Thursday, March 30, 2017


On the 1st of March Ministers from Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles sitting as the Indian Ocean Commission endorsed the Seychelles bid for Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Mauritius, the seat of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) confirmed that decision 23 d) of the Minister's Meeting of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) states that the Commission notes with satisfaction the bid by the Republic of Seychelles to head the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as Secretary General and request the Commission's Secretary General to followup as necessary and to do the needful.

This endorsement is good news for Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Candidate for the position of Secretary General of the UNWTO. The Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands where Tourism Ministers of the islands of the Indian Ocean sit have already endorsed the Seychelles Candidate, but now it was the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Islands of the Indian Ocean (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles) coming together to wish Seychelles well with its bid. 

To be noted is that the Islamic Republic of the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles are all part of the African Union (AU) and Reunion is the French Island in the Indian Ocean.

Alain St.Ange has said that he is thankful to the Governments of Islands of the IOC and salutes the Foreign Affairs Departments of the islands for standing with Seychelles to be SG of the UNWTO.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Role of tourism in reducing poverty discussed at UNWTO Workshop in China

The power of tourism to induce poverty reduction and development constituted the main focus of the UNWTO Workshop held in Guangdong, China. The workshop was conducted under the framework of the agreement signed between UNWTO and the Chimelong Group in 2016 designed to support sustainable tourism and wildlife protection through tourism.
Raising awareness on the relevance of the tourism sector in the reduction of poverty and promoting knowledge sharing on best practices constitute the major objectives of the Workshop for Poverty Reduction and Tourism Development held in Guangdong. The event takes place in a highly relevant momentum as 2017 is celebrated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, a global campaign lead by UNWTO.
"Guangdong, one of the top economic hubs in China, is one of the best examples of what is happening in China in terms of the links between development and tourism and therefore it is a perfect location to conduct this event" said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai.
We sincerely appreciate the agreement with UNWTO that includes a number of initiatives in the field of sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation, which are very much in line with our philosophy ‘Wherever Chimelong goes, the happiness follows’ as our CEO, Su Zhigang highlights,” said Chen Wancheng, President of Guangdong Chimelong Group.
Accounting for 6.3% of GDP, tourism is one of the most important sectors in Guangdong. The province receives more than 300 million domestic tourists annually and around 35 million international tourists.

The workshop included case studies from the UNWTO ST-EP Project Great Himalaya Trail Development Programme, the UNWTO Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories and from activities conducted by Chimelong in the Guangdong Province. Representatives of Provincial Tourist Authorities and Provincial Tourism Organizations, in particular from the Guangdong Province, stakeholders from the private sector and Chinese NGOs attended the event.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Med-View set for flight operations to Dakar, Conakry, Abidjan

Med-View Airline will begin flight operations to Dakar, Conakry and Abidjan on May 19 to ease connectivity in the French-speaking region, its Managing Director, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, said on Thursday.

Bankole made the announcement during at an interactive session with members of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Northern Zone, in Kano.

He said the airline was in Kano to acquaint travel agencies of its plans because they were very important for Med-View operations.

“The airline is also here to discuss with you on how it can have a smooth Hajj operations this year and how to comfort our passengers.

“We want to thank you for your support to Med-View Airline, which celebrated 10 years of Hajj operations in 2016.

“We assure you that we will add value to what we are giving to you because we know you are the king at this point in time and the master of the game,” Bankole said.

The Med-View chief told the agencies to explore the opportunities in the sector to improve their businesses in spite of the economic recession.

He said the current gains being recorded by the Naira against the U.S. Dollar was also a boost for the tour and travel sector.

On the domestic front, Bankole said Med-View Airline had begun flights on March 22 from Lagos to Kano and assured that it would continue to expand its flight operations in the region.

He reiterated that the airline, in December 2016, commenced flight operations from Lagos to Ghana, Sierra Leone and Monrovia.

Bankole said that the airline would soon begin flights to Dubai.

Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi, Vice President, NANTA, Northern Zone, commended the airline for organising the interactive session.

Abdullahi said the interaction had given the agents the opportunity to deliberate on some issues affecting their businesses and proffer solutions to them.

He said travel agents would continue to partner with Med-View Airline to give their best to their clients.

Mile2/Badagry/Seme Border Expressway’s completion to boost tourism,trade by 2019—- Ambode

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Thursday said that the Mile 2/Seme Border Expressway would boost tourism , international trade and commerce among West African countries when completed in 2019.

