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UNWTO conference will provide opportunity to market economy

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
25 September 2022   |   4:27 am
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said Nigeria stands to benefit from its hosting of the first United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) global conference on tourism,...

United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Regional Director for Africa, Elcia Grandcourt(left); Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Lydia Shehu Jafiya, at a press conference on the forthcoming UNWTO Global Conference slated for Nigeria, held in Lagos…yesterday

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said Nigeria stands to benefit from its hosting of the first United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) global conference on tourism, culture and the creative industries, as it would impact the economy.

Speaking, yesterday, at a media briefing, in Lagos, on the forthcoming conference, he said that the conference will hold from November 14 to 16, 2022, in Lagos.

The right to host the event, which has as its theme ‘Linking Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development,’ was given to Nigeria in 2021, at the 64th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF) in Cape Verde.

According to the minister: “Countries usually 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 intends to leverage on this very important event to market and highlight its diverse and unique assets in the areas of tourism, culture and the creative industries.”

A team from the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Spain, is currently in Nigeria 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.

The purpose of the mission, which is in line with the rules of the organisation, is to inspect the facilities for the conference, which include the National Theatre; which is the venue, the designated hotels, venue for social events and finally to receive briefs from the planning committee.

“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 a unique networking opportunities for key industry players, practitioners, public and private sector policy makers to debate on contemporary and future issues as well as exchange ideas and information relating to tourism, culture and the creative industries,” the minister said.

According to him, “the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on all the sectors of the world economies, but most heavily on the travel and tourism sector; leading to its near collapse. With the recovery and lifting of restriction in almost all parts of the world, global leaders and international community are seeking for industries that can stimulate socio-economic recovery, accelerate job creation and inclusive development, hence the tourism and creative industries have huge potentials to bridge this gap as the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy.”

The tourism sector, it is noted, 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 6.1 per cent of global GDP.

He noted that the hosting right demonstrates the confidence of the organisation and its member states in Nigeria and its capacity to host such an important and huge conference. This will mark the fifth time that Nigeria will be hosting member states of the UNWTO.

He also commended the efforts of Cappa D’Alberto and SANEF, the contractor and consultant, which are doing the renovation work at the National Theatre. “They have shown tremendous commitment by fast-tracking work in order to ensure that the spaces and facilities required for the conference are ready and available for use. I therefore assure the visiting team that by end of next month, we will have a venue ready for the conference.”

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