President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Madrid, Spain, expressed the readiness of Nigeria to host the first-ever Global Conference on Tourism, Culture, and the Creative Industry in November this year in a conducive environment.
Speaking during a visit to the headquarters of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in the Spanish capital at the beginning of his State Visit to the country, President Buhari described the granting of the hosting rights as “further proof of Nigeria’s support for the vision of the organization and also an affirmation of the confidence reposed in our country by your organization.’’
He said the event would provide yet another opportunity for the country to showcase its tourism and creative industry to the whole world.
“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.
“The Global Conference will also serve as an opportunity to extend our 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.
“I want to assure you that Nigeria is ready to deliver a world-class conference this November and we assure all participants from within and outside the country of a safe and secure environment as well as excellent facilities”, he said.
President Buhari assured participants from across the world of “a safe and secure environment as well as excellent facilities,” adding, “we look forward to welcoming all participants.”
He 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.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji 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, explaining that “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.
He re-echoed President Buhari’s assurance that the conference would show to the world the secret of Nigeria’s leadership in the areas of culture, tourism, music, film, gastronomy, fashion, photography, and many more.
“We hope to leverage on the conference to showcase what makes Nigeria tick in culture, tourism, music, film, gastronomy, fashion, photography, etc, and why Nigeria has become a global leader in music and film, especially.
“Today’s visit of Mr. President to the UNWTO headquarters has given a great boost to our efforts to host a successful conference in November and we thank Mr. President for taking time out to visit”, he said.
In his remarks, Secretary General of UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, said the visit of the President was a direct confirmation of how important tourism is to Nigeria, describing Nigeria as “a big country with huge resources in culture, nature and diversity.”
“Your visit is a direct confirmation of how important tourism is to Nigeria. You are the second from Africa to ever visit us but the very first from such 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 much more tourists to see the beauty and meet the people”, he said.