The Lagos State government has granted some tourism and hospitality industry practitioners in the state loans totalling one billion Naira.
The loans were presented to beneficiaries at the inaugural edition of the Lagos Tourism, Hospitality, Arts and Culture economic summit held on Thursday March 25, 2021.
The Lagos State Chapter of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) organized the summit in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
The loans according to the State Government were intended to act as seed capital for new development in the state’s business.
The State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had authorized the loans earlier as seed capital for the tourism and hospitality sector’s recovery, as well as to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on practitioners.
Folashade Jaji, the Secretary to the Lagos State Government, who represented Sanwo-Olu at the event, noted that tourism and recreation account for about 6% of the GDP.
In the hospitality industry, she said, there are still plenty of prospects for development that could be bolstered by partnerships between the public and private sectors.
She assured members of FTAN that the government will continue to establish meaningful partnerships with the private sector in order to achieve the governor’s pledge of “A Greater Lagos” to residents of the state.
She reported that the government had placed in place policies and initiatives to boost the prospects for the state’s tourism potential.
Jaji also mentioned that efforts are being made to find new tourism sites as well as bring existing ones up to international standards.
“A steady and sustainable growth of the tourism and recreation sector in Lagos State will be ensured by the synergy between government and private sector investors and entrepreneurs.
“For private investor developers, there are opportunities to build tourism sites.
“It is my pleasure to inform you that UNESCO has designated Sungbo Eredo in the Epe Division as a World Heritage Site that can be built to increase tourism potentials in Lagos State,” she stated.
According to Jaji, the state government has acquired 100 hectares of land for a film city to be established in the state.
She urged FTAN to take advantage of the summit’s platform to advance the tourism sector by developing strategies to boost tourism growth in Lagos State.
He also requested that FTAN include a guide on how to domesticate and internationalize tourism sites in the state.
The governor’s representative also stated that the government’s goal of making Lagos State the first to be reckoned with in tourism and recreation could be achieved with the help of key players in the field.
“Public Private Collaboration for Sustainable Development of the Tourism, Arts, and Culture Industry for a Greater Lagos” was the summit’s theme.
Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, also speaking at event said that the state government had authorized a 50% rebate for practitioners in payment of their operating license fees for the year 2020.
That, according to Akinbile-Yussuf, would help in fostering synergy among stakeholders.
The presentation of checks to the loan recipients, she said, demonstrated that the ministry’s initiative was authentic, open, and sincere.
The commissioner clarified that depending on the nature of the company applying for the loan, applicants could receive up to N30 million, and that a special desk would be formed in the ministry to handle loan-related issues.
Mr Gbenga Sunmonu, Coordinator, FTAN, Lagos Chapter, also responded by promising that the organization will increase its contributions to the state’s GDP.
He added that it will also generate and redistribute resources by promoting domestic tourism and recruiting volunteers for various aspects of the industry.
Sunmonu said that the summit, which focused on public-private partnerships, opened discussion in areas of concern for stakeholders with the aim of reviewing issues posed in order to improve the state’s ease of doing business.
Some of the speakers at the summit, according to NAN, advocated for a strong public-private partnership as a necessary synergy that would speed up investments in the sector and help rapid development of key tourism sites in the state.
Hotel owners, tour managers, tour guides, and investors were among the stakeholders.