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’s promise to announce a yearly calendar of events to guide programming, tourists’ and visitors’ decisions,” 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.