Global tourism body says Nigeria will hit full potential

Solomon Chung, Addis Ababa

UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifa

The Secretary General of United Nations World Tourism Organisation ,UNWTO, Taleb Rifa says “the endorsement of Nigeria for the hosting of 61st CAF “ is a great piece of news for the country’’.

“I am absolutely sure that with the hosting of the CAF meeting, you will see that the Nigeria’s tourism industry will get on the right track and achieve results.

In addition to the direct economic benefits this event will bring to the country, the limelight the country will be exposed to is unquantifiable.

Nigeria will be hosting all Ministers of Tourism in Africa, that itself will send the powerful message that tourism is important for Nigeria.

Nigeria was a major player in tourism industry and the UNTWO had missed the country in its fold until minister Mohammed showed renewed commitment when he assumed office. I congratulate Nigeria,” he said in Addis Ababa.

“Nigeria is one third in terms of number and the weight it represents in the arts, the movie and the creative industry in general in Africa. What comes out of Nigeria in these areas is enough to be disseminated to the whole world.

However, Nigeria is not utilizing that yet and this conference will be a great opportunity to realize that,’’ Rifa explained.

He then submitted that with the hosting right given to the country, it was a great opportunity to reconnect with the global tourism community in a manner that would be beneficial.

Potential

Nigeria’s tourism credentials are bound to witness a boom and the possibility of unlocking the greatest opportunity available in the sector is at hand.

The country’s Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed revealed this in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, during the 59th meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Regional Commission for Africa meeting.

He said the fact that the global tourism community gave Nigeria the right to host the 61st edition of the meeting was an indication that the world has faith in the policies and programmes of the Nigerian government, led by President Mohammadu Buhari.

On Wednesday, Nigeria won the right to host, in 2018, the 61st meeting of African Ministers in charge of Tourism, under the umbrella of UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF)

The Minister said Nigeria had a lot to benefit from the hosting of the event and as such, must put everything in strategic order to take advantage of that.

“Wednesday was a big moment for Nigeria here in Addis Ababa because Nigeria got the endorsement of the whole world to host the 61st session of the CAF mission of the UNTWO.

What that means really is that the entire world has endorsed the programmes and efforts of President Buhari’s administration,’’ he said.

Mohammed said that hosting the conference should be seen in a bigger picture that “Nigeria is once again on the global stage.”

“This is an opportunity to showcase our diverse culture heritage and also an opportunity to tell our own narrative from our own perspective.

Hosting this conference will give confidence to investors that this is a country they can come and invest in.It will also convince the entire world that Nigeria is serious in promoting culture, music, film and entertainment industry to diversify the economy.”

The minister said the good will the event would bring to Nigeria in the area of tourism and other related areas cannot be equated in terms of balance sheet of money.

He said so many other countries were bidding to host the event to boost their tourism industry and attract goodwill to their nations.