Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said the country is set to host the 61st edition of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission for Africa (CAF) Meeting, which holds from June 4 to June 6, in Abuja.

The minister spoke in Benin, Edo State, on Friday when he paid a courtesy/promotional visit to the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

“Your Excellency, with the support of many stakeholders, I can boldly say that we are ready to host a very successful meeting,” he said.

“The various committees and sub-committees that we have put together to prepare for the summit are doing a great job. We will not disappoint.”

Mohammed said Benin City, being a repository of a rich culture, cannot be ignored in the preparation for the global tourism meeting, hence the decision to visit the city as part of the ongoing nationwide advocacy tour for the meeting.

Soliciting for Edo State’s support, the minister formally invited Obaseki and said the meeting will afford Nigeria the unique opportunity to expose her rich culture to the rest of the world, in addition to exploring the theme, Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development, to generate the much-needed statistics for the development of the tourism sector in Nigeria.

“For Nigeria, this is a great opportunity. In addition to the socio-economic gains, the event will put Nigeria, and the nation’s tourism industry in particular, on the world map, attract foreign research experts and promote the necessary network that will form the basis for future cooperation. Nigeria will also get a rare opportunity to showcase itself to the world: Its tourist attractions, its rich culture, as well as its music and films, which have become the toast of the world.”

Obaseki peldged the support of Edo State towards the hosting of the event and noted that Edo has so much to show the world.

“As it relates to the UNWTO CAF conference, as a state just like you explained, we believe that we have the greatest tourism potentials,” he said.

“We understand the benefits of tourism to any evolving and emerging economy. A country like Indonesia whose GDP was four times less than that of Nigeria in 1994 today has a GDP five times that of Nigeria. The economy of Indonesia is grown by two key contributors to their GDP: oil palm and tourism.”

Source: The Nation

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