Nigeria and the United Nation World Tourism Organisation have agreed on the hosting date for the 61st UNWTO CAF meeting.
Addressing the 60th UNWTO CAF Meeting in Chengdu, China, on Tuesday, Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced that the 61st edition of the meeting would be held in Abuja from June 4-6, 2018.
The Minister reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to host the African Tourism Ministers, according to VON report.
According to him, “the local organisation committee has been working effectively with the global body under the aegis of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission on Africa (CAF)”.
Promoting Capital City
He said the choice of Abuja is part of the government’s effort to promote the Nigerian capital city as a conference destination within the sub-region.
“I am truly humbled by your unanimous confidence and I wish to assure you that the Ministry, with the full support of the Presidency and the National Assembly, is committed to ensuring a successful hosting of the 61st meeting of the UNWTO CAF.
“I encourage all member States of this great Commission to honour us with your presence at the 61st Meeting of CAF in Abuja, Nigeria. Come and experience the true Nigerian hospitality, warmth and cultural delight,” he said.
The hosting right of the UNWTO CAF Meeting was unanimously awarded to Nigeria during the 59th Meeting of the Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2017.
Meanwhile, Mr Mohammed has commended the outgoing Secretary General of the UNWTO, Mr Taleb Rifai, for his “extraordinary work and leadership skill” in shaping the organisation to what it is today.
“It is my great pleasure, on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, to thank you for your efforts towards the development and growth of the tourism sector in Nigeria,” he said.
The Minister also congratulated the outgoing Chairman of CAF, Dr. Walter Mzembi, on the successful completion of his final term and commended the “excellent way” in which he has steered the affairs of the Commission since his election in 2013.
The outgoing Secretary General of the UNWTO Mr Rifai said the prospect of Africa in global tourism is huge and must be harness accordingly.
He said as the largest block in the organisation, Africa has all it takes to achieve her full potentials.
He, however, advised that the issue of safety and security, the need to embrace new technology such as social media and others for the enhancement of tourism.
He also made it clear that the continent must work on the issue of accurate data and statistics for better planning.
Outgoing Chairman of the regional commission for Africa and Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism, Dr Walter Mzembi reaffirmed the Africa Union proposal of making available 5% of national budgets of African countries to the tourism sector.
According to Mzembi, a pan African tourism would benefit the continent as well as other strategies to take the tourism sector to the next level that would increase Africa’s Gross Domestic Product, market her tourism good and overall reduce poverty.