….As govt mulls soft-landing for practitioners
By Olaunkanmni Akoni
The Federation of Tourism Association, Lagos State Chapter has concluded plans to make hotel accommodations available to Lagos State Government as isolation centres for COVID-19 patients in the state.
This came as State Government has assured practitioners in the tourism sector of palliatives that would help assuage the negative impact which the COVID-19 pandemic had caused to their businesses, assuring them of a soft-landing after the pandemic.
The President of Federation of Tourism Association, Lagos State Chapter, Mr. Gbenga Sunmonu, expressed the readiness of the practitioners at the stakeholders’ meeting between the State Government and the executive members of tourism associations in the state.
Sunmonu who lamented the current hardship being faced by members due to lockdown on their business, however, stressed that the decision to make available hotel facilities as isolation was to address the shortage of accommodation in view of the rising cases of patients which had been projected to hit 120,000 by June 2020 in the state.
According to the president of the association, government alone can not win the war against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic without support from corporate organizations, individual and the general public, saying, “We are in this together, and we will triumph together.
“We are determined to give the state government necessary support in following all the operational guidelines already released by the government.
“We commend the state government for carrying us along in its decisions as it affects the tourism sector since the outbreak of the virus.”
The state Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharmacist, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf said that the meeting between the government and stakeholders was organized to develop a more coordinated relationship with the practitioners in order to engender a Win-Win situation and provide a smooth take-off of activities in the sector after the pandemic.
The commissioner affirmed that the present situation of Covid-19 which had posed a great challenge to the collective goals of all sectors was of serious concern not only to members of the association but also to the state government.
She maintained that the decision of the government to suspend all tourism-related activities, for now, was a painful one but also an indispensable move needed to control the spread of this virus.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Solomon Bonu revealed that the state government was already considering the re-ordering of the Year 2020 Budget as a way of refocusing the direction of the government expenditure in view of the COVI-19 pandemic.
Responding to some requests from members of the tourism associations, Bonu explained that similar request of palliatives had earlier been raised by owners of restaurants and some other stakeholders, stressing that the state government would consider a very suitable means of reducing the hardship which the pandemic had caused the various sectors.
He advised that rather than asking for a partial re-opening of hotel operations, they should consider the overall effect of their request on the generality of the masses, stressing that the lives and safety of the citizenry and their customers must not be compromised for any reason.
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