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UNWTO finally honours Nigeria’s Atigbi

Following a  final push by a letter written by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, orchestrated by a Nigerian travel and tourism journalist, Lucky Onoriode George to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO],on the need to  honour late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, a Nigerian who  proposed the idea of marking September 27 of every year as World Tourism Day, the UNWTO has finally honoured Atigbi .

The ministry in a letter dated August 11, 2009, read, “ I write to remind the authority of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO], under the leadership of Mr. Taleb Rifai of its earlier promise to honour the late Nigerian tourism czar”.

The ministry noted that UNWTO in its letter of September 29th, 2006, by the former secretary general, Mr. Francesco Frangialli, stated, “I would like to commemorate the late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, former director general, Nigeria Tourist Association [NTA], now Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and chairman African Travel Commission”.

UNWTO explained that in 1971, in Ankara, Turkey, Mr. Atigbi proposed the creation of the World Tourism Day at the XXII General Assembly of the International Union of Official Travel Organisation [IUOTO], now United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] and therefore September 27 has become an internationally recognised annual event with the aim to celebrate worldwide the phenomenon that is tourism.

The ministry also pointed out in its letter that the plan to honour Atigbi at the commemoration exhibition focused on the theme: 1946-2006-IUOTO-UNWTO-sixty years of institutionalisation for World Tourism and Thirty Years Headquartered in Madrid on Wednesday 13th of December 2006 was never fulfilled.

So, on September 27, 2009 at the International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana in a demonstration of respect and fair play, the UNWTO led by the Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai presented a plague acknowledging Nigeria’s late Atigbi as the architect of World Tourism Day [WTD] celebrations.

Receiving the award, Nigeria’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Senator Bello Gada who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Sheidu Ozigin, OON MNI, said this recognition was the climax of Nigeria’s contributions to global tourism and hinted that Nigeria will celebrate the recognition.


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