The former Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism in Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has been named Special Advisor to Zurab Pololikashvili, the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The announcement was made at the start of the 66th UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF) in Mauritius.
Mohammed brings seven years of active engagement with UNWTO, having played critical roles in various functions of the global tourism body.
His achievements include organising the 61st UNWTO CAF Meetings in Nigeria in 2018, as well as the first UNWTO Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries in Lagos the following year.
In his new role, he will assist Pololikashvili in achieving his goal of boosting Africa’s significance in the global tourism economy through his Agenda for Africa program.
Mohammed’s responsibilities will span several areas, including helping develop a strategy for sustainable and safe tourism in the aftermath of COVID-19, advising the UNWTO Secretary-General on information and culture matters, and preparing relevant reports and research documents according to UNWTO’s principles.
He will also accompany and offer advice to the Secretary-General during his visits and propose appropriate public relations actions aligning with the world tourism body’s priorities.
Mohammed expressed his gratitude upon accepting his new position, stating that he was inspired by the trust placed in him by the Secretary-General.
He said: “I stand before you, deeply touched and inspired by your generous words of confidence and trust. With so much gratitude for the confidence placed in me by the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashivili, and with an unswerving resolve to honour that trust, I humbly accept the appointment as the Special Advisor on Tourism to the Secretary General of this great Organization.
“I am deeply honoured to become the first Nigerian to serve in this capacity. Nigeria is dynamic and diverse in terms of natural and human resources in the areas of tourism, culture, creative industries, technology and other aspects of our national economy.
“Having come so far and rising still, the Nigeria and Africa region, in general, is living and shaping the full range of achievements and challenges of our current times. “It is therefore inspiring to take on more responsibilities that will guide the development of tourism more responsibly and sustainably.”