The Lagos State Government has expressed confidence that its proposed Tourism Master Plan will boost domestic tourism in the State, generate more revenue and harness the potentials that abound in the sector.
The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf made this known at a stakeholders forum organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture at Ikeja, Lagos with the theme: “Promoting Domestic Tourism post-COVID-19″.
She said, “Our conviction is drawn from the belief that this sector can thrive better if stakeholders are allowed to play their roles while the government provides the enabling environment by maintaining needed synergy with all individuals within the value chain.”
“It is also important to carry our stakeholders along in all our programmes, plans and policies such that the implementation of the Ministry’s policies would be easier and easily accepted by all the concerned practitioners”, she added.
The Commissioner reiterated the resolve to direct attention to the development of domestic tourism as a way of making sites attractive to both local and international tourists, saying that Lagos will leverage on the relationship with Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to grow the sector.
Her words: “We have equally taken a step further in our determination to increase the vibrancy of our tourism sites with the concept of Community-Based Tourism (CBT), which is premised on taking advantage of specific tourism potentials in all local Governments or Local Council Development Areas across the State.”
Akinbile-Yusuf also mentioned that tourism desk officers will be assigned to some Local Government Areas in the State to liaise with communities for discovery and documentation of tourist sites as a pilot scheme in CBT efforts.
Similarly, Mr. Fatai Oluwa, House Committee Chairman on Tourism, Arts and Culture said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic which affected virtually the global economy including the tourism sector, the Lagos State House of Assembly would continue to provide enabling legislation to promote the tourism sector.
He said: “We will provide direct support to the hard-hit tourism and travel industry, promote economic recovery and help increase public confidence as these industries look to reopen safely in the future”.
“The Committee will continue to advocate for policies to ensure our travel destinations and attraction centres make it through the effect of the pandemic and are ready to welcome visitors back as quickly and safely as possible”, Oluwa added.
Earlier in her address, Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said COVID-19 made it more compelling for practitioners and stakeholders in the tourism sector to design modern strategies that would be in sync with current realities.
She stated that the forum was conceived to engage tourism enthusiasts and promoters for the development as well as ratification of tourism plans and policies, putting into consideration both perspectives.
The Permanent Secretary gave an assurance that the State Government will not relent in providing succour to tourism practitioners who suffered a setback as a result of the COVID outbreak.
“We are very concerned about engaging our stakeholders further on what we have done in the past and how we can jointly do things even better as we move forward into the future”, Princess Adedoyin-Ajayi said.
Speaking on the topic – Tourism Master Plan and Policy – Dr. Adun Okupe, a Tourism Consultant from the Lagos Business School, expressed the need for a review of the master plan for tourism, which was first developed between 2018- 2019.
Dr. Okupe said that the master plan focused on sustainability but domestic tourism is the way forward.
She maintained that domestic tourism must be focused on harmonising plans with other parts of the country to avoid duplication of efforts, saying that “Government should make sure that efforts are not being duplicated but learn to work together, thereby impacting lives positively”.
Presentations were also made by some tourism experts including the Director-General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation and one-time Commissioner for Tourism, Arts & Culture in Lagos State, Mr. Folarin Coker, a retired Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Babatunde Olaide-Mesewaku and Mr. Bankole Bernard.
The stakeholders engagement also had in attendance the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism, Arts & Culture, Mr. Tunji Seymour and was well attended by key players in the industry.