By Ebere Chibuzor
The Lagos State Government has expressed its readiness to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day, under the theme “Tourism and Rural Development.
Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf who made this known in Lagos recently said the event is timely and quite apt considering the need to look inwards and develop tourism attractions in rural areas as a strategy to make our domestic tourism more vibrant.
The celebration proper is on Sunday 27th of September, 2020 and it will take place at different locations in Lagos.
Starting from 12noon, the Ministry will hold a hybrid intense brainstorming and very incisive session as a way of celebrating WTD 2020.
Tourism stakeholders who will be participating in the event will join the celebration through Zoom platform, Facebook livestream, while a smaller number will join some high profile guests at the physical event taking place in Ikeja.
The panel of discussants, will include some of the past Permanent Secretaries and Commissioners of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, as well as a Goodwill message from His Royal Majesty, the Oniru of Iruland, Oba Omobolahan Lawal Abisogun II.
“We hope that the event would further enhance our road map for the Ministry to going forward in discovering more tourism sites for development, hence the reason we are involving tourism stakeholders across the five divisions of the State to participate in the event”, he said.
“This year’s celebration, for obvious reasons, is very unique and at the same time peculiar in the history of the entire world coming at a time when tourism activities is suffering a serious setback due to the inactivity in the sector occasioned by covid 19 pandemic”.
“The Ministry is working hard to transform Lagos State into a tourism and entertainment hub in Africa by exploring, promoting the potentials that abound in the State, as well as supporting the thriving entertainment and arts industry as a viable platform to attract visitors and also create jobs in the State.
The Ministry has been able to engage various Stakeholders in the Tourism and Entertainment sector to develop and promote local tourism.
As part of the cordial relationship we have established with Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, FTAN, the leadership of the Association collaborated with the Ministry to review Lagos Tourism Master plan that will guide tourism related activities for the next ten years in the State”.
According to Akinbile-Yussuf, the Ministry will be launching its website before the end of the 4th Quarter, this year.
This website, he said will further leverage on the State’s rich and diverse human capital, natural, cultural and heritage resources to promote the sustainable development of tourism as a viable sector of the economy.
He also informed that the Ministry is developing a Lagos video that will tell the story of Lagos in terms of creativity, artifacts/Artworks, hospitality, Fashion, food, culture, entertainment, festivals/carnivals, heritage and collaboration is on with relevant Agencies and Private sectors to display the Video on all social medias, Local & International flights, Hotels, Electronic Billboards across the State, Television Stations, among others.
“Let me start by saying that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in the State designed creative ways of keeping the tourism and entertainment sector moderately alive amidst strict observance of covid-19 protocols”.
“We are leveraging on our investment in Tourism for job and wealth creation, to curb youth restiveness, discover new tourism potentials and ultimately contribute significantly to the GDP of the State” .
“As a matter of fact, the proposal of the Ministry for next year is to focus more on developing our local tourism sites and also commence work on newly discovered ones.
This to us will help reduce the rate at which Nigerians travel abroad for adventure purposes”, the Commissioner said.
The State Government is also in the process of establishing Tourism Development Trust Fund to provide succor to practitioners in the industry in time of need.