The Federal Government is planning a national summit on the role of youths and women in tourism as part of the efforts to harness hidden talents to develop the sector, according to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture.
Mohammed made the announcement at the ongoing 23rd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The general assembly coincided with the 62nd meeting of the UNWTO’s Commission for Africa (CAF), holding at the same venue.
A statement on the minister’s contributions at the summit and CAF meeting was made available to newsmen in Abuja by his Special Adviser, Mr Segun Adeyemi.
“It is incontestable today that the industry that creates the most jobs is tourism.
“It is one industry that creates jobs for women and also encourages youths,” Mohammed said at the CAF meeting.
The minister said that it was clear from the presentations at the ongoing meetings that tourism was gradually overtaking other segments of the economy as a major player for development and equality.
He said that Nigeria would leverage on its comparative advantage, which includes a rich culture and a booming music and film industry, to take its tourism sector to the next level.
“In the past, tourism was seen merely as a past time; as a vacation. But, from the report of the Secretary-General (of the UNWTO), at this meeting, tourism has become a key driver in the development of the economy,” the Minister added.