Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has stressed his administration’s intention to encourage sustainable tourism, which can further catapult the state’s internally-generated revenue (IGR) to the heights.
According to the governor, this can be done by taking full account of the current and future economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism, and addressing the needs of visitors, the industry and host communities.
This is contained in his keynote address during the 2017 Walk for Nature programme themed “Cleaner Lagos: The Foundation for Sustainable Ecotourism” at the State House car park, Marina, Lagos, on Saturday, October 21, 2017 organised by the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF).
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for the Environment, Samuel Babatunde Adejare, disclosed that the state “has great advantages in nature-based tourism and ecotourism activities”.
Sustainable tourism, he said, can be achieved through making optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development.
“We have good examples of how we can achieve this here in Lagos. The Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) offers us a glimpse into what is achievable if we set our minds to it, and shows that working together is our best chance of success,” he said.
Speaker after speaker at the event, which took place after a trek from the car park through the Marina stretch to outer Marina and back to the park, agreed no less that the state was on course in its journey towards attracting tourists with a cleaner, beautiful environment.
The Commissioner for the Environment, represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on the Environment, Babatunde Hunpe, in his welcome address, said the event was an opportunity to celebrate the environment and respond to environmental challenges posed by nature.
And according to the President, Board of Trustees (BoT) of NCF, Philip Asiodu, stressing the importance of a clean environment, said even “if the state succeeds in attracting tourists”, with a dirty environment, the visitors would not want to come back.
The governor continued: “The primary aim of our administration with regard to tourism is to create an enabling environment for the growth of the (tourism) sector and maximise the benefits of tourism for the development of our state, by influencing patterns of visitor flows and behaviour.
“The Cleaner Lagos initiative (CLI), which encapsulates the ongoing broad reforms in the solid waste management sector, and the newly-passed environmental laws are both geared towards the preservation of our environment in Lagos State in a holistic and sustainable manner, as well as the attainment of a cleaner, healthier and more livable state that transforms into a tourist haven.”
He expressed optimism that the Walk for Nature initiative would continue to encourage all sectors of the society to take small but incremental steps towards environmental sustainability and support the programme “which is one of the effective means to advocate the protection of the environment”.
In his vote of thanks, the Chairman, National Executive Council of NCF, Ede Dafinone, urged all to appreciate and conserve nature, otherwise coming generations would not have the opportunity to appreciate nature.
He thanked the state government for continued partnership with NCF to conserve nature.
Ambode, while launching the CLI in June, said the initiative would provide 40,000 jobs while ensuring health safety.
By Innocent Onwuji