By Yemi Olakitan
The Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashuili, has called for tourism to be taught in African schools.
Pololikashuili made the announcement, when Pampers Academy students were participating in tourism talks during a three-day UNWTO Conference held at the National Arts Theatre complex in Lagos.
“Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries: Pathway to Recovery and Inclusive Development” is the conference’s theme.
According to the secretary general, passing on the necessary tourist education to the younger generation—who will continue to be the sector’s future—would help the continent of Africa’s tourism business grow.
“We are here to support and promote new initiatives, and we look forward to better education for children through the educational system.
“We should start by teaching about tourism in schools all around Africa.
“You are the future of this nation, and we want to offer you the opportunity to thrive. Don’t be hesitant to expand any tourism-related businesses; you are a vital part of our future as youngsters.
“Digitalization is a significant aspect of tourism, and we’ll keep helping young people and start-ups in Nigeria flourish,” he said.
While examining the varied tourism value chain, Pololikashuilli observed that the tourism industry was the fastest and most effective means to generate new jobs.
He claimed that the UNWTO has made a commitment to raising awareness of the importance of researching tourism and developing tourism education.
Earlier, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, declared that the Federal Government will keep building the infrastructure required for Nigerian tourism to prosper.
He said that following the COVID-19 era, Nigeria became aware of the enormous wealth that could be made in the sector.
According to the income numbers produced in 2021 following the COVID-19, he claimed, it was found that various segments of the tourism industry produced significant sums of money on an annual basis.
He said that Nollywood brought in N170 billion, N300 billion, and N2 trillion from the fashion industry.
He claimed that the federal government should take note of this because it shows how much potential there is in the tourist sector and how it has to be promoted to the next generation.
He said that the country needed a film institute in order to advance the creative sector.
“As a government, we will continue to invest in the infrastructure and education required for the sector to prosper, and as Nigerians, we must all cooperate peacefully.
“I am pleased to report that Nigeria has received significant investments in the field of digitalization, and I urge young people not to squander their potential.
“Nigeria is a breeding ground for digital talent,” he declared.
Travel industry professionals from both inside and outside the nation attended the event.