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Minister Urges Media To Project Nigeria Positively

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Lai Mohammed with the delegation from the Tourism association
Lai Mohammed with the delegation from the Association of Tourism Practitioners

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has urged the media to always project a positive image of Nigeria instead of echoing the misinformation about widespread insecurity in the country.

He made the call when he received members of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria, who paid him a courtesy call in his office in Abuja. The minister was reacting to a recent travel advisory by the US embassy to visiting  Americans to avoid 20 states in the country due to armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism.

The Minister advised the media against spreading the misinformation that 20 out of the 36 states in Nigeria are not safe, insisting that every Nigerian state is 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. You do not need to spread news about Nigeria that will hurt investment and tourism,” he said

Mohammed called on members of the Association to assist the government in its efforts in promoting the good image of the country, adding that perception management and aggressive marketing are key to the promotion of tourism in Nigeria.

“I will mention an area which is dear 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 said.

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Mohammed said that the ministry of information and culture is working to change the general perception about tourism because of its huge potential in the diversification of the economy, hence the renewed drive to partner with the UN World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, to rejig the nation’s tourism architecture.

He told the Association that he had made recommendation for the resuscitation of the Presidential Council on Tourism,PCT, towards the development of tourism in the country.

He also 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, commended the minister’s uncommon commitment to repositioning tourism in Nigeria.

Mallam said that the Association has set up a committee to complement government’s efforts to review the Tourism Master- plan to conform to current realities.

He also 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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