Ex-tourism boss advises Ambode on presidential lodge
A former Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Olusegun Runsewe, has urged Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State to turn the presidential lodge in Marina to a tourist hub befitting a megacity.
Runsewe, who spoke on Monday, said the lodge could also be used as a heritage and visitors’ tower, describing the handover of the structure by the federal to the state government as commendable.
He said, “The handover of the lodge by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Lagos State Government is good news in the history of tourism development in Nigeria. This initiative shows that the Federal Government means well for the development of the component units of the country.
“I advise the governor to transform the lodge into a global iconic tourism feature. The governor should get the best hands and reputable companies to construct a signature world heritage and visitors’ tower in the vicinity.
“A special light rail must connect the signature heritage and visitors’ tower to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, which in turn could create about 160,00 tourism jobs and turn the Marina and Onikan areas into exclusive tourism destinations like Dubai, Canada, Trinidad &Tobago and Singapore.
“This is a culture heritage in the making and all the facilities such as cable car, car park, shopping mall, children playground, and food courts must be added to it.”
The former DG, who was commended by ex-President Olusegun Obansanjo for his efforts in the NTDC, said the lodge was now within the threshold of making Nigeria a preferred tourism destination in Africa.
“If Governor Ambode would stick to his plans on tourism in Lagos, and from what he has already done, that lodge, with a signature heritage and visitors tower strategically connected to major transport entry and departure points in Lagos, will turn the state to a tourism hub and revenue making machine” he added.
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