World tourism conference with a difference
Sir: “This meeting provides an excellent opportunity to discuss ways and means to promote intra-Africa travels and tourism, leveraging on our vast and unique resources and our number for mutual benefits of our member states.”
— Alhaji Lai Muhammed (Minister of Information and Culture at the UNWTO Conference, at the National Theatre, Lagos)
Whatever event might have ignited the singing prowess of the affable Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria into an ovation-evoking ace crooner, rendering the globally-acclaimed hit song, ‘Buga’ by our own iconic Kizz Daniel with an abiding passion must be one worth its time, energy and resources invested by the organizers.
What more, he did it so effortlessly while reeling out outstanding entertainment records recently set by Grammy-Award-winning Nigerian-born Burna Boy, Davido and Asake.
In fact, whatever occasion turned our own Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed into an encyclopedia of the fascinating factors that have metamorphosed into the noble nexus connecting tourism, culture and the creative industries, while still cracking not a few ribs, must have been worth its salt.
Jokes apart, the recent event with the thematic focus of: ‘UNWTO Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and inclusive Development’ lived up to its expectations. And it has charted a new course, not only for Nigeria and Africa but the world at large. It took place at the National Theatre, Iganmu, between 14th and 16th November, and culminated with the highly engaging interactive session with top thespians of Nollywood at the Civic Centre, V.I., Lagos.
To shed light into the objectives of the Conference one has to fully understand the priority areas of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa 2030 –‘Tourism for inclusive Growth’, as spearheaded by the UNWTO Secretary-General, ZurabPololikashvili who has been at the helm of affairs of the organization since 2018.
Furthermore, the conference unfolded with some significant objectives. These included bringing together top-notch panelists, industry players, practitioners, government officials and policy makers and stakeholders to discuss linkages and opportunities between cultural tourism and the creative industries. The brain-storming sessions was also used to identify investment avenues and mobilization of human and financial resources to boost recovery.
Osinbajo mentioned how BurnaBoy packed out New York City’s Madison Square with over 20,000 in attendance, becoming the first African artist to sell out the Garden. He added how Nigeria’s Afrobeat superstar, Davido set the record when the 2017 hit record “Fall” was certified gold in the USA making it the first afrobeat record to do so.
Tourism is not only a unifier of all economic activities but promotes the synergy of ideas and functions, respect for human beings, as it brings out whatever we love to do best as it connects with our common humanity.
By Ayo OyozeBaje