“Your vision must be clear and you need a roadmap to drive it. This is what a master plan does; it identifies what you need to do and how to do it.”
Lagos State up to now few years has demonstrated dedication to the enterprise of tourism and promotion of arts, tradition and leisure as half of its growth technique. With the World Tourism Day celebrated globally, Steve Ayorinde, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Tradition, says the state is completely satisfied to additional propel its tourism and artistic financial system agenda with a brand new tourism master plan, the primary of its type by any state in Nigeria.
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September 27 has come and gone, does it maintain something vital for Lagos State?
Sure it does. Lagos State authorities is in tune with the world to mark the day, which is widely known globally because the World Tourism Day. We now have all the time acknowledged this present day and this yr had Budapest in Hungary because the ‘host celebrant nation’ with know-how and digital transformation as its focus. This theme is agreeable to us because it speaks to our present brief to medium-term plans for tourism improvement.
Something particular within the celebrations?
We’re marking the day with the formal presentation of the Lagos State Tourism Master Plan to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and we’re having a roundtable in-house to unveil the master plan to our officers as a result of that is the plank upon which the tourism promotions agenda for the subsequent 20 years shall be anchored. The formal presentation of the master plan to stakeholders and CEOs of 100 prime manufacturers and multinationals who’re anticipated to be our key companions within the tourism growth agenda can be achieved later subsequent month.
Do you actually need a master plan to show issues round?
We’re satisfied that we do. In each nation the place tourism has thrived, a blueprint is all the time required. Your imaginative and prescient have to be clear and also you want a roadmap to drive it. That is what a master plan does; it identifies what you’ll want to do and the way to do it. That is just like what Lagos State has achieved within the political-economy area. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu conceived the thought of a Lagos State Improvement Plan. Governor Fashola berthed it in 2012 and handed it over to Governor Ambode. That is what the state is operating with until 2025. The tourism master plan will work similarly with one governor handing it over to his successor whereas the deliverables are attended to with a view to diversify the financial system and create a very good picture for the state.
Is the Federal Authorities half of this doc?
As a doc, not likely. The master plan was commissioned immediately by Lagos State Authorities and it’s a blueprint that focuses largely on particular areas of want for the state. However in execution, sure it’s going to have so much to do with Abuja, different states and the personal sector. The fact is that you could’t market a state in isolation. You’ll all the time be a element of an enormous, lovely and numerous nation that we actually are. Points of nationwide carriers; perfect airports, visa on arrival and courteous consular officers representing the nation everywhere in the world are solely inside the federal purview. However we’re fortunate in Lagos that the 2 individuals operating tourism on the federal degree, the honourable minister and director-general of Nigerian Tourism Improvement Company are each Lagos merchandise who’ve the curiosity of the state at coronary heart. We take pleasure in a really cordial relationship with them and we’re all the time completely happy to key into their efforts at selling the tourism and cultural panorama of Nigeria as an entire.
What exactly is your imaginative and prescient on the ministry of tourism?
To make Lagos State one of the highest three tourism locations in Africa. We’re there already as a enterprise and leisure hub. However as a leisure journey vacation spot, we have to work so much more durable to climb excessive in rating for each home and worldwide vacationers. Which is why our ministry is saddled with the duty to formulate, execute and monitor insurance policies referring to the tourism sector and the artistic financial system basically. The ministry additionally promotes investments and regulates operations within the tourism, hospitality and leisure industries.
READ ALSO: Nigeria is least expensive place for leisure tourism
What are the areas of vital growth within the final three years underneath Governor Ambode?
First we now have adopted the favored buzzword coined by the Governor himself, Tourism Hospitality Leisure and Sports activities for Excellence (T.H.E.S.E) as our focus. In three years, the ministry is fulfilling its mandate creditably nicely; altering the profile of Lagos into that of a metropolis with a vibrant inventive soul. The state’s panorama is being beautified day by day with iconic statues and public artwork installations which have engaged a large spectrum of Nigerian artists. Six new 500-seater theatres are being constructed concurrently throughout the state to increase the frontiers of alternative for gifted youths; 4 out of the six will probably be opened this December; the Onikan-Marina axis is being was an arts and tradition district with its first main providing, the J.Okay. Randle Centre for Yoruba Tradition and Historical past nearing completion. The Lagos Museum challenge inside the similar district will quickly begin with a grant from Ford Basis and strategic partnership from the Musee du quai Branly in Paris and the British museum.
