Music to boost Nigeria's tourism drive
Nigerian music has taken news of the country’s creativity out of its shores. It might also help in bringing foreigners into the country, as Nigeria’s minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed has said the country’s major tourist asset is its creative industry.
Mohammed was speaking at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission for Africa, which took place in Abuja from 4 - 6 June under the theme Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst For Development. Nigeria had won the bid to host the event last year.
“Although we still have safari and wildlife in Nigeria, no doubt, but our greatest strength lies in our creative industry, our music, films and theatre,” said Mohammed.
“This is an area where we want to build on. It is an area where we have comparative advantage over many other countries. We have been able to brand Nigeria tourism; Nigeria tourism is unique especially with the creative industry.”
Largely created and funded by individuals, the Nigerian music has started to attract the attentions of the government in recent times. “Think how much bliss, the music videos of Clarence Peters and the best-selling comedies of Ayo Makun, Basketmouth, Akpororo, Chigul, Falz D Bahd Guy, Funke Akindele, Jenifa and the talented singer-comedian Kenny Black have brought to audiences home and abroad,” said Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at a public event weeks ago.
For his part, the secretary general of the UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili agreed with the host country’s potential.
“We can do it in Nigeria, we can create, convert Nigeria to the main tourist destination in Africa,” he said. “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 safe.”
“I am glad that you and your team have come here to see things for yourself,” said Lai Mohammed in response.
The Commission for Africa was attended by 18 tourism ministers from the region. Stakeholders from 36 countries were also in attendance.
"The priorities of my mandate have been formed by listening to the needs of our member states and include the crucial targets of creating more and better tourism jobs, improving tourism education and fostering innovation,” said Pololikashvili. “We need to build tight links between public and private sectors for tourism to transform growth across the continent, and for the benefit of its people."
Source: Music in Africa