* Recommends post-COVID 19 strategies for sector
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Connecting Lagos, Mr. Idris Aregbe, has said the contribution of travel, tourism and hospitality to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Lagos State could increase to $3.4 billion in 2026.
Aregbe, also the founder of Culturati, recommended that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu should work out strategic plan to attract Nigerians to the state’s tourist destinations and potentials in the post-COVID 19 era.
He made these remarks in a statement he issued after a meeting between the Special Adviser to the Governor Tourism, Mr. Solomon Bonu and the state’s travel, tourism and hospitality investors at the weekend.
With the state’s current GDP currently standing at $136 billion, official reports had forecast that the direct tourism contribution to Lagos economy at large could increase from $2.2 billion in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2026.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in February, however, the tourism sector had practically crippled the sector due to the need to enforce protocols and regulations that would curtail the spread of the pandemic.
Despite these uncertainties that becloud the tourism sector, Aregbe expressed hope that the statte’s direct tourism contribution to Lagos economy could hit $3.4 billion by 2026 in line with the state’s economic projection.
Aregbe, who facilitated the meeting between the state government and investors in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector, said Lagos “has the destinations and potentials needed to attract Nigerians to tourism locations in the state.”
The tourism investor added that the time was ripe for a strategic plan “to boost the sector. This is the time to expose Lagos residents to potentials in the state, especially when international flights were yet to resume.
“It is time for Lagos to take the lead in tourism, arts and entertainment-related matter. Lagos is the hub of commerce and entertainment in Africa, we cannot be hoping for change, we need to initiate it.
“We have the numbers, places, and personalities to drive tourism in Lagos. We need strategic actions and alliances like we are witnessing today between the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and a major player in tourism and resorts like Lacampagne Tropicana,” Aregbe explained.
Specifically, Aregbe suggested that in a bid to boost earnings in tourism industry above pre-coronavirus era, the government and investors in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector should come up with discussed strategies that could be adopted as the state gains control over the pandemic.
Among others, the owner of Lacampagne Tropicanal Beach and Resort, Chief Wanle Akinboboye; a media and entertainment specialist, Samuel Olatunji, and representatives of Motherland Beckons participated at the meeting,
At the meeting, Aregbe said the investors agreed that efforts must be intensified to assist the sector towards boosting stakeholders’ earning during post-COVID era.
He described the new socio-economic realities globally as a huge challenge for the travel, tourism and hospitality sector.
He, therefore, said this was the time for all investors and stakeholders in the industry to roll up their sleeves and expose residents to the tourist destinations and potentials in the state.