The Federal Government says it is hosting a maiden global conference on Tourism and Creative Industry to project Nigeria’s image as a safe and desirable destination for leisure and business.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Wednesday in Abuja at the inauguration of the Planning Committee for the conference.
The United Nations World Tourism
Organisation (UNWTO) granted Nigeria the hosting right for the inaugural edition of the Global Conference during the 64th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa in Cape Verde in 2021.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the theme of the conference is, “Linking Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development”.
The conference is scheduled to take place at the National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos, under reconstruction, from Nov. 14 to16.
The minister said in addition to the socio-economic benefits of hosting the conference, it would provide the opportunity to showcase Nigeria’s tourism, culture and creative assets.
He said the conference would also help Nigeria to consolidate its relationship with the UNWTO and its member states.
Mohammed said the conference would help in the restart of travel and tourism in a safe and seamless manner after the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in a near collapse of the sector.
He added that the conference would help the country to generate foreign exchange and create direct and indirect jobs as well as opportunities for training of public and private sector tourism officials.
He said the conference would afford participants to interact and exchange ideas and best practices with key industry players.
The minister said Nigeria was given the right in recognition of the country’s rising profile in tourism, culture and the creative industries, not just in Africa but around the world.
“The creative industries, which include arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music and performing arts, have taken a central role in Nigeria and boosted our tourism.
“The Nigeria film industry, popularly known as Nollywood, has become a globally-recognised brand and the third largest movie industry in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood.
“Our music industry, just like its movie counterpart, has also taken the world by storm, while our fashion industry is so huge that it is bigger than the movie and the music industries combined,” he said.
He added that the granting of the hosting right was a clear demonstration of the confidence of the UNWTO and its member states in the country’s capacity to deliver.
The minister recalled that Nigeria successfully hosted the meeting of the UNWTO’s Commission for Africa four times; in 2002, 2008, 2012 and 2018.
Speaking on the objectives of the conference, the minister said it would promote innovative policies and harness the symbiotic potential of cultural tourism and the creative industries.
He said it would provide networking opportunities for key industry players, practitioners as well as public and private sector policy makers.
He said the conference would help to identify investment avenues and mobilisation of human and financial resources to boost recovery.
Mohammed said those expected to attend the conference were Ministers and officials from Tourism, Culture and Arts Ministries of UNWTO member states.
He said the UNWTO top executives and officials, invited international organizations, National Tourism and Culture Organizations, Destination Management Organisations would also attend.
He added that representatives of the creative economy i.e. advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography and music would also attend the conference.
Others are the media, performing arts, publishing, research and development, software, computer games, electronic publishing, and Television/Radio.
Mohammed noted that the inauguration of the 24-member planning committee had kick-started the preparation for the hosting of the global conference.
He said though the task ahead was enormous, with the quality of membership of the committee, Nigeria would host a world class conference.
The minister said the committee, to be chaired by himself, would have the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry as the Deputy Chairman.
Other members are Ace comedian, Alli Baba, Representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lagos State, Bankers’ Committee; and Cappa & D’Alberto
Also included are Mrs Abike Dabiri Erewa – Executive Chairman, Nigerian Diaspora Commission; Mr Demola Seriki, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain; and Mr. Nasir Aminu of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Segun Adeyemi and Mr Williams Adeleye, both Special Assistants to the President, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture; Mr. Bayo Omoboriowo, Personal Photographer to Mr. President, are among the organisers.
The minister said the Planning Committee would be assisted by eleven sub-committees to execute a successful event with professional inputs. (NAN)