The Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Talik Rifai presented the award to her on Tuesday, during the 53rd meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa holding in Calabar.
Mr. Rifai said it was in recognition of her monumental commitment and support for women in tourism.
In her speech, the First Lady pledged to mobilise women and the youth to achieve the goals of the organisation across the continent.
She stated that tourism is a veritable instrument of fighting poverty and has the potential to advance the economies of African countries.
She listed the gains of tourism to include the creation of products and services, investment in infrastructure, poverty reduction and stimulation of micro-finance.
Mrs. Jonathan said tourism development would go a long way in assisting women and the youth to engage in meaningful ventures to generate wealth.
The first lady also spoke on the need to promote peace and unity in the continent, saying peace is important for development.
She appreciated the tourism potentials of Cross River, describing the state as Nigeria’s leading tourism destination.
Earlier, Governor Liyel Imoke said the honour bestowed on the first lady was timely and a recognition of her untiring efforts to uplift the status of women and youth.
Mr. Imoke said the conference should create new avenues to expand the opportunities in the tourism sector.
He commended the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke for partnering with the state in organising the conference, saying that it would go a long way in developing tourism in Africa.
The governor remarked that tourism and peace are inseparable, and commended Mrs. Jonathan for her commitment to the enthronement of peace and development in Africa.
In his remark, the minister said that the conference has afforded Africa a voice to reposition tourism into an important asset in the continent.