The Lagos State government has re-echoed its commitment to ensure inclusiveness to further expand the growth of tourism business in the state. This was made known by the state Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, during the symposium organised by the ministry to commemorate World Tourism Day 2021 in the state. According to her, the event was designed to gather thoughts on the strategies that could be adopted to chart a way forward for the tourism industry, adding that the state has unarguably been able to coordinate all critical stakeholders in order to ensure they are all carried along on the template of tourism development in the state.
“The first stakeholder session we held this year was on; “The Best of Lagos,” while the second session was on; “Promoting Domestic Tourism: Post-COVID -19” and plan is still in place for another stakeholders’ session before the end of the year. We believe that we can thrive better through a collaborative relationship with all our relevant stakeholders,’’ said the commissioner. Stating further that: “I’m happy to report that the fallout of these meetings are now being implemented by the ministry.
Specifically, we have started a training session for about 150 tour guides who would ensure that visitors/tourists have a worthwhile experience in Lagos at all time ‘‘Apart from this, the initiative will also contribute to the attractiveness of tourism destinations, create employment opportunities for potential tour guides and positively impact the GDP of the state, and this is in sync with the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, “Tourism For Inclusive Growth,” being examined across the globe.”
Akinbile-Yussuf maintained that the dynamic nature of the sector calls for intermittent review of emerging trends, especially with the advent of COVID-19, which further underscored the indispensability to realign the state plans to meet present day realities. According to her, “tourism in the past two years has suffered a serious setback due to COVID -19 outbreak. As the reality is dawn on us now that we may have to live with this virus for a while, the onus is for us to design new strategies to resuscitate this very important sector without compromising all COVID-19 protocols.
‘‘For us at the ministry, we realised this fact and have kept constant relationship with our stakeholders to regularly brainstorm and design ways through which we can keep this sector alive despite the COVID – 19 threat.” She stressed that efforts have been geared towards tourism inclusivity in the state, particularly with launching of its Community- Based Tourism, CBT, initiative which will enable the ministry explore, access and develop tourism potentials such as Unique Cultural Practices, Tradition and Heritage within the Local Community. Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Solomon Bonu, said that the event aligns with the directives of governor Sanwo-Olu that the ministry should intensify efforts towards ensuring sustainable socio-economy of the state through tourism.
‘Tourism for inconclusive growth,’ would afford stakeholders the opportunity to look beyond tourism statistics and knowledge and consider people that can drive the growth of tourism,’’ said even as he added that: “World Tourism Day is the global observance day for fostering awareness of tourism’s social and economic value and the contribution that the sector can make towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
‘‘The human desire to travel and explore is universal, which is why tourism must be open for all to enjoy considering the social and economic benefits that tourism brings to everyone, the day therefore highlights the power of tourism for inclusive growth.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, who presented the message by Secretary-General of UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, stressed the need to open more opportunities and benefits available in the sector to everyone in order to enhance its scope. This, according to the message, will bring about inclusiveness, stressing that inclusive growth means getting everybody on board in building a foundation for a better future for all in the tourism sector.