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 N50 billion in cash transactions, a record slightly higher than December 2017 which also recorded a good run in travel, entertainment and leisure-related spending.
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 spending 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 spending 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 21 million 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 spending 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.”