Lagos state on Tuesday, September 11, put up a spectacular outing on its Day at the 14th Akwaaba African Travel Market at the Eko Hotel and Suites.
Lagos excited the visitors and guests with its unique hospitality, rich cultural heritage and entertainment.
The state exhibition stand at the expo was a beehive of activities throughout the 3 days of the event with visitors and guests from across Africa and beyound coming to make one inquiry or the other.
In recent years, the Lagos state government has demonstrated its commitment to the growth and development of its tourism and culture sector through partnerships with the private sector.
With such partnerships, Lagos is set to take the lead in tourism development in Africa.
One of such partnerships is the collaboration with the organisers of the annual Akwaaba African Travel Market in Lagos to showcase the state tourism potential to the world.
Speaking during the expo, the Lagos state Governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode said that the present administration has continued to create paths and develop strategies that would raise the bar of the state’s tourism sector and reposition its strength among other tourists destination in Africa and the world.
Governor Ambode disclosed that the state’s participation in the event will produce a stronger, a more efficient tourism and creative economy sector as the government will now tell her story better.
Governor Ambode who was represented by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde stated that Lagos, the cultural capital of Nigeria and indeed West Africa, the fifth largest economy in Africa is undeniably the-must- go city for business and entertainment.
Governor Ambode noted that this year’s event is significant and unique as it is the very first time the Lagos State Government is partnering as well as fully participating in Akwaaba to showcase its efforts and tourism potential as a state.
He said: “The state government’s active participation since Sunday has afforded our African brothers and sisters and international community the opportunity to interact and network with the over 60 exhibitors in the Hospitality, Travel, Transport, Tour operators and Creative product sectors across Africa that are here to showcase their services and products.
This expectedly will produce a stronger and a more efficient tourism and creative economy sector as the state government will now better tell her story and give her narratives on the abundance tourism potentials in the state in furtherance of its sincere commitment in making Lagos the preferred destination for tourism, business and leisure”.
He stated that the government has invested heavily in key infrastructure projects which are intended to have positive impact on tourism promotion in the state, adding that some of the projects have been completed and currently in use whilst some are still under construction.
“It is our belief that having a special day for Lagos State during this important travel market for the first time will further boost the present administration’s commitment to encourage the private sector to collaborate with the state government in the development of the sector,” the Governor said.
He urged all visitors to relax and take advantage of this unique opportunity to see, feel and explore what Lagos has got to offer.
In his welcome address, the commissioner for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde pointed out that the conception and sustenance of the annual Akwaaba African Travel Market is indeed worthy of commendation as the platform has consistently provided an avenue for enriching and thought provoking treatise, meeting of like minds and brainstorming for major stakeholders in the tourism sector in Africa on issues that can help tourism promotion and development in Africa.
He applauded Ambassador Ikechi Uko, the organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market for the foresight and resilience in sustaining the hosting of the event.
The commissioner said the Lagos state government is partnering with the organisers of Akwaaba for the first time in hosting this edition to engage and collaborate with the private sector in the promotion of tourism in the state.
Ayorinde stated further that by this singular action, the Lagos state government hopes to leverage on the unique opportunities provided by the expo to reach-out to major tourism stakeholders in the continent and to market Lagos as a choice and must visit destination in Africa and the world.
He said in a bid to have a document that gives direction to its tourism development, the state government will be unveiling the Lagos State tourism master plan later this month.
According to the commissioner: “This will help in giving legal backing to all our efforts in developing the tourism sector of the state and making Lagos the preferred destination for business leisure and entertainment”.
He said the state has also been engaging and partnering with the private sector in promoting Lagos as a prime destination, adding that this has actually supported the private organisations in the entertainment and tourism sector and in some cases engaged in partnership with them in organising social events to promote movement of the people into the state.
Ayorinde noted that the government will continue to offer one of the best growth opportunities for the tourism industry.
The high point of state participation was the Lagos Day where guests were treated to best of Lagos hospitality.
At the expo, the excerpts of the State tourism Master Plan which would be unveiled later this month was presented to the audience, including a fantastic documentary of Lagos and what makes the city a must visit destination for business, tourism and leisure .
The exhibitors, guests and visitors had the opportunity to savour the taste of fresh palm wine from Epe and other entertainments.
The Lagos Day was spiced up with cultural dances from the State Cultural Troupe, presentations on Epe’s tourism potential, presentations also by Bolanle Austen Peters of Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions, among other activities.
The event attracted dignitaries, participants, exhibitors and guests from the travel, tourism and entertainment industry across Africa and Dubai.