The Federal Government has announced a tripartite partnership involving the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and global news leader, CNN to promote tourism in Nigeria.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the plan at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) in Lagos on Tuesday.

He said the partnership would leverage on Nigeria’s film industry popularly known as Nollywood.

Mohammed said that talks were at an advanced stage to forge a “very strong and effective partnership to use our comparative advantage in film production, through Nollywood, to promote tourism in Nigeria’.

“This is a path we have not trodden before, but which we are sure will go a long way in making it possible for us to push tourism from the back-burner to the mainstream of the economy,” he said.

Mohammed said that more details of the partnership would be provided in the days ahead.

He appealed to tourism stakeholders to work with the Federal Government to ensure the success of the 2018 UNWTO CAF Meeting to be hosted in Abuja.

Nigeria won the hosting right of the meeting at the last edition of the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April.

“As many of you are aware, Nigeria recently won the right to host the annual UNWTO CAF Meeting in Abuja in 2018.

“Yes, this is not the first time Nigeria will be hosting this meeting, but this time we must leverage on the meeting as a platform to promote Nigeria as a preferred tourism destination,” he said.

The minister urged the private sector to partner with the government to grow the tourism industry and provide the necessary skills, competencies and ingredients for growth and progress.

“Stakeholders are also invited to package and promote Nigerian destinations, goods and services.

“This will create direct and indirect employment through tourism, grow the economy, increase the national GDP, position Nigeria as an all-year-round tourism destination and establish a worthwhile, acceptable and recognisable image of the country among tourists.

“Let us all tour Nigeria, let us all consume more of made in Nigeria, and let us all know more of our heritage. Let us all celebrate Nigeria,” he said.

Mohammed said as part of efforts to improve Nigeria’s ranking on the Tourism Competitive Index of the World Travel and Tourism Council, the government had set up a Presidential Council on the Ease of Doing Business.