Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Qatar Airways wrote another page of history as its – and the world’s – first Airbus A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body) and its fourth A380 arrived in Doha simultaneously yesterday, allowing the airline to further capitalise on its rapid expansion plans.
The delivery of the newest members of Qatar Airways’ fleet of 146 aircraft are the first of 80 A350s and the fourth of 13 A380s on order and mark yet another major 2014 milestone for the five-star airline. The A350 aircraft, for which Qatar Airways is the global launch customer, is set to commence service on the Doha–Frankfurt route starting in January 2015.
The world’s first A350 XWB aircraft to be delivered flew to Doha from France, following the handover ceremony and press conference which were attended by Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, senior Airbus and Rolls Royce officials, and more than 150 international media in Toulouse.
With the delivery of the A350 XWB aircraft, Qatar Airways becomes the first airline in the world to operate every family of Airbus’ modern airliner portfolio, comprising the A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380.
After acquiring the A380 earlier this year, the addition of the A350 XWB aircraft is the second significant fleet milestone for Qatar Airways in 2014. The A350 XWB features the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies and will set new standards in passenger experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Welcoming the arrival of Qatar Airways’ first A350 XWB aircraft and its latest A380 in Doha, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We take immense pride in taking delivery of two aircraft at the same time joining our modern and dynamic fleet that is connecting the world. As 2015 commences, we are looking forward to a new period of enhanced growth with our fleet setting fresh benchmarks for the aviation industry.
“The A350 XWB, in combination with the recently-introduced A380, will offer unprecedented levels of interoperability and a highly efficient solution to meet long-haul passenger demand on the rapidly expanding Qatar Airways’ network. This will further strengthen our leadership position as a world-class airline providing customers with a premium five-star travel experience, exceptional hospitality and seamless connectivity around the globe.”

Qatar Airways’ first A350 XWB alongside the airline’s fourth A380 as they both take-off, bound for Doha.
Qatar Airways’ first A350 XWB alongside the airline’s fourth A380 as they both take-off, bound for Doha. 

Qatar Airways A350 XWB powered by two new-generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines is a perfect combination of innovative airline product design, environmental advances and the intrinsic comfort of an entirely new cabin set-up which are the hallmarks of this aircraft.
Passengers will benefit from a new boarding experience achieved by a unique dome-design entrance with welcome light distribution. The aircraft also offers wide seats with generous room in all classes of service thanks to a number of design developments offering greater comfort to all passengers.
The Business Class cabin has 36 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration featuring an 80” full flat bed and 17” HD in-flight entertainment screen and a spacious inflight bar. The Economy Class features 247 18-inch wide seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, each with a 10.6” in-flight entertainment screen, and more space at shoulder level for passengers in window seats due to the vertical side wall panel design.
Qatar Airways A350 XWB features the-state-of-the art Oryx entertainment system, with more than 1,000 entertainment options on individual screens in all classes. The jet also offers advanced air conditioning technology and LED mood lighting to enhance the comfort of passengers while reducing fatigue after a long flight. In addition, the jet will also offer in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity for all passengers allowing them to surf the web on the go.
Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. Now in its 17th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of 146 aircraft flying to 146 key business and leisure destinations across six continents.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NTDC partners Aviantion ministry on APS

Right-Left:  Director General ,  Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation  (NTDC) Chief . Dr. ( Mrs.) Sally Mbanefo; Manager, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Arik , Akintoye Obafemi and  Senior Manager, Customer Loyality & CRM, Arik, Kaushalya De Alwis during the official launch of the Aviation Passenger  Service (APS)  Portal which aligns  with the domestic tourism initiative of the NTDC Boss held at the Transcorp Hilton ,  Abuja  recently.



The On going 32 days of non-stop entertainment, anchored by Africa's biggest street party, Calabar Carnival comes alive on twitter.  This year biggest and longest multi-dimensional, multi-faceted tourism leisure and entertainment programme in West Africa will be through the eyes of twitter.

This Cross River State Festive Season Carnival is undisputedly the most colorful in Africa where close to a million participants from all over the world exhibit their talents and share the lovely moments on twitter.  The Carnival Calabar takes place on the 26th and 27th December each year and is the highlight of the 32-day Calabar Festival which runs from 30th November to 1st January

The 2014 event is  Hash-tagged “#Calabarfestival2014 #CelebrationTime #1stDryRun According to the Chairman, this year’s Calabar Festival, promises to be best in terms of packaging, organization and security, despite He proceeded that “This year’s festival promises to be another 32 days of non-stop entertainment, anchored by Africa's biggest street party, Carnival Calabar”. “Adequate security has been put in place to ensure a hitch-free celebration and we guarantee that the 'green, clean & serene' ambience of the city will be maintained”.

