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FG lists gains of UNWTO tourism confab hosted by Nigeria



The Federal Government says the just-concluded global tourism confab held at the National Theatre, Lagos, was a success with immense takeaways for Nigeria.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the declaration on Monday in Abuja when he featured on Nigeria Television Authority’s programme: “Good Morning Nigeria” monitored by our reporter.

Nigeria hosted the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) first global conference on: “Linking tourism, culture and the creative industry: Pathways to recovery and inclusive development’’ from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16 in Lagos.

Reviewing the confab, the minister said it was the first time UNWTO would consider the three linked sectors – tourism, culture and the creative industry.

It was also the first time that any event would hold at the refurbished National Arts Theatre edifice since its phased rehabilitation.

Mohammed said the conference, declared opened by the vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari was attended by at least eight African ministers and participants from 60 countries.

“By all standards, it was very successful and we were able to showcase a world class venue that can host regional and global events at any level, comparable to anywhere the world.

“We were also able to showcase Nigeria’s culture, tourism potentials, and its creative industry to the extent that the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Mr Zurab Pololikashvili, said he regretted not coming with his family members to Nigeria.

“The fact that Nigeria was able to host two global conferences back-to-back within less than one month showed that in spite of the antics of naysayers, Nigeria is safe and is ready to host world class events,” he said.

UNESCO held its Information and Media Literacy Week in Abuja between Oct. 24 and Oct. 31.

The minister also said that Nigeria’s cultural performances at the Lagos tourism confab worked well for the country.

He said the thrilling performances prompted the UNWTO Secretary General, Mr Pololikashvili to conclude that Nigeria would be a leading contender when UNESCO is considering the site for a global University of Tourism.

The minister added that Pololikashvili was so impressed with the interaction with Nollywood producers and directors that he promised that the UNWTO would collaborate to further develop Nigeria’s film industry.

Mohammed said also that the Lagos tourism confab provided Nigeria the opportunity to showcase her positive sides through music, films, culture and gastronomy.

Rotimi Ijikanmi

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