Nigeria takes steps to unlock tourism potentials

Solomon Chung, Madrid

Nigeria has been given the preliminary green light to host the 2018 Regional Commission for Africa annual conference.

The provisional offer  among other areas of cooperation were agreed upon when the working visit of the country’s Information and Culture Minister , Alhaji Lai Mohammed to the United Nation World Tourism Organisation ended in Madrid, Spain.

At the end of the visit, the Minister on behalf of the Nigerian government appreciated the UN agency for the support and assistance in developing tourism in Nigeria.

“Nigerian government under the President Buhari led administration is ever ready and serious about using the tourism sector to diversify the country’s economy.”

At the end of the 2 day meeting, it was agreed that the Nigerian tourism master plan would be reworked upon and updated to take care of new challenges in Nigeria.

It was also on the cards that the resuscitation of the Presidential Council on Tourism, area of technical assistance as well as capacity building is crucial. Organisation, governance and bilateral relationship would be looked into and strengthened.

On his part, the Secretary General of the United Nation World Tourism Organization, Mr Taleb Rifai said Nigeria has a huge potential in the tourism sector and can compete with any country in the world in that regard.

“Yes some might bring up the issue of insecurity…But insecurity is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, every other country is facing the same insecurity challenges. Nigerian problem is not that of insecurity. I view it as a problem of perception.

Nigeria needs to work on her communication model. The world needs to know more about the changes going on in the country. The world needs to know about the tourism potentials and the genuineness of her tourism.”

He then submitted that at the end of the meeting, the deliverables would be measurable and also achievable with the agreed 2 year timeline.

“Within this period, we can measure and get result unlike in the past. The world would know more about Nigerian tourism and participation would be attracted both domestically and internationally.”

The Madrid meeting was conceived in Abidjan,Cote’d Ivoire when the Regional Commission for Africa conference took place sometime in April,2016.