By Omolara Omosanya
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu says come November this year, participants in the maiden United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Global Conference on Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries billed to hold in the State will feel the warmest hospitality Lagos is known for
The Governor gave the assurance when he received the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on a courtesy visit at the State House in Marina during which he also expressed Lagos readiness to collaborate with the Federal Government to use the event to create lasting positive impression for the country.
The UNWTO global conference will hold at the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, between November 14 and 16, 2022.
According to Gov. Sanwo-Olu, November will be a full month of cultural and tourism fiesta in Lagos, as the State put preparations in top gear to host the National Festival of Arts and Culture in collaboration with National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in the same month, while the biggest art museum – J.K. Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History will also be inaugurated
The Governor said the State’s strategic investment in the arts and creative industry was deliberate to boost the tourism market in Lagos and drive cultural renaissance, while giving the youths new lease of life to hone their talents in the entertainment sector, in line with his administration’s development agenda
He said: “The month of November has been christened the month for arts and culture in Lagos. Lagos will be hosting NAFEST and we are unveiling an art museum, which will be about the biggest in Africa. The UNWTO global conference will be the crescendo of the whole events. We will be using the opportunity to showcase some of our best in class of arts and also project parts of the country not seen before.
“This is part of ensuring that we utilise what we have not only for the development of our State and the country, but also to give our teeming youths opportunities to flourish, using their God-given talents. Entertainment and Tourism industry is seen as a rallying point for great number of the youth who continue to display their talents in arts, culture, music, technology and all the spaces they have excelled. We are turning around things in this sector to ensure our country remains the destination for the best talents in entertainment and tourism.”
Earlier, the Minister said the conference marked the fifth time the UNWTO and its member states demonstrated confidence in Nigeria by giving the country the hosting right of major international events.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the choice of the National Theatre was most appropriate for the conference, because the monument remained the hub of arts and entertainment in the country, and would return the edifice to its role.
“The conference provides socio-economic benefits among other opportunities where we will showcase Nigeria’s tourism, culture and creative assets, project the country’s image as a safe and desirable destination for leisure and business, and consolidate on our relationship with the UNWTO and its member states. The conference will also generate foreign exchange and create direct and indirect jobs, while highlighting the restart of travel and tourism in a safe and seamless manner after the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in a near collapse of the sector. There will be interaction and exchange of ideas and best practices with key industry players, while creating opportunities for the training of public and private sector tourism officials.” he said.