 The First choice Carnival in Nigeria and the biggest self-sustaining socio-cultural event in Africa came alive at the Streets of Calabar on November 30th, 2014, as the annual tree lighting ceremony of #CalabarFestival2014 was declared open with theme #CelebrationTime by deputy governor Efio Cobham @EfiokCobham  on twitter.It is Africa world-class street party compared to likes of Notting Hill carnival and Rio De Janeiro Carnival in Brazil .

The programme of this annual event was drafted by the committee in charge of tourism and cultural activities these, include Carnival Calabar football competition(The Carni-Cal Cup), Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Carnival Calabar Queen Pageant grand finale incorporating the Mary Slessor Golf ,Bayside and Freedom),Traditional drumming, arts, crafts and food festival, Music performances from both local and international artists, fashion shows, Senior and Junior Kings and Queens Competion ,Christmas village, traditional dances, Boat regatta, Ekpe Festival festival (which is a yearly events that bring in thousands of tourists at the time of the year).
According to the work plan by the committee, other activities include the second edition of Essay Writing Competition, which will involve both secondary school and tertiary students. (This is designed to resuscitate the reading culture amongst the youths of the state), contemporary issues of global concerns, children Christmas Camp, Theatre performances, vocational trainings for youth, Fashion and Food Fairs, a weekend at the Obudu Ranch Resort to celebrate Africa, and so many other side attractions.

Over the years, this musical concert has featured our own National Stars from the likes of Koko Master D’banj, TuFace Idibia (TuBaba), Asa, @PeterPsquare and @PaulPsquare, @Flavour, @Timaya, Banky W, KC, Sound Sultan Waje, Sunny Nneji, Sasha, Blackky, and @Jmartins. Fun was understatement when international artiste such as Chevelle Franklin, Ron Kenoly, Mary Mary Dube (of blessed memory), Oliver Mtukudzi, Akon, Kirk Franklin, Fat Joe, Neyo, were included as guest performers. it was simply tremendous mood for the fans  seat back and watch Shaggy perform hit songs like, "It Wasn’t Me", "Mr. Lover", "Mr. Boombastic",etc have all
at one time or another graced the Festival with their rhythms and lyrics just to mention but few.

AY, Basket Mouth, @KlintdaDrunk, @JuliusAgwu, @IGoDye, Gordons, made the crowd rumble while cracking there ribs during performances

The heat is one for the most entising carnival of the year kick start in a grand style but you have not missed much . For more updates and be able to download the schedule of the event , follow 
#CalabarFestival2014 , #SightsAndSounds#CalabarFestival,#BestCarnivalPic
Oc KabaKaba@Ghenedinho tweeted that he is on his way to #CalabarCarnival2014 . What are you waiting for ? but don’t forget that  Effiong Ekpenyong @doubleeforreal will be happy to hear from you by posting live #BestCarnivalPic and happenings . He  tweeted that “missing your tweets already because my radio show is going on #PARADISEsUNRISEsATURDAYmORNIN
What was your #BestCarnivalPic #CalabarFestival2014 ? Notting Hill carnival, In United Kingdom and Rio De Janeiro Carnival in Brazil are millions of kilometers away but #CalabarFestival2014 is just a mile stone away from you. Your tweets and follow-up will go a long way in showcasing our heritage   to the global world.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Poor turnout mars 2014 Abuja carnival

Poor turnout mars 2014 Abuja carnival FG urges joint participation in cultural development

