Lagos To Inaugurate First-Ever Tourism Calendar, Summit

-Tourism virtual equipment unveiled

TIDA Conference 2
Mr Steve Ayorinde, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts & culture, Lagos State, Prince Yemisi Shyllon, a tourism expert, a guest and Mr Muyiwa Oladipo, the Ogun State  Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, during the launch of Virtual Tourism Equipment at the Tourism Innovation and Development Advantage Conference held at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Kofo abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos on Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts & culture, Mr Steve Ayorinde, has stated that  the state  is ready to produce tourism calendar which is the first of such in the country.
He revealed this at the 2018 Tourism Innovation and Development Advantage (TIDA) Conference held at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi in Victoria Island, Lagos,on Thursday, February 15, 2018, while also stating that the State would host the first-ever tourism summit.
The TIDA conference is an initiative of Skyview Communications with the  theme: “Impact of Tourism Development on The Nigerian Economy”.
Virtual tourism equipment – a video headset with videos of tourist centres, monuments and places in the country designed to give tourists awesome experiences of where they could visit, was unveiled at the conference by the guests.
Ayorinde said the tourism calendar would showcase various tourism activities planned for the year.
“This is the first of its kind; the calendar will show plans, venues and dates of festivals, carnivals and  conferences.It will also  provide  guides on how tourists, visitors and the public can  enjoy such events”, he said.
The commissioner said the idea behind  the calendar was borne out of the need to encourage the development of tourism  potential of the nation.
“When we have the calendar, tourism will start to pick-up. There is a lot we can do if we get a lot of mappings and communications right.
“Nigeria is a home of tourism and entertainment, but we are not ready for the business aspect of it, which includes availability of hotels in tourist locations.
“Our problem is that we are not well coordinated. There is lack of information on what we have in the country in term of content and we also have to develop the business angle of tourism to cater for expected tourists.
“It is important to start working on the business aspect like building hotels and categorize them like clubs, restaurants etc.
Ayorinde also revealed that the state would be hosting a tourism summit in April this year.
“For the first time, we are going to convene Lagos State Tourism Summit. The aim is to give Nigeria tourism master plan to work on in the next 15  to 20 years”, he revealed.
“There is need for the Federal Government to put in place a national tourism master plan and support states like Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Kano which are serious about tourism business.”
Mr Muyiwa Oladipo, the Ogun State  Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, while also speaking at the conference stated that tourism had been relegated to the background in the country.
“Tourism right now is nothing to write home about but in five to 10 years time, it will be celebrated and sought after.
“Tourism is the future of the Nigerian economy and if better harnessed, it will generate more revenue,” he said.
He revealed that Ogun State would be staging African Drum Festival in April as part of the state’s efforts in putting tourism in the front burner.
According to him, the drum is very essential in every stage of our lives and at every occasion or festival, the sound of the drum is heard.
“To celebrate this heritage, we came up with the Annual African Drum Festival in Ogun”, he said.
Prince Yemisi Shyllon,  a tourism expert, in his speech, urged the  Federal Government to create a national policy on tourism for the country.
“One of the major challenges of tourism in Nigeria is that we do not have publicity for cultural activities like other developed countries.
“A national policy on tourism needs to be published, followed, adhered to and made available for everyone by the Federal Government.
“Tourism is sustainable and we need to focus on it,  especially  with our high population of youths”, he said.
Shyllon said that there are  problems relating to  acceptance, love and respect for ourselves as Nigerians, adding that without all these in place, citizens would be wasting their time on domestic tourism.
“We must respect and love our culture. Without this, we can not promote or transform the tourism sector.
“If we do not know anything about our culture and we talk about tourism, we will be wasting our time.
“We cannot develop tourism with foreign culture, countries that developed their tourism sectors had it done with their cultures”, he said.
Mr Wale Akinboboye, the Chairman of LA Champagne Tropicana Beach Resort, said; “Nigeria is the greatest country in the world in terms of tourism with different types of tourism.’’
He listed religious, economic, agro, medical,  sports among many others as types of tourism.
“We have religious tourism which the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) is spare heading. Tourists visiting the Church are more than those going to the Buckingham palace. The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Camp and Winners are also examples of religious tourism.
“Igbo-Ora in  Western Nigeria is the world twin capital and could you imagine how many identical twins would be visiting from all over the world if the government build a twin village there for the purpose of promoting the culture?
“The Ikogosi Warm Springs in Ekiti is the only true warm spring in the world. All the others are just glaciers. There are many outstanding tourist locations all over the country that can boost our earnings”, he said.
Akinboboye urged the Federal Government to create a separate Ministry of Tourism and Culture rather than moving it under different ministries at will.
Also, Mr Hakeem Adenekan,  the Chief Executive Officer of Commstrat Associates Ltd., stated that the media would have to do more in the area of tourism promotion if the country is to get it right.
“We are yet to take tourism to the next level; there is the need for more exposition of tourist sites, festivals and places in Nigeria to the world.
“Without the media spotlighting these things, people will not know about them.
“Although, the print are dedicating spaces for tourism coverage but they still have to do more. We are yet to have a television or radio dedicated to the purpose of tourism promotion. We need to start thinking in this direction
“We need to focus on the positive side of Nigeria, package and project ourselves by using media to promote our tourist sites, he stated.

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