Hope rises for the rebound of the Nigerian tourism industry as the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been elected to the executive council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at its 66th Commission for Africa Meeting held in Mauritius.
With the development,Nigeria returns to the highest structure of UNWTO after nearly a decade.
To further consolidate on its new position, Nigeria was also awarded the vice president slot for the Commission for Africa (CAF).
As well, the West African giant has now become part of the eleven other African countries representing Africa on UNWTO’s highest making decision-making body.
The Executive Council is UNWTO’s governing board responsible for ensuring that the organization carries out its work and adheres to its budget.
Speaking to VoyagesAfriq after the nomination and subsequent affirmation, Folorunsho Coker, Director general, Nigeria Tourism Development Authority, said that he was grateful to colleague members and the Commission for Africa (CAF) for accepting the country’s bid.
“With Nigeria’s recognition in the Commission for Africa/UNWTO as vice president and member of the Executive Council, we can deepen the impact of our domestic tourism assets and new mediums of cultural expression on our Nigerian GDP. We hope to support UNWTO Tourism Academy, tourism grants, tourism, technical support and tourism events,” Coker said.
According to him, the new development will offer Nigeria a great opportunity to present to the rest of the world all its culture and diversity and to welcome the global tourism community.
Nigeria’s emergence as CAF vice president and being elected to UNWTO’s Executive Council are coming on the heel of the country being elected as the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Also, considering that Coker has a good relationship with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, expectations are high that Coker, who is serving a second term as the director general of Nigeria Tourism Development Authority, will leverage his contacts at the UNWTO and with the new government to push tourism development to the front burner and also put the global tourism spotlight on Nigeria.
The Commission of Africa Meeting is held every year as part of UNWTO’s statutory events. The July meeting was the second time Mauritius, an archipelago island country, which has been a member of the UNWTO since 1975, will be hosting the CAF Meeting.