Jimoh babatunde & CALEB AYANSINA

ABUJA - When President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration in 204 conceived the ideal of having a carnival in Abuja yearly, it was meant to promote domestic tourism and attract foreign tourists alike to the nation's capital city.
It was envisage that the carnival which later became known as Abuja carnival was to become self sustaining after five years, but ten years later the carnival has not met the aspiration for which it was set up.
In the last five years, the carnival has continued to witnessed dwindling interests from the states that take part in the events and this inveriably has led to the low turn out of Abuja residents not to talk of domestic and foreign tourists.
This year's edition with the theme 'Building An Enduring Creative Nation' was marred with poor participation of state contingents, as about 30 States out of the 36 States of the Federation shunned the event.
The state contingents which took part in the opening of the carnival are those from Kogi, Zamfara, Ebonyi, Niger, Akwa Ibom, Kano State and the FCT. There was also in attendance the Ijaw Cultural Troupe.
The absence of many participating states affected t he glamour associated with the street procession of the opening and closing ceremonies of the event.
As a major departure from previous events, carnival floats at the event were mounted on rick-shaws, popularly known as “Keke NAPEP’’.
Participants from past edition of Abuja carnival

The opening ceremony slated for 10am on Tuesday could not start, as it was outlined in the programme of the event, until 5pm in the evening as many participants, who could not wait for the kick-off left in annoyance.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, who was visibly disturbed by the situation of things, came around 11;30am and immediately left the Eagle Square, the venue of the carnival, this signaled the departure of some Director Generals of agencies under the ministry, who had been loitering around.
In his return to the venue around 3pm, Duke was sighted by the members of the press, who were dominantly visible at the carnival, seated angrily by the pavement and he was interviewed.
He described the 2014 Carnival as imitation, a photo copy of real carnival that was inaugurated by the Obasanjo administration.
Duke noted that Nigeria was not really expecting any international participation due the mood of the nation, thereby the ministry decided to celebrate it in low-key.
He said: “This is low key celebration, this year, we have representation from six geo-political zones and for us this particular carnival is not celebratory carnival, but it is been done because it’s in our calendar of our activities. We are conscious of what is going on around us in the country, we ourselves decided to moderate this particular carnival.
“We have twelve state register to participate and not all twelve states may necessarily be in parade because the carnival has different segments of participation.”
Talking about delay of the opening ceremony, the Minister explained, “We want to air this programme lives that is the reason why we have a slight delay, we want  NTA live broadcast  that is going Birin-in Kebbi, kebbi state  to finish so, as to join Vice president here in Abuja that is why we have little delay.”
Declaring the event open,  President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan  praised the Creative and Tourism sectors for contributing immensely to the country's rebased Gross Domestic Product.
Represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the President said that mainstreaming the sector into the economic was not a mistake to transformation agenda of the government.
“My joy is heightened to realise that in spite of our national challenges, the legacies of Abuja carnival continue to linger for showcasing our unity in diversity. It has indeed made invaluable contribution to national cohesion; inter cultural understanding and display of our creative potential as a people.
“The creative impetus has placed the nation as the leading economy in Africa in the recent rebased world economic report of Nigeria. Our music industry, Nollywood and fashion has broken all boundaries and are today to toast and bride of entertainment and creative industry”, the President added.
He said that the desire of government was to make the carnival a private sector drive venture, while government role would be directed at provision of favourable investment climate and incentive, to attract both local and international investors.
Jonathan called on the private sector to contribute it quota in the realization of this project.
Also speaking, the FCT Minister of State, Mrs Olajumoke Akinjide promised participant at the carnival safety throughout their stay in Abuja.
She pledged the administration continuous support to better the carnival which was a major boost to the hospitality industry.
NAN report that the carnival, which has the theme ``Building an Enduring Creative Nation’’ was almost cancelled some weeks ago due to the concerns of insecurity.
Some of the participants at the opening, who asked for anonymity while speaking with NAN, attributed the poor turnout to the security challenges facing the country.
Other patrons of the event said inadequate publicity was robbing the event of the glamour and expected gains.
Mr  Bala Shuaib, an Abuja resident, said the carnival should be generating a lot of money if handled properly.
``Since the inception of the carnival, we usually just wake up to see the street blocked without prior information. This has always been the problem. It is time things are done properly.’’
Mr Olu-Martin Abe, another resident, said the carnival would have grown by now to a level where corporate bodies would be struggling to sponsor it if handled properly.
Malam Hasssan Mohammed, a civil servant, said the carnival could provide Nigerians the opportunity to show that the country was not all about Boko Haram, bombings, kidnappings and other social vices.
Mohammed said it was an opportunity for the country to erase the wrong impression the activities of the Boko Haram sect had created about Nigeria in the international community.
He, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the low turnout of participating states at the carnival.
Another resident noted that the ministry apparatus sees the annual carnival as a cash cow, wondering why they can not cancel the event to save the nation of the embarrassment the carnival has become.
Every year they complain of paucity of funds, but they still continue to host the carnival when they know that many states and corporate bodies are not willing to identify with the carnival again. The Minister of Tourism holds the nation explanation.” the visibly disturbed man said .
Visibly disturbed Tourism minister, Edem Duke , with his aides tuesday in Abuja as Abuja residents failed to turn out en-mass for the opening ceremony of the Abuja carnival.

