At Nigeria Travel Award, Lagos recounts gains of tourism
Ayorinde, who was represented at the event by the Director, Lagos State Council of Arts and Culture, Mrs Saidat Olaitan Otulana Otulana, stated this while delivering the keynote address at the 3rd edition of the recently held Nigeria Travel Awards, organised by Jumia Travel, Nigeria’s leading online travel agency.
The event, which held at Four Points by Sheraton, recognised individuals and organisations within the country’s travel and tourism industry.
“My believe is that the growing conversation around the progress in Nigeria’s tourism landscape is enriched when practitioners gather to appreciate institutional and individual players who stick out their necks through their expertise, resources and passion and invariably stand out to be seen, heard or felt,” Ayorinde said.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), over the decades, tourism worldwide has experienced continuous growth and deepened diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world.
“These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress. Even in Africa.
Today, it is said that one out of every 10 jobs being created is tourism-related and the business volume in the larger tourism and cultural arts sectors arguably equals and is threatening to surpass that of oil exports, agriculture or automobiles.
“For us at the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture,” he noted, “all we have done in almost four years is to commit to the governor’s growth agenda on the creative economy through what he called “Project T.H.E.S.E” which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Sports for Excellence. It is a known fact that the agenda, which informed the deliberate investment in human capital and infrastructure with remarkable impact on the creative industry, has lived up to its promise in the last three and half years.
“Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce and represents one of the main sources of income for many developing countries. And this precisely is why the Lagos State Government under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has accorded the sector huge attention and committed huge resources into developing it in order to make it a model sector that will perform the tripartite role of rebranding the state as a safe and welcoming destination for visitors; of creating opportunities for different levels of stakeholders and to further develop the sector as a thriving and profitable venture for both investors and stakeholders on one hand, and government as regulators and enablers on the other hand, he said.
He recalled that prior to the emergence of the present administration, tourism co-habited with Inter-governmental relations, almost as a mere unit. However, a full-fledge Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture came in stream in 2015 in line with the genuine commitment of Governor Ambode towards the need to reposition the sector.
“Between June 2015 and now, our goal of making Lagos State the preferred destination for tourism, leisure and business travel in Africa as well as promoting sustainable tourism development through enabling environment for both domestic and international tourists have been largely achieved. We have forged a new alliance with critical stakeholders; we constituted a Board for the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture to advise and assist in repositioning the culture and artistic image of the state and we executed in phases the most defining attempt in our country to beautify a state’s landscape with public art installations through indigenous artistes.”
He continued: “And so, the new Lagos experience that is arty and chic has been created and is being enhanced daily as we continue to facilitate an enduring infrastructural and security architecture for the business of tourism and cultural arts to thrive and for local talents in every part of the state to feel a sense of belonging and encouragement.”
At the award ceremony, The Wells Carlton Hotels & Apartments, Abuja won the Hotel of the Year, while Eko Hotel & Suites won the Best Business Hotel and Jumia Travel Booking awards. Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort won the Best Leisure Hotel, while Air Peace won the Best Local Airline for two consecutive years.
Emirates Airline won the Best International Airline, while Tour2Nigeria won the Best Travel Blogger/Vacation Planner. Chuks Nwanne of The Guardian newspapers won the Travel Reporter of the Year.
In her opening remark for the awards presentation, the Managing Director of Jumia Travel Nigeria, Miss Omolara Adagunodo said that the Awards is organised to raise the service delivery bar in the Nigeria Travel/Hospitality Industry, and encourage all hotels and airlines in the country to offer the highest quality of service to their customers.
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