Consider Nigeria Your Second Home, President Charges Tourists, Investors As He Opens Tourism Meet

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday declared open the 61st Meeting of
the United Nations World Tourism Organization Commission for Africa
(UNWTO-CAF) in Abuja by inviting tourists and investors to consider
Nigeria as their second home.

The President, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the
Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said his Administration has attractive investment
incentives for investors in the tourism sector, including minimum
tariff on imported tourism equipment, amusement park equipment and
materials for hotel construction and furnishing, dedicated
transportation for tour operators and equipment for restaurants not
manufactured in Nigeria, work permit for foreign workers with
specialized skills within the industry and land at concessionary rate
by state governments to tourism investors.

He said the Administration, having identified the tourism sector as
one of the pillars of its diversification policy, is also investing
heavily in infrastructure and human resource development in order to
make Nigeria a choice destination for tourists.

”In our efforts at diversifying the economy through agriculture,
solid minerals development and tourism, we are investing heavily in
infrastructure. This administration has injected US$9 billion to
strengthen its investment in power, roads, railway in the past two
years alone.

”Also, this government is investing in human resource development
through the introduction of the Social Investment Programme that
has benefitted 9 million people. These programmes include our
Home-Grown School Feeding Programme that is providing one meal a day
to 7.4 million pupils in 22 states; N-Power programme that has
employed 200,000 university graduates and is about to employ 300,000
more; the Conditional Cash Transfer under which some 297,973 poor
homes are receiving 5,000 Naira monthly, and the Government Enterprise
and Empowerment Programme that has provided loans to hundreds of
thousands of small business owners,” President Buhari said.

The President hailed the ”creative young talents” that have made
Nigerian music and films the toast of the world, saying for the
Nigerian youths, the best is yet to come.

He commended the leadership of the UNWTO, the Commission for Africa
(CAF) and, most importantly, the Tourism
Ministers from all over Africa, for considering Nigeria worthy of
hosting this event.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Information and
Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is the host Minister, said hosting
the event in Nigeria is a testimony to the achievements of the Buhari
Administration, especially in the area of security

”As a matter of fact, four years ago, this meeting could not have
been held here. Recall that Boko Haram carried out many attacks in
this capital city. The UN Complex, the Police Headquarters, a
newspaper house, bus station were all attacked.

”Residents of Abuja could not sleep with their two eyes closed.
Today, that is history. There is no clearer evidence than the fact
that this event is being held here in the city,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said the Administration is working hard to boost
tourism in the country, citing the Visa On Arrival policy, massive
investment in upgrading infrastructure and enhancing security, as well
as the provision of enabling environment and incentives, including
strong public and private sector collaboration and enabling laws for
preservation and protection of cultural heritage, as some of the
measures being taken by the government.

He thanked President Buhari for his unalloyed support without which,
he said, the hosting of the conference would not have been possible.

The Minister said the meeting provides an excellent opportunity to
discuss ways and means to promote intra-Africa travels and tourism,
leveraging on the continent’s vast and unique resources and our
number, for mutual benefit to all member states.

The three-day meeting is being attended by over 500 delegates,
including 26 African Ministers of Tourism, the Secretary-General of
the UNWTO, who is leading the top executives of the global tourism
body, as well as tourism experts and stakeholders.

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