New laws for tourism operators in Lagos State

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola last week signed into law a bill for the regulation and standardisation of the tourism sector in the state.

While giving insight into the bill, the Special Advisor to the Governor on Political and Legislative Matters, AbdulHakeem AbdulLateef said the law will standardise the tourism sector as well as regulate hotel practice by amending the provisions of the hotel licensing law of 2003.

He said that no person would be allowed to operate a hotel establishment or practice tourism in Lagos State in any premises without first obtaining a licence from the Hotel and Tourism Licensing Authority.

He explained that the penalties prescribed under the former law are so outdated that it has witnessed high levels of disobedience with maximum penalties ranging between N100 (US$0.7) and N200 ($1.4) for offences.

The special advisor said the new law gives power to the Hotel and Tourism Licensing Authority to standardise, regulate and grade the various hotels and tourism businesses operating in Lagos State in line with best practices.

He said the commissioner responsible for managing the provisions of the new law is the commissioner for tourism and inter-governmental relations.

“Lagos is one of those states that has the capacity to really diversify its economy towards the area of tourism and that is why we have spent so much of tax payers’ money trying to provide the environment that would support a growth of tourism,” Fashola said.

The governor noted that tourism is about destination, saying if the people cannot get there, there is no tourism.

He added that this explains the massive construction of road network such as the Lagos Badagry Expressway and the Lekki-Epe Concession which are strategic investments to boost tourism and improve the economic possibilities.

“We have the same Atlantic Ocean that goes all the way round the west coast and as far as Brazil. If Brazil is making money from the Atlantic, why are we not doing the same thing? Laws like this also exist in all those jurisdictions,” Fashola said.