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Minister seeks tourism ‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa’s post-COVID-19 recovery

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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, yesterday canvassed a ‘Marshall Plan’ to aid recovery of Africa’s Travel and Tourism Sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the sector.

He stated this at the 63rd Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Regional Commission for Africa (CAF), hosted online at Seychelles.

According to him, the fastest way for the Travel and Tourism Sector in Africa to recover from the effects of the pandemic was to focus on domestic and intra-Africa tourism.

“The Travel and Tourism sector and the entire Nigerian Creative Industry is large, diverse, dynamic and critical for economic growth, development and diversification.

“It is the biggest creator of jobs after agriculture and it also contributes between 2.5 and 3 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.

Mohammed noted that a committee, with membership drawn from Tourism, Hospitality, Music, Film, Fashion, Photography and Broadcasting media, among others, had been tasked with assessing the expected impact of the pandemic on the industry.

He disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had also established a N50b stimulus package to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on households, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the Creative Industry.

The minister added that as Nigeria gradually opens up like the rest of the world, new protocols were being put in place for the safety and security of all citizens.

He listed training of personnel on security, infection control, adherence to government protocols, enhanced hygiene, use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and facility sanitation, as some of the safety measures so far taken.

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