The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) on Tuesday announced the establishment of three universities of Tourism in Africa. The Secretary-General, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, disclosed this during the UNWTO Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries: Pathways To Recovery and Inclusive Development, at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. Pololikashvil said one of the three universities would be located in Nigeria.
He said: “Since the start of my mandate, I have made education a priority for UNWTO. Our expanded online academy and partnerships with key universities are giving people the skills and knowledge that tourism needs. “We will be siting tourism universities in Africa and one of them will be located here in Nigeria. “For many, most notably here in Africa, tourism offers a first step towards economic independence.
“It can be the start of a lifelong career in tourism. Or the skills they learn can be used in another field. “Either way, both the individual and their home communities benefit. “We also have a duty to ensure that the opportunities are open to everyone – including women, youth and those living in rural communities.” According to him, gender equal ity is a key pillar of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa.
“We also have a duty to ensure that the opportunities are open to everyone – including women, youth and those living in rural communities. And so too is tourism for rural development. “Our Best Tourism Villages initiative recognizes the best examples of tourism being a force for good, including its important role in preserving unique cultures.” Pololikashvili also urged governments across the African continent to include tourism in schools’ curriculum.
“We are here to promote and support new projects, we look forward to better education for the youths through schools. We need to start with putting tourism in schools across Africa,” he said. Earlier, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his address, said the hosting of the conference is a strong affirmation of Nigeria’s position as a trusted business hub, and a safe harbour for capital, talent and intellectual property.
“In the lead-up to the conference, Nigeria hosted the 2022 UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Week in Abuja, from 24th to 28th October 2022. Through the progressive scaling-up of our MICE events (with MICE here standing for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), we intend to build public confidence and increase our operational readiness to host international events.
The hosting of these events in quick succession by the Nigerian government is also a testament to the increasing readiness, safety and security of our cities to play host to global events. “Your presence here today confirms the passion and the zeal of the stakeholders to move these sectors forward. “I am glad to see many important personalities, experts, professionals and distinguished industry representatives. “Tourism, culture and the creative industries, which are the focus of this conference, play critical roles in the economies, prosperity and growth of many countries globally. “The purpose of this conference is to fast-track our objective of transforming the tourism sector into a preferred sector, and the creative industry into a creative economy.”