Held in Lagos, Nigeria, the first UNWTO World Conference on the Links between Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries, celebrated the close ties between the two major sectors. Around 40% of all tourists cite culture as their main motivation to travel, and UNWTO is leading the way in bringing the two areas together, including through strategic partnerships with Affiliate Members such as Netflix.
Opening the event, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told delegates: “The fortunes of tourism and culture are intertwined. When one flourishes, so does the other.” He urged the public and private sectors to work together to create decent jobs, increase investment and embrace innovation and digital transformation.
The destinies of tourism and culture are closely linked. When one flourishes, so does the other.
Tourism and culture “in the spotlight”
Representing the Government of Nigeria, Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo addressed the Conference by stating: “Our desire to diversify our economy and explore other sources of sustainable income has led us to classify tourism, culture and the creative sector among the priority sectors of the economy. . Specifically, tourism has been recognized for its resilience and dynamism. The Vide President also highlighted the ability of music to serve as a “global languagebringing people together and allowing them to learn more about each other’s ‘culture and ideas’.
Nigerian Minister of Tourism, Lai Mohammed, added: “Today, more than ever, tourism and the creative industry, due to their economic viability, are in the global spotlight and have their place at the forefront of the agenda. of national and international development”.
In addition to meeting the Vice President and Minister of Tourism, UNWTO Secretary General Pololikashvili met with Governor of Lagos Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to explore new ways to harness the power of culture and tourism for create jobs and business opportunities and foster inclusive development, both in Nigeria and across Africa. On the sidelines of the Conference, the Secretary-General also met with Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist who has served as UNWTO Ambassador since 2018.
Investments, youth empowerment and gastronomy
The two-day conference focused on several of UNWTO’s key strategic objectives, including empowering youth and boosting investment in tourism. On the first day, UNWTO held a special interactive session with young people from across Nigeria, in line with commitments made in the Sorrento Call to Action to make young people active participants in decision-making in the sector . Also in Lagos, a roundtable on stimulating creative industries for social entrepreneurship focused on the importance of supporting MSMEs and innovators to improve competitiveness in the tourism sector.
As part of the World Conference on the Links between Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries, UNWTO celebrated the richness of African gastronomy, a growing force within the continent’s tourism sector. A “Tastes of the World” exhibition showcased the best culinary talents, and local gastronomy star Chef Coco Reinarhz participated in a workshop and panel discussion focused on realizing the potential of food tourism to develop destinations and fostering inclusive and sustainable development.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).