ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE FOR THE 1ST UNWTO GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON ‘TOURISM, CULTURE AND THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY, HELD ON TUESDAY 14 JUNE 2022 AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CENTRE, ABUJA
Let me formally welcome you all to this inauguration of the Planning Committee for the hosting of the United Nations World TourismOrganization (UNWTO) Global Conference on ‘Linking Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and InclusiveDevelopment’, which will take place at the National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos, from Nov. 14th to 16th, 2022.
2. Nigeria was given the hosting right for this inaugural edition of the Global Conference during the 64th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa in Cape Verde in 2021. I must say this was done in a clear recognition of the country’s rising profile in tourism, culture and the creative industries not just in Africa but around the world. The creative industries, which include arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music and performing arts, have taken a central role in Nigeria and have boosted our tourism. The Nigeria filmindustry, popularly known as Nollywood, has become a globally-recognized brand and the third largest movie industry in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood. Our music industry, just like itsmovie counterpart, has also taken the world by storm, while our fashion industry is so huge that it is bigger than the movie and the music industries combined.
3. The granting of the hosting right for the GlobalConference to Nigeria is a clear demonstration of the confidence of
the UNWTO and its member states in the country’s capacity to deliver. Recall that Nigeria has successfully hosted the meeting of the UNWTO’sCommission for Africa four times; in 2002, 2008, 2012 and 2018.
4. Many have also asked: Why is Nigeria hosting this Global Conference? Countries bid to host events such as this because of its socio-economic benefits, hence our hosting of this conference provides an opportunity to, among other, things:
i) Showcase Nigeria’s tourism, culture and creative assets;
ii) Project Nigeria’s image as a safe and desirable destination for leisure and business;
iii) Consolidate on our relationship with the UNWTO and its member states;
iv) Highlight the restart of travel and tourism in a safe and seamless manner after the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in a near collapse of the sector;
v) Interact and exchange ideas and best practices with key industry players;
vi) Generate foreign exchange and create direct and indirect jobs; and
vii) Create opportunities for training of public and private sector tourism officials.
5. As I said earlier, the global conference will be held at the iconic National Theatre, which is currently undergoing massive refurbishment for the first time since it was commissioned some 46 years ago. Apart from the rehabilitation of the building, four hubs
for fashion, movie, music and ICT are being built within the National Theatre complex. There is therefore no better opportunity for us to showcase the renewal of the iconic National Theatre, which was conceived as a grand hub for the arts, than during the hosting of this global event.
6. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in line with promoting cultural heritage as one of the priority areas of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa 2030 -Tourism for inclusive Growth, and the priority of UNWTO on ‘Protecting Our Heritage’ in term of ‘Social, Cultural and Environmental Sustainability’, this high-level conference, among other things, is anchored on the following objectives:
i) Gathering of top-notch panelists and stakeholders to discuss the linkages between tourism, culture and the creative industries;
ii) Networking opportunities for key industry players, practitioners as well as public and private sector policy makers to debatecontemporary and future issues as well as exchange ideas, best practices and information relating to tourism, culture and the creative industries;
iii) Promotion of innovative policies to harness the symbiotic potential of cultural tourism and the creative industries;
iv) Identification of investment avenues and mobilization of human and financial resources to boost recovery;
v) Identification of capacity-building gaps of the sectors, product development, marketing and digitalization; and
vi) Drawing global attention to the importance of the creative ecosystem and its key elements of creative people, creative projects and creative environment as well as the links between them.
7. Tourism and the Creative Industries are highly globalized. The sectors are industries in their own right and create added value globally, with spin-offs in the areas of trade, hospitality, agriculture, transport, construction, etc. in 2019, prior to theCovid-19 pandemic, the tourism and the creative industries were fast-growing sectors with the value of over 1.47 trillion US dollars and 2.25 trillion dollars, respectively. However, both sectors weregreatly affected by the unprecedented pandemic. The global conference we are planning to host will be a catalyst for the recovery of the critical sectors.
8. Expected to attend the conference are Ministers and officials from Tourism, Culture and Arts Ministries of UNWTO member states, UNWTO topexecutives and officials, invited international organizations, National Tourism and Culture Organizations, Destination ManagementOrganizations, Stakeholders from the public and private sector working on Tourism, Cultural and the Creative Industries, the media as well as
representatives of the creative economy i.e. advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts, publishing, research &development, software, computer games, electronic publishing, and Television/Radio.
9. Today’s inauguration of the Planning Committee kickstarts our preparation for the global conference. The task ahead of us is enormous, but with the quality of membership of the Planning Committee, I am positive that Nigeria will once again prove itsability to successfully organize an event of this magnitude. During his recent visit to the headquarters of the UNWTO in Madrid, Spain,President Muhammadu Buhari promised that Nigeria will host a world class conference, and assured all participants of a safe and secureenvironment as well as adequate facilities. We must live up to that
10. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, your nomination to serve in this committee is based on your knowledge and expertise in content, logistics and planning. The success of the conference therefore rests on your effectiveness andcommitment.
11. The Planning Committee will be assisted by eleven (11) sub-committees; namely Venue and Logistics, Accommodation, Media and Publicity, Ceremonial and Entertainment, Protocol and Transportation, Sponsorship and Marketing, Technical Support, Security and Traffic, Content and Programmes, Secretariat as well as Finance. Part of your assignment at the inaugural meeting today would be to constitute the Sub-Committees and their Terms of Reference. Please note that yourrole is to execute a successful event with professional inputs and assistance from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and the UNWTO Secretariat. I have no doubt that you will take your
assignments very seriously. Let me assure, here, that we will try as much as possible to accommodate all stakeholders like FTAN, ANJET etc in the sub-committees, since we cannot accommodate everyone in the planning Committee.
12. May I now read out the names of the members of the Planning Committee. Once your name is mentioned, please stand up and remain standing:
MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE
i) Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (FMIC) – Chairman;
ii) Permanent Secretary – FMIC, Deputy Chair;
iii) Representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria;
iv) Representative of Lagos State;
v) Representative of Bankers’ Committee;
vi) Representative of Cappa & D’Alberto
vii) Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa – Executive Chairman, Nigerian Diaspora Commission;
viii) Ambassador Demola Seriki – Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain;
ix) Ambassador Nasir Aminu – Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
x) Mr. Segun Adeyemi – Special Assistant to the President, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture;
xi) Mr. Williams Adeleye – Special Assistant to the President, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture;
xii) Mr. Bayo Omoboriowo, Personal Photographer to Mr. President;
xiii) Dr. Mufutau . Kayode – DFA, FMIC;
xiv) Mr. Friday Anumba – NTDC;
xv) Dr. Taiwo Famigbiyele – NIHOTOUR;
xvi) Mr. Sam Agbi – NCAC;
xvii) Mr. Yanusa Mohammed – National Theatre;
xviii) Mrs. Florence Ogar-Moddey – Nigeria Customs Service;
xix) Mr. Karim Idris – Nigerian Immigration Service;
xx) Alli Baba;
xxi) Mrs. Ronke Kuye – SANEF;
xxii) Mrs. Ngozi Nzoka – NESG;
xxiii) Ms. Dorothy Duruaku – Deputy Director Overseeing International Tourism Promotion and Cooperation, FMIC;
xxiv) Mrs. Ugochi Akudo-Nwosu – Deputy Director Overseeing Entertainment and Creative Services, FMIC;
13. It is now my pleasure to inaugurate the Planning Committee for the hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)‘Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development’.
14. I wish you all the best of luck as you embark on the task before
you, and I thank you for your kind attention.