Nigeria Signs Hosting Agreement For Global Tourism Conference

> The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (left) and the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization, Mr Zurab Pololikashvili (right), signing the hosting agreement for the 1st UNWTO Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday

Francesca Odimgbe

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has

assured that the 1st Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and

Creative Industry, to be held in Lagos 14-17 November 2022, will be a

trailblazing event.

The Minister gave the assurance in Madrid on Tuesday when he signed

the hosting agreement for the event with the Secretary-General of the

UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, in

the Spanish capital.

He said the signing of the agreement is the clearest indication yet of

Nigeria’s commitment to hosting a successful conference, officially

entitled ‘1st UNWTO Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and

Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development’.

Alhaji Mohammed said the conference will be held at the National

Theatre, which is currently being renovated at a cost of $100 million,

under a partnership between the Federal Government and the Bankers’

Committee/Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He said the conference will form a part of the events to formally

declare open the National Theatre, the iconic edifice which is

undergoing its first renovation in over four decades, in addition to

witnessing the construction of new hubs for fashion, information

technology, film and music.

”In an effort to ensure that the National Theatre complex is ready

for the hosting in November, I recently undertook an inspection tour

of ongoing work there with stakeholders, including the Governor of

Lagos State, the Governor of CBN and the Minister of Sports and Youth

Development. Every indication is that the venue will be ready early

enough to host the global conference,” the Minister assured.

He said the global conference will affirm Nigeria’s status as the hub

of the Creative Industry in Africa, and help reposition the Cultural

Tourism and Creative Industry as the engine of growth not just for

Nigeria or Africa but indeed all countries of the world.

”The creative economy contributes a significant 3% to the global

gross domestic product (GDP), averaging between 2% and 7% of national

GDPs around the world. And, according to UN estimates, the creative

economy industries generate annual revenues of $2.25 trillion and

account for 30 million jobs worldwide. The essence of this conference,

therefore, is to help improve on those figures and create more jobs

”This inaugural conference couldn’t have been conceived at a better

time. The Creative industry was badly hit by Covid-19 pandemic, and it

is just beginning a slow and long recovery process. For example, it is

estimated that In 2020, the cancellation of public performances alone

cost the organizers roughly 30 per cent of global royalties, while the global

film industry lost $7 billion in revenues. The stark reality is that

millions of jobs were also lost during the shutdown period. That’s why

the conference is not only expedient but timely,” Alhaji Mohammed

said.

He commended the UNWTO for coming up with the conference and also for

giving Nigeria the hosting rights.

For his part, the UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Pololikashvili, assured

that the UN agency will immediately kickstart a global publicity

campaign for the event as part of efforts to ensure its success.

The signing was witnessed by the Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Mr.

Demola Seriki, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism

Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker, among others.

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