By Eric Elezuo
Former Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama on Monday presented a paper as a keynote speaker at the first ever Lagos Tourism Summit detailing four developmental plans for the improvement of tourism potentials in Lagos State in particular, and the country in general.
At the Summit, held at the prestigious Convention Centre, Eko Hotel and Suites, where stakeholders made contributions toward the state tourism master plan, the former president, who disclosed that he has a family in Offa, Kwara State, and has visited Nigeria on multiple occasions as well as holding a chieftaincy title of the Ale Atolashe of Offa Kingdom, stated that Lagos has all it takes to be the tourism hub of African and lauded Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for his giant strides in developing the hidden tourism traits of the state.
In his speech, the former president recognised that the average spending of the average tourist is estimated at ‘just about $750 and that travel and tourism represent 10 percent of global gross domestic product which translates to about $750 trillion. He therefore, called on the Lagos State government to hasten up and tap into the still virgin, but lucrative sector.
He noted that tourism development is not just about erecting tourism structures and facilities, but entails massive development plans which include improved and well developed quality medical services; enhanced transportation services; high speed mobile data services and guaranteed security of any visitor coming in to Lagos State.
He further itemized four critical points as part of his submissions for the Lagos Tourism master plan to include a review of strategies for a Lagos Tourism techno-system for economic and social benefits, finance tourism, MICE and projects creation.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the state’s Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, disclosed that the master plan, which would be derived from papers from stakeholders, would be unveiled in May 2018 as part of efforts to transform the cultural and artistic landscape of the state.
Echoing the pride of place Lagos has in telling the cultural story of the black race, Governor Ambode noted: “The Lagos Tourism Masterplan, which is the ultimate end product of this summit, is premised on the context of this analogy. As a government, we are conscious of the fact that infrastructure, security, stability and partnership with all stakeholders are fundamental ingredients for tourism development.”
The summit, which has the theme: “Destination Lagos Towards a Sustainable Tourism-driven Economy’’ brought together key personalities in the tourism industry including the Minister of Information, Arts and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nollywood artistes, comedians, master comperes, travel agents among many others
The summit provided an opportunity for tourism stakeholders to contribute to the Lagos tourism master plan.