Oba Gbolahan Lawal, the Oniru of Iruland on Lagos Island, has urged Lagos State Government to recognise Isese Day, set aside for the celebration of traditional religion, for global tourists attraction.
Lawal made the call on Sunday during the commemoration of the World Tourism Day, held virtually and physically at Lagos Theatre, Oregun.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Isese Day is a day set aside in some South West states of Nigeria to celebrate traditional religion on August 20 every year.
While commending Lagos State Government for the “giant strides taken in the development of tourism, arts and entertainment industry,” the monarch said much still needed to be done in the area of traditional rites.
The Lagos monarch said steps should be taken to market Isese Day such that local and international tourists could participate as a way of promoting Nigerian culture and tradition.
Oba Lawal said: “I want the Lagos State Government to consider the traditional institution as major stakeholder in the promotion of tourism.
“We need to promote the rich cultural and traditional sites in the state, encourage tourists’ inflow to those sites and encourage tourists visit during Isese Day every August 20th.”
The monarch disclosed that his palace had designed “Let’s Grow Iru Land Together” LEGIT programme, which would focus on tourism development.
He said: “We are working on building a museum envisioned to have four floors on which we will have the Yoruba, African, European and Global floors; this will be a research and development centre.
“The essence of this is to encourage countries across the globe to have their history stored there for reference purposes.
“We will be working with Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture to achieve this and we will continue to support Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s THEMES agenda.”
Jamiu Ashimi, former Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, commended the present administration for consistently projecting the state as a global tourism and entertainment hub.
Ashimi said the milestone was achieved due to the state’s investments in the areas of infrastructure, security, environmental and waste management, traffic management, hotel grading, standardisation and more.
He said to sustain and improve on this growth, there was need to build unique platforms to grow domestic tourism, considering the negative effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged the Ministry to work on documenting the available tourists sites in the state, which would give room for enlightenment on the path of intending tourists.
Fadipe Sewanu, also a former Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, urged the ministry to focus more on boosting domestic tourism.
Sewanu said this was necessary as COVID-19 pandemic had dealt ruthlessly with the industry.
Also, Steve Ayorinde, former Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, urged the ministry to upscale the annual Lagos fiesta and invest in training professional tour guides.
Ayorinde said the youths should be trained on the tourism terrain to enable them market and promote the state to attract more tourists.
“The ministry should also look into the tourism Masterplan, pick at least two developmental goals and ensure such is achieved, likewise continue in the physical and virtual meetings,” he said.
The state Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the support given to the ministry to work effectively inspite of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Akinbile-Yusuf said the governor had not only ensured that the tourism industry does not suffer any set back, but had also put huge investments in place.
She said the ministry was working on registering all hospitality outfits in the state for proper classification, likewise working on the documentary of tourists attractions in the state.
She said: “The Lagos State Tourism Masterplan will also be presented to Governor Sanwo-Olu soon and I know we will enjoy all the support needed from him.
“Tourism is the way if we must get things right in Nigeria because the market is there.
“We will work with all stakeholders to achieve our dreams for the industry.”