TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, ON THE FORTHCOMING UNWTO GLOBAL CONFERENCE IN LAGOS ON SATURDAY, SEPT. 24 2022
Good afternoon gentlemen.
As you are all aware, Nigeria will be hosting the
1st United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) global conference on tourism, culture and the creative industries here in Lagos from 14th to 16th November 2022.
2. The right to host the event, which has as its theme ‘Linking Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development,’ was given to Nigeria in 2021, at the 64th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF) in Cape Verde. Since then we have started preparations for the event, inaugurating the Planning Committee which has since swung into action.
3. A team from the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Spain, is currently in Nigeria on a preliminary mission for the conference. The team comprises the Director, Regional Department for Africa, Ms. Elcia Grandcourt, the Deputy Director, Regional Department for Africa, Mr. Jaime Mayaki and the Communication expert for Africa, Mr Kojo Bentum.
4. The purpose of the mission, which is in line with the Rules of the organization, is to inspect the facilities for the conference, which include the National Theater; which is the venue, the designated hotels, venue for social events and finally to receive briefs from the planning committee.
5.. Yesterday, Friday that is, the team inspected the National theater, some of the designated hotels as well as the venue for the special programme on Nollywood. The team equally met with the Planning Committee. This morning, I received a comprehensive brief from the team and I am pleased to inform you that the team is very satisfied with the level of Nigeria’s preparedness to host the global conference.
6. As you are aware, the UNWTO is a specialized Agency of the United Nations that is globally responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accepted tourism. Nigeria’s membership of this important Organization spans almost five decades. I am happy to note that since joining the Organization in 1975, Nigeria has been consistent in its commitment to the activities of the Organization.
7. This hosting right, once again demonstrates the confidence of the Organization and its member states in Nigeria and its capacity to host such an important and huge conference. This will mark the fifth time that Nigeria will be hosting members states of the UNWTO.
8. The conference is expected to witness the participation of delegates from the 166 member states of the UNWTO, which will include but not limited to the following:
i) UNWTO top executive and Officials and experts led by the Secretary General;
ii) Ministers and Officials from Tourism, Culture and Arts Ministries of member states;
iii) National Tourism and Culture Organizations;
iv) International Organizations and destination Management Organizations;
v) Stakeholders from the public and private sector, civil society working on tourism, cultural and the creative industries; and
vi) The media and creative economy.
9. In the framework of the conference, the programmes and activities will include:
i) Two parallel experts’ workshops
ii) Seminar on tourism and the creative industries
iii) Conference on linking tourism, culture and the creative industries
iv) Exhibitions on gastronomy, fashion, movie, music, visual arts, etc
v) A special programme on the creative industries- ‘A Day with Nollywood’
10. According to the UNWTO, ‘tourism is an activity in which the visitor’s essential motivation is to learn, discover, experience and consume the tangible and intangible attractions/products in a destination’. It has positive socio-economic impact, builds image, preserves cultural/historical heritage and facilitates harmony and understanding among people. The Organization also described the Creative Industries, which include advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts, publishing, research & development ad well as radio and television, as the lifeblood of the creative economy and a growth driver for sustainable development.
11. Gentlemen, it’s common knowledge that globally, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted on all the sectors of the world economies, but most heavily on the travel and tourism sector; leading to its near collapse. With the recovery and lifting of restriction in almost all parts of the world, global leaders and international community are seeking for industries that can stimulate socio-economic recovery, accelerate job creation and inclusive development, hence the tourism and creative industries have huge potentials to bridge this gap as the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy. The tourism sector creates one out of every 10 jobs, while the creative industries generate around 30 million jobs, mostly for the youth and women who constitute nearly half of the workers and accounts for 6.1% of global GDP.
12. The forthcoming conference will therefore address the current challenges and ways in which member states can tap into emerging opportunities to speed up global economic recovery. It will also be a unique networking opportunities for key industry players, practitioners, public and private sector policy makers to debate on contemporary and future issues as well as exchange ideas and information relating to tourism, culture and the creative industries.
13. As I said earlier, since the inauguration of the planning committee, which have members drawn from the public and private sector in April 2022, the committee – assisted by eleven sub-committees – have been working assiduously to ensure that everything is in place for the conference. The Planning Committee is also engaging with other key establishments and individuals to ensure a smooth planning process and I am satisfied with the level of preparations so far.
14. Please permit me to use this opportunity to appreciate Cappa D’Alberto and SANEF; the contractor and consultant, respectively, which are doing the renovation work at the National theater. They have shown tremendous commitment by fast-tracking work in order to ensure that the spaces and facilities required for the conference are ready and available for use. I therefore assure the visiting team that by end of next month, we will have a venue ready for the conference.
15. With regards to other facilities and requirements, a total of nine hotels, including Eko hotels and suites which is the official hotel for the conference, have been designated to provide accommodation for delegates.
16. Gentlemen, countries bid to host international conferences and events because they provide a credible opportunity and platform to market the various sectors of their national economies. Nigeria therefore intends to leverage on this very important event to market and highlight its diverse and unique assets in the areas of tourism, culture and the creative industries.
17. May I therefore use this opportunity to invite relevant public and private sector stakeholders to be part of this important event by registering and participating in it. It is our collective and individual responsibility as Nigerians to ensure that we host a world class event, in a safe and secure environment, as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari when he visited the UNWTO headquarters in Spain earlier this year.
18. I thank you for your kind attention