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FG To establish community museums as UNWTO/ UNESCO seek preservation of cultural identities

By Chuks Nwanne
14 December 2019   |   4:03 am
The Federal Government has announced plans to establish community museums as part of efforts to ensure that local communities benefit from tourism.

The Federal Government has announced plans to establish community museums as part of efforts to ensure that local communities benefit from tourism.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the plan on Thursday at the ongoing 4th World UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Kyoto, Japan.

“In Nigeria, we observed that tourists stay in big cities when they visit. They visit the museums in the cities where objects gotten from different parts, including the rural areas, are displayed but they hardly go to the rural areas.

“To encourage tourists to visit the rural areas where money spent is quickly reflected in the local economy, we are trying to establish community museums,” said the Minister, who served as one of the panelists at the Ministerial Segment of the conference, dedicated to discussing and exchanging policies and government models impacting the future of cultural tourism.

Alhaji Mohammed said the government would, in particular, encourage the establishment of palace museums.

“Parts of ancient residencies of traditional rulers and important chiefs are being turned to museums. Thus, we are not limiting museums to big cities. Money spent by tourists while visiting these rustic places stays longer in these areas. Lamido Adamawa now has the Fombina Palace museum, just like the Emir of Potiskum has palace museum,” he said.

He said the government, through high-level representation, training of festival managers and the provision of enabling environment, is supporting and promoting festivals and cultural tourism all over the country, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that local communities benefit from such events.

The Minister assured that a national calendar of festivals would soon be unveiled to assist tourists, who are coming to Nigeria in planning their visits.

Alhaji Mohammed said that Nigeria has continued to leverage on the areas in which it enjoys a comparative advantage, citing music, movies, and fashion as some of such areas.

Meanwhile, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Fourth World Conference on Culture and Tourism spotlights the added value of culture for destinations and focuses on the future sustainability of cultural tourism.

At the Japan conference, delegates debated how to keep the appreciation of heritage and contemporary cultural expression at the heart of tourism for generations to come. Intercultural dialogue, local communities, and innovative measurement systems are at the core of the conference conclusions laid down in the Kyoto Declaration.

UNWTO Executive Director Manuel Butler said: “When managed responsibly cultural tourism can enrich the lives of both travelers and residents, promoting diversity and intercultural dialogue. The Kyoto Declaration will help us to ensure that our world’s rich heritage and diverse creativity are wonders that our children too will have the chance to discover for themselves”

UNESCO Deputy Director-General, Mr. Xing Qu, added, “The international community needs to seize the benefits of connecting culture and tourism as global forces that bring people together. UNESCO is pleased to be partnering with UNWTO in this venture as we look to deepen and widen our collaboration.”

Responsible practices were at the forefront of the solutions put forward by leading experts in the field, such as including the local population at every level of cultural tourism development and using new technologies to sustainably manage visitor flows and the equal distribution of tourism benefits.

Kyoto’s Mayor, Mr. Daisaku, presented the ‘Kyoto Model’ to representatives from over 50 countries across the world as a means of effectively striking the right balance between marketing cultural heritage and preserving it for future generations. 

UNWTO also launched the UNWTO Recommendations on Sustainable Tourism Development during the conference that was compiled in close consultation with indigenous entrepreneurs, advocates and representatives. 

The recommendations provide guidance on developing sustainable and responsible operations to indigenous communities that want to open up to tourism development or improve the existing tourism experiences their communities offer.

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