By Umar Muhammad Puma
President Muhammadu Buhari is to declare open the 61st meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization/Commission for Africa (UNWTO/CAF), scheduled for 4-6 June 2018 in Abuja.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced this in Abuja on Tuesday when he paid an advocacy visit to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, to intimate him with details of the forthcoming international event.
“The Honourable Minister of the FCT is the Minister of the Host City. That makes it imperative for us to make his office our first port of call. Mr. President has accepted to personally declare the meeting open; and that makes Mr. President the first person to be invited, and also to accept our invitation. With this visit, the Honourable Minister of the FCT has become the second person to be invited,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the meeting is an annual platform through which the UNWTO Secretariat informs member states of the general programme of work for the African region, and presents the reports of the various standing committees.
He said the theme of the 61st UNWTO/CAF Meeting is “Tourism Statistics:
A Catalyst for Development.”
While speaking on the benefits that Nigeria will derive from hosting the meeting, the Minister said it would put Nigeria, and the nation’s tourism industry, under a global focus, in addition to attracting foreign research experts and promoting the necessary network that will form the basis for future cooperation.
“Also, it will provide Nigeria the opportunity to showcase itself to the world, especially in the area of its culture and tourism. And of course, we have a lot to showcase: Our tourist attractions, our rich culture, as well as our music and films, which have taken the world by storm,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said as the Minister of the Host City, the FCT Minister will play a major role during the meeting, which includes giving the welcome address on the official opening ceremony, another speech at the welcome dinner and also at the official opening ceremony for the Technical Seminar on the second day.
He gave the assurance that preparations for the event are in top gear, and called for the support of Nigerians to make the event a huge success.
In his remarks, the Minister of the FCT, Malam Bello, commended Alhaji Mohammed for his untiring effort in securing the hosting right of the conference for Nigeria.
Malam Bello, who expressed delight that this is coming on the heels of another hosting right for the International Press Institute Annual General Assembly also in Abuja, said the gesture is a reflection of how the global community now perceives Nigeria.
“I will like to congratulate the Honourable Minister of Information and his team in the Ministry of Information for really having been able to get the hosting right of this very important conference that is coming up in June. As you know these are conferences that showcase countries and even continents.
“For us to be able to really get this to be approved to be hosted in Nigeria is something that I am sure involved a lot of very good hard work,” he said.
Nigeria secured the hosting right for the Meeting during the 59th Meeting of the UNWTO/CAF in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2017.