Nigeria To Market Tourism Potentials At UNWTO Conference

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed
>> (left), and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (right), when
>> the Minister paid an advocacy visit to the Governor on the UNWTO
>> Conference in Lagos on Thursday.

Richard Ginika Izuora

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that government is putting together a marketing strategy to open more opportunities for creative and tourism industries after the COVID-19 pandemic dealt blow on the industry.

The Minister therefore called on the Lagos State Government to provide the necessary support toward successful hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, Global Conference on Tourism, Culture and the Creative

Industries, scheduled to hold at the National Theatre, Lagos, 14-16

November 2022.

The Minister, who led some members of the conference’s Planning

Committee on a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Governor, Mr.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday, said Lagos was selected as the host

city because of its premier role in tourism, culture and the creative

industries.

“While Nigeria is the host country of the inaugural edition of this

global event, Lagos is the host city, which is very fitting,

considering the premier role of the state in tourism, culture and the

creative industries,” he said.

Mohammed said Nigeria won the right to host this event in 2021,

during the 64th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF), held

in Cape Verde, adding: ”Granting Nigeria the hosting right is a

recognition of the country’s growing status, acknowledged globally, in

culture, tourism and the creative industries – which comprise many

sectors, including music, film, advertising, animation, architecture,

design, gaming, gastronomy, performing arts, software and interactive

games as well as radio and television.”

He said the conference will bring together top executives of the

UNWTO, Ministers of Tourism, Culture, Arts and the Creative Industries

from the 166 member states of the organization, international and

local stakeholders and the media, among others.

The Minister listed some of the socio-economic benefits that Nigeria

will derive from the conference as showcasing Nigeria’s tourism,

culture and creative assets; projecting Nigeria’s image as a safe and

desirable destination for leisure and business; consolidating on

Nigeria’s relationship with the UNWTO and its member states,

generating foreign exchange and creating direct and indirect jobs.

He said the conference will also highlight the restart of travel and

tourism in a safe and seamless manner after the unprecedented impact

of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a near collapse of the

sector; foster interaction and exchange of ideas and best practices

with key industry players; and create opportunities for the training

of public and private sector tourism officials.

Mohammed said the choice of the National Theatre, which is the

hub of arts and entertainment in Nigeria, is most appropriate as the

UNWTO conference will mark the return of the iconic edifice to its

role, following the ongoing $100-million rehabilitation of the

edifice, and the construction of hubs for music, film, fashion and IT

by the Bankers Committee and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Your Excellency, please permit me to specially recognize the role of

the Lagos State Government in the ongoing restoration of the National

Theatre to its former glory. The Lagos State Government is providing

invaluable support in partnership with the proponents of the Lagos

Creative and Entertainment Centre – the project conceived to refurbish

the National Theatre and build a new community of facilities for the

fashion, film, music and IT sectors,” he stated.

In his remarks, Governor Sanwo-Olu expressed the willingness of Lagos

State Government to partner with the Federal Government to ensure the

success of the UNWTO Conference through the provision of resources and

manpower.

He said the state government has already keyed into the conference by

dedicating November as the month of Arts and Culture, as it will be

hosting the National Festival of Arts and Culture, unveiling the JK

Randle African Museum and holding an International Art Exhibition,

among other events, within the period.

Governor Sanwo-Olu was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo

Ayinde; the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, the

Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat

Akinbile-Yusuf, among other state officials, to receive the Minister

and other members of the Planning Committee

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