By Ngozi Nwoke
Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture recently organised a two-day retreat on the review of staff performance as well as to identify issues affecting the development of the sector.
Speaking during the opening of the retreat, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, advised the participants to implement and execute all recommendations with every sense of commitment and professionalism for the growth of tourism, arts and culture in the state.
She said: “This retreat will provide an avenue for the entire workforce of Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture to look back into the past years, especially since 2020 when the deadly coronavirus hit our country and disrupted activities in different sectors, particularly the tourism and entertainment industry that was almost brought to ground zero.
“Apart from this, the fact that we left our various offices for these few days would also afford us the opportunity to make projections into the future as it relates to our activities and mandates, especially now that the tenure of this present administration is gradually winding down.
“As we all know that activities in the tourism and entertainment sector has started picking up compared to when the virus first hit the country, it is important for us as a ministry to design strategies that will ensure that covid 19 does not have huge negative impact on our deliverables again. The virus, as we speak, is still present with us and as such we must find ways around it and continue the implementation of our plans and programmes going forward.
“Towards the end of last year, the fourth wave of this virus forced us to cancel our usual end-of-the-year entertainment event. The state government took this decision in the collective interest of public health and safety of all residents of Lagos State.
“However, it has become very clear to us that as this virus continues to pose a threat to our activities in the tourism and entertainment sector, the onus is on us to devise means to keep this industry going by planning ahead while also envisaging the likely effect, which the various variants of COVID-19 may have on our collective goals and activities.
“While we are hopeful of a return of normalcy to this sector, it is our hope that our usual activities and events would be held this year amid strict observance of COVID-19 safety protocols.
“I wish to remind us that what will justify the resources committed to this retreat by the state government and the ministry is for every one of us to translate this vision of being strategic in our deliverables to reality in our various offices.
“I want to charge you all to make the best use of these few days, learn and interact with our facilitators especially in the areas of partnership and sponsorship initiative and in having a deeper understanding of what our Tourism Masterplan and Policy entails.
“As part of the ‘strategic rebranding of MTAC for enhanced service delivery’ which is our theme, we should leverage on the possibilities of having credible and capable sponsors who will be competing to be lead sponsors in each of our Ministry’s activities
“Being in the entertainment sector, portends great potentials and opportunities for us, let us optimize the potentials of these our sponsors with the projection of having most, if not all of our events, financed through sponsorship and partnership with corporate organizations. I thank you for your attention and wish you all a successful and fruitful retreat.”
Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Bonu, stated that the retreat would equip all members of staff with the required knowledge for better relationship with the ministry’s stakeholders for effective service delivery.
He said: “You will recall that last year the ministry officially held the public presentation ceremony of our tourism masterplan and policy where the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, represented our governor, at the event.
“Although we have started the process of implementing the masterplan already, especially with the community based tourism initiatives in different LGAs, it is our belief that our gathering at this retreat will further expand our knowledge about the content of both the masterplan and tourism policy documents of the ministry, especially with “In all, these few days, expectedly, would increase our knowledge and also enhance our deliverables. Apart from this, as the popular saying goes, ‘all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy’, this retreat will also afford us the opportunity to unwind, have fun and relax.”
Ashimi, who spoke on the ‘strategic planning on tourism masterplan and policy,’ noted that the paper focused on a review of the tourism master plan, the strategies required to create an enabling environment to attract investments and Tourists.
He said: “The retreat was a robust engagement of experts who were engaged to help steer the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture towards delivery of qualitative service effectively and efficiently.
“The presentation is based on government policy to drive tourism through arts, culture and entertainment. The policy is drafted to guide government and the private sector on their functions and roles in the development of tourism.
“The tourism masterplan is a Vision 2020 to 2040 goal to make Lagos State one of the top five urban tourism destinations in Africa.”
Ashimi emphasized that there must be inter-governmental collaboration for tourism to be developed. According to him, “in order to ensure a sustainable development in the ministry of tourism, there must be collaborations with other ministries such as the Ministry of Works & Infrastructure, Environment, Waste Management Agencies, and others.
The presentation also focused on the strategies required to find and engage Sponsors. The facilitator stated that to be successful at seeking sponsors, it is important to develop skills in copywriting, public speaking and building rapport with the potential sponsors. He emphasized the importance of learning and planning things out before approaching sponsors.
The central point of the paper was on the synchronization of personal life and professional life while maintaining good health and general well-being. Every individual is responsible for balancing their personal life and work.