Chris Steven, Abuja
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture says the Federal Government will leave no stone unturned to ensure the successful hosting of the United Nation World Tourism Organisation/Commission for Africa (UNWTO/CAF) meeting taking place in Abuja between 4-6 June 2018.
“The UNWTO has shown a lot of enthusiasm to help Nigeria develop its tourism. When we submitted our bid in Addis Ababa in 2017 that we will host the first CAF meeting, it was unanimously accepted. Since then we have been working round the clock to ensure that we are going to give CAF members a treat they have never seen anywhere before, Mohammed said on Thursday.
He was speaking in when he received the Programme Officer of UNWTO, Ms. Lydia Bebe Kun, who is in Nigeria to assess the level of the country’s preparedness to host the meeting.
The Minister said apart from looking at tourism statistics for planning purposes, Nigeria will seize the opportunity of the UNWTO/CAF meeting to showcase the country’s rich tourism potentials, particularly the Eko Atlantic City in Lagos, which is probably the biggest tourism city in Africa.
He commended the UNWTO for the interest the world body has shown for Nigeria’s tourism development in the last two years, which has resulted into two special invitations to the headquarters of the Organisation in Madrid, Spain, to specifically discuss matters pertaining to Nigeria.
Mohammed said awareness is currently being created for the forthcoming meeting and that President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously accepted to declare the event open, while some governors have indicated their interest in participating in the event.
In her remarks, Ms. Bebe Kun said the CAF meeting is statutory and provides the opportunity for all the Tourism Ministers in Africa to meet annually and discuss the Tourism Agenda for the continent.
She said this becomes necessary because tourism is now a potent tool for job creation and economic empowerment.
“Tourism is a tool for sustainable development in the country. It can bring jobs for the youths and will reduce poverty and could be the new oil for this beautiful country,” she said.