Stock taking, as destination Lagos beckons
Though Lagos remains the commercial capital of Nigeria, it’s tourism potential is never in doubt. Aside from heavy traffic flow into the city, expecially for business, Lagos has enough tourism sites, monuments and historic spots to drive tourism and leisure. And with the level of work put in place to celebrate Lagos @ 50, it seem the dream of making Lagos one of the leading destinations in Africa, is gradually coming to life.
Generally, the state is making bold plans to harness the potentials in the abundant rich cultural heritage to drive tourism. The plan will see the Onikan axis where the New Museum will be situated and the Marina axis upgraded as world-class tourism and entertainment hub. Within this axis also is the old Presidential Lodge, Marina, which was recently handed over to Lagos by the Federal Government. This lodge, according to Governor Ambode, would be redeveloped into the Lagos Heritage Centre for Leadership.
In addition, Lagos House Marina will be transformed into Lagos Historical Centre, while JK Randle Archade will be remodeled into a world-class recreation/tourism centre as well. Largely, the New Museum, which is a partnership between Lagos and Federal Government, will complement and be an important part of the structures being planned for the Marina-Onikan axis.
Addressing a recent ministerial briefing to commemorate the second anniversary of Ambode administration, Special Adviser and Acting Commissioner For Tourism, Arts And Culture, Adebimpe Akinsola, highlighted the activities of ministry geared towards the actualisation of Destination Lagos.
“The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in keeping to its vision of making Lagos State One of the Top Ten Preferred Destination for Tourism and Entertainment in Africa, has continued to engage in programs and events set at achieving the vision in the last two years.”
She informed that Tourism and Culture were departments under different ministries untill year 2015, when the present administration realligned the State ministerial structure and responsibilities in line with the desire of Governor Ambode to strategically harness the economic benefits provided by the abundance of talents in creative arts, entertainment and sports in the State.
“The formulation of Project THESE (Tourism Hospitality Entertainment and Sports) to achieve excellence was thus conceived to generate economic returns. In terms of organisational efficiency, the dream for achieving the desired goal can only be met with the accommodation of arts, culture and tourism responsibilities under same ministry. Hence, the creation of a full-fledged Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture confirms the importance the administration attaches to the sector and demonstrate readiness to tap into the huge benefits and socio-economic potentials in the creative industry,” she noted.
Extracting from its mandate, the ministry set out for the task, with the aim of using entertainment as a tool to increase consumption of Lagos tourism products, as well as ensure that tourists consume more of Lagos. Part of the strategy was to create more tourist destinations and restore historical heritage sites around the state, as well as cause an increase in economic activities with a direct bearing on hospitality, entertainment and job creation.
In partnership with the private sector in defining and strengthening the component units within the tourism sector, the ministry, having recognised the importance of strategic branding of destinations to the development of tourism, registered the One Lagos, Love Lagos and the One Lagos Fiesta brands at the trademarks registry. The One Lagos brand, which is the master brand for Lagos is packaged to showcase the true spirit of Lagos through different creative expressions.
In its bid to use entertainment to promote tourism and to ensure that all parts of the State feel the impact of the New Year Countdown, the present administration conceptualised hosting the event in the five divisions of the State. The countdown was modeled and used to turn the entire state into one community, celebrating change and the achievements of the
In line with the dream, the ministry has continued to install new and maintain all existing heritage and historical monuments in the state, with much importance placed on the sustenance of the cultural and historical heritage of the people of Lagos State and to attract tourists.
“The strategic pursuance of the tourism development agenda of the administration, which commenced with the formulation of a policy direction, has yielded much fruits and has positively affects the economy of the State. The present administration is also determined to create enabling environment for private sector driven development of the tourism potential of Lagos and will not hesitate to intervene where necessary to ensure the realisation of its vision to make Lagos State one of the top ten destinations for tourism and entertainments in Africa,” she said.