The Eko Atlantic City in Lagos State has been chosen as the location for a technical visit as part of activities lined up for the 61st Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization/Commission for Africa (UNWTO/CAF), scheduled for June 4 to 6 in Abuja.
The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced this in Lagos on Thursday when he paid a visit to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State to intimate him with details of the forthcoming international event.
Lagos, according to Mohammed, is crucial to the success of the meeting, as Eko Atlantic City is a promising city in Sub-Saharan Africa with many world class amenities.
He said the theme of the 61st UNWTO/CAF Meeting is ‘Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development’.
”The visit is to thank the Governor for the support he has given for the hosting of the 61st United Nations World Tourism Organisation/CAF meeting. CAF is the Commission for Africa which comprises of 51 ministers of tourism in all of Africa.
”Nigeria won unanimously the right to host this conference about a year ago.
”Our visit to Gov. Ambode is to thank him for his support so far and to intimate him that in recognition of Lagos State as a tourism haven, we have chosen the Eko Atlantic City as the area to visit with the 51 ministers.
”There is an event in the programme called ‘technical visit’ and we have chosen a visit to the Eko Atlantic City. The idea is to showcase to the world what Eko Atlantic City is all about.
”We have been there before during the World Tourism Day in 2016. Only recently, Mr President also was there on a tour of that city.
”So, we are now reinforcing this by bringing all the 51 African ministers to have an opportunity to see how Lagos State is investing in tourism,” he said.
The minister said that Nigeria would derive a lot of benefits from its hosting of the meeting.
He said it would put Nigeria and the nation’s tourism industry in global focus, in addition to attracting foreign research experts and promoting the necessary network that will form the basis for future cooperation.
”Also, it will provide Nigeria with the opportunity to showcase itself to the world, especially in the area of its culture and tourism; and of course, we have a lot to showcase: our tourist attractions, our rich culture, as well as our music and films, which have taken the world by storm,” he said.
The minister called on Nigerians to support the Federal Government in making the meeting a success, saying that the tourism world expects so much from Nigeria.
Responding, Gov. Ambode said that tourism provides the best platform to showcase and promote the nation’s culture, language and heritage.
”We believe strongly that we must emphasise more on our culture and our heritage and there is no other platform we can use other than the platform of tourism.
”So, we are in tandem with your vision and aspirations to make sure that we tell Nigerians the way our story was and the way our story is and also be able to tell outsiders who we are and who we want to be.
“For me, I need to support you because this is also in line with what we believe strongly that Nigerians ought to do.
“In the last three years, we have tried as much as possible to promote our heritage and also promote our languages.
”We do not want a situation where the Nigerian culture which is so rich and diverse will become extinct.
“That is why we must do everything in our own capacity to ensure that everything that the Federal Government is doing through the Ministry of Information and Culture, in bringing the unity of Nigerian together, is supported by this government.
”I want to reiterate that we are happy to be part of this event coming up. We want to showcase Lagos as a tourist State; our drive is to make Lagos State the tourist hub of Africa; we are getting near it,” Ambode said.
Our correspondent reports that Nigeria secured the hosting right for the meeting during the 60th Meeting of the UNWTO/CAF in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2017.