Lagos Commissioner for Tourism And Inter-governmental Relations, Senator Tokunboh Afikuyomi, has attributed the high cost of hotel rooms in the state to the forces of demand and supply.
Participants at the just concluded Arabian Travel Market held in Dubai at the Nigerian stand
He said hotel owners are currently charging high because the demand for hotel rooms in the state is more than supply.
Speaking at a ministerial press briefing of his ministry, the commissioner said the state government can not be seen to be legislating on prices, ” so we need to encourage more people to invest in hotels in the state.
On the activities of the ministry in the last four years, Afikuyomi said the ministry has been able to positioned the state as business- cum- leisure hub through the provision of infrastructural facilities and enabling laws for the tourism and hosipitality sector to thrive.
He said: ” We have succeeded in the creating the first classification system in Nigeria. Lagos has scored the first in terms of standardization, regularization and classification of tourism industry.”
Afikuyomi said one of the reasons why a lot of hotel brands or tourism establishments were absent here, and Nigeria as a whole was because there was no entry process.
“There was no platform, rules or regulations or guideline as to entry regulations of the industry. And as foreign brands, they were careful that they don’t want to come to an environment where if, there were no rules, will bring down standard of that industry.
“They were not happy with that. If you look at four years ago, you will honestly say, which international hospitality brand is Lagos. Today you need to find out which brand is not here. The status has changed from who is here to who is not here.
He added “The hotels in Lagos have become safer and more secure. It is not like in the past when you need to write your will before you go to a hotel. You all remember when almost every hotel was visited by armed robbers. All that has changed. If you go around Lagos, night life has returned.”
The Commissioner for Tourism said at the beginning of the administration, apart from the task of settling down as a new ministry, they participated in various tourism fairs and exhibitions to sell the state.
He said: ” We travelled to different parts of the world.We were in China, South Africa, America, Tanzania and many other places; every where there was tourism market, we were there. People began to know more about Lagos. We took part in Nottinghill Carnival in 2007; we took part in what is called Panorama, a competition of floats of companies or countries and others. It is normally a competition; it was our first experience, and we came second. We were the first city to take a float to the Nottinghill Carnival. Nobody had thought about that before we came. We were the first country that did that. We were able to achieve that.
“Having seen the way that was being organized, it began to dawn on us that we can and we will be able to pull off staging a carnival in Lagos as well. That was the genesis of the Lagos carnival that has become a permanent feature in the tourism activities of Lagos.”
Afikuyomi said there was effrorts to rehabilitate some of the historical tourism assets of Lagos: “We have rehabilitated some of the tourism establishments like the Badagry museum and so on.
As part of the efforts for Black Heritage Festival (BHF), we embarked on some rapid changes and rehabilitation of some places with historical relevance to the festival, including Kabiyesi’s palace. We are trying to build it as a destination. A lot of foreign visitors visit the place.”