Ambode said this at the opening of the Badagry Economic Summit held at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Topo, Badagry, Lagos State.

The theme of the summit was, “Unleashing Investment Opportunities Around Historic and Coastal Zones of Epe and Badagry.”

The governor, represented by Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, the Special Adviser on Community Affairs and Development, said that the completion of the road would facilitate trade and boost tourism in and around the ancient city.

“Badagry is a historic city and its strategic location to other West African countries, makes the city to be of great importance to the state.

“With the completion of the Seme/Badagry/Mile 2 Express road, it will help in boosting tourism in the city and it will complement the soon-to-be-built sea port that will be established in the city.

“This will also provide half a million direct and indirect jobs for several youths in Badagry.

“Also, the Marina area of Badagry will be transformed into a leisure and holiday city, and this will attract several tourists from all over the world.

“This administration is committed to developing every part of the state and ensuring that everyone is carried along and no one is left out,” he said.

The governor said that his administration would soon connect communities which had not been connected to the national grid for them to start enjoying uninterrupted power supply.

“For several decades, communities at the Seme area of the city have not had any form of electricity, efforts are now being made to connect them to the national grid.

“Electric poles have been erected, so the connection will soon be completed. The government is committed in ensuring that every part of the state gets equal treatment,” he said.

He commended the organisers of the event and added that the summit would help in improving the lives of people in the ancient city.

Earlier, Mr Ashamu Fadipe, the Managing Director, Badgary Convention and Visitors Agency, said that the essence of the summit was to put Badagry on the global map.

Fadipe, who is also the Chief Organiser of the summit, noted that the event would help in tapping into the full tourism potential of the city.

“We want to ensure that in the next five years, Badagry will become the next Dubai where everyone in the world will want to visit on a regular basis.

“It will also help in creating employment opportunities for the youths as it will create awareness that will help in that aspect,” he said.

Also, Mr Jacob Kestomahun, the Sole administrator, Badagry Local Government, noted that the summit would create awareness on the benefits from investing in Badagry.

Some of the dignitaries that attended the event include: Dr Deji Femi-Pearse, Chairman, Whispering Palms, Iworo, Badagry, the Akran of Badagry, De Wholu Aholu Menu-Toyi 1, Sen. Tokunbo Afikuyomu, a former Commissioner for Tourism, Lagos State, amongst others.

Foreign investors: NIS unviels online Visa on Arrival platform

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the introduction of a
liberalised online Visa on Arrival (VOA) facility to the public, especially foreign investors willing to invest in Nigeria.

The Comptroller-General of the NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, made the announcement on Thursday in Abuja.

Babandede said that‎ the measure was part of the resolution of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) aimed at attracting foreign investors to the country.

“‎As a critical member of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the NIS has automated its visa application and processing services at all entry points.

“This is to ensure that all genuine requests for Visa on Arrival facility from any part of the world are processed and issued within 48 hours (two working days),” he said.

He explained that the‎ online VOA application and processing facility is a product of robust visa reforms regime intended to bring Nigeria in tandem with global best practices and attract Foreign Direct Investors and skilled professionals into the country.

The controller-general said that the new process was‎ designed to eliminate all unnecessary bureaucratic visa processing procedures in Nigerian Missions abroad.

He said it was also to serve the interests of would-be visitors from countries where Nigeria does not have a Mission.‎

He said that‎ ‎a dedicated e-mail address had been deployed where visa applicants, their representatives or companies could forward their requests and details.

Babandede said that‎ a‎pplicants were advised to use functional e-mail addresses where copies of approval letter shall be forwarded upon a successful process and payment.‎

‎”‎Applicants are, however, to note that successful payment online is not an approval and should not proceed to Nigeria until you have received “Visa on Arrival Approval letter” duly issued by the NIS Headquarters, Abuja,” he added.‎

He said that a VOA desk had been opened at all international airports in the country where visas would be issued upon the presentation of all the necessary travel documents and evidence of visa payment.

The NIS boss expressed optimism that the VOA process and the introduction of the harmonised arr‎ival and departure cards would go a long way in attracting investors to the country.

Badagry to become international hub for investments, leisure activities by 2020- –stakeholders

Some stakeholders at the ongoing two-day Badagry Economic Summit on Thursday said that the town would, by 2020, become an international hub for investments and leisure activities.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the maiden edition of the summit in Badagry, Lagos State, organized by Badagry Convention and Visitors Agency.

