China-Nigeria Cultural Week: Tourism experts come together in Abuja to boost potential
Nigeria is one of dozens of countries hoping to learn lessons from China to boost its tourism industry. The 2019 China Tourism and Cultural week aims to strengthen cultural ties between China and the rest of the world, as well as helping to develop tourism through indigenous arts and crafts. This year's theme is "China beyond your imagination". Phil Ihaza reports from Nigeria's event in Abuja.
The national anthems of Nigeria and China indicate the start of the 2019 China Tourism Cultural week in Nigeria.
An event where Nigeria hopes to learn from China's tourism success.
This year, a delegation from China's Hainan province will showcase features of the Chinese city.
They'll also help train selected artists and tourism experts in Nigeria.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria's art, entertainment and tourism sector accounts for 34 percent of the country's GDP and about 20 percent of employment.
Although the country is faced with challenges like insecurity and poor infrastructure which affect the tourism industry's ability to grow, experts say the sector can and will thrive.
OTUNBA RUNSEWE, DIRECTOR GENERAL COUNCIL FOR ARTS AND CULTURE "Every country has its own challenges. This sector is the sector that will save this country in fact save Africa. The more people you empower from the downtrodden, the more you reduce unemployment, crime, unnecessary friction. So we're taking serious and close advantage of building and empowering our people with this new structure."
The partnership with China is also geared towards strengthening bilateral and economic relations - worth around $10 billion annually.
PHIL IHAZA ABUJA, NIGERIA "This initiative serves as a platform for promoting cultural exchanges between both countries. The hope is that Nigeria takes advantage of this handshake from China, to develop its arts, culture and tourism industry."
LI XUDA, DIRECTOR CHINA CULTURAL CENTRE "China really wants to help Nigeria for the field of capacity building, later we will warmly welcome 3 or 5 or 6 or even 10 people to form a delegation to visit China to learn and we will do our best to help and I think from this aspect, it will help create more job opportunities, it will really help a lot of people."
Tourism experts from both countries exchanged indigenous treasures, but the real value of this week will be if Nigeria can learn lessons from China and grow its tourism industry. Phil Ihaza, CGTN ABUJA, NIGERIA.