I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all stakeholders present for responding to our invitation to be here today on this auspicious occasion of a workshop on the theme: “Mainstreaming Tourism into the Economic Agenda of Government: Issues and Challenges”.

  1. Considering the need to develop a sustainable tourism sector for the country, the Ministry thought it timely and pertinent to organize this workshop. The main objective of this programme is to create a platform for stakeholders, drawn from both the public and the private sectors to synergize on how to collectively develop promote and sustain the Nigerian Tourism Industry.
  1. The workshop will therefore highlight the diverse approaches and practical models and methodologies as a framework for projecting the sector as a vehicle for socio-economic growth of the country. It is also expected to identify and deliberate on the challenges and proffer solutions that will chart a new course for the tourism industry.
  1. Tourism is globally recognized as a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and given its potentials, tourism in the Nigerian context can sustain development. The current economic downturn as a result of the dwindling oil price in the international market further emphasize the urgent need for diversification through tourism and other major non-oil sectors. It is a priority sector for sustainable development aimed at achieving the Government’s Agenda of wealth creation, employment generation, poverty alleviation and environmental conservation.
  1. It is against this backdrop that you have been invited to brainstorm on how to achieve these goals and move the sector forward. I am confident that by the end of the workshop, pragmatic steps would have been fashioned out to address the challenges.
  1. Government will continue to create the enabling environment. To actualize this, we will partner with relevant stakeholders and the organized private sector to make Nigeria a preferred tourism destination.
  1. Finally, l enjoin you to be committed to the course of transforming the tourism sector towards attaining its rightful place in the economy of our dear country.
  1. I wish you fruitful deliberations. Thank you and God bless.