President Muhammadu Buhari has said that it would have been suicidal to hold international tourism conference in Nigeria four years ago because of the high level of insecurity.
The President who spoke today, Tuesday, when he received in audience at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Secretary-General of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, declared that Nigeria is now safe and secure for tourism, citing improved security and country’s burgeoning economy.
“I am pleased that the country is now sufficiently safe and secure, and the message should go out to the world for all tourists and business travellers. The first thing tourists look out for is security and I am happy we have it now.
“Minister Lai Mohammed has been trying to convince the world that Nigeria is safe and has great potentials for tourism and investment. I am glad that you and your team have come here to see things for yourself,’’ the President told the UN tourism chief, who is in Abuja for the 61st UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF) conference.”
President Buhari highlighted the nexus between tourism and sustainable development, saying that Nigeria would not be left behind in ensuring that communities and businesses benefit from tourism development.
In his remarks, Pololikashvili commended Nigeria for the successful hosting of the conference which brings together African Ministers of Tourism, principal executives of the global tourism body and other stakeholders in the tourism sector.
The UN tourism chief said that Nigeria had huge potential to develop the tourism sector considering its large economy, adding: “we can do it in Nigeria, we can create, convert Nigeria to the main tourist destination in Africa. There is a huge potential here. Culture, nature, food you have everything here.
“You are investing in agriculture, improving seamless travel through visa-on-arrival programme, reforming the economy and doing so much on security. Nigeria is safw.”