Stakeholders in the sector have lauded the efforts of Lagos state governor, AkinwunmiAmbode, to drive the state’s tourism through infrastructural development. According to them the sector has the capacity to double its $91bn Gross Domestic Product, GDP, which is estimated to be bigger than that of about 42 African countries including Kenya with $66bn, Ghana with $61.7bn and Tanzania with $58.44bn .
The World Travel and Tourism Council, WTTC recent report, shows that Travel and Tourism’s contribution to the world GDP grew for the fifth consecutive year in 2014, rising to a total of 9.8% of world GDP (US$7.6 trillion). According to the report the sector supports nearly 227 million people in employment i.e one out of eleven jobs globally. Its growth of 3.6 per cent was faster than the wider economy and out-performed growth in the majority of leading sectors in 2014.
According to Olubunmi Martins, an economic analyst, the state which accounts for about 70 per cent national maritime cargo freight; 80 per cent of international aviation traffic and 50 per cent of national energy consumption in the country, has the financial muscle edge itself in the sector.
He further claimed that the sector has the potential to create and generate unemployment for thousand of jobless youths in Lagos thus reducing the spate of poverty, at a period when the country’s employment scale is at an all time high.
He said, ”There is however no doubt that the sector is the largest employer of labour and largest foreign exchange earners of any country, hence the need for the growth of the sector. the governor needs to focus more on developing a viable policy framework for tourism and engage the various stakeholders operating in the state.
According to Cornel Udofia, an entertainment industry publicist, Lagos state has been projected to within the next ten years become, financial and entertainment center of Africa, due to the impact of Nollywood, which is credited to have made more revenue than Hollywood in terms of number of movies.
The Governor Ambode in a statement however had assured residents of the state of his desire to transform the city to a tourism and entertainment hub in Africa. He said his administration will make careful efforts to grow the tourism potentials of the state, noting that a summit will be convened with stakeholders in the sector to explore the potentials that abound in the state.
Governor revealed that once the Lagos-Badagry Expressway which is being expanded into a 10-lane road is completed, the neighbourhood and the axis would be opened up as a business hub for the whole sub-region. Adding that he is concerned about ensuring that the state road network are completed in order to connect roads network leading to the various tourism sites.
“We must start thinking of the future concerning that road. We said we will have an International Airport in Epe and an Export Processing Zone in Lekki and a Deep Seaport also in Lekki. I seek a clean, secure and a more prosperous Lagos, driven by a robust economy and grounded on equity, fairness and justice,”
In the collective determination to make Lagos rank not just as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, but to make the state become one of the most business and tourism-friendly cities in the world by continuing with the good works of the former governor, RajiFashola.”
The governor however promised to broaden the economy, and pursue innovative approach to harnessing the state’s potential in tourism, hospitality, entertainment and arts and sports to achieve excellence in job creation and social development.