The Lagos state Government has reechoed its commitment to ensure inclusiveness to further expand the growth of Tourism and Hospitality business in the State.
Speaking at a symposium to herald the Y2021 World Tourism Day, the Commissioner for Tourism Art and Culture, Pharm. Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf said the event was designed to gather thoughts on the strategies that could be adopted to chart a way forward for the Tourism industry.
Akinbile-Yusuf explained that with the theme of this year’s event ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’, the State has unarguably been able to coordinate all critical stakeholders in order to ensure they are all carried along on the template of tourism development in the State.
The Commissioner mentioned that the Ministry had held series of interactive sessions with relevant stakeholders which was meant to push the trajectory of harmonizing thoughts on the prosperity of Lagos State especially as regards tourism, arts, culture and entertainment and the move according to her, has led to the implementation of numerous initiatives executed in consonance with the State’s Tourism Masterplan.
“The first stakeholder session we held this year was on “The Best of Lagos” while the second session was on “Promoting Domestic Tourism: Post-covid” and plan is still in place for another stakeholders’ session before the end of the year. We believe that we can thrive better through a collaborative relationship with all our relevant stakeholders.
“I’m happy to report that the fall out of these meetings are now being implemented by the Ministry.
” Specifically, we have started a training session for about 150 tour guides who would ensure that Visitors/Tourists have a worthwhile experience in Lagos at all time
” Apart from this, the initiative will also contribute to the attractiveness of tourism destinations, create employment opportunities for potential tour guides and positively impact the GDP of the State, and this is in sync with the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, “Tourism For Inclusive Growth”, being examined across the globe.” she said
While saying that the Tourism sector is not a static industry, Akinbile-Yussuf maintained that the dynamic nature of the sector, calls for intermittent review of emerging trends, especially with the advent of COVID-19 which further underscored the indispensability to realign the State plans to meet present day realities.
According to her “Tourism in the past two years has suffered a serious setback due to covid 19 outbreak. As the reality is dawn on us now that we may have to live with this virus for a while, the onus is for us to design new strategies to resuscitate this very important sector without compromising all covid-19 protocols. For us at the Ministry, we realized this fact and have kept constant relationship with our stakeholders to regularly brainstorm and design ways through which we can keep this sector alive despite the covid 19 threat.”
She stressed that efforts have been geared towards Tourism inclusivity in the State, particularly with launching of its Community-Based Tourism, CBT, initiative which will enable the Ministry explore, access and develop Tourism potentials such as Unique Cultural Practices, Tradition and Heritage within the Local Community.
Also, the capacity development of filmmakers under the Lagos State Creative Industry Initiative, a partnership with Delyork Creative Academy and EbonyLife Creative Academy has been overwhelming, and with the plans for the establishment of Lagos Film City at Ejirin which she stressed will serve as a huge impetus for the development of the entertainment industry especially via cost reduction and employment generation bringing about huge relief and improved quality film productions.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Solomon Bonu said that the event aligns with the directives of Governor Sanwo-Olu that the Ministry should intensify efforts towards ensuring sustainable socio-economy of the State through Tourism.
He said the theme : ‘Tourism for lnclusive Growth’ would afford stakeholders the opportunity to look beyond tourism statistics and knowledge and consider people that can drive the growth of Tourism.
According to him, “World Tourism Day, is the global observance day for fostering awareness of tourism’s social and economic value and the contribution that the sector can make towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
The human desire to travel and explore is universal which is why tourism must be open for all to enjoy considering the social and economic benefits that tourism brings to everyone, the day therefore highlights the power of Tourism for lnclusive Growth.”
Chairman House Committee on Tourism, Hon. Fatai Oluwa was optimistic that the gathering would live up to expectation towards building and establishing partnership for the growth of the Sector.
Oluwa said the State is not oblivious of its enormous potentials and is working assiduously to cater for all and sundry because Tourism affects everyday activities, as it was not only tilted towards driving economic growth but enhancing social progress across the world.
He enjoined stakeholders to showcase the State cultural heritage as well as its people to prospective visitors, while assuring that the State House of Assembly would continue to give legislative support to development of the Industry.
The Permanent Secretrary of the Ministry, Mrs. Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, who presented the message by Secretary-General of UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, stressed the need to open more opportunities and benefits available in the sector to everyone in order to enhance its scope.
This, according to the Message, will bring about inclusiveness, stressing that inclusive growth means getting everybody on board in building a foundation for a better future for all in the tourism sector.
Speaking in a separate interview, the Permanent secretary explained that the State is working to harness all the available resources that can revive the Tourism sector which was badly affected by the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, the State is not only looking at Tourism within the tourism Ministry we are looking at it affect its entirety in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole, because we have realized that working together will ensure that tourism become a good experience for the d resident of Lagos and the State Community Based tourism will allow Domestic Tourism to grow.”
She affirmed that the sector recorded unquantifiable loss both in finance and emotion during the pandemic, stressing that efforts are in top gear to stabilize the sector.
In her paper presentation, Dr. Adun Okupe said for inclusive growth to be achieved, local communities must be actively involved regardless of their age, economic status, religion and besides the activation of gender equality, women must be allowed to play key role in ensuring inclusivity in the Tourism sector.
She also called for provision of social infrastructure that can facilitate easy access to local communities as well as consistent training, education and development opportunities for the people in custody of historical buildings, so that it can provide ecosystem for economic and social growth.
There was an interactive session at the event where different Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government explored the various areas of Tourism potentials in their respective domains and how tourists and investors can take advantage of these potentials.