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At book launch, government urged to develop domestic tourism

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The immediate past Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Babatunde Olaide-Mesewaku, has stressed the need for government to develop domestic tourism so as to generate revenue as well as address poverty in the land.

Speaking at his retirement/60th birthday book presentation in Lagos recently, he noted that a direction towards domestic tourism is key.

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According to him, COVID-19 has compelled players to look inwards and it is left for the government to initiate policies to develop domestic tourism.

“We should look inwards and develop our own tourism potential,” he said.

He said that the unfortunate reality is the government seems to gloss over the potential of tourism to create wealth and reduce the level of poverty in the country.

According to him, “tourism can be used to reduce poverty rate through responsible/ sustainable tourism practice with the establishment of community-based tourism in Lagos State. Tourism can add more than 10 per cent to Lagos GDP in the next five years if well harnessed, planned and organised because the state is blessed with tourism assets that surpass those found in most of the popular destinations in Africa.

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“The need for government intervention in tourism is further illustrated in the World Tourism Organisation WTO Guide for local authorities on developing sustainable tourism.”

He stated that the role of government in tourism development couldn’t be over emphasised. “It is not enough to pay lip service or make empty promises to implement tourism programmes and policies as it is a big-time global business phenomenon. It develops and thrives premised on the priorities the government accords to it.

Speaking on his experience in the last 30 years, he stated, “it has been a challenging journey from local government and retiring as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.”

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