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Lai Mohammed, others harp on collaborations for tourism advancement



Lai Mohammed, others harp on collaborations for tourism advancement
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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, on Monday urged tourism practitioners across Africa to intensify efforts on public- private partnerships for the advancement of the industry.

Mohammed made the call during a three-day United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Conference on “Linking Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries”, held at the National Arts Theatre Complex, Lagos.

The Minister, who recounted his experience during the renovation of the National Theatre said that the process was expedited because of a fortified relationship that existed between the private and public operators in the industry.

He commended the efforts of tourism practitioners so far, as he urged for more synergy to make more progress in the industry.

“Collaboration is key to the growth of this industry, I can remember how we began this journey of renovating the national theatre.

“With the public-private partnerships that we have enjoyed in the course of the renovation, we have been able to achieve this.

“I want to appreciate everyone who has contributed to this,” he said

Siandonu Fofana, Minister of Tourism, Côte d’Ivoire, said that the problem experienced in the industry was basically lack of financial resources needed for the development of the enormous cultural and tourism potential Africa is endowed with.

Fofana noted that it was high time governments across Africa defined their priority areas by taking tourism seriously.

He said practitioners must engage the digital space in their quest to develop the industry.

He also advised governments across the continent to ensure an enriching and enabled environment was consistently provided for the private sector to operate seamlessly.

Coco Reinarhz, a professional chef, said “I want to speak on behalf of the private sector, we do not need money from the public sector, what we need is education to the populace.

“People must be educated in the industry so that when they get any job within the industry, they will know how to execute it, giving jobs to uneducated individuals is like a mediocrity, we need to educate the youth who need jobs.”

Mr Mamadu Jaquite, a politician from Guinea-Bissau, said that African countries must consciously work on investing in tourism, considering the enormous opportunities in the industry.

Jacquite noted that currently in his country, the youth are engaged in all forms of vocational training with the aim of exposing them to the right knowledge in the tourism sector.

“Investment is important to the development of the tourism industry which is mainly run by the private sector, to have a good set of private operators in the industry, we need to design some incentives to aid their operations,” he said

Also, Linda Pereira, a cultural promotion strategist, advised on the need for effective communication between the private and public sectors.

She said this would bring about sporadic growth in the industry.