The summit theme is:” Unleashing Investment Opportunities around Historic and Coastal Zones of Epe and Badagry”.

NAN reports that the summit is to create economic opportunities for the ancient city that is blessed with several natural economic endowments.

Speaking on the summit, Prof. Femi Pearse, the Managing Director, Whispering Palms Resort, said that the summit would bring about social and economy developments to the ancient town.

He said that the investment opportunities abound Badagry when fully harnessed would create millions of employment opportunities for the youth in the community, especially, the indigents.

Also, Sen. Tokunbo Afikuyomi, a former Commissioner for Tourism in Lagos State, said that Badagry had come of age to be the leading destination for business leisure and investment in West Africa.

He said that Badagry used to be a slave port and market, where the largest enslaved Africans were taken to Europe some centuries ago.

Afikuyomi said that the historical antecedents coupled with the natural endowments of the locality such as the border ports, oil exploration and upcoming seaport in Africa would project the town into limelight.

He said that without doubt, all these investments opportunities would draw a good number of visitors and investors to the ancient town, making Badagry prosperous than any city in West Africa.

Similarly, Mr Gani Balogun, the Managing Director of Tarzan Boats and Water Investment Ltd., said that the summit would expose the aquatic-tourism and water transportation investment opportunities in Badagry to the outside world.

He said that Badagry was blessed with enormous investment opportunities and cultural/tourism potential that investors could invest in it.

According to him, “The term aquatic refers to water body, the ecosystem and its biodiversities which can be transformed into leisure activities otherwise refers to as tourism.

“Tourism activities began with water transportation in Lagos State, movements of people from one community to another through the waterways.

“Example is the movement of people from Epe to Badagry, Ikorodu to other coastal communities within the state ,” he said.

Balogun said that these were some of the various opportunities that the summit would expose the community to for its social and economic developments.

Mr Fatai Shokunbi, Chairman, Badagry Convention and Visitors Agency, said that the summit was organised in partnership with Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture.

Shokunbi said that the summit was designed basically to bring together cooperate organisations and individuals to share ideas about tourism, culture and economic investments opportunities embedded in Badagry.

“The main objective of the summit is to provide direction into the reality of making Badagry an international market hub for investment and leisure activities.

“The ongoing deep seaport projects, railway, ultramodern market and Oil discovery/exploration in the ancient city when completed will make Badagry a preferred tourism and business destination in Africa,’’ he said.

Shokunbi said that Badagry opportunities lay on three economic agenda: Tourism and Hospitality, Seaport Development and Logistics, and Oil exploration.

He said that at the end of the two-day summit, Badagry would have experienced massive influx of tourists and investors that wanted to tap from the investment opportunities abound in the ancient city.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

World Travel Awards set for Latin America Ceremony at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

World Travel Awards will host its much anticipated Latin America Ceremony 2017 at the glittering, all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya on 9th September.

Located on Mexico's breathtakingly beautiful Pacific Coast, the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya consists of 687 rooms and suites in the family-friendly Hacienda section and 577 rooms and suites in the adult-only Heaven section, catering for families as well as adults seeking a child-free break.

“We are beyond excited to be hosting the World Travel Awards Latin America Ceremony for the very first time at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya,” commented Frank Maduro, VP of Marketing for the AIC Hotel Group of which the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is a part.

“It is a great honour and true pleasure to welcome the region's best-of-the best in hospitality. With the World Travel Awards being a pinnacle in the travel industry and a benchmark of success, we're thrilled to be a part of such a monumental event.”

The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya also boasts a private white sand beach on its door-step, in addition to six swimming pools (two family pools and four adult only pools), endless dining options, a first rate fitness centre and the Rock Spa® - the largest in the Caribbean with 75 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy current pools and steam rooms.

Further afield, the delights of Mexico’s Riviera Maya - think Mayan ruins, world-class diving sites, tropical forests and eco parks - reward exploration.

World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke said: “The Latin America Ceremony is always a highlight of the Grand Tour for World Travel Awards, and the team and I are excited to be bringing the event to the Mexican Riveria for the first time since 2009.”

“We look forward to welcoming industry leaders and luminaries to the all-inclusive five-star Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in September, and I know it will be a night to remember.”

Voting for the World Travel Awards Latin America nominees will open on 22nd March 2017 and conclude on 19th July 2017.

World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire. Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

World Travel Awards Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.