By Emmanuel Elebeke
Nigeria is to participate at the first World Conference on Tourism Development in China in May this year.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Tuesday, while receiving the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Nigeria, Ambassador Gu Xiaojie, when he paid him a courtesy visit at his office in Abuja.
He stated that the trip would give Nigeria the opportunity to exchange views with China’s Tourism authorities on how best to help boost tourism in Nigeria.
Mohammed who described China as one of the most important partners in Nigeria’s quest to develop its infrastructure said that Nigeria would do everything to strengthen the existing bilateral tie between the two countries.
”China is a veritabe development partner with Nigeria. The relationship between the two countries started at the level of cultural collaboration but has now gone beyond that to the developmental level,” he said.
The minister cited the partnership between the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Star Times of China; the funds being provided by China for Nigeria’s rail project and the involvement of a Chinese firm in the Lagos State Government rail project as instances of the strategic relationship between the two countries.
He also called for more partnership between the two in the area of tourism, saying China has done well, especially in the area of domestic tourism.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chinese Ambassador, Gu underscored the importance of Nigeria to China as an economic partner.
He described the relationship between his country and China, which dates back 45 years, as ”excellent and strategic”.
He said both countries attach great importance to the relationship and would work harder to strengthen it, especially in the areas of information, tourism and culture.