Minister sets up committee for UNWTO hosting

Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle) with other ministers of tourism at a UNWTO meeting

The Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has inaugurated a committee for hosting of the 61st meeting of the United Nations World Tourism organizations (UNWTO).

The inauguration marked the beginning of preparations towards the event that is scheduled to take place between June 4 and 6. With the theme, Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development, the Minister stressed that the success of the meeting would depend on the effectiveness and commitment of the committee.

The committee comprised staff of the Ministry of Information and Culture and several agencies under it, including Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR). The Minister heads the committee, while the Permanent Secretary, Grace Gekpe will serve in the capacity of Vice Chairman. Meanwhile, director, International Tourism, Ronke Fasanya, heads the secretariat.

The Minister noted that the hosting right for the meeting was unanimously awarded to Nigeria by the member states and endorsed by the UNWTO.

“The confidence of the member states and UNTWO in Nigeria clearly highlights Nigeria’s relevance and importance by the organization, after embarking on a period of absence.”

The meeting will serve to consolidate on the on going technical assistance by the UNTWO in the implementation of Nigerian Tourism Development Master Plan. He listed some of the gains of hosting the meeting to include projection of Nigeria as a safe destination for business and leisure; interaction with tourism stakeholders on best practices as well as generation of foreign exchange through hotel accommodation, airfare and souvenirs purchased by foreign delegates

In accordance with the rules of procedure of the organization, some of the programmes include meeting of the African Ministries of Tourism, high-level technical seminar on tourism statistics as well as packaged tours.

The Commission is currently under the chairmanship of the Kenyan Minister of Tourism, assisted by the Gambian Minister of Tourism as the Vice Chairman, both of whom were elected during the 22nd Session of UNTWO General Assembly in Chengdu, China, in September 2017 for the period of two years.   The meeting of the Commission for Africa (CAF), is principally a meeting of African Ministers of Tourism with delegates from the 51 member states, executives of UNWTO, international organizations, local and international media, experts as well as stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

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