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Information Minister Appeals To Media To Project Nigeria Image


By Niyi Adeyi

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has appealed to the media to project a positive image of Nigeria and accord less prominence to widespread insecurity in the country.

The appeal was made Thursday in Abuja, while the Minister was addressing members of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria, who paid him a courtesy call in his office.

Alhaji Mohammed urged the media to be wary of spreading the misinformation that 20 out of the 36 states in Nigeria were not safe, saying every Nigerian state was safe for investment and tourism.

”If they want to tell their people not to come to Nigeria, we do not need to help them to spread the news,” he said. ”You do not need to spread news about Nigeria that will hurt investment and tourism” the Minister cautioned.

Alhaji Mohammed enjoined members of the Association to complement the efforts of the government in promoting the good image of the country, saying perception management and aggressive marketing were key to the promotion of tourism in the country.

“I will mention an area which is dire to tourism and development. That is the area of marketing tourism. We do not market tourism enough in this country. Tourism is driven by perception more than by reality. What do I mean? Today, countries that are less endowed and peaceful than Nigeria…go on CNN and Aljazeera to advertise their countries as the countries of peace and stability. We must change the perception and invest in perception management,” he insisted.

The Minister said his ministry was working to change the general perception about tourism as a mere leisure “instead of as a business”, because of its huge potential in the diversification of the economy, hence the renewed drive to partner with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to “rejig the nation’s tourism architecture”.

Alhaji Mohammed told the Association that he had made recommendation for the resuscitation of the Presidential Council on Tourism (PCT) involving all stakeholders across Ministries, departments and agencies with a view to fashioning out a holistic approach towards the development of tourism in the country.

He urged leaders to do more to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria by spending their vacation in the country, as leaders in other climes do.

In his address, the National President of the Association, Kabir Mallam, hailed the Minister for his uncommon commitment to re-positioning tourism in Nigeria.

“Permit me sir to appreciate you for the three significant outings since assumption of office: Tourism and Culture Summit held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel on the 28th and 29th April, 2016; Your appearance before the House of Representatives on May 3rd 2016 and most recent visit to the UNWTO this month,” he noted.

He called for a review of the Tourism Master plan to align with the current realities, informing that the Association has set up a committee to complement government in that regard.

Mallam called for the enactment of a law to regulate tourism practice in Nigeria to guard against the unscrupulous activities of quacks in the sector.

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