The Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr. Disun Holloway, has stated that contrary to claims by some people that the Black Heritage Festival was meant for the Badagry area of the State, the festival was meant for the entire State.
The Commissioner, who stated this at a press briefing to commemorate the first year anniversary of the second term in Office of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) in the State, pointed out that the theme of the festival for each year determined the part of the State where the carnival would be staged.
Mr. Holloway added that Badagry could not have been sidelined by the State Government as about 25 percent of the capital vote of the Ministry was earmarked for projects in Badagry alone, adding that some of the opening programmes of the festival were even held at Badagry.
While noting that even though the State accounted for about 65 percent of tourism services in Nigeria, Commissioner lamented that the concentration of tourism facilities in the State had not made much impact on the lives of residents of the State. He blamed this development on the non-existence of a law regulating the industry and a cohesive master plan for a long time.
He, however, pointed out that with the signing into law of the Hotel Licensing Bill by the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) in July 2010, the tourism and hospitality industry had changed remarkably as the Ministry had now been empowered to effectively regulate the industry in the State.
Mr. Holloway also disclosed that the Ministry had commenced the enumeration and registration of hotels and leisure outlets operating in the State for the compilation of a comprehensive data base for the planning, research and development of the tourism industry in the State.
He also revealed that the services of experts on grading of hotels had been engaged to provide criteria for the classification of the different categories of hotels to ensure standardization and competition among tourism facilities in the State.
Speaking on the restoration and rehabilitation of the Apapa Amusement Park, the Commissioner stated that the Ministry was collaborating with some private operators through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement to redevelop the park and put it into good use. He assured that the Ministry would appoint the best out of the more than companies which had bidded for the redevelopment of the park.
Mr. Holloway also disclosed that the Ministry was working on the development of a tourism hand book which would be distributed to all operators in the tourism industry to enable visitors “better navigate” the State, adding that the handbook would provide detailed information on the hospitality industry in the State