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Jumia boss set tourism agenda for Sanwo-Olu, harps on sustainability

By Chuks Nwanne
15 June 2019   |   3:59 am
The Managing Director of Jumia’s hotel and flight marketplace, Omolara Adagunodo, has set out tourism agenda for the administration of new Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwoolu.

A view of Lagos waterfront

The Managing Director of Jumia’s hotel and flight marketplace, Omolara Adagunodo, has set out tourism agenda for the administration of new Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwoolu.

Adagunodo in a press statement issued recently, called on the governor to focus on sustainable tourism to further boost the chances of Lagos becoming a 21st-century economy, take the Nigerian tourism industry to the next level and ensure that the sector contributes more to the state’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Like the previous Lagos administration, I’m happy that the new government featured tourism as one of its developmental agenda. As the government is settling down to work, I encourage the administration to concentrate on Sustainable Tourism.

“This is because the next phase of tourism is for it to become sustainable, and for Lagos to establish a robust tourism industry, it requires a roadmap that takes full account of tourism’s current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

She informed that a combined report by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, International Trade Centre and Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) reveal that tourism (sustainable) is widely recognised as a key sector for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), given its major potential to contribute to jobs and wealth creation in the developing world.

“Tourism is estimated to represent 10% of global GDP and generates directly or indirectly one in ten jobs globally. Interestingly, the development agenda of the Governor is geared towards achieving sustainable tourism. Tagged Project THEME, the administration’s pillars of development will focus on traffic and transportation, health and the environment, education and technology,” she said.

Adagunodo added that alongside sustainable tourism, the government should invest massively in infrastructure, give a facelift to the state’s tourism assets, look into taxation challenges in the hospitality industry, as well as the ratings and classification of hotels. She urged the government to consolidate on the commendable tourism work of the previous administration.

Lagos State in the past few years has demonstrated rare commitment to the business of tourism and promotion of arts, culture and entertainment as part of its growth strategy.

In line with its commitment to cause a major shift in marketing the tourism and creative potential inherent, the State last year, hosted a one-day tourism summit at the Eko Hotel & Suite, Victoria Island, Lagos. The summit, which has the theme, Destination Lagos: Towards A Sustainable Tourism-Driven Economy, created platform for stakeholders in the sector to enrich the master plan being prepared for the tourism industry in the state.

Aside the main theme for discourse, the summit, which featured paper presentations by renowned stakeholders in the tourism business, panel discussions involving heads of tourism agencies and big players in the sector, also tackled other topics such as Exploring the Lagos Tourism Eco-system for Economic and Social Benefits; Financing tourism: the path and possibilities for Lagos State, and M.I.C.E, Creative Content as Tourism Industry panacea.

Particularly, Prof. Ibukunoluwa Ayodele of the University of Ibadan delivered the lead paper, while the Minister for Information, Tourism and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed spoke on Tourism as the new oil. In his opening remarks, the then Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the summit further demonstrates the government’s commitment to finding alternative platforms that can enrich Lagos and propel its prosperity continuously.

“Just a week ago, we held a security summit at this venue. Today, this tourism summit furthers demonstrates our commitment to find alternative platforms that can enrich our state. We are very proud of our culture and heritage; there’s nobody that is going to tell the story of the black people if Lagos doesn’t stand up to tell that story,” he said.

According to Ambode, the Lagos State Tourism Master Plan is one of the legacies his administration is determined to bequeath to Lagosians and coming generations.
“We’ve put tourism at the core of our growth strategy at this point in the development of this state, laying a solid foundation for a continued prosperity of Lagos and Lagosians. The plan is focused on key sectors of culture and heritage, film, art and entertainment, business tourism, nature and adventure, medical and wellness, beach and leisure.

The tourism sector contributed about N800 billion to the Lagos GDP in 2017, and with the infrastructure and resources we are deploying in this sector, we expect this figure to double in the next five years,” he assured.

While adding that time and input from the summit can never be adequate, Ambode noted that the outcome of the session is just a bye product of another legacy his administration is trying to build. “We seek the cooperation of every interested persons and groups to build brand Lagos that we will all be proud of,” he said.

In his keynote address, former president of Ghana John Mahama commended Lagos for taking up the initiative of developing tourism in the state, but informed that tourism cannot be developed to the level that it can become a key driver of our economy, without development and solid infrastructure.

“Thankfully, Lagos in preparation for the launch of the Lagos State Tourism Master Plan, has began upgrading and expanding critical infrastructure, including transportation, roads and of course the recent reclamation that is ongoing. The tourism plan must therefore not focus only on what new tourism facilities it will develop, but how to ensure that the state is made attractive to tourists, improved and well developed quality medical services, enhance transportation services, high-speed mobile services, and of course guarantee security of any visitor to Lagos State.”

The former Ghanaian leader, who is no stranger to the city of Lagos, added, “Lagos, just like Nigerian in general, has such great cultural value that can easily be packaged and even exported; the impressive showing during the Lagos at 50 celebration shows that it’s possible and can be done. It’s my believe that the Lagos State Tourism Master Plan that will emerge from this summit, would be a masterpiece that would guide this state to become the foremost tourism destination in the whole of African continent.”

It would be recalled that Ambode’s administration also unveiled plans to transform some landmark areas in the Marina and Onikan axis of the State into a world-class one-stop recreation and tourism centre. Ambode, who made the disclosure at the presentation of Museum Possibilities, as well as the unveiling of the design for a new world class Museum, also disclosed that the State Government will commence the construction of a brand new contemporary Museum in the State as an integral part of its overall strategy to become self-sufficient and secure the future prosperity of Lagos.