The delegates which include 322 from Nigeria, 166 foreign delegates and 26 ministers of tourism African countries tourism ministers and tourism exerts from across the world were in Abuja to discuss critical issues that will chart a new way for tourism in Nigeria and Africa, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Abuja.
This is as the UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili, said that he is devoted to promoting Nigeria and Africa tourism, even as he expressed appreciation to Nigeria for hosting the meeting and commending the Minister for a wonderful work and organisation put in place for the success of the event.
According to Mohammed, the security challenges of the country has improved greatly, adding that four years ago Nigeria would not had dreamed of hating the world in Abuja but now it can confidently do do because of the safe and secured nature of Abuja and Nigeria.
“Nigeria is safe and secured for all its citizens, tourists and investors,” said the Minister even as he assured all the delegates to the event, which spans Wednesday of their safety in the country, advicing them to feel free to explore Abuja and other parts of the country during their visit.
Furthermore, he said that: Nigeria is safe and that is why we are hosting this event today. We have nothing to fear in terms of security, ” adding that whatever security challenge s apparent are being addressed by the federal government.
On the three days meeting, Mohammed said that the country is ready and set to host the world as all necessary preparation s for a successful event has been made.
“We are all set to host the best UNWTO/CAF Meeting as all necessary preparation s have been made to endure this. The main committee, dub committee and staff of the ministry have worked tirelessly to make this possible,” declared the Minister.
On the theme of the meeting, ‘Tourism statistics as catalyst for development,’ he said this seeks to improve on statistics and tourism development, adding that Nigeria and other African countries will seek to take advantage of it improve on measuring on the contribution of tourism to their countries Gross Domestic Product.
Speaking further, the Minister stated that the delegates would be treated to tell best of Nigeria as various cultural events have been lined up for them and that they are sure to see the best of Nigeria and return home with good memories of the country.
Mohammed also said that the federal government is committed to touism development because it is the future of the country as it is dangerous for Nigeria to continue to depend on oil and gas,. He added that it is for this reason that the federal government is investing hugely on infrastructure, security and attracting investment to the country.
He also disclosed that Niger stands to benefit from hosting the event, which according to him, is already attracting attention to the country and would expose the tourism and business potential of the country to the hundreds of delegates and others attending the three meeting.
Pololikashvili in his remark said UNWTO is debited to African tourism and that everything possible would be done on improve on the continent rating, adding that part of the agenda of the meeting is to see how this can be carried out. please.
Pololikashvilli, who is visiting Africa continent and Nigeria for the first since taking over office in January this year, said he is delighted the prospect of Africa, adding that his agenda for Africa based on the submission s made by some African ministers.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari declare open the 61st meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization Commission in Abuja with no fewer than 166 foreign delegates, 26 ministers and 332 Nigerian top officials in attendance. President Buhari As a prelude for the takeoff of the global event, the Secretary General of the UNWTO, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, flew into Nigeria on Sunday morning and was received by Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and they addressed a joint press conference at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja on the future and scope of global tourism industry. Mohammed said the event was to showcase the improved tourism climate in the country arising from the administration’s effort to stem the tide of insecurity it met on the ground. The minister gave further details of the event: “As you must be aware by now, the theme of the meeting is ”Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development”. That theme fits very well into our quest to improve on our tourism statistics for planning purposes and the ultimate development of our tourism. “Please permit me to most sincerely thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his invaluable support, without which this event would not have been possible. Thanks to the successes recorded by this Administration in fighting insecurity, we are holding this global meeting here. “Four years ago, hosting this event in Abuja would have been a pipe dream, considering the level of insecurity. Remember that Boko Haram carried out many deadly attacks in this capital city. That is now history. “Nigeria is safe and secure for its citizens and for foreign tourists and investors. Whatever pockets of criminal acts that exist are being addressed squarely. “Gentlemen of the press, it is common knowledge that culture drives tourism. We will, therefore, use the occasion of this meeting to showcase the rich and diverse culture of Nigeria. Some spectacular cultural events have thus been lined up for the meeting.”