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Nigeria To Use Global Tourism Confab To Showcase Tourism, Creative Assets – Minister

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CHIDIMMA UCHEGBU -Abuja
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said
Nigeria will leverage the forthcoming World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO) global conference to showcase the country’s tourism and
creative assets.

The Minister, who made the remarks in Calabar, Cross River State, on
Tuesday in his keynote address at the 2022 World Tourism Day
Celebration, said the global conference would also create a viable
platform to identify, develop and promote new models of stronger
partnership between tourism, culture and the creative industries.

“The (World Tourism Day) celebration is particularly important this
year because of the right granted to Nigeria by the United Nations
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to host the first-ever UNWTO Global
Conference on ‘Linking Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries:
Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development’,’ he said, in
reference to the conference scheduled to hold from 14-16 November 2022
at the National Theater Complex, Iganmu, Lagos.

Alhaji Mohammed noted that tourism the world over is recognized as a
key contributor to job creation, sustainable economic growth,
environmental conservation and poverty alleviation, saying
tourism also acts as a catalyst for social equality and inclusivity as
it provides women, youth and rural communities the means to support
themselves, in addition to effectively accelerating progress across
the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

He expressed delight that in spite of the devastating effect of the
COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector, it is now making a steady
recovery.

Quoting the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the Minister said
international tourism got back to 60% of pre-pandemic levels between
January and July 2022, with international tourist arrivals almost
tripling in January to July 2022, compared to the same period of 2021.

“The pandemic highlighted the critical need to transform the tourism
industry as the
global travel and tourism sector slowly recover – as emphasized by the theme of
this year’s celebration (Rethinking Tourism). I have no doubt that the
time is right to begin this
transformation and to rebuild the industry,” he said, adding: ”The
good news is that given the
resilience of the tourism industry and its ability to recovery quicker
than other sectors, there is the need for more inclusive and
sustainable recovery approaches to be adopted.”

While speaking on the theme of the 2022 World Tourism Day, “Rethinking
Tourism”, he said it aims to inspire the debate around rethinking
tourism for development, including through education and jobs,
tourism’s impact on the planet and opportunities to grow more
sustainably.

Alhaji Mohammed said the annual observance is also considered as a
powerful advocacy tool to mobilize political will and resources,
address global problems, celebrate and reinforce achievements at all
levels and educate the public on issues of concern.

He commended the Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, for
hosting this year’s World Tourism Day and for his efforts at making
the state and indeed Nigeria a preferred tourism destination in
Africa.

“Tourism has significantly transformed the state into a choice
destination where most fun-seekers and visitors long to visit. Your
efforts in sustaining and improving the existing tourism assets in the
state, particularly the annual Calabar Christmas Carnival, which is
recognized globally, is a great milestone in the history of tourism in
Nigeria,” the Minister said.

The highlight of the 2022 World Tourism Day was a world-class Command
Performance by the Cross River Cultural Troupe and the unveiling of
the theme for the 2022 Calabar Carnival by Governor Ayade.

The Minister was accompanied to the occasion by the Directors-General
of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mr. Folorunso Coker;
National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Prof. Abba Tijjani;
National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Mr. Nura Kangiwa and
the General Manager and CEO of the National Theatre, Prof. Sunday
Ododo.

Others are the Directors General, National Gallery of Art, Dr. Ebeten
Ivara; National Broadcasting Commission, Mallam Balarabe Illelah and
the Artistic Director, National Dance Troupe, Mr. Ahmed Mohammed
Ahmed.

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