By Abolaji Adebayo
As part of effort to expand the economic base of the state, Lagos State Government has started the process of developing a tourism master plan, eying the potential of the sector to boost the economy, as well as establish recreation centers for the teeming residents of and visitors into the state.
Lagos State Government, Akinwunmi Ambode, noted that the government had done a lot in the last 29 months to boost tourism in the state and attract foreign tourists, adding that his government would explore the option of using tourism to engage the people.
The governor spoke at the 2017 Press Week of the Lagos State Governor’s Office Correspondents, with the theme: “Harnessing the Tourism and Entertainment Potential of Lagos in the next 50 years: The Role of the Media,” held at the Event Place, Ikeja, Lagos during the weekend.
Ambode, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Community and Communications, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said the government was in the process of developing a tourism master plan to promote and drive tourism in Lagos.
According to him, the state had the potential to accommodate and engage myriad of immigrants flocking the state on daily basis, adding that tourism would provide a good platform to engage people across the strata as the state has been able to fast-track tourism in the last 29 months.
He noted that the state played host to lots of tourism sites that would excite tourists to want to visit the state, saying that the state had a great future when it comes to tourism.
“However several steps, phased over the 50 year period of this presentation must be considered. First, there must be a tourism masterplan which defines the strategy and execution over the period. The Lagos State government has taken the step in the right direction by advertising for bids for the development of a masterplan. When that process is completed, a clearer way forward will be certain.
“Second, there must be database on both tourism as objects and activity. Third, the value chain around the activities must be determined to determine areas where the government will be most effective and where the private sector will be more efficient.
“Fourth, there must be measurable indices to measure progress, how many hotel rooms were occupied in Lagos in 2017 and what can we do to increase in 2018? What is the grading system saying? Are we attracting global brands of five star hotels or making do with fake franchises,” he said.
On the role of the media, Ambode stressed the need for the media to be educated as there were indifference and ignorance in the reportage which must be corrected.
He believed that the media was in the position to shape the attitudes of Lagosians towards local tourism and demonstrate sensitivity to the issues that matter to tourists, noting that this could be effectively achieved if the media were well educated on the matter.
He added that crime and security reporting were areas where the media needed to be re-orientated to partner with the government and deliver better tourism.
According to him, for purposes of encouraging in-bound tourist traffic, the management of the foreign media is critical, while training of the foreign media to understand the local environment and reflect event positively is a key necessity in achieving the purpose.
The Group Managing Director, CFL Group of Companies, Lai Omotola, said Lagos had become a brand in tourism, especially in the area of entertainment and site attraction.
On his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mighty Media, Olumide Iyanda, informed that for a better documentation of the next fifty years, the media must be given a front seat role in all activities of government.
Earlier, Chairman of LAGOCO, Joshua Bassey, said the event was to reflect on the activities of State House Correspondents and also a platform to unwind and network.
This year’s LAGOCO Press Week featured health talks and checks, a novelty match between the Eleniyan boys and the Bolanle Ambode babes, lectures series and a dinner and gala night.