‘We’ll use sports tourism to sell Lagos’

Ekocity Magazine with Agency report — In a bid to make Lagos a world-class tourist’s destination, the Lagos State Government says it is set to use sports tourism to sell the state.

Deji Tinubu, the Lagos State Sports Commission’s Chairman, said on Sunday that the government had mapped out plans to tap into its tourism potential.

The state is set to use sports tourism to showcase its potential in that sector and we are on the right track.

Lagos is revamping its tourist sites through sporting activities. Marathon was the first we used to showcase what Lagos can produce and it has increased our tourism potential.

The psychological effects of it still lingers in the memory of those present at the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon on Feb. 6, where more than 24,000 people lined up the streets.

Tinubu said the lessons learnt during the Marathon will be used to improve on the subsequent ones and through this a standard will be created.

He further said from available statistics showing the huge number of people streaming into Lagos daily, tourism remained a goldmine for the state.

Citing the “Lagos Cyclefest’’, a private initiative, Tinubu noted that the competition was a huge success story of sports tourism.

According to him, the government will continue to support such initiatives to promote the state and its people.

He said: “The government will always partner with what will make the state to look good. We had the “Lagos Cyclefest’’ where we played host to cyclists from all over the world.

This is also a private initiative and we are amazed by its outcome.

Foreigners from outside Nigeria rode their bicycles to Epe. I was excited and I spoke with them.

The foreigners go on raft on the sea to ride their bicycles into the Epe forests. We will partner with such to raise our sports tourism portfolio’’.

Tinubu also unveiled some world-class competitions lined up to showcase the tourism potential in Lagos.

Recently the best team in the world, Barcelona, came to establish its Academy in Lagos and this makes us look good; it is a sign of good things happening in the state.

By the grace of God, we are also hosting the Nations Cup for Beach Soccer. It is a fantastic launch into tourism.

We cannot have a better deal between sports and tourism than this.

The recent Beach football competition at the Eko Atlantic is another wonderful experience and effort to ensure a blending of tourism and sports.

We have created an event and got it on the world map. Lagos is a fantastic place and in some couple of years, many will see a new Lagos — the home of tourism.

Badagry will be opened up. It a fantastic place where we have a beach in a serene place to host competitions.

Entertainment and sports are now key drivers of tourism and it is one of the ways to get our youths out of crime if we must be honest to ourselves.

What is it that is socially acceptable to take the attention of the youths away from crime? It is sports and entertainment.

However, sports and entertainment must be properly regulated for the youths to get the best.’’

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