Lagos Tourism inaugurates Covid-19 review committee

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

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Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Art and Culture, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Art and Culture, Mr Bonu Saanu, presenting appointment letter to the Chairman of the Lagos State post Covid-19 Pandemic Review Committee on Tourism, Mrs Joke Silva.

The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture has inaugurated members of the state Covid-19 Pandemic Review Committee.

The six-man committee is to draw out suggestions and recommendations on how to re-activate the state creative industry which has remained dormant as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world.

The Commissioner of Tourism, Art and Culture, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, while inaugurating the committee in Lagos, explained that the committee would advise the state government on what to do to rejuvenate the state economy, particularly the creative ecosystem.

“The situation in the world today is not pre-determined. This is where we are and this is what we have seen happening to us.

Tourism sector is one of the worst hit by this pandemic because on a daily basis, Lagos records new cases and we must not shy away from the fact that Covid-19 is still with us.

Everywhere is shut down. The airline operators are not operating, there is nothing like art exhibitions, hospitality businesses have been put out on hold. So, we want to find a way to sustain our economy and the industry, even with the pandemic and see how best we can continue to improve on the creative sector”, she said.

Terms of reference
The Commissioner highlighted some of the terms of reference for the committee which is expected to submit its report in two weeks to include; conducting a holistic assessment of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the industry and come up with a recommendation on the short and long term palliative with respect to soft loan and grants, to assuage the negative impact of the pandemic on the industry.

It is also expected to refocus attention towards the development of the domestic tourism as immediate measure to revitalize the industry in the state and to recommend other strategic measures that will ensure post Covid-19 sustainability of the industry.

She said the state is doing the needful by not leaving the industry in the current situation and ensuring it receives adequate value and support it needs to thrive.

“We are in the tunnel in the last two months and we don’t know when we are going to get out of this”, she added

Special Adviser to the Governor on Art and Culture, Mr Bonu Saanu also said that the state is looking at how to get back to the business of tourism and that those in the committee have the experience to bear on how to address post Covid-19 era in the state tourism sector.

Huge task
The Chairman of the Committee, a veteran actor, Mrs Joke Silva said that the responsibility she was saddled with is a path towards repositioning the creative and tourism industry in the state, stressing that the members appointed to work with her would do the needful to achieve results.

According to her, “I have been very lucky with the members of the committee, because they are men and women who are very knowledgeable about the industry. Working together, they will be able to give suggestions on what could be done. The creative industry has been ‘devastatingly’ affected and we will get through it.”

She called for suggestions on how to move the industry forward.

Effects of Covid-19 on the industry
A member of the committee, Mr. Atunyota Akpobome, also known as Ali Baba noted that the move by the state government was timely because the vaccine for the virus has not been found and social distancing is still in place and will affect the sector and all those depending on it.

“What we are looking at is how government can support them either with soft loan or tax rebates. Beyond that, there is fluidity of moment among youths; what keeps them is that they want to keep in touch and in contact with one another and also enjoy entertainment. Now the question is: can you take the entertainment to somewhere else? These are some of the things we will be looking at”, he said

Mrs Joke Silva is the Chairman of the committee and other members include; Mr Patrick Donald Lee, Dr. Adun Okupe, Chief Mrs Oyenike Okundaye, Mr Gbenga Sunmonu and Mr Atunyota Akpobome.

 

Nneka Ukachukwu

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