IN a major drive for a diversified economy in Africa, the African Tourism Ministers’ Conference will begin in Calabar today.
The event, which ends on Thursday, June 27, will hold in Tinapa Lakeside Hotel and it is a gathering of African tourism ministers whose countries are affiliate members of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The event, which is under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, with the Minister, Edem Duke, as the chief organiser, is essentially a tourism-related one and is expected to focus on the development and promotion of the region’s tourism industry.
Also, officials of the UNWTO led by its Regional Programme Director for Africa, Mr. Ousmane Ndiaye, alongside the Secretary General of UNWTO, Dr. Taleb Rifai, will attend the event.
Ministers from the over 49 affiliate members and observer-nations of the region are expected to lead delegations consisting of tourism administrators, national boards and commissions, experts, stakeholders and operators to the three-day gathering.
Nigeria’s hosting of the commission’s meeting this year, the second in recent time, as it last hosted in 2008, is sequel to the acceptance of the invitation for hosting right presented by the Nigerian government to the commission during its 52nd session held in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea on October 8, 2011.
The three-day session is divided into two separate events. The first session is the commission’s meeting and then a two-day seminar. The commission’s session holds today with a formal opening ceremony
The two-day seminar, which is billed for tomorrow and Wednesday, would hold at the same venue and has as theme: “Responsible Tourism: Opportunities for Women and Youth.”
Besides the brain-storming sessions, delegates at the meeting would also be treated to the best of Nigerian culture and tourism offerings as banquet, gala and cultural nights, among others, are scheduled to hold while city tour of Calabar and its environment, particularly Tinapa Business Resort, is on the card.