For the second year in a row, the Lagos State economy received a major, unprecedented boost in the entertainment, hospitality and creative sectors in four weeks of the yuletide season, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde disclosed on Saturday.
Trends and reports monitored by the Lagos State Government over the four weeks in December, especially during Christmas and New Year festivities, captured an estimated spending well above N50bn in cash transactions, a record slightly higher than December 2017 which also recorded a good run in travel, entertainment and leisure-related spendings.
The monitored reports attributed the positive trend to the peak in entertainment activities; huge influx of people from neighboring states, neighboring countries and holiday makers from abroad who either chose Lagos as their primary destination or transit to other parts of Nigeria last December.
In a press statement he signed, Ayorinde said various reports, statistics and analyses monitored across immigration office, banks, aviation, hospitality and leisure parks; food, beverage and distribution businesses as well as event venues, shopping malls and cinema box office earnings captured an estimated direct spendings of over N50bn within the entertainment and tourism sector in Lagos State alone.
He said reports monitoring the prevailing December trends showed an unprecedented footfall influx of more than three million people entering Lagos in December alone with a multi-billion naira spendings in tow in hotel lodgings, local in-bound flights and taxi/chartered transportation, alcohol and beverage consumption; culinary business; visits to resorts, parks, clubs and lounges, live theatre and cinemas; concerts and clubs as well as ancillary businesses like fashion and clothing, kiddies’ games and toys, and private security guards, which are all now part of the tourism and entertainment ecosystem.
“Like in 2017, last December in Lagos was hugely creative economy- friendly, which again affirms the State’s preeminence not just as West Africa’s commercial hub but also its entertainment nerve-centre,” Ayorinde said, adding that the beauty of this assertion is that the surge in the creative enterprise over the yuletide period was felt by all and sundry; was statistically measurable and is now a subject of discussion among analysis.
The Commissioner said there was a slight correlation between the horrific gridlock in some parts of Lagos during the yuletide season and the huge trading by residents and visitors leading to seasonal job provision and economic gains.
According to him, the high volume of economic activity that were directly related to tourism-related visits, entertainment and leisure accounted for a significant chunk of the total value of transactions in the State of 21million residents whose estimated GDP of $136bn in 2018 is regarded as the fifth largest in Africa, after Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Algeria.
The statement attributed the State’s continued high performance in the creative economy to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s deliberate interest in and commitment to the development of infrastructure, security and ideas that impact positively on tourism, entertainment and shopping.
He cited the State’s “innovative Calendar of Arts and Culture events which was released in January 2018 specifically to assist both local and foreign visitors in planning their visit to and around Lagos with a detailed guide of festivals and art events available in each month.”
Ayorinde said: “December has always recorded the busiest footfall in Lagos from figure obtained from immigration and aviation authorities. Aside the One Lagos Fiesta which drew over two million visitors cumulatively across its five venues over eight days from December 24 to 31st, other big concerts like those by Davido, Whiz Kid, Burma Boy, Adekunle Gold, Rhythm Unplugged and Sound City Awards also attracted large crowd into Lagos and of course huge spending.
“Hotels were filled to capacity in most parts of the State and we are aware that Lagos and Calabar benefited from additional scheduled flights due to the huge attractions of Calabar Carnival, OLF and the A-list Concerts in Lagos.”
He added that virtually all the entertainment sub-sectors recorded huge spendings in billions over the yuletide period with 15 top foreign and local box office hit films released across the state hitting a record N3bn revenue in December alone; while parks, beaches and other resorts also recorded remarkable, sometimes unprecedented patronage from reports made available to the state government.
The statement added that the December 2018 high creative economy spending in the state corroborates the two key important global tourism industry indicators that were favourable to Lagos in 2018.
First was the British report in Daily Mail of London in April 2018 listing Lagos alongside Nairobi, Kenya as the top non-European destinations among British travelers planning for summer holiday. The second was the MasterCard Global Travel Index released in October 2018 ranking Lagos as the most visited city in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018.
The Commissioner said these remarkable global recognition and last December’s good business outlook in the creative sphere were in tandem with the vision of Governor Ambode to make Lagos the creative hub in Africa and “to assure corporate institutions and investors that the State security and social infrastructure can support the ever growing entertainment and creative landscape in Lagos.
“The night economy has fully returned and every part of the state duly felt the impact of a vibrant tourism, art and entertainment eco-system In December.”
LAGOS RELEASES CALENDAR OF ARTS AND CULTURE PROGRAMMES
The Lagos State Government has released a calendar of over 70 state-sponsored and endorsed arts and culture programmes slated for Y2018 in its bid to garner visibility for tourism-oriented art programmes.
The State’s Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde in a statement on Thursday, described the calendar as a novel exercise designed to frontload State and privately driven arts, culture and entertainment events that will have positive effects on tourism promotion.
“This is in fulfilment of the State Government promise to announce a yearly calendar of events to guide programming, tourist and visitors’ decision,” he said.
According to Ayorinde, the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, kick-started the year with his attendance at Ali Baba’s January 1st Comedy concert at Eko Hotel. Other arts and culture events held in January and February 2018 and included in the calendar are Angel and Muse, an art exhibition by a Lagos trained world renowned artist; Eebi; a month-long Indigenous Cultural Festival in Epe; Wazobia FM Carnival as well as the Lagos Marathon amongst others.
The idea of creating a calendar of events for state-sponsored and state-endorsed programmes, he said, is to make event planning, tour bookings and business decisions easier for tour operators and the general public.
He added that the calendar is part of the State’s innovation to project arts, entertainment and leisure benefits inherent in Lagos and makes the state attractive to domestic tourists; business travellers and stop-over passers-by.
