“I call on tourists and investors in the tourism sector to consider Nigeria as their second home,” Buhari said.
President Buhari gave the charge while declaring open the 61st meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission for Africa (CAF) in Abuja on Monday, June 4, 2018.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the President lauded the talents of young Nigerians particularly in the movies and music industries which 'has taken the world by storm' .
“It may interest you to note that Nigeria is a country with a population of over 180 million people and over 250 ethnic groups, each with a unique story, and these stories are finding expression in our movies, music and many other creative ideas,” he said.
“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.
“It is on this basis that I call on tourists and investors in the tourism sector to consider Nigeria as their second home,” he announced.
ALSO READ: Nigeria in a hurry to develop, says Lai
Enumerating the contributions of his administration to the tourism industry, President Buhari said the government had introduced incentives for investors in the sector.
“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.
“Also, we have introduced minimum duty on Casino equipment; work permit for foreign workers with specialized skills within the industry; and land at concessionary rate by state governments to tourism investors."
The President noted that his government is also deepening the legislative and institutional capacities for the protection of intellectual property rights in Nigeria.
This, according to him, will give all investors the assurance of security of their rights especially in the creative industry.
On his part, the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, said the meeting would serve as a platform towards establishing stronger linkages and functional collaboration among member states in order to realize the potentials with which the continent is endowed with.
“On our part, as a country, we are doing everything possible to move the tourism sector into the mainstream of the economy," the minister said. "Realizing that modern infrastructure is critical to tourism development, we are investing heavily in the development of infrastructure. In the last two years alone, we have spent an unprecedented 9 billion US dollars to build roads, standard railways and power. The investment is showing, as we have raised our power generation from 2,690 to 7,000MW, while road construction is going on in every of the country's 36 states.
We are also improving our security architecture, because without security, tourism cannot thrive. As a matter of fact, four years ago, this meeting could not have been held here. Recall that Boko Haram carried out many attacks in this capital city. The UN Complex, the Headquarters, a newspaper house, bus station were all attacked. Residents of Abuja could not sleep with their two eyes closed. Today, that is history. There is no clearer evidence than the fact that this event is being held here in the city,” the minster stated.
The Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili noted that with the meeting, Nigeria has taken the world by storm.
He expressed optimism that the meeting would bring about positive growth and development in the country tourism sector.
No fewer than 166 foreign delegates, 26 ministers and 332 Nigerian delegates, excluding local and foreign pressmen are expected to attend the three-day with the theme, ‘Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development’.