The Lagos State Government, on Thursday, made a symbolic presentation of cheques to some beneficiaries of the N1 billion seed capital approved by the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, for investment in the tourism and hospitality sector to help drive new growth in the industry.
The Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, made the presentation to the beneficiaries on behalf of the State Governor at the maiden edition of Lagos Tourism, Hospitality, Arts and Culture Economic Summit, LATHACE held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Thursday.
The Governor, who spoke through the SSG at the event organised by the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN, Lagos State Chapter, in collaboration with the Ministry, appreciated the organisers for partnering with the State Government in ensuring the sustenance of the tourism and recreation sector.
Speaking on the theme for the event, “Public Private Partnership for Sustainable Growth of the Tourism, Arts and Culture Industry for a Greater Lagos”, Sanwo-Olu said that the choice of the theme attests to the importance which his administration attaches to public-private partnership.
He said that though the tourism and recreation industry in Nigeria contributes approximately 6% to the GDP, there are still opportunities for growth in the sector, which could be strengthened through collaboration with the private sector to harness its full potentials.
The Governor assured members of FTAN that the present administration will continue to leverage on meaningful partnership with the private sector towards achieving “A Greater Lagos”, which he promised residents of the State.
Sanwo-Olu informed that his administration has put in place policies and strategies that would enhance the opportunities available to advance the State’s tourism potentials, just as efforts are being put in place to discover more tourism sites and also bring the existing ones to international standards.
His words: “The synergy between government, private sector investors and entrepreneurs will ensure a steady and sustainable growth of the tourism and recreation sector in Lagos State. There are opportunities available for private investors and entrepreneurs to develop tourist sites and it is my privilege to inform you that UNESCO has certified “Sungbo Eredo” in the Epe Division as a World Heritage site which can be developed to boost tourism potentials in Lagos State”.
The Governor also stated that plans to establish a Film City in the State are on course, disclosing that the State Government has secured 100 hectares of land for this purpose with preliminary strategies ongoing.
He urged FTAN and other discussants at the event to leverage on the platform provided by the Summit to advance the tourism sector by coming up with strategies that would aid the development of Lagos State Tourism and provide a guide on how to domesticate tourism sites while elevating them to international standards, through involvement of the private sector.
Sanwo-Olu expressed the belief that with the support of the main actors in the sector, the Government’s aim of making Lagos the first to be reckoned with in the area of tourism and recreation will be possible and achievable.
Revealing some efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in promoting synergy with the stakeholders, the Commissioner, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, stated that the Government approved 50 percent rebate for the practitioners in the payment of their operating licence fees for the year 2020.
She stated that the presentation of cheques to the beneficiaries of the N1 billion loan shows that the initiative is not only real but transparent and sincere on the part of the Ministry.
The Lagos State Chapter Coordinator of FTAN, Mr. Gbenga Sunmonu, had earlier promised that the Association will re-double its efforts to increase its contributions to the State’s GDP, create and recreate wealth through the promotion of domestic tourism as well as the creation of volunteers for different aspects of Tourism.
Sunmonu explained that the Summit which focussed on Public-Private Partnership opened discussions on areas of concern for stakeholders in the tourism sector with the intention of reviewing issues raised and improving the ease of doing business in the State.