The Commissioner said, “The State is forging ahead of expanding the consumption of its tourism products by improving access to tourism information and creating an events guide for the media and tour bloggers”.
Although not exhaustive, the calendar contains many of the indigenous cultural festivals across the state, entertainment events; concerts; visual; performing and fashion and culinary events.
The State is expected to leverage on infrastructural development, regeneration of old and creation of iconic attractions for entertainment, arts and culture enthusiasts to boost economic activities and expand opportunities for job creation during the various events slated on the calendar.
“The administration of Governor Ambode believes that the quantum of cash transactions across the tourism and entertainment value-chain, as tracked in December 2017 when about N50billion was spent on entertainment and leisure alone, is a testimony to the huge economic gain in promoting tourism in Lagos State. This and other economic factors make Lagos one of the most vibrant culturally significant cities in Africa with potentials to make enormous impact in driving in-bound tourists from across the globe,” Ayorinde said.
Major events listed in the calendar include Gidi Fest, Lagos Water Regatta and Fanti Carnival around the Easter Period; the International Jazz Day celebration on April 30 which will be dedicated to the South-African Jazz legend, Huge Masekela; the Lagos Comedy Festival on May 6 and the Eko Art Expo at the last weekend in May.
June will be rich with the first ever Lagos Golf Funfair and the Lagos Cinefest, which is designed to take cinema-going experience to all the five divisions of the State.
The Lagos Festival of Plays is a major highlight in the third quarter of the year; so is the Lagos Fishing Festival (Oshoroko) in Ibeju-Lekki; Akwaaba Travel Market and Faaji Agba – a special concert for the elderly to mark World Elders Day.
October to December will be the most intense period on the calendar with Olokun Festival; MUSON Festival; AFRIMA, AFRIFF; Kayo-Kayo Festival in Epe; the Lagos Luxury Summit/Fair; Felabration; Lagos Books & Arts Festival (LABAF) as well as the One Lagos Fiesta.
“The State is grateful to corporate sponsors who will make many of these events happen. Our aim is to use the calendar and other strategic initiatives to enrich the entertainment and cultural content to drive tourism promotion in this mega city,” Ayorinde said.
Mandela Washington Fellow Sparks Collaboration Between Artists and Healthcare Professionals
A 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow, Mr. Kunle Adewale, on Sunday inaugurated an Art in Medicine Fellowship for public health practitioners and professional artists in Lagos.
Eighty five (85) medical professionals including doctors, nurses, and trained caregivers as well as fifteen (15) visual artists were inducted into the yearlong fellowship.
The 100 inductees will hold a series of creative art engagements such as painting, drawing and collaging for children and young adults living with sickle cell anemia, cancer, and mental health conditions.
The sessions will be held for patients in selected hospitals and healthcare centers in Lagos, including the National Sickle Cell Centre, Idi Araba; Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH); and Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba.
Arts in Medicine project seeks to incorporate the arts into healthcare delivery, with a view to enhancing holistic patient care. The project is funded through a public diplomacy grant from the United States Consulate General in Lagos.
According to Adewale, who doubles as project lead of Tender Arts in Nigeria, the Arts in Medicine initiative will enhance public perception of hospitals as centers for nurturing and healing.
“There is increasing evidence that the display of visual art, especially images of nature, can have positive effects on health outcomes, including shorter length of stay in hospital, increased pain tolerance and decreased anxiety,” he explained.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Arts in Medicine Fellowship, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General, Lagos, Ms. Darcy Zotter, expressed optimism that the initiative will go a long way in improving the quality of lives of the participating patients.
“The Arts in Medicine initiative is yet another example of projects that support U.S. Mission Nigeria’s goals. The U.S. Mission to Nigeria’s Public Affairs Sections make available grant and funding opportunities to carry out projects of this type, which have social impact.
“We are happy to support this project which seeks to transform healthcare service delivery and healing through the arts. Creative arts programs can help patients work towards recovery in an effective and enjoyable way,” Zotter added.
Ile-Ife ‘To Become’ The Biggest Tourist Destination In Africa
Ile-Ife, the ancestral home of Yoruba descendants, is set to be transformed into a world heritage city, according to the promoters of a project in that regard.
The promoters led by The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja ll, and Almajdal Limited, an international business conglomerate, said the project involves the transformation of the ancient city into “the biggest tourist destination in Africa”.
Wali Kutrub, executive director of Almajadal Limited, said when completed, the project would also stir “immense wealth and job creation and an economic bang.”
He also quoted the ooni of Ife, as saying the project involves “re-construction and beautification of ancient sites, greenery of the city centers, redesign of the city main boulevard, outskirts and other legacy projects in line with the idea to create the necessary impetus for Ile-Ife and Yoruba cultural renaissance”.
He added that the project would also enhance research-based and knowledge-driven economy in Nigeria “with the south-west as the peg.”
The statement read: “We are set for a legacy project that will uplift one of the oldest cities in the world and put it on the global tourist map.
“It involves rebuilding the over 200 historical and archeological sites dating back to the 8th century, construction of the Yoruba museum of natural history, and the Yoruba ancient war museum, the rebuilding of the burial place of Oduduwa, the first ooni of Ife who died around late 9th century, the Garden of Saints for late oonis, the provision of gardens, botanical gardens and fountains across the city.”
He also said the group engineering the cause of the project would collaborate with Tropical Green City Foundation based in Lagos, and that the project is expected to employ the services of “thousands of artisans and create a job boom in the Ile-Ife axis and the entire South West region.”
“Nigeria is about to tap this immense resources beginning with the Ile-Ife project. About 1 million tree species sourced from all over the world will be planted at Ile-Ife in a bid to create a green revolution while rare species of plants and animals will be conserved,” Kutrub said.
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