The Lagos State Government has expressed its desire to strengthen investment in tourism infrastructure to unearth all tourism goldmines for Lagos’ prosperity and project the State as a global brand.
Disclosing this at the ongoing Y2018 Ministerial Press Briefing held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja in commemoration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode Third Year in Office, the State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde said the government is laying a long-term foundation to make the State a sustainable tourism-driven economy.
Explaining the State government’s plan towards achieving broadband tourism affluence, the Commissioner disclosed that the desire of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to leave a legacy of solid tourism-driven economy informed the idea of developing a master plan of 15yrs-20yrs.
He said: “In view of the reforms needed in the State’s tourism industry, the Lagos Tourism Summit was held at Eko Hotel & Suites on Monday 16th April 2018 with the theme ‘Destination Lagos: Towards a Sustainable Tourism-Driven Economy’ to provide insightful content for the proposed master plan.
The forum provided local and international stakeholders, professionals, leading academics, scholars and researchers in the tourism, culture and entertainment industry and media practitioners to contribute to the blueprint, the Commissioner submitted.
He added that “The need to prepare the State ahead in terms of ideas, long-term investment, top-notch infrastructure and human capacity development necessary for the expected competition among tourism destinations all over the world requires a long-term strategic master plan”.
Ayorinde averred that the master plan being prepared by Messrs. Ernst & Young would focus on sectors such as culture and heritage, film, art and entertainment, business tourism, nature and adventure, medical and wellness, beach and leisure.
“Earlier in the year, the State government, for the first time, released a calendar of sponsored and State-endorsed arts and culture events to guide tourists and visitors on indigenous cultural festivals across the State and the calendar of over 70 programmes for Y2018 is part of the State’s innovation to project arts, entertainment and leisure benefits inherent in Lagos”.
In his appraisal, Mr. Ayorinde disclosed further that the State government has supported a broadband of arts and culture events in the State, such as the hosting of the annual Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMMA) in July 2017, referencing the recognition the State government accords entertainment and creativity.
The Ministry’s provision of institutional support for the successful hosting of the maiden edition of the Nigeria Beer Festival at Eko Atlantic in Victoria Island, according to him, further strengthens the desire of the State to encourage tourism-driven initiatives and promote Lagos as a top destination that offers a variety of content to visitors.
The one-week event attracted a large turnout of the diplomatic community in Lagos State and neighbouring West Africa and paraded the potential of the social and cultural values of the State and the country at large to the world amidst music and entertainment.
The Commissioner revealed that the Ministry’s participation at the 41st World Tourism Conference in Kigali, Rwanda and the 13th edition of the Akwaaba (African Travel Market) in Lagos also highlights the effort of the State government to use global platforms to draw attention to Lagos tourism potentials.
He said: “after an impressive showing at the 2017 Nothinghill Carnival in London where the grand entry of Eko Politan offered the State a global platform to showcase Lagos’ cultural potentials, cuisines and abundant diversity, the State joined the rest of the world in September to celebrate the 2017 World Tourism Day in the State of Qatar in Doha”.
Similarly, the staging of the Lagos Street Carnival and One Lagos Fiesta gives credence to the fact that government supports the advancement of the tourist activities that have made the State become a preferred destination for events that usher in crossover celebrations into the new-year in Africa.
Ayorinde disclosed that the upgraded Badagry Heritage Museum that houses abundant slave relics and historical narrative on transatlantic slave trade is now supported with a new multi-purpose hall, children arena, upgraded exhibition stands, conveniences and a security post, serving as a major attraction to visitors especially blacks in diaspora in search of their ancestral root.
Speaking on the Ford Foundation grant for the Lagos Museum Project, the Commissioner submitted that the $600,000 grant is expected to aid the architectural design of the ongoing project at the new Eko Court, Marina, affirming the readiness of the Ford Foundation to join the State government on a global roadshow to generate additional funding for the project.
In addition, the Eko Theatre Project that will provide six theatres across the State is very much alive as four of the theatres located at Ikeja, Badagry, Igando and Epe are about 70% complete while work is expected to commence at Ikorodu and Lagos Mainland locations soon.