The Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, has described the ongoing 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF) in Abuja as one of the most successful events of the global body.
The Secretary-General made the remarks in Abuja on Tuesday at a joint press conference with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
He said UNWTO will leverage on the success of the meeting to promote Nigeria to become a top tourist destination in the world, and commended the Minister for putting Nigeria on the global tourism map.
“Thanks to the Minister that is pushing Nigeria as a new tourist destination. We are here to support Nigeria to be the most important and most attractive place to come to visit to enjoy the culture,” Mr. Pololikashvili said.
The Secretary-General, who was received by President Muhammadu Buhari earlier in the day, said the commitment shown by the President to tourism development has motivated the UNWTO to renew its interest in Nigeria.
He particularly commended the Administration’s Visa On Arrival policy which, he said, has made Nigeria one of the most accessible countries and urged other countries to emulate the policy.
Pololikashvili said the ongoing meeting in Nigeria has provided a veritable platform to discuss and articulate concrete steps towards the development of tourism on the continent.
“We had very interesting discussions with ministers and we made very concrete decisions on how to continue and how to work with African Continent, which has full support from our organization, and we are very glad that we are going in the right way.
“We have an ambitious plan. We want to promote Africa as one of the main and most important tourism destinations in the world,” he said.
In his remarks, the Minister said he is satisfied with the conduct of the meeting so far.
“I know it is for our guests to assess the event, but I must say that I am quite satisfied with the way the meeting has gone so far – the impressive attendance, the quality of contributions, the spectacular nature of the social events and, in particular, the passion and commitment of the Secretary-General, who has attended all the key events..
“Without being immodest, let me say that we are very proud of the hosting of the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO CAF. We are very proud of the role played by the UNWTO and CAF. We are happy with the attendance of delegates and we are happy with the events overall,” he said.
Mohammed thanked the UNWTO Secretary-General and his entire team for their support and guidance during the three-day event, which is due to end on Wednesday.
Over 500 delegates, including 26 Ministers and 166 foreign delegates from 34 countries, are attending the meeting.