The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says Nigeria has taken its pride of place in the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The minister said this on Thursday in Abuja, when he received Mrs Lydia BebeKun, the UNWTO Programme Officer for the hosting of the 61st meeting of the organisation’s Commission for Africa.
The meeting is scheduled to hold in June in Abuja.
The UNWTO is a global agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It is also charged with the responsibility of making tourism the driver of economic growth,
Mohammed was elected in 2017 as Vice President, Africa, of the 43 years old organisation with membership including156 countries, six territories and over 500 affiliate members representing the private sector.
The minister said with over two years as minister, the country have had the opportunity to interact intensively and positively with the global tourism body.
“Nigeria has been treated as a very special member of UNWTO and that has earned us two special invitations to Madrid, its headquarters, to discuss matters pertaining particularly to tourism development in Nigeria.
“UNWTO has shown a lot of enthusiasm to help Nigeria develop its tourism sector.
“When we did bid in 2017 in Addis Ababa to host the UNWTO CAF meeting, it was unanimously accepted.
“Since then, we have been working round the clock to ensure that members are given a treat they have never seen before when they come for the conference,’’ he said.
The minister said BebeKum was in the country to ensure that all preparation for a successful hosting of the CAF meeting was going on smoothly.
He noted that though Nigeria had the hosting right, it was incumbent on UNWTO to collaborate with the host country to ensure a successful meeting.
The minister assured the visiting official and the expected participants that Nigeria would leave no stone unturned to ensure a successful meeting.
“We have done everything possible to create the awareness of this meeting.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously accepted to declare it open subject to any other pressing schedule.
“We have also sought and obtain the participation of various governors.
“We have chosen to give members of CAF a treat at the Eko Atlantic city in Lagos, which is the biggest tourism site under development in Africa,’’ he said.
The minister assured that the meeting and lined up events would all be given the Nigerian touch while participants would also have a feel of Nigeria’s hospitality and diversity
Earlier, BebeKun said the CAF meeting was a statutory one involving all tourism ministers from African countries, the national body of UNWTO and other stakeholders
She said that the UNWTO was determined to support Nigeria in making tourism new oil.