Govt To Focus More On Developing Local Tourism, Festivals

Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf has said that the Ministry has taken inventory of all government-owned tourismsites across the State with the aim of revamping the cultural heritage to continually meet the entertainment and relaxation purposes of its residents and tourists.

The Commissioner, who made this disclosure today at a Ministerial Press briefing commemorating the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at JJT Park, Alausa, Ikeja, observed that the economy of the State thrives significantly on the activities of practitioners in the sector, who should not be kept out of jobs permanently.

Akinbile-Yusuf disclosed that, while the Badagry Heritage Museum has been given a total facelift by the present administration with the provision of artefacts and relics to earn the museum recognition as one of its kind across the Continent, plans are afoot to revamp other tourism sites owned by the government.

She also revealed that the present administration would complete the ongoing redevelopment of J.K Randle for Yoruba Culture in Onikan, as well as Glover Memorial Hall located at the heart of Lagos Island, as a replica of the cultural, ethnographic, historical and anthropological values of Lagosians and the Yoruba race in general.

In her words: “These two ongoing projects, when completed, will stand as major iconic or superstructure attractions that will influence to a greater extent the flow of tourists’ traffic to Lagos. They will complement other cultural and historical edifices like the National Museum, the Muson Centre, Freedom Park, City Mall, among others, to create a cluster of attractions in this corridor. Its importance in stimulating the local economy cannot be over-emphasised.”

She maintained that apart from creating avenues for the younger generations to have a place to develop their talents and skills, J.K Randle Centre will serve a multi-functional purpose with rich content that will be culturally, traditionally and historically beneficial to indigenes of Lagos State and the Yoruba race.

Speaking on plans to develop more touristattractions in the State, the Commissioner said that there is a need for more participation by the private sector in the promotion and marketing of the State’s rich cultural heritage, stressing that the vision of the present administration is to make tourism more private-sector driven.

Akinbile-Yusuf, therefore, called for private sector involvement in the development of the Sungbo Eredo Monument in Epe area of the State, saying that the place is presently the only site listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the entire State.

According to her, the new 2020-2030Tourism Master Plan developed by the Ministry, and presently being reviewed by the relevant stakeholders in the industry, focuses on areas like marketing and promotion of Lagos Tourism as a global brand; tourism product development for diversifying and increasing tourismpotentials.

She expressed the hope that the newtourism document will surely put Lagos in good stead to building a thriving and prosperous tourism destination in Africa, especially now that States in the Federation are being innovative in exploring and exploiting other sources of revenue to augment the drastic lull in the international oil market and the fatal economic consequences for mono-economic nations like Nigeria.

Disclosing that the Ministry, during the period under review, partnered and collaborated with some organisations like the Guild of Nigerian Dancers, GUND; “I-AM-BRAND-NIGERIA”; Badagry Chamber of Commerce Industries, Mines and Agriculture (BACCIMA); Akwaaba Travel Market, the Commissioner stated that Lagos also participated at the 47thInternational EMMY Awards 2019 in New York among others.

While listing some of the festivals attended by the Ministry in the past year such as Olokun Festival, Badagry Heritage Festival, Diaspora Festival and Coconut Festival, Akinbile-Yusuf maintained that the colourful lifestyle, rich culture, tradition and the energy of Lagosians as showcased at these festivals are the selling points to drive tourists’ traffic for economic growth.