In his quest at positioning Nigeria, the giant of Africa as the creative hub for creative tourism and cultural destination in Africa, the Minister of Information and Culture, Hon. Lai Mohammed, has signed an agreement with the United Nations World Tourism Organization, (UNWTO) to stage the 1st Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry which will be held in Lagos from 14th-17th November 2022, assuring that the event will be a trail blazing one.
This was made known in a press release made available to the media by the Special Assistant to the President (Media) Office of the Minister for Information and Culture, Mr. Segun Adeyemi.
According to the release, the hosting agreement signing took place in Madrid ,Tuesday where the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, signed on behalf of the global organization.
Hon. Mohammed said the signing of the agreement is the clearest indication yet of Nigeria’s commitment to hosting a successful conference, officially entitled ‘1st UNWTO Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development’.
He also informed that the conference will be held at the National Theatre, Lagos, which is currently being renovated at a cost of $100 million, under a partnership between the Federal Government and the Bankers’ Committee/Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Mohammed pointed out that the conference will form a part of the activities line up to formally declare open the National Theatre, an iconic edifice which is undergoing its first renovation in over four decades, in addition to witnessing the construction of new hubs for fashion, information technology, film and music.
”In an effort to ensure that the National Theatre complex is ready for the hosting in November, I recently undertook an inspection tour of ongoing work there with stakeholders, including the Governor of Lagos State, the Governor of CBN and the Minister of Sports and Youth Development. Every indication is that the venue will be ready early enough to host the global conference,” the Minister assured.
The Minister believed that the global conference will affirm Nigeria’s status as the hub of the creative industry in Africa, and helps reposition the Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry as the engine of growth not just for Nigeria and Africa, but indeed all countries of the world.
”The creative economy contributes a significant 3% to the global gross domestic product (GDP), averaging between 2% and 7% of national GDPs around the world. And, according to UN estimates, the creative economy industries generate annual revenues of $2.25 trillion and account for 30 million jobs worldwide. The essence of this conference, therefore, is to help improve on those figures and create more jobs.
”This inaugural conference couldn’t have been conceived at a better time. The creative industry was badly hit by Covid-19 pandemic, and it is just beginning a slow and long recovery process. For example, it is estimated that In 2020, the cancellation of public performances alone cost the organizers roughly 30% of global royalties, while the global film industry lost $7 billion in revenues. The stark reality is that millions of jobs were also lost during the shutdown period. That’s why the conference is not only expedient but timely,” Hon. Mohammed said.
He also commended the UNWTO for coming up with the conference and also for giving Nigeria the hosting rights.
On his part, the UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili assured that the UN agency will immediately kickstart a global publicity campaign for the event as part of efforts to ensure its success.
The signing was witnessed by the Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Demola Seriki, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker, among others.