The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) global conference holding in Nigeria provides opportunity to discuss the promotion of intra-Africa travel and tourism.
Speaking on the second day of the three-day conference on Tuesday, Mohammed said he also expect the platform to help establish stronger collaboration among member states.
“This meeting provides an excellent opportunity to discuss ways and means to promote intra-Africa travels and tourism leveraging on our vast and unique resources and our number for mutual benefits of our member states.
“It is my expectation that this will also serve as a platform towards establishing stronger linkages and functional collaboration among member states in order to realise the potentials which the continent is endowed with,” the minister said.
He noted that travel and tourism which had become one of the most important sectors in the world economy prior to COVID-19 was hugely affected by the global pandemic leading to the loss of millions of jobs.
The minister, however, stated that the recovery of travel and tourism sector is well underway according to the latest UNWTO report.
“According to the latest UNWTO World Barometer, international tourism got back to 60% pre-pandemic levels between January and July 2022. It said international tourism arrivals almost tripled to from January to June 2022 compared to the safe period of 2021 which means the sector recovered almost 60% of pre-pandemic level,” he said.
He maintained that the stable recovery reflects strong pent-up demands for international travels as well as ease of lifting of travel restrictions as 86 countries have removed COVID-19 restrictions as off September 2022.
Many dignitaries including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari were in attendance at the conference at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos on Tuesday.