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Buhari welcomes hosting rights for global tourism conference

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday in Madrid, Spain, expressed Nigeria’s readiness to host the first ever Global Conference on Tourism, Culture, and the Creative Industry in November 2022.

A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, stated that Buhari spoke during a visit to the headquarters of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation in the Spanish capital at the beginning of his State Visit to the country.

The statement is titled ‘As Nigeria hosts tourism conference, President Buhari welcomes the world’.

According to Adesina, “President Buhari described the granting of the hosting rights as ‘further proof of Nigeria’s support for the vision of the organisation and also an affirmation of the confidence reposed in our country by your organisation.’

“He noted that the event would provide yet another opportunity for the country to showcase its tourism and creative industry to the whole world.”

The President said, “It will also serve as an opportunity to extend our warm hospitality to the world and introduce the country’s leisure and business sectors to potential investors. We have not-so-well-known wonders to reveal!”

He assured global participants of “a safe and secure environment as well as excellent facilities,” saying, “we look forward to welcoming all participants.”

Buhari affirmed that the country had been consistent in supporting the organisation since joining in 1975, noting that Nigeria had also been elected Chairman of the Commission for Africa between 2005 and 2007.

He thanked the Secretary-General for granting 100 UNWTO Online Academy Scholarships on the ‘Introduction to Tourism-Industry Management’ stressing that this will further boost youth empowerment and education as well as address the manpower shortage in the tourism sector.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, whose ministry is facilitating the conference, said Nigeria was given the hosting rights at the 64th meeting of the UNWTO in Cape Verde in 2021.

He explained, “Our plan is to host the event in the iconic National Theatre in Lagos which is currently being massively refurbished for the first time since its commissioning some 46 years ago.”

Mohammed added that since the announcement of the rights, preparations had begun in earnest in conjunction with the UNWTO to ensure that Nigeria hosts a world-class event to justify the confidence reposed in the country by the organisation.

He noted that Nigeria intends to “leverage the conference to showcase what makes Nigeria tick in culture, tourism, music, film, gastronomy, fashion, photography and why Nigeria has become a global leader in music and film, especially.”

In his remarks, Secretary-General, UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, said President Buhari’s visit is a direct confirmation of how important tourism is to Nigeria, describing Nigeria as “a big country with huge resources in culture, nature and diversity.

“We have a long-term commitment with Nigeria to develop tourism and attract more and more tourists to Nigeria. The numbers are very small at the moment and I think it’s a shame. Nigeria has to receive many more tourists to see the beauty and meet the people,” he said.


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