Just a week ago, we held the Security Summit here at this venue. This summit further demonstrates our commitment to find alternative platforms that can enrich our State and propel her prosperity continuously.
We are very proud of our culture and heritage. It has become very clear and evident; that there is no other concentration of the black race that is larger than Nigeria, and most especially Lagos that can tell the story of the black race.
The Lagos Tourism Masterplan; which is the ultimate end product of this summit is premised in the context of this analogy.
As a government, we are conscious of the fact that infrastructure, security, stability and partnership with all stakeholders are fundamental ingredients for tourism development.
We have channeled a lot of resources into creating an enduring infrastructural architecture for the business of tourism to thrive.
Our plans, concepts and executions are very deliberate and well thought-out to make a highly populated mega city-state culturally attractive and artistically functional.
We are humble enough to draw inspiration from what Cities like Miami; São Paulo; Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo are doing with Tourism and we see how AFRICAN Cities like Cape Town, Cairo, Marrakech and Accra have drawn attention to themselves as tourist havens of varying degrees.
Our reputation as the commercial and entertainment nerve-Centre of Africa is not in doubt. With our young and energetic population, coastal location and other natural resources, we are arguably the city best suited to promote the idea of an iconic super brand for the black race.
But in order to do this successfully, we must first build a solid infrastructural architecture that will endure. It must be safe and secure; it must provide functional and diverse venues for the arts, culture, festivals, creative industry, recreation and wildlife; and it must constantly and productively engage with its critical stakeholders.
So when you see us reclaim 50 hectares of land at the Oworonshoki end of our lagoon; when you see us clear a whole stretch at the Badagry and Epe Marina; when we insist that our prime waterfront must not be taken over by shanties and slums; when you see us embark on some ambitious road, fly-over and modern bus terminal constructions; we are preparing the grounds for a major source of employment and prosperity.
When you see us continue to plead for the control of wasting federal assets like the National Arts Theatre, National Museum and National Stadium and possibly declare our intention to have the Muritala Mohammed International Airport concessioned to us; we are focused on our tourism sector.
When you see our unwavering commitment in changing the face of public transportation, committing more funds to providing jetties and expanding access to waterways, please know that we are driven only by the need to build and sustain the needed infrastructure upon which an enduring tourism landscape can stand and outlive our administration and those coming after us.
Our Government recently commissioned the development of a Tourism Master Plan which will show the road map to be taken in the next couple of decades to make Tourism a major sector of the Lagos economy.
This masterplan is one of the legacies we are determined to bequeath to Lagosians and the coming generations
The Tourism Master Plan is focused on Six (6) key sectors;
- Culture and Heritage
- Film, Art and Entertainment
- Business Tourism
- Nature and Adventure
- Medical and Wellness
- Beach and Leisure
We have put Tourism at the core of our growth strategy at this point in the development of our State – Laying a solid foundation for the continued prosperity of Lagos and Lagosians.
The tourism sector contributed about $2.2billion (N800billion) to the Lagos GDP in 2017 and with the infrastructure and resources we are deploying in this sector, we expect this figure to double or treble in the next 5 years
The enormous resources we have deployed in physical and social infrastructure across the State will begin to crystallize by December into mega structures that will support tourism and market our state as a smart destination.
In conclusion, the time and input from today’s Summit can never be adequate. The outcome is just a bye-product of another legacy we seek to build. We seek the cooperation of every interested persons and groups; to build “Brand Lagos” that we will all be proud of.
I want to thank all our panelists and other invited guests, most especially His Excellency, the former President of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama.
We remain committed to listening and learning more from all the experts in the tourism sector as I believe strongly that Lagos is on a journey to greatness and I want to stand up to be counted as being part of that history.
Thank you for listening.