Our ministry conceptualized and has supervised since December 2015 the favored One Lagos Fiesta which has turn into arguably the most important end-of-the-year live performance in Africa with its distinctive template of holding concurrently throughout the 5 divisions of Lagos within the final eight days of the yr. Should you contemplate that up until 2014, the Lagos Countdown was a one-day, one venue affair, however in three years, One Lagos Fiesta is fulfilling two main obligations – democratizing and decentralising the thought of enjoyable and leisure and giving each half of Lagos a way of belonging. You’ll respect why OLF has turn out to be a big half of our socio-economic service to the individuals. Equally, extra artists are engaged and given the chance to carry out at Ikeja, Badagry, Epe and Ikorodu along with Bar Seashore and within the course of we’re creating an entire new financial system round these cities for eight consecutive days. Additionally, with a Calendar of Arts Occasions launched in January to assist planning and visits across the state, our ministry believes we’ll all the time give guests a cause to spend an additional day or two in exploring this sensible mega metropolis that’s full of enjoyable, artwork and cultural enterprise.
How do you faucet into the aggressive edge that Lagos has in water?
I feel aqua tourism has all the time been an essential and recognisable element of the tourism ecosystem in Lagos. And it should be so as a result of water constitutes about 22.5% of the landmass of the state. So the state is keenly conscious of its God-given present – the lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. The Prest Boat Cruise for instance has promoted water tourism on the lagoon within the final 15 years or so. A number of different cruise packages have been added within the final three to 5 years. And since of the large consciousness and critical dedication of this administration to every little thing tourism, a number of enterprise considerations are including to the water tourism element of the sector. The Lagos boat membership is rising and as you will need to have heard, the Governor recognises and helps its contribution to the event of the sector. From La Campagne Tropicana in Ikegun to Ilashe beachfront and Inagbe waterfront resorts, consciousness and investments are rising within the space of water tourism. On the half of authorities too, this administration has maintained the annual Boat Regatta carnival amongst a number of different initiatives.
What’s your Ministry at present doing to facilitate intra-city motion of vacationers via the waterways and improve their expertise?
It’s a two-way strategy. First is to create the required consciousness each for vacationers that need on-the-water expertise and for buyers that see nice alternatives on the waterways and within the basic marine tourism financial system. And you’ll quickly see from our Tourism Master Plan that we’ve paid an awesome deal of consideration to our waterways in phrases of higher utilisation by home and worldwide vacationers. The different means is in working intently with tour operators and partner-destination stakeholders to make waterways an integral half of the Lagos tourism expertise. For instance, we’re in talks with Apapa Amusement Park’s administration on how this incredible facility may be higher accessed by way of water as an alternative choice to the Apapa gridlock. We’re in tune with La Campagne Tropicana and the Lagos Sports activities Fee on a attainable annual kayaking event. The promoters of All Sails Lagos have our endorsement for the type of water racing fiesta that’s being deliberate. Equally, F1 boat racing franchise house owners in Nigeria are in dialogue with us on how this international spectacle can berth in Lagos quickly. Getting our waterways busy as soon as the channelisation of the important thing routes have been accomplished by subsequent yr, subsequently, is a precedence in our brief to medium time period plans for the Tourism Master Plan.
Past exhibits and festivals, how does the tourism business present jobs for Lagosians?
I’m truly excited by a brand new analysis this yr which means that immediately or not directly, tourism and travel-related ecosystem present one out of each ten jobs in Africa. From tour journey element of aviation business to motels and hospitality institutions; visible and performing arts and the large technical help base that retains all working; to not overlook the cooks; cooks, tour guides, tour operators, journey bloggers and journalists; specialised safety operatives and even taxis and specialised tour transport operators, there’s simply an infinite record of alternatives. And marine transport is already benefiting. It will possibly solely do higher because the sector grows. The extra ferries which are placed on the lagoon, the extra jetties that might be wanted to be constructed and maintained; the extra our waterways are channelised and routes expanded the extra ferries and luxurious boats that might be operated with the complete compliments of employees. Extra technicians and security officers can be required and engaged because the sector expands. That’s an entire large job creator and cash spinner that we’ve got on this tourism sub-sector. The prospects are limitless. Think about by the point we begin to have 2 or three world-class boat racing that take weeks and months to plan; multimillion greenback sponsorships and lots of and hundreds of direct and ancillary jobs, we will then start to see the goldmine that aqua-tourism for instance represents for our state.