Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed says preparations are in the final stage as the nation is ready to host its first United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) global conference on tourism, culture and creative industries.
Nigeria will this year, host 166 member states, with stakeholders from the public and private sector and civil society among others at the event scheduled to hold at the National Arts Theatre in Lagos State from 14th to 16th November.
The Minister who made this know during a press conference held in Lagos, said a team from the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Spain, is currently in the country on a preliminary mission for the conference.
The team comprises the Director, Regional Department for Africa, Ms Elcia Grandcourt, the Deputy Director, Regional Department for Africa, Mr Jaime Mayaki and the Communication expert for Africa, Mr Kojo Bentum.
According to him, the purpose of the mission, which is in line with the rules of the organization is to inspect the facilities for the conference, which include the National Arts Theatre; which is the venue, the designated hotels, venue for social events and finally to receive briefs from the planning committee.
”On Friday, the team inspected the National Arts Theatre, some of the designated hotels as well as the venue for the special programme on Nollywood.
”The team equally met with the planning committee; this morning, I received a comprehensive brief from the team and I am pleased to inform you that the team is very satisfied with the level of Nigeria’s preparedness to host the global conference.
”As you are aware, the UNWTO is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is globally responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accepted tourism.
”Nigeria’s membership of this important organisation spans almost five decades. I am happy to note that since joining the organization in 1975, Nigeria has been consistent in its commitment to the activities of the organisation.”
The Minister said the COVID-19 pandemic impacted all the sectors of the world economies, but most heavily on the travel and tourism sector.
He noted that with the recovery and lifting of restrictions in almost all parts of the world, global leaders and the international community were seeking industries that could stimulate socio-economic recovery, accelerate job creation and inclusive development.
He said the tourism and creative industries had huge potential to bridge this gap as the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy.
”The tourism sector creates one out of every 10 jobs, while the creative industries generate around 30 million jobs, mostly for the youth and women who constitute nearly half of the workers and accounts for 6.1per cent of global GDP.
” The forthcoming conference will therefore address the current challenges and ways in which member states can tap into emerging opportunities to speed up global economic recovery.
” It will also be unique networking opportunities for key industry players, practitioners, public and private sector policymakers to debate on contemporary and future issues, exchange ideas and information relating to tourism, culture and the creative industries.”
Speaking on what Nigeria tends to benefit from the conference, Muhammad said the event would be a great opportunity and platform for Nigeria to market the various sectors of its national economies.
“Countries bid to host international conferences and events because they provide a credible opportunity and platform to market the various sectors of their national economies. Nigeria, therefore, intends to leverage this very important event to market and highlight its diverse and unique assets in the areas of tourism, culture and the creative industries.“
The World Tourism Organization is the United Nations specialized agency entrusted with the promotion of universally accessible tourism.