By Sade Williams
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed Mohammed, has announced a tripartite partnership involving the Ministry, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and global news leader CNN to leverage on Nollywood to promote tourism in Nigeria.
The Minister, who announced the plan at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) in Lagos on Tuesday, said that talks are at an advanced stage to forge a ”very strong and effective partnership to use our comparative advantage in film production, through Nollywood, to promote tourism in Nigeria”.
”This is a path we have not trodden before, but which we are sure will go a long way in making it possible for us to push tourism from the back-burner to the mainstream of the economy,” Alhaji Mohammed said, adding that more details of the partnership will be provided in the days ahead.
He appealed to tourism stakeholders to work with the Federal Government to ensure the success of the 2018 UNWTO CAF Meeting, the hosting right of which Nigeria won at the last edition of the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month.
”As many of you are aware, Nigeria recently won the right to host the annual UNWTO CAF Meeting in Abuja in 2018. Yes, this is not the first time Nigeria will be hosting this meeting, but this time we must leverage on the meeting as a platform to promote Nigeria as a preferred tourism destination,” the Minister said.
He urged the private sector to partner with the government to grow the tourism industry and provide the necessary skills, competencies and ingredients for growth and progress.
”Stakeholders are also invited to package and promote Nigerian destinations, goods and services. This will create direct and indirect employment through tourism, grow the economy, increase the national GDP, position Nigeria as an all-year-round tourism destination and establish a worthwhile, acceptable and recognizable image of the country among tourists. Let us all tour Nigeria, let us all consume more of made in Nigeria, let us all know more of our heritage. Let us all celebrate Nigeria,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He said as part of efforts to improve Nigeria’s ranking on the Tourism Competitive Index of the World Travel and Tourism Council, the government has set up a Presidential Council on the Ease of Doing Business, and disclosed that the Council has completed, in 60 days, 31 reforms across its eight priority indicators in areas such as the Simplified Visa on Arrival Process, Infrastructural improvements at the Abuja Airport and the new Immigration Regulation 2017.