At global tourism fair, minister woos investors to Nigeria
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged investors to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunities in the nation’s Creative Industry, which he described as the fastest-growing sector of the nation’s economy, in terms of business opportunities, employment, earnings, and entertainment.
The Minister made the pitch at the 11th Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (Investour), which was held on the sidelines of this year’s International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain.
He said the sector currently employs about 1 million people, directly and indirectly, and has the potential to employ millions more, with the much-needed investment.
“Nollywood, for example, is not just about entertainment. It is also a major driver of economic growth and job creation, especially for youths and women,” Alhaji Mohammed said. ”With over 2,000 movies produced annually, the opportunities are immense for wealth and job creation.”
He said though the growth in the area of cinemas, for example, has been impressive, it is yet the tip of the iceberg.
“In 2014, Nigeria had just 23 cinemas, 100 screens, and three digital platforms. By 2018-2019, the cinemas have grown to 51, the screens to 184 and the digital platforms to five. Now, this is just a tip of the iceberg, considering that 6,000 screens and 1,000 cinemas are required to serve the Nigerian population of about 200 million people,” the Minister said.
He said the potential impact of such growth includes the creation of an additional 1 million jobs and a GDP growth contribution of 3 to 5 per cent.
Alhaji Mohammed, who served as a panelist at the event, said the nation also boasts of the very vibrant and popular music industry, which not only reflects her cultural richness but also has over the years translated into international recognition and acceptance.
“The Nigeria music revenue grew from about $36 million in 2014 to $53 million in 2018 and is projected to hit $86 million in 2021, making it the biggest in the region,” he said, noting that a chunk of the figure comes from digital music consumption, an area of the market which significantly boosted the industry in Nigeria and paved the way for local artists to thrive.
In the area of fashion, the Minister put the earnings at over N4 trillion of Nigeria’s re-based GDP (National Bureau of Statistics, 2018), and described arts and crafts as another growing area of the Creative Industry.
He said with rich food diversity, Nigeria could also leverage on gastronomy to grow its tourism and create job, especially for women who, he said, dominate the sector.
“It offers opportunities for communities to integrate tourism and local food systems in order to promote economic activities. Gastronomy tourism contributes positively to many levels of the tourism value chain, such as agriculture and local food manufacturing and provides a platform for the promotion of cultures through their cuisine,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
The Minister said Nigeria music revenue is projected to hit 86 million dollar (about N3.096 billion) in 2021, making it the biggest in Africa. He said the nation’s music revenue grew from about 36 million dollar in 2014 (about N1.596 billion) to 53 million dollar (about N1.908 billion) in 2018.
He said that Nigeria has a very vibrant and popular music industry, which not only reflects her cultural richness but has over the years translated into international recognition and acceptance.
The minister also disclosed that fashion and design earnings were put at slightly over N4 trillion of Nigeria’s re-based GDP in 2018, adding that tourism is a multifaceted sector consisting of both informal and formal enterprises, with numerous subcategories which include the arts and crafts.
“The activities of the arts and craft industry represent a special category of tourism (SMMEs). Although the art and craft sector largely consists of an unskilled workforce and individuals from remote and poor rural areas, it contributes to addressing some of the challenges that local communities face.
“It is also viewed as a cultural activity which represents the essence of the people’s way of life and serves as an integral part of the travel and tourism industry,” he said.
The minister noted that with the impressive figures, the Creative Industry has been viewed as a sector that could help the government reach its goal of diversifying the nation’s economy away from oil.
Meanwhile, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain joined the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for a special gala dinner in Madrid, further strengthening the support and commitment of Spain to sustainable tourism development.
Held to mark the 40th anniversary of FITUR, one of the world’s leading tourism trade fair and the first one to be held every year, the dinner also saw Ministers from around the world join public and private sector leaders to celebrate tourism’s status as a key pillar of the global sustainable development agenda.
This is the first time UNWTO and FITUR have hosted a royal dinner and comes just weeks after UNWTO and the Government of Spain ensured tourism was part of the conversation at the COP25 UN Climate Summit, also held in Madrid.
The tourism sector is a source of wealth and employment; it is a tool for social cohesion, for the consolidation of the population, for fighting against climate change and inequality
Speaking at the dinner, UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, thanked His Majesty and the Government of Spain for their strong commitment to UNWTO’s mission.
“Your presence is an inspiration and a further reminder of our shared responsibility to continue improving tourism for the benefit of all. UNWTO is privileged to be based in Spain, a true world leader in tourism, and Madrid is also home to FITUR, a platform that brings tourism leaders together every year and sets the international agenda for our sector and its role in the world.”
HRH King Felipe VI commended UNWTO on its work to place tourism at the centre of sustainable development, adding Spain is proud to host the United Nations specialized agency for responsible and inclusive tourism.
“The tourism sector is a source of wealth and employment, it is a tool for social cohesion, for the consolidation of the population, for fighting against climate change and inequality; it’s an accelerator in the achievement of the SDGs and digital transformation.”
Also, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced his support for UNWTO’s plans to host a Global Tourism Forum.
“The Davos of tourism”, as Mr Sánchez labeled it, will have its first edition in the final months of this year. This event shows the commitment of UNWTO’s host country to fostering tourism for sustainable development, underscoring the sector’s contribution to the 2030 Agenda against the backdrop of the Decade for Action, with just ten remaining years to achieve the Agenda’s Global Goals.”
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