Epe showcases rich tourism offerings to stakeholders
In commemoration of this year’s World Tourism Day, the people of Epe Local Council in Lagos State who are blessed with a vast aquatic resource were not left out, as they attracted stakeholders to the attention of its untapped tourism potentials.
The ceremony was held at a historic waterside venue known as Oju Alaro located at Epe Marina area. Oju Alaro houses a shrine near the entrance and overlooks a vast Lagoon serving as a local gateway linking travelers to the City of Epe. A few blocks away, the signs of a new jetty that is being constructed by Lagos State government is springing up. Life around the area bustles with activity alongside an adjourning local market making it a melting point of commerce and culture.
The carnival-like event sought to raise awareness on the economic significance of tourism and its socio-political, cultural and economic value within local and international communities. Other highlights of the event include cultural performances, boat regatta, mini-exhibition, live band and a grand unveiling of a new visual identity for Epe Tourism.
Amidst the drive to attract strategic collaboration to the tourist potentials of the rich aquatic splendor of the Lagos community, is the Executive Chairman, Epe Local Government, Honourable Surah Olayemi Animashaun, who dressed in ankara accessorised with cowries.
In her welcome address, Animashaun who acknowledged the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) theme tagged Tourism For Inclusive Growth under the leadership of Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvii, said: “As we gradually ease out of the restrictions and containment measures of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to have conversations around the diversification of the economy, shifting from total reliance on the oil sector and identifying other more inclusive non-oil sectors that can be equally beneficial to the Nigerian economy and its people.”
On the economic impact of tourism on job creation, Animashaun noted that Nigeria is blessed with rich tourist attractions and if properly harnessed, will not only impact positively on the Internal Growth Rate (IGR) of the nation by increasing international and local trade within different sectors, but will also create employment opportunities for a cross-section of people in various area of specialisation.
She said: “Currently, tourism stands as one of the biggest drivers for economic development and growth, accounting for 10.4 per cent of the world’s GDP. Being one of the fastest growing industries, nations all over the world are increasing their investment in tourism development and leveraging heavily on their cultural exports to promote their destinations and kick start their economy. Epe must not be left behind.”
Speaking about key attractions in Epe, Managing Director, Eko Destination Limited Apata Samson Olatunji Olayan, said: “One key feature that draws people to Epe is its vast resources of fishes which makes people call it the ‘fish basket’ of Lagos and indeed, Nigeria. People come even from outside the shores of Nigeria to buy fish at our famous Oluwo Market. Another attraction is the site of today’s event called ‘Oju Alaro’ with its own shrine and a tour guide to tell people about its significance. One key attraction about Epe is that it is blessed with a beautiful waterfront, and this attracts a lot of people regularly. This ceremony is held to draw attraction to all these resources, which are largely untapped. The idea is to turn Epe into one of the choicest travel destinations in Africa.