Nigeria’s former Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Lai Mohammed, has been appointed Special Advisor to Mr Zurab Pololikashvili, the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Mr Mohammed’s appointment was announced during the inaugural session of the 66th UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF), which is presently taking place in Mauritius.
The former minister brings a wealth of expertise and experience to his new post, having constantly played key roles in the activities of the World Tourism Organization over the previous seven years.
He led the organisation of the 61st UNWTO CAF Meetings in Nigeria in 2018 and the maiden UNWTO Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries in Lagos last year.
He is expected to help Pololikashvili pursue his objective of making Africa a key region for the global tourism economy through his Agenda for Africa programme.
Accepting the new role, Mohammed expressed his gratitude, saying that he was inspired by the confidence reposed in him by the secretary-general and that he was deeply honoured to become the first Nigerian to serve in this capacity.
“Nigeria is dynamic and diverse in terms of natural and human resources in the areas of tourism, culture, creative industries, technology, and other aspects of our national economy.
“Having come so far and rising still, Nigeria in particular, and the African region in general is living and shaping the full range of achievements and challenges of our current times.
“It is, therefore, inspiring to take on more responsibilities that will guide the development of tourism in a more responsible and sustainable manner,” he said.
The Special Advisor’s duty includes supporting in the development of a strategy for resuming sustainable and safe tourism following COVID-19 and consulting the UNWTO Secretary-General on information and culture concerns.
In addition, the former minister is expected to prepare necessary reports and research documents in accordance with UNWTO principles, as well as accompany the secretary-general on official trips.
During such visits, he is also expected to advise him and recommend suitable public relations initiatives in line with the aims of the World Tourism Organization.