The Federal Government says it is hosting the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry to reposition the creative industry as the engine of growth for Nigeria and Africa.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Tuesday in Madrid, Spain, at a bilateral meeting between Nigeria and the United Nation World Tourism Orgaisation (UNWTO)
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting witnessed the signing of hosting agreement for the global conference between the minister and the UNWTO Secretary General, Mr Zurab Pololikashvili.
The Minister said the conference which would hold from Nov. 14 to Nov. 17 at the National Theatre in Lagos, currently being renovated, would affirm Nigeria’s status as the hub of the creative industry on the African continent.
“Whether it’s music or movie or fashion, among others, Nigeria dominates and also greatly influences what happens within the sub-region and indeed the region.
“The essence of hosting this event, therefore, is to reposition the Creative Industry as the engine of growth not just for Nigeria or Africa but indeed all countries of the world.
“Today’s signing of the hosting agreement is the clearest indication yet of our commitment to hosting a successful conference.
“This global conference is very important, not just for Nigeria but for the entire Sub-Saharan Africa,’’ he said.
Globally, the minister said the conference would help in improving the recovery process of the creative sector badly hit by COVID-19 pandemic.
“This inaugural conference couldn’t have been conceived at a better time. The Creative industry was badly hit by Covid-19 pandemic, and it is just beginning a slow and long recovery process.
“For example, it is estimated that in 2020, the cancellation of public performances alone cost the organisers roughly 30 per cent of global royalties, while the global film industry lost 7 billion dollar in revenues.
“The start reality is that millions of jobs were also lost during the shutdown period. That’s why the global conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry is not only expedient but timely,’’ he said.
Mohammed commended the UNWTO for coming up with this conference and also for giving Nigeria the hosting rights.
He assured that the country would hold a trailblasing conference, just as it successfully hosted the UNWTO CAF Meeting in Abuja in 2018.
Speaking in the same vein, Folorunsho Coker, the Director-General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), said the conference would have a multiplier effects on the nation’s creative and cultural sector.
Coker who was on the entourage of the minister said the conference would dispel a lot of tourism related inertia that people think about Nigeria negatively.
“This is an opportunity for us to reverse the conversation about Nigeria.
“Nigeria is a great place and there is no country that does not have one issue or the other.
“I look forward to everyone coming to Lagos in November to come and enjoy the fare, the film, the food, theatre, dance and so many other things that form the flavour of Nigeria,’’ he said.
The Nigeria Ambassador to Spain, Mr Ademola Seriki, said it was gratifying for the UNWTO to have given Nigeria the hosting right because it would bring a huge reputation to the country.
He assured that Nigeria would build a template for others to follow in the hosting of the maiden global conference.
For his part, the UNWTO DG said the conference would afford the opportunity to promote Nigeria and Africa to the world.
Pololikashvili who disclosed that many UNWTO-member countries were willing and ready to identify with Nigeria also assured his organisation’s support for a successful hosting of the conference.(NAN)
•PHOTO: Lai Mohammed and Secretary-General UNWTO, Mr Zurab Pololikashvili