OPENING STATEMENT MADE BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, AT A JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE WITH THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF CROSS RIVER STATE IN CALABAR ON WORLD TOURISM DAY, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2022
Gentlemen, good afternoon
As you are aware, we are here in this beautiful city of Calabar for the observance of the 2022 World Tourism Day. September 27th of every year is set aside to mark World Tourism Day, an international observance day which has been celebrated since 1980 to foster global awareness of the social, cultural, political and economic value of tourism and the contributions of the sector towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The event is also considered as a powerful advocacy tool and an occasion to mobilize political will and resources, address global problems, celebrate and reinforce achievements at all levels and educate the public on issues of concern.
It’s no longer news that the travel and tourism sector was one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, affecting businesses and tourism-driven economies of nations due to shut-downs, travel restrictions and the almost collapse of international travels. With the onset of the pandemic in 2020 alone, the travel and tourism sector lost trillions of dollars and millions of jobs globally. As the sector recovers, given its resilience, inclusivity and sustainability, the UNWTO designated the theme for the 2022 edition of the World Tourism
day as ‘Rethinking Tourism’. This is aimed at inspiring debate around rethinking tourism for development, through education and jobs, impact on the planet and opportunities to grow more sustainably.
The event is used the world over as an advocacy tool to mobilize political will and resources, address global problems, celebrate and reinforce achievements at all levels and to educate the public on issues of concern. This means putting people first and bringing everyone, from governments and businesses to local communities together, around a shared vision, for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector.
Today, therefore, the UNWTO and its member states the world over are celebrating this important event in the history of tourism. While the official international celebration is also being celebrated today in Bali, Indonesia, Nigeria has designated Cross River State as the venue for the National celebration of the 2022 World Tourism Day celebration. The celebration here is marked by a series of activities, which commenced yesterday with a road walk around the city of Calabar and a packaged tour to selected tourism sites within the city. These activities are aimed at creating awareness among the people and sensitizing them on the importance of tourism to their socio-economic lives.
The celebration continues today, September 27th , which is the World Tourism Day, with this press conference and will be followed by other programmes. I wish to emphasize that the theme for this year’s World Tourism Day celebration, Rethinking Tourism, calls for improvement of the tourists’ experience, better management of the impact of tourism and enhancement of positive spill-over effects on other aspects of the economy. We are therefore expected to develop and sustain human capital, new technologies and business models, more consistency and investment in infrastructure to boost the sector.
I wish to most sincerely appreciate His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, for hosting this year’s World Tourism Day. I must state that Cross River is one of the States in Nigeria that have demonstrated interest in tourism and the capacity to stimulate and sustain it for improved domestic and international tourism. I also wish to thank the government and good people of Cross River for their support and warmth, as always.
And I thank you all for your kind attention