participant wants FG's intervention fund

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Cooperative in Niger, Mr Kabir Dan’ababe, has urged the Federal Government to provide intervention fund for the promotion of the country’s culture.
Dan’ababe made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the ongoing 2014 Abuja carnival.
He said that the low turnout of participants at the carnival was as a result of lack of funding by the Federal Government.
`` The participation at this year’s carnival is not encouraging at all. Any state you see at this year’s carnival is sponsored by the state government.
``The states represented here is a reflection of passion of some state governor's for culture. But for this show of love of culture, many states would not have participated in the 2014 carnival.
``The Federal Government should think of what to do to motivate the state governments to ensure that they sustain their participation at the festival in the drive to showcase their various cultures at the next Abuja carnival.
``If the Federal Government can provide two million naira to each state, it will go a long way in supporting the carnival and also the nation,’’ he said.
Dan’ababe also said that the 2014 carnival was low keyed, attributing this to the activities of insurgents in the north eastern part of the country.
He noted that the low participation had been a major challenge to stakeholders in the industry, and urged the organisers to keep the carnival running and thriving.
He commended Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger for his continuous support in promoting the culture of the people through the involvement of the state in the carnival since 2007.
He, however, enjoined the Federal Government, non-governmental organisations and other relevant stakeholders not to relent in their support for the culture and tourism sector.
`` The cultural sector should be developed to make it one of the best sectors in the effort to make Nigeria one of the biggest economy in the world by 2020.
``This vision will only be actualised with the support from all tier of the government with Federal Government in the driver’s seat,’’ he said.
He further encouraged Nigerians to believe in and be proud of their culture, tradition and heritage, and strive to showcase these to the outside world.
Mr Emmanuel Ameh, a civil servant, said that the carnival should provide an opportunity for the country to erase the wrong impression created by the security challenge in the country as a result of Boko Haram insurgency.
Ameh said that Nigeria culture and tourism sector had the potential of attracting foreign tourists if given the necessary focus and priority.
Also, Miss Foluke Aransiola, said inadequate publicity about the event would rob potential tourists and residents of the opportunity of fun and fanfare at the carnival.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Qatar Airways once again supported the UK-based Foreign Press Association’s prestigious annual awards function, in which the airline sponsored the main award of the night – Journalist of the Year. UK and international journalists were awarded across multiple categories at the event which took place at The Park Lane Hotel in central London and was compered by Hugh Dennis, English comedian, actor and writer. Besides his regular television work, Hugh Dennis is a panellist on Mock the Week and has appeared in every episode since its inception. He is a regular guest on various BBC-broadcast comedy panel game shows such as They Think It's All Over, Would I Lie ToYou?, QI and has guest hosted Have I Got News for You.

Qatar Airways Country Manager UK and Ireland, Richard Oliver, presented the Journalist of the Year Award on behalf of the airline to Ed Caesar, author and feature writer. Mr Caesar has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Outside, The Smithsonian Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine and British GQ, and has reported from a wide range of countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kosovo.
Qatar Airways hosted a wide range of guests during the evening, which attracted more than 340 people, including Ambassadors, politicians and business leaders to celebrate excellence in international television, print, broadcast and web-based journalism.

Qatar Airways Country Manager UK and Ireland, Richard Oliver, said: “The Foreign Press Association Awards recognise the highest achievers in media and journalism and we are proud to have presented the award to Ed Caesar, winner of ‘Journalist of the Year 2014’.
The standard of journalism amongst all nominees was truly exceptional.”Qatar Airways took delivery of its first A380 on 17th September 2014. The aircraft is the first of 13 on order and has commenced operations on the QR003 and QR004 London-Doha services.Featuring a tri-class configuration of First, Business and Economy Class seating over two decks, the Qatar Airways A380 is designed to offer the airline’s signature five-star service with outstanding Qatar Airways Country Manager UK and Ireland, Richard Oliver, said: “The Foreign Press Association Awards recognise the highest achievers in media and journalism and we are proud to have presented the award to Ed Caesar, winner of ‘Journalist of the Year 2014’. The standard of journalism amongst all nominees was truly exceptional.”Qatar Airways took delivery of its first A380 on 17th September 2014. The aircraft is the first of 13 on order and has commenced operations on the QR003 and QR004 London-Doha services.Featuring a tri-class configuration of First, Business and Economy Class seating over two decks, the Qatar Airways A380 is designed to offer the airline’s signature five-star service with outstanding


