The government of Lagos State has emphasised its commitment to transforming the state into a major tourism destination in Africa after it engaged various stakeholders in the tourism sector including tour operators, hoteliers, tourism promoters, boat owners, ambassadors among others on workable strategy and synergy in a 2-Day Tourism working Summit held at Dover Hotel, in Ikeja on the, 15th and 16th of June with the theme “The Best of Lagos”.
Among those present during the summit were Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Fatai Oluwa; The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Phar. (Mrs.) Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf; Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor, Hon Solomon Bonu; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Tunji Saymour; Senior Advisor, Red Clay Advisory, Dr. Adun Okupe; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi; Amb. Ikechi Uko, Organiser Akwaaba Africa Travel Market. The event was anchored by Ambassador Nneka Isaac Moses of GOGE Africa.
One of the Lead discussants was Amb. Ikechi Uko, Organiser Akwaaba Africa Travel Market, who during his presentation highlighted the beauty of Lagos State.
According to him, Lagos State is bigger than most countries in Africa with over 20 million residents running the 6th biggest economy in Africa. It is surrounded by water, the ocean and the lagoon with beautiful beaches and waterfront, it has everything a tourist would want. It has the longest bridge over water in Africa, twice voted as having the coolest neighbourhood in the world, and also selected by Playboy Magazine as the Most Authentic Party City in the world.
Speaking further, Amb. Ikechi Uko said Lagos Island, for instance, has the whole colonial history of modern Nigeria but nobody is promoting the fact that the amalgamation of Nigeria was presented to Nigerians in Lagos. “Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom and Zungeru in Niger State are fighting for the Amalgamation Houses but not Lagos. There should be daily trekking tours of the island identifying the houses of founding Fathers like Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Sir Ajasa after visiting Freedom Park and the new Brazilian Musuem,” the Tourism Ambassador submitted.
Similarly the other Lead Discussant Dr Adun Okupe, a Tourism Advisory Consultant, urged Lagos State Government to train tour operators and tour guides who were the frontliners in order to arouse and sustain the interest of potential tourists. Okupe stressed the need for the State Government to upgrade the tourism sites to international standard for the advancement of the economy and to generate more revenue, just as she called on government to work on orienting and improving the people’s perspective to see Lagos as a tourist centre.
Also speaking was the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Fatai Oluwa, who said that the House of Assembly was in full support of the decision of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to domesticate tourism activities in the State.
According to him, the House of Assembly as part of its demonstration of interest in revamping the tourism sites across the State recently embarked on visitation to all monument sites in the state with the intention of upgrading the sites to international standard.
The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Phar. (Mrs.) Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, who set the agenda for discussion at the Summit, urged the participants to seize the opportunity of the Summit to build on the existing tourism products of the state.
According to her, the Ministry had already ensured that structured plans were in place to develop existing tourism sites in the state to international standard, saying that the involving of all key stakeholders in tourism activities is needed to bring the plans to fruition. She told them that the State Government has earmarked 100 Hectares of Land for the Lahos Film City to house Nollywood. This will come onboard in 2021. She used the Opportunity to introduce the 2021 Calendar of Events in Lagos.
The Summit ended after the Focus Groups made their Presentations after 2 days of Deliberation. They issued a Comminique with the following resolutions:
• Efforts should be geared towards fine-tuning our strategy that will showcase and sell “The Best of Lagos” to potential tourists who are desirous of finding the best experience of entertainment, fun and relaxation and value for their money;
• Strengthening and improving on innovation by offering authentic, affordable experiences also having packages that meet the needs of potential local travellers will play a pivotal role in achieving our intention to reposition tourism activities in the State;
• To Create tourism desks in all our local council areas where it will be easier for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to take the inventory of the various tourism sites in these localities and put in place necessary plans and provisions for them towards developing domestic tourism;
• The Summit should hold quarterly in the Five Divisions of the State, driven by Stakeholders because it has proved to be a veritable platform for cross fertilization of ideas and the development of Lagos State’s position on Tourism growth and development;
• In view of the crucial role and contributions of Lagos State Tourism as the 3rd most visited City in Africa, it is essential for all the Tourism Stakeholders to collaborate with the Ministry in order to make Lagos a choice destination for tourists;
• Explore Community Based Tourism by focusing on our Culture, Festivals, Heritage and further explore tourism sites to attract more tourist;
• The State Government’s focus on Tourism Infrastructure will be the quickest way to enhance the development and sustainability of Domestic Tourism;
• Reinforce what Lagosians already see and Scale them up. eg. Entertainment, Weddings, Owambe of all Kinds, Night outs, Beach activities and Religious Holiday activities to mention but a few:
• The focus on domestic tourism should expand the leisure economy, recognising that residents within the state also require leisure activities which in turn can then be made available to visitors and tourists visiting Lagos State;
• In an attempt to convert 20million Lagosians into Tourists, we need to draw a new picture, open new Vistas and reintroduce Lagosians to the real Lagos in order to change the narrative and retell the Story of Lagos;
• Take advantage of 20million Prospects.in order to boost Lagos economy thus making Tourism one of the major contributor to the revenue generation and GDP growth;
• Explore Eco-lodges, Luxury Beach Resorts, Watersports activities to enhance domestic tourism in all the Divisions;
• Make Conscious and Deliberate Efforts to grow Clusters in Lagos, Identify the Demographics that are suitable for each Cluster. Package Daycations and Staycations for Each Cluster and market to all the 20 Million People of Lagos;
• Make Lagos attractive for investment and connect with long term capital for long term investment needs;
• All Stakeholders should start working with schools, universities, organizations and also ensure that our deliveries present rich storylines that connect us with Lagos, its history, its potentials and how we fit into all of this. It is time for more harmonisation and deepening of Partnership relationships;
• Stakeholders should focus on the budget/economy and mid -scale segments – pricing as a key issue;
• Stakeholders should leverage on the strong educational opportunity embedded within tourism in order to expand our horizons and enhance our quality of life from the supply side of the industry;
• Spend more on harmonizing all the tourism sub sector to achieve a robust tourism destination for ultimate tourist experience.”