By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Folorunsho Coker has expressed readiness of Nigeria to host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, in November, 2022.

Coker said that the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had in a recent statement, announced the planned hosting.

According to Coker, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done a lot in developing the toursim sector, despite the challenges facing the country.

The NTDC DG stressed that some of the negative image being painted about Nigeria was deliberate, saying that this is what the current administration has been trying to erase.

Coker stated that a visit to the different parts of the country would reveal her tourism potentials, while stressing that there is no doubt that the November meeting would reveal much about what the nation has been able to achieve in the tourism sector over the years.

“Our diverse culture, historical centres, tourism and hospitality centres and other natural sceneries in the country are parts of the wonders that would be shown to the visitors.

“The current government has invested a lot in security, tourism and hospitality industry and we have a lot to show our visitors, when they come around.

“Even our music and movie industries have moved to the next level and some of our tourism centres have been developed to international standard,” he said, adding that the nation will not relent in it’s efforts of attracting investors into the infrastructure that the tourism sector depends on.

“The creative sector will get more support to express its formidable talent locally as we see them do globally.”

Addressing the UNWTO Secretary General, Mr.Zurab Pololikashvili at the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) in New York, United States of America on Friday, Coker, in a statement on Friday, said the meeting would further showcase Nigeria as a leading tourism destination in Africa, adding that the nation has a lot of potentials in the toursim sector.

According to Pololikashvili “It will be an opportunity for Nigeria to show the world it’s diversity in mediums of cultural expression in the areas of tourism, culture and creativity.

“We have done a lot to develop our tourism sector over the years and the Ministry of Information and culture and its parastatals, especially NTDC is poised to show what Nigeria has to offer in a way akin to the Festac 77 festival.

“Nigeria is notable as a leading economy in Africa and this has manifested in our tourism sector. All these, we will show the world in November, 2022, when UNWTO comes to Nigeria with her members to interact with critical stakeholders in the tourism ecosystem.”

He added that; “Today, I represented Nigeria at High Level Thematic Debate at the United Nations General Assembly under the theme “Putting sustainable and resilient tourism at the heart of an inclusive recovery.

“We are hopeful that this debate will help renew the much needed political commitment to support tourism as a driver of a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst strengthening dialogue among all relevant stakeholders (public and private) and the local communities on opportunities for transforming the sector as we rebuild from the effects of the pandemic.”

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