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Receiving Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the President said it would have been inconceivable to host an international tourism conference in Abuja four years ago because of security concerns.

He said: “I am pleased that the country is now sufficiently safe and secure, and the message should go out to the world for all tourists and business travellers. The first thing tourists look out for is security and I am happy we have it now.

“Minister, Lai Mohammed, has been trying to convince the world that Nigeria is safe and has great potentials for tourism and investment. I am glad that you and your team have come here to see things for yourself.”

The UN tourism chief is in Abuja for the 61st UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF) conference. In his remarks, Pololikashvili commended Nigeria for the successful hosting of the conference which brings together African Ministers of Tourism, principal executives of the global tourism body and other stakeholders in the tourism sector.

He said Nigeria had huge potentialities to develop the tourism sector, considering its large economy. He said: “We can do it in Nigeria, we can create, convert Nigeria to the main tourist destination in Africa. There is a huge potential here. Culture, nature, food, you have everything here. Also speaking, the Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said 166 delegates, including 26 tourism ministers from Africa, were attending the conference which ends in Abuja tomorrow.

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