Nigeria partners with CNN on tourism

Solomon Chung,Abuja

Wikki Warm Spring in Yankari National Park, Nigeria

A tripartite partnership involving Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and Culture, UN World Tourism Organization and Cable News Network, CNN to promote tourism in Nigeria has been announced.

Minister of Information and culture, Lai Mohammed announced the plan at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) in Lagos on Tuesday.

He said talks were at an advanced stage to forge a ”very strong and effective partnership to use our comparative advantage in film production through Nollywood, to promote tourism in Nigeria”.

“This is a path we have not trodden before, but which we are sure will go a long way in making it possible for us to push tourism from the back-burner to the mainstream of the economy. More details of the partnership will be provided in the days ahead,” Mohammed said.

Hosting right
He appealed to tourism stakeholders to work with the Nigerian government to ensure the success of the 2018 UNWTO CAF Meeting, the hosting right of which Nigeria won at the last edition of the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month.

“This is not the first time Nigeria will be hosting this meeting, but this time we must leverage on the meeting as a platform to promote Nigeria as a preferred tourism destination,” the Minister said.

Government-private partnership
He urged the private sector to partner with the government to grow the tourism industry and provide the necessary skills, competencies and ingredients for growth and progress.

“Stakeholders are also invited to package and promote Nigerian destinations, goods and services. This will create direct and indirect employment through tourism, grow the economy, increase the national GDP, position Nigeria as an all-year-round tourism destination and establish a worthwhile, acceptable and recognisable image of the country among tourists. Let us all tour Nigeria, let us all consume more of made in Nigeria, let us all know more of our heritage. Let us all celebrate Nigeria,” he said.

He said as part of efforts to improve Nigeria’s ranking on the Tourism Competitive Index of the World Travel and Tourism Council, the government has set up a Presidential Council on the “Ease of Doing Business”.

The Minister said that the Council had completed, in 60 days, 31 reforms across its eight priority indicators in areas such as the simplified Visa on Arrival Process, Infrastructural improvements at the Abuja Airport and the new Immigration Regulation 2017.