Tourism is about providing assets for people to invest in. But people will not invest in assets unless there is a revenue stream from that investment and a return on their capital. What are the assets we have in Nigeria? Nigeria is blessed with waterfalls, caves, hotels, parks, sandy beaches, large lakes, and historic sites. Nigeria is able to offer a range of tourism experiences applicable to the general holidaymaker as well as the traveller looking for something off the beaten track. To invest in tourism there must be clarity on how people can invest their tourism dollars for a fixed period, how they can monetize this tourism investment and how they can see a clear path for exit or onward – sale of their investment if need be. My idea is to identify for investment, tourism projects aimed at specific tourists and to create an enabling environment that respects and encourages this investment.
And the first step is to identify six projects in the six geopolitical zones that will benefit from investment and bring these investments up to a world – standard. I see a read-across for Nigerian tourism with countries like Morocco, Tanzania, Vietnam, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, parts of the Caribbean and even Peru in terms of creating a unique experience not to mention beach experience and golfing experience, where with the right type of investment will provide alternatives to Morocco and parts of the Caribbean. We are a friendly nation welcoming of visitors. Once identified, I intend to put the six (specific) projects into a prospectus which should be a document that forms the compendium of opportunities we are inviting people to invest in.

To generate revenue we would need to achieve a world standard tourism experience. To do this we will target for cooperation those who have had experience managing emerging markets tourism experiences and turning those into benchmarks that attract hundreds of millions of tourism dollars annually. Tourism in Nigeria is where telecoms was, say twenty years ago. Today as an investment proposition Nigerian telecoms is probably the best in the world. The same will be said of tourism in 5 – 10 years from now if appropriate measures and initiatives are taken
The investors will be given long term tenure for their investment and where applicable the underlying asset will either revert back to the government after the project investment period lapses or continue with the pioneer investor once revenue has been created for the government and a generous return on capital achieved for the investor.
With this plan we can achieve Nigeria's goal of being tourism destination hot spot where people come to spend their dollars, yen, euros, yuan, rand, ringgits and British pounds and this is achievable within 5 – 10 years  
But first, we must define what makes the world class standard experience unique to Nigeria. We cannot be everything to everyone from day one but we can entice them by knowing what they want and what there alternatives are.
What we want to create is a must – have experience that meets a world – standard benchmark for these tourists and investors.
For example, a tourist may have seen the slave trade story from other African countries' perspectives but the story is not complete until they have visited Nigeria for the last part jigsaw. They may enjoy golf and so want to be playing in sunshine which we have an abundance of, but be surrounded by first-class amenities at a price that represents value. The tourist may want to travel across water to an offshore beach resort just as he does in Tanzania or Zanzibar. He or she may want an ecological experience and yet know that when they get back to base they too have comfort, a great meal and seamless internet connections. The tourist may want a well-planned tour of durbars and festivals but know that at each place he will be spending the night in comfortable world – class accommodation that enhances the experience. We want to create family – holiday destinations whether these are at beaches; water parks or even focused around Nigeria’s numerous lakes. There are ideas that we need to focus and galvanize to create a product that meets all health and safety requirements.

