TOURISM is poised for pragmatic development and promotion in Lagos State as leaders in different strata of life converged at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos Monday to chart a new course for tourism in the state.
The success of the first Lagos State Tourism Summit, with the theme; “Destination Lagos: Towards a Sustainable Tourism Drive,’’ where dignitaries, including the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; a former President of Ghana, Mr. John Mahama; Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; and Managing Director, Bank of Industries, Mr. Kayode Pitan spoke on maximising tourism potential in the state, was a signal to the imminent enviable development in the state.
Governor Ambode described the summit as the demonstration of the his administration’s commitment to finding alternative platforms that can enrich Lagos and propel its prosperity continuously.
His words: “We are very proud of our culture and heritage. It has become very clear and evident that there is no other concentration of the black race that is larger than Nigeria, and most especially Lagos, that can tell the story of the black race.
“The Lagos Tourism Masterplan, which is the ultimate end product of this summit, is premised on the context of this analogy. As a government, we are conscious of the fact that infrastructure, security, stability and partnership with all stakeholders are fundamental ingredients for tourism development.”
Mohammed and Mahama commended the governor for the steps the administration has taken on the development of the sector. Both agreed that the state has a peculiar aquatic splendour and potential that can translate into huge tourism gains.
Mohammed, who reiterated that Lagos State has the potential to become Africa’s tourism hub, gave the assurance of the Federal Government support in developing the sector.
The minister said this on Monday in Lagos, at the Lagos Tourism Summit with the theme; “Destination Lagos: Towards a Sustainable Tourism Drive’’.
Mohammed said the Federal Government had identified the tourism and creative sectors as alternative to oil, adding that his ministry was working toward developing the industry.
He recalled that upon assumption of office, his ministry organised a national tourism summit to provide the platform for harnessing the potential in the sector.
The minister disclosed that the ministry had revived the national tourism master plan to catalyse the development of the sector and also hosted a round-table on financing tourism.
He also disclosed that the ministry would partner with relevant stakeholders, particularly, the people of Ile-Ife in Osun State in hosting the 2018 “Olojo’’ festival.
“Olojo is not just only Yoruba new festival, but the oldest known festival in the world started by Ooni Ogun with the wearing of the world’s oldest monarchical crown, the sacred Aare Crown.
“The festival will bring 35 of the top Africa-American travel writers, group travel agents, travel bloggers and travel film crews to the Olojo 2018 festival,’’ he said.
Earliet in his keynote address, Mahama, underscored the need for Africa to develop tourism sector in order to solving the challenge of unemployment.
The former Ghanaian President also suggested a development of integrated tour packages between Nigeria and Ghana that would attract international tourists from Lagos to Accra and vice versa.
Others who addressed different aspects of the subject include: Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker; Prof. Ibukunoluwa Ayodele; Prof. Pat Utomi; Prince Yemisi Shyllon; Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi; Mr. Koye Edu; Mr. Phillip Hughes and Mrs.Omotayo Omotoso.
Coker in a brief chat with journalists emphasised the huge potentials of tourism, which if well explored will create good wealth for the country and her people, while emphasising the efforts of his administration at pragmatically developing and promoting domestic tourism in the country.
In his opening address, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said Lagos was responding to the fact that the dynamics of progress and development were changing and strategies were being redrawn, forcing smart states and countries to be proactive and seek productive alternatives.