At UNWTO global conference, stakeholders explore connections between culture and tourism
The National Arts Theatre Iganmu Lagos witnessed the presence of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) first Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries, in order to advance sustainable development and opportunity across Africa.
Bringing together leaders and some of Africa’s best creative minds such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Tourism, Lai Mohammed, Governor of Lagos, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, Nigerian businessman and philanthropist who has served as a UNWTO Ambassador since 2018, Aliko Dangote and others, the 3-day UNWTO conference celebrated the close ties between the two major sectors.
According to UNWTO, the idea is to bridge the gap between the two areas through strategic partnerships with Affiliate Members such as Netflix.
Opening the event, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili while addressing delegates said: “The fortunes of tourism and culture are closely linked. When one thrives, the other does too.”
He, however, urged the public and private sectors to explore new ways of harnessing the power of culture and tourism to create jobs and business opportunities, and to drive inclusive development, both in Nigeria and across Africa.
In his remark, Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo said: “Our desire to diversify our economy and explore other sustainable sources of revenue has led us to rank the tourism, culture and the creative sector among the priority sectors of the economy. Specifically, tourism has been recognised for its resilience and dynamism.”
Osinbajo also highlighted the ability of music to serve as a global language, bringing people together and allowing them to learn more about the culture and ideas of others.
Nigeria’s Minister of Tourism, Lai Mohammed, also said: “Today, more than ever, tourism and the creative industry, due to their economic viability, are in the global spotlight and have their place at the forefront of national and international development agenda.”
The Conference also focused on UNWTO’s key strategic objectives, most notably youth empowerment and boosting investments in tourism.
On the first day, UNWTO hosted a special interactive session with youth from across Nigeria, fulfilling the commitments made in the Sorrento Call to Action to make young people active participants in decision-making in the sector.
Also, a panel discussion on Stimulating the Creative Industries for Social Entrepreneurship focused on the importance of supporting MSMEs and innovators in order to enhance competitiveness across the tourism sector.
Against the backdrop of the Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries, UNWTO celebrated the richness of African gastronomy, a growing force within the continent’s tourism sector.
The event also featured Flavors of the World, presenting the very best culinary talent, and local gastronomy star Chef Coco Reinarhz who joined a workshop and panel discussion focused on realising the potential of gastronomy tourism to grow destinations and drive inclusive and sustainable development.Global statistics have shown that women and girls all over the world were mostly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on this, the just concluded World Travel Market held in London, United Kingdom has passed the bill to put women empowerment on the ‘Centre Stage’ of global tourism’s restart.
This followed United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) partnership with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and United Nations Women to put gender equality at the heart of recovery plans.
The Center Stage project was piloted in four countries – Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jordan and Mexico – bringing on board governments and businesses as well as NGOs and community associations.
Remarking on gender equality in tourism global scale awareness campaign, UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “As we rethink the future of tourism, it must be one in which women and men are equally empowered to take the opportunities that the sector’s restart is bringing. The four pilot countries have led the way in putting gender equality at the centre stage of their tourism recovery plans and UNWTO is committed to taking this work further and wider.”