Abuja to host ministerial meeting amid crisis


ABUJA, Nigeria (eTN) – Nigeria’s capital is set to play host to the 47th meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s Commission for Africa (CAF) summit, a regional meeting for African tourism ministers to be held from May 13 to 16, 2008.

Themed “How Marketing Techniques Can Contribute To Enhance African Destinations,” the summit is to be attended by all 54 African countries and territories that are affiliate members of the UNWTO.

Despite the magnitude of the summit, the Nigerian Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation (NMTCNO) has shown very little interest in gaining any benefit from the gathering of the tourism ministers. Few days to the summit, ministry officials have raised some concerns.

In view of this apprehension, tourism stakeholders have said they are worried that the reasons for hosting the event in the first place may be futile, as in 2006, a UNWTO Tourism Communication Seminar was cancelled at the very last minutes and reverted to Mali.

According to Ousmane Ndiaye, Africa’s representative to UNWTO in a telephone conversation with eTurboNews Nigeria affiliate, travelafricanews.com, apart from him and resource persons coming for the Abuja seminar, UNWTO deputy secretary general Taleb Rafai will represent the organization’s secretary general, Francisco Frangialli, at the Abuja gathering.

On the possibility of honoring the late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, the Nigerian and former director general of the Nigeria Tourist Association (which is now the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation), government apex tourism agency that muted the idea of World Tourism Day, Ndiaye said the issue will be discussed in Abuja to ascertain how, when and where to honor this distinguished African.

Meanwhile, all seems not to be well with the ministry as sources in the ministry told travelafricanews.com that many staff frowns at the leadership style of the minister, Prince Kayode Adetokunbo, who they said is not interested in moving the ministry forward.

Apart from the ministry’s crisis, the tourism private sector umbrella body, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, is also on the edge with reports of the body falling apart.