The Lagos State Government has said its three theatres located in Epe, Igando and Badagry are now in full operation under public-private partnership management.
The state Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, disclosed this during the 2020 Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism seminar on Tuesday in Lagos.
The theme of the seminar was: “Tourism and Rural Development,” with the sub theme: “Post COVID-19: Recovery Strategies for Hospitality and Tourism Sector in Nigeria.”
Akinbile-Yusuf, represented by Adamma Oni, a Deputy Director in the ministry, said individuals willing to use the facilities would be obliged to do so as the state was committed to boosting domestic tourism.
The commissioner explained that the theatre in Oregun, which was burnt during the recent #EndSARS protests, was under renovation.
She said her ministry was making several efforts to reposition Lagos tourism and market it to tourists both indigenous and foreign.
She said: “I am glad to inform this gathering that our theatres in different parts of the state are now under public-private partnership and the operation for this has commenced.
“This, we believe, will enable the ministry focus on other priority areas that will aid the growth and development of tourism in the state.
“In the same vein, the much talked about Lagos Creative Academy for the up-skilling of professionals in the creative sector has commenced.
“We are now at the recruitment stage, which, hopefully, by the end of December, would have been perfected, both online and physical classes would be available at the Academy.”
Akinbile-Yusuf said the disbursement of the N1 billion approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as seed capital for investment in the tourism and hospitality sectors had started.
She added: “The ministry has equally designed an eligibility form for qualified and interested practitioners as a condition that must be met before approaching Lagos State Employment Trust Fund for the seed capital.
“The form is accessible on tsp.lagosstate.gov.ng.
“I want to appreciate the leadership of ANJET who did not limit themselves to news reporting alone but also considered it necessary to lend their voice to topical issues as it affects the growth and development of the tourism and hospitality sector in Nigeria.
“As a bridge between the public and tourism stakeholders, I want to implore ANJET to continue to champion the interest of the masses, provide constructive criticism where necessary and remain unbiased in your reportage.”
The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Wasiu Babalola, Chairman, Institute of Hospitality, United Kingdom and Nigeria, advocated for the creation of a sole ministry of tourism or culture to ensure proper preservation of nation’s historical and cultural heritage.
Babalola said this was important because attention had been shifted from the two sectors, which happened to be the greatest employer of labour in the country.
He said if a separate ministry of tourism or culture was established, major policies would be created that would facilitate the growth of the sectors.
He advised the Federal Government to ensure that all hotels across the country were uniformly classified and create annual calendar of tourism activities for publicity.
He said: “For tourism and culture sub-sectors to thrive better in this country, we need a separate ministry of tourism or culture.
“This will ensure absolute focus on the promotion and marketing of our historical and cultural heritages.”
Earlier, Omololu Olumuyiwa, ANJET President, said the seminar comes up annually in furtherance of the association’s commitment toward developmental journalism, promotion and marketing of Nigeria tourism, which informed the choice of the theme.
Olumuyiwa said: “For us as a major stakeholder in the travel industry, the seminar is part of our contribution to deepening discourse and development of the sector and creating a platform for the various players across board to network and promote their businesses at the forum.”