It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this auspicious occasion of the 61st meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission for Africa (CAF) 2018 with the theme: “Tourism Statistics – A Catalyst for Development”.
2. The theme of this meeting is apt and could not have come at a better time than now, considering the significance of Tourism Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in measuring the contribution of the tourism sector to the national economy.
3. The importance of tourism and its potentials to national economies cannot be overemphasized. Tourism, as we all know, contributes to the wealth of nations and the well being of citizens, largely through foreign exchange earnings, generation of revenue, creation of employment as well as peaceful co-existence.
4. May I earnestly commend 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 great event. Nigeria will continue to count on your support to host more international events as the country has
identified tourism as one of the alternatives to oil and gas.
5. 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.
6. Also, this government is investing in human resource development by the introduction of the social investment programme that has benefitted 9 million people, still counting. These programmes include our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme that is providing one meal a day to 8.2 million pupils in over 45,000 schools in 24 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
298,000 poort 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.
7. Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it may interest you to note that Nigeria is a country with a population of over 180 million people and 250 ethnic groups, each with a unique story, and these stories are finding expression in our movies, music and many other creative ideas. Our music and movies, in
particular, have taken the world by storm and, for the creative young talents in our dear country, Nigeria, the best is yet to come.
8. It is on this basis that I call on tourists and investors in the tourism sector to consider Nigeria as their second home. This government has attractive investment incentives for investors in the tourism sector including but not limited to:
– Pioneer status to all major tourism projects.
– 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.
– Minimum duty on Casino equipment.
– Work permit for foreign workers with specialized skills within the industry.
– Land at concessionary rate by state governments to tourism investors.
9. Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to declare open the 61st meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa.
10. I wish you fruitful deliberation, and I thank you for your kind attention