Sterling Bank Plc has pledged support for the 20-year Lagos State Tourism Masterplan and Policy crafted to transform the State of Aquatic Splendour into one of the top five tourism destinations on the African continent.
In a goodwill message at the public presentation of the tourism masterplan and policy, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abubakar Suleiman, said, “We will support the government to unleash the tourism potential of Lagos State and reposition it into one of the most preferred destinations in Africa for local and international leisure travellers.”
According to the bank chief, the presentation of the 20-year masterplan and policy to industry stakeholders is a concrete and coordinated action for re-booting the tourism economy in Lagos on a robust and sustainable basis.
Abubakar, who was represented at the event by the Regional Business Executive, Institutional Banking, Lagos, Mojibola Oladunni said, “We are confident that the masterplan and policy will ensure a more sustainable and resilient tourism sector that would improve the citizenry’s quality of life, accelerates job creation and poverty alleviation.”
He noted that COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions threw the global tourism industry a curveball in 2020, stopping about one billion people from embarking on international trips. This, he says, provides a massive opportunity for Lagos to work with private sector partners to stimulate the sector to create experiences that would excite and make homegrown international leisure travellers’ visit local destinations.
He said although Lagos has been a beacon for managing tourism in a structured, coordinated, and sustainable manner, the unveiling of a masterplan and policy will further harness the power of innovation, entrepreneurship, and communication to develop the sector.
Presenting the masterplan, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat said, “We have taken decisive steps to explore the abundant possibilities in this very critical sector by allowing practitioners and key stakeholders to be directly involved in every one of our policies.”
He said the policy is also an attempt to unlock opportunities for tourism in the state as they had yet to be fully harnessed, adding that the event is evidence of the state government’s commitment to inclusiveness and stakeholders’ partnership since the tourism sector thrives on Public-Private Partnership and collaboration.
The governor said the policy document will direct efforts in the tourism sector in six strategic areas: Culture and Heritage; Film, Art, and Entertainment; Business and Meetings, Incentives; Conferences and Entertainment; Beach and Leisure; Nature and Adventure; and Medical and Wellness.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by the Director-General Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker, said it is time for all government tiers in the country to collaborate on issues relating to tourism.
He said this is the time for collaboration and not competition among the three tiers of government.
Lagos State Commissioner of Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharm. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, said the masterplan would further transform Lagos into a major African tourism and entertainment hub by exploring and promoting the potentialities that abound in the state and integrate the thriving entertainment and arts industry as a viable platform to attract visitors and create jobs.
The commissioner said the 20-year document was conceived with the vision “to make Lagos State one of the top five urban tourism destinations in Africa and recognised as the face of art in Africa for its multiple creative and innovative tourism products and experiences.