Lagos Tourism, Travel, Hospitality industry boosts economic growth – Commissioner

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism Art and Culture, Mr Steve Ayorinde says the level of attention accorded to developing tourism and hospitality sector in the State has engendered economic growth.

The Commissioner gave this indication at the 3rd Nigerian Travel Awards organised by Jumia Travel in Lagos.

Presenting a paper on “Lagos as a model for tourism growth in Nigeria’’, the Commissioner said that Tourism has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce and represents one of the main ‎sources of income for many developing countries.

He maintained that having observed this, the State government has accorded the sector huge attention and committed huge resources into developing it in order to make it a model sector that would perform the tripartite role of rebranding the state as a safe and welcoming destination for visitors.

Commitment
Mr Ayorinde stressed that Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture in almost four years has committed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s growth agenda on the creative economy through what he called “Project T.H.E.S.E” which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Sports for Excellence.

He added that the agenda, which informed the deliberate investment in human capital and infrastructure with remarkable impact on the creative industry, has lived up to its promise in the last three and half years.

“It should be noted that this strategic intervention did not happen by accident, it has been a deliberate plan derived from a visionary study of the State, its demography and analysis of the creative sector which has the capacity to absorb the teeming youth population, reduce poverty and crime as well as create jobs with multiplier effects on other sectors.

The last three and half years in the state have been eventful in terms of tourism infrastructure development as well as arts and cultural promotion, which we believe will lay the long term foundation to make Lagos State a sustainable tourism- driven economy and a leading haven for business and leisure in Africa.

In Lagos as you know, we relish in saying ‘Eko For Show’ but at the ministry, we see Travel and Tourism beyond the show part. We equally focus on the business and entrepreneurial component of it. We see, and we do our best to create enormous opportunities for stakeholders to further harness the tremendous economic and socio-cultural benefits of marketing a 21-million city-state and one of Africa’s Top 10 economies to domestic, regional and international visitors.” he said

He however appreciated the organiser of the event for the initiative, stressing that such laudable effort would further celebrate committed professionals and create opportunities for all stakeholders, not only in the travel industry, but across the tourism ecosystem.

“My believe is that the growing conversation around the progress in Nigeria’s tourism landscape is enriched when practitioners gather to appreciate institutional and individual players who stick out their necks through their expertise, resources and passion and invariably stand out to be seen, heard or felt.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), over the decades, tourism worldwide has experienced continuous growth and deepened ‎diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. ‎These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-‎economic progress. Even in Africa.” he said

Tourism Master Plan
According to the Commissioner, the Ambode’s administration would leave a legacy of a tourism-driven economy to the incoming government who would only need to build on the established structures.

He said that the need to prepare Lagos State ahead in terms of ideas, long term investments, top notch infrastructure and human capacity development that are necessary for the expected competition among tourism destinations in Africa requires a long term strategic plan.

He said: “This is why the Administration of Governor Ambode in its resolve to leave a legacy of solid tourism-driven economy conceived the idea of a tourism master plan, the first of its kind by any state in Nigeria, as a blueprint document that will drive development and investment for the next 15 to 20 years in the tourism sector.”

He said that the tourism master plan was undoubtedly the needed blue-print of development that covers six sectors namely:  Culture & Heritage, Films, Arts & Entertainment; Business Tourism; Nature & Adventure; Medical & wellness and Beach & Leisure.

Nnenna.O