Ambode says Lagos remains preferable destination for leisure, entertainment in Africa at drink festival
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Thursday said that Lagos State would remain creative to retain the ranking of being the preferable destination for business, leisure and entertainment in Africa.
Ambode said this in his opening address at the 2nd International Drink Festival held at the Balmoral Centre, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Newsmen reports that the festival, packaged by the Balmoral Group, would run from Thursday, Nov. 29 to Sunday, Dec.2.
The organisers also said that the four-day drink gala would attract over 200 brands of Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic drinks, while consumers’ satisfaction would be its main focus.
Ambode represented by his Special Adviser on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Aramide Giwason, said that the government would ensure that Lagos remains on the tourism map in the world.
“This festival is an affirmation of the confidence of the private sector investors and stakeholders in our administration’s policies and initiatives for the promotion and development of the potential available in the tourism sector.
“This is also a clear demonstration of our resolve to place our state on the tourism map and make it a preferable option for leisure travellers.
“This can be viewed in the release of the maiden calendar of Lagos State endorsed and supported tourism events in the beginning of the year 2018.
“It is our desire and in furtherance of the inclusive governance policy to continue to seek collaboration with all institutions and corporate bodies to expand the hosting of more crowd pulling events,’’ he said.
Ambode said that the festival could be seen in the light of promoting a brand of business relations, tourism and entertainment that would give all stakeholders a forum for interaction.
“The concept of International Drink Festival is a means of promoting hospitality and recreation sector while providing a platform for business opportunities and networking in a convivial atmosphere for investors, stakeholders and public.
“Indeed, the culture of sharing drinks among friends, groups or as a means of facilitating good relations is centuries old and cuts across tribal or ethnic diversities across the world.
“This will deepen our strategic investment for the evolution of more creative events to boost Lagos State ranking as a preferable destination for tourism in Africa and the World,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Godwin Akwa, the Deputy Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), said that the agency was ready to work with the drink industry.
“We are ready to support the drink industry in all capacities available to us. We believe that the sector plays important role in the health and lifestyles of everybody.
“The drink industry plays a critical role in the economy of the country because it is vast, credible and vibrant. So, ours as a regulatory body will always seek the best from the manufacturers,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Akin Esho, the Chief Operating Officer of Balmoral Group and organisers of the festival, said that the fiesta was a gift to all lovers of drinks.
Esho said, “The beer village experience at the International Drink Festival will be a gift to West African beer lovers.
“The attendees gathered here will be exposed to a variety of beers to pick from and to quench their tastes. Guests will also use this opportunity to try new brands, discover different varieties.’’
He added that other side attractions at the festival would include a main stage, a live band, barbecue and grills for the guests.
“For the benefits of those that will be at work, we have designed the festival in such a way that the village will run till the dead of the night,’’ he said.
Esho said that the festival would also afford the manufacturers and representatives of various brands to exhibit their products, interact and also provide education to their consumers.
“The festival will give the attendees familiarity with various wine brands from across the world as both international and local wine makers will be present to exhibit their wines in the various kinds.
“The world of drink will afford the consumers and producers of wines the opportunity to interact. The producers will also have the window to educate consumers on the dynamics of drinks.
“Consumers will get to know the content of each kind of wine as well as the medical implications of wine consumption. The attendees will enjoy, explore and experience new brands.
“Above all, there is the presence of world renowned mixologists to treat attendees to electric atmosphere. “We expect honest reviews from the consumers about the brands on exhibition,’’ he said.
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