We intend to launch a tourism bond underpinned by what will be a secure revenue –stream generated from a prospective tourism development levied on departures. The bond will give us the money we need for investment in the six projects today and these investments will create jobs; careers, transfer of skills and the right product. The yield on the bond will recognize that we want investment and recognizes where we are on the tourism ladder today. It’s all about upside.
In Lagos for example, we have Lakowe Lakes Golf and Country Estate. We have a burgeoning resort at Epe Health Resort and Spa that aims to be a market leader. We have Old Lagos which we should use to create a heritage experience full of small café’s. We can partner with Lagos State to make Old Lagos a heritage site with good access and paved roads and sidewalks. There could be a law that protects the heritage of those (historical) buildings in the old Lagos and whose architecture tells a compelling story that is of interest to many people around the world.
In Abuja for example we have Jabi Lake which is a tourism gold-mine which must be developed by tourism investors that the bond will attract.
In Obudu Mountain Resort Calabar we have ecological experiences that require further investment to make it comparable with ecological experiences in Rwanda and Uganda and Zambia.
In Rivers and Bayelsa we have hotels to be renovated and turned into real 5-star experiences. We have riverine communities in which boating experiences can be turned into a world – class product.
The Festivals and Durbars of the North are a rich and vibrant tapestry of color and enchanting mystery that is sought after around the world. 
The vast geographical features of Nigeria have long been an object of fascination for people around the world who want to spend a great deal of time enjoying its inherent assets.
These are just some examples.
Sports Tourism - Polo is a huge selling point for Nigeria. But we must have a world class standard because Polo lovers are so passionate and can travel anywhere for a polo game experience.  
Art Tourism – Art, sculpture is also a selling point for Nigeria, where if properly nurtured the bespoke tourist looking for that experience will pay his or her hard earned money to Nigeria to enjoy that experience.
We have a fast growing middle class who want to enjoy their lives and want to spend their hard earned money but want in turn, value for their money. They do not want to be cheated. We need to create and develop top quality tourism products for them and their families. That is why we want to launch a bond.
In 2015, we intend to form a tourism committee, and I would like for Mr President and the minister to form a committee with people with international exposure to contribute to the new tourism journey. I would like for Mr President to give them a 6 – month tenure to come up with a template.
Historically, tourism in very much where the telecom industry was 20 years ago, and as a value proposition, it is an attractive investment. My role and the role of the committee is to answer the tourism question in terms of creating viable business opportunities for investments that enhance the Nigerian tourism experience. Being a business, we must not forget that investors must see appreciable value and a handsome ROI (return on investment). For the investor it is not just about a Durbar, a Sango Festival, a New Yam Festival, or a beach, it is about a sustainable business with handsome returns.
Nigeria cannot remain a mono hydrocarbon economy. We must create and exploit our other natural resources which are our landscape, our dynamic people, our plethora of young people, our sunshine, our lakes, our beaches and our warm friendly nature in order to attract the billions of tourism dollars looking for destinations and looking for choice. Tourism should rightly be a considerable contributor to our GDP. As an investment value – proposition it is unrivalled.
I would conclude by saying that tourism is an imperative for healthy living and not just a pastime. Rest and relaxation are the cornerstone of any civilized society. Nigeria needs to ratchet up this asset we have and make Nigeria open for tourism business in a meaningful way. Government should not and cannot do this but Government should create the right enabling environment and investment incentives that foster investment. Government owns tourism assets which are underutilized or underperforming. Investment in these is required.
For 2015, we are talking with and partnering with State Governments, oil companies, the manufacturing sector and banks to see what role they can play. We are looking at issuing a bond.   We would like to partner with strong brands like General Electric (GE) and brands like AEG to create music venues for our youths. Attached to these venues will be streaming rights so both investor and artists make money and the world gets an on-line insight into what a vibrant country Nigeria is. As mentioned, we will be talking to oil companies to partner to create recreational experiences and similarly to banks on what they need for their staff and families and see how we can partner with them to build something bespoke that will be branded by them and form the nucleus for wider investments. In all of this the bench-mark is WORLD STANDARD. Nigerians expect so much more today in the 21st Century and don’t want to be cheated. Tourists around the world expect similar because they have choices and it is not ‘by force’ they come to Nigeria.
It is my job to point Government in the right direction in order to create the right enabling environment because Nigeria is a destination for Polo lovers, golf lovers, eco-tourism, sun sand and beach experiences, music lovers, heritage lovers, people who love being around lakes and for domestic tourism couched both in term of short and long term breaks. Others are interested in the history of Nigeria, for example, the Benin bronzes; our natural caves and waterfalls. Every tourist has a requirement and Nigeria’s other natural resource can provide everything.
I want Nigeria to be a Country where people can work, live and holiday, and it must be comparable to what other countries in the Far East, in South Africa, East Africa have to offer. Tourism is not a luxury but is a modern social imperative.
Tourism is and must be a major contributor to Nigeria’s GDP. Tourism creates jobs, capacity and career opportunities for our youth. Taking a holiday to rest and be with family