UNWTO, the Netherlands sign pact on religious tourism

Matthijs Van Bonzel

Matthijs Van Bonzel

• Nigeria to thrive better, says NTDC DG
While Nigeria still ponders on how to explore Religious Tourism, the Government of The Netherlands has moved on to sign a pact with UNWTO-an international organisation on Tourism.

The focus of the agreement undersigned by UNWTO and the Government of The Netherlands was to promote the role of religious tourism as an agent for cultural preservation, peace and understanding. The partnership includes the celebration of a conference on ‘Religious Heritage and Tourism: How to increase religious heritage tourism in a changing society’” that will be held on October 2016, in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
According to a statement issued by the UNWTO, the agreement was signed by the body’s Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, and the Ambassador of The Netherlands to Spain, Matthijs Van Bonzel at UNWTO Headquarters, coinciding with the European Ambassadors lunch held annually at the premises of the Organization.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said “religious tourism is a powerful instrument to raise awareness of our common responsibility in safeguarding this lasting heritage and a key agent of peace, fostering tolerance and understanding between visitors and host communities, in an amalgam of different faiths.”
Speaking on behalf of the Government of The Netherlands, Ambassador Matthijs Van Bonzel, said: “The Agreement and the cooperation with UNWTO within the theme of religious heritage and tourism form an outstanding chance to profile this fragile heritage internationally as an economic strength and chance”.

Organized by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of The Netherlands jointly with the Museum Catharijneconvent, the Conference on Religious Heritage and Tourism will count with the support of the Centre for Religious Art and Culture (Flanders) and Future for Religious Heritage.

“The Netherlands is an excellent example of a country which always looks into the future, searching for innovative approaches to strengthen its tourism.
Reacting to this development, the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Commission (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo said, Religious tourism is an interesting aspect of Tourism and there are strong indications that Nigeria would thrives better in it, considering the way the federal government is going about her corporate governance.
“With the current sanitization of the nation’s political atmosphere by Buhari’s administration, Nigeria is likely going to attract more tourists in the country and more investors”.

Mabanefo said: “After Nollywood and music; Business Tourism; Spiritual tourism is another aspect of tourism that thrives well in the country. Take for instance, 50 foreigners came into the country for TB Joshua birthday and many people fly into the country for one Spiritual help or the others”.
“The administration of President Buhari has better deal for Nigerian Tourism sector and the signal is there,” she disclosed.

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