President of Nigeria H.E Muhammed Buhari has paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid, Spain.
His visit forms part of activities marking an official state visit to the Kingdom of Spain.
In a reception held in his honor at the UN Tourism Agency headquarters, the Secretary-General of UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili said, it was a great honour to receive the head of state of Africa’s biggest country.
‘’Nigeria is a key member state for UNWTO and a founding member of the organization since 1975. And I would like to commend you Mr President for your remarkable support as the first member state in signing the Instrument of Ratification of the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics 2020.’’ Mr Pololikashvili said.
Nigeria is also an economic giant and has been at the forefront of innovation, technology and development in Africa.
The UN Tourism scribe believes that Nigeria can fulfil its unique potential to be more competitive and a key destination in Africa and can reap fully the benefits of this sector.
He added that, Nigeria’s commitment to the works and program of UNWTO is highly appreciated and the first global event to link tourism and culture and creative arts to be held in Lagos in November is a testament of support the west African nation has shown towards the development of tourism in Africa.
Addressing the august gathering at the UNWTO Headquarters, President Muhammed Buhari said, ‘’The hosting right that was recently granted to Nigeria for the first-ever Global Conference on Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industry is another affirmation of the great confidence reposed in our country by your Organization. The event provides yet another opportunity for Nigeria to market its tourism and creative industry assets to the international community.’’
The Head of state assured the leadership of UNWTO that ‘’Nigeria is ready to host a world class conference this November, and we assure all participants from within and outside the country of a safe and secure environment as well as adequate facilities. We look forward to welcoming all participants to Nigeria.’’
‘’The global conference will also serve as an avenue to showcase Nigeria’s famed hospitality and warmth, highlight the country’s profile as a destination for leisure and business and identify investment opportunities, especially in the sector. The event will also strengthen the already cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and the UNWTO.
President Buhari used the opportunity to thank the Organization for granting Nigeria 100 UNWTO Tourism Online Academy Scholarships for the award of certificate on the ‘Introduction to Tourism-Industry Management’.
‘’I am reliably informed that the scholarship award was given in recognition of Nigeria’s efforts to empower youths and boost quality education in tourism. There is no doubt that this award will help to address the dearth of manpower in our tourism sector. I look forward to a stronger and more mutually-rewarding relationship between Nigeria and the UNWTO in the years ahead.’’
A plaque was unveiled by the visiting Head of State at the headquarters.
Nigeria’s Minister of Culture and Information Lai Mohammed, who accompanied the President to Madrid, said Nigeria plans to leverage the global conference to showcase the best of Nigeria.
‘’We plan to leverage on the conference to showcase what makes Nigeria tick in culture, tourism, music, film, gastronomy, fashion, photography, etc, and why Nigeria has become a global leader in music and film, especially.
‘’Today’s visit of Mr. President to the UNWTO headquarters has given a great boost to our efforts to host a successful conference in November, and we thank Mr. President for taking time out to visit’’ he concluded.