely; Culture and Heritage; Film, Art and Entertainment; Business and Meetings, Incentives; Conferences and Entertainment; Beach and Leisure; Nature and Adventure; and Medical and Wellness”.
Sanwo-Olu said “the document will help in the attainment of a robust execution and implementation of short, medium and long-term plans in different areas and aspects of Tourism activities in alignment with our vision to revamp the tourism sector holistically”, adding that the waterways and beaches for tourism purposes, as well as restaurants, recreational parks, relaxation centres, will be exposed at home and abroad.
While stating that the event signals a new narrative in the sector, the governor expressed confidence that the public presentation of the Lagos Tourism Master Plan and Policy is one that all stakeholders in the sector have been yearning for and hoping to have for implementation. He, therefore, urged all stakeholders in the industry to make the Master Plans come to fruition.
Earlier in his goodwill message, the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who was represented at the event by the Director-General Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mr Folorunsho Coker said it is time is for all tiers of government in the country on issues relating to tourism.
“This is the time for collaboration and not a competition between all tiers of government if there is competition between members of the State and Federal on issues relating to tourism the progress will be distorted”.
While also stating the need for alignment of policies in the area of taxation and legislation, the minister noted that the Lagos economy can sustain local tourism.
He also tasked journalists with development journalism and responsible reportage so as not to devalue our claim to a position of value. He further urged the government to harness the tourism potentials of the state as Lagos is the heartbeat of Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa.
Pharm. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, the Commissioner for Ministry for Tourism, Arts and Culture, stated that the Master plan will further transform Lagos into a major African tourism and entertainment hub by exploring and promoting the potentials that abound in the State, as well as integrating the thriving Entertainment and Arts industry as a viable platform to attract visitors and create jobs.Fatai Oluwa and Special Adviser to the Lagos Governor on Tourism, Art &Culture, Mr Solomon Bonu at the Public Presentation of the Master Plan & Policy held today, at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium. Alausa Ikeja.
Uzamat noted that the twenty-year document was conceived with the vision “to make Lagos State 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.
She added that the goal is to generate tourism revenue for business and government which will lead to job creation, enhance the quality of life for Lagosians, align with state development plans and domesticate tourism in LaHis.
In his welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor, Mr Solomon Bonu noted that Master Plan and Policy is being conceived 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.
Meanwhile, he stated that in the course of compilation, the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture ensured that necessary stakeholders were involved from the inception of compilation and review of these documents up till its final stage.
Mr Bonu further disclosed that there is a plan in place by the Ministry to train 500 youths from the five IBILE Divisions of the State as Tour Guides.
Bonu added that the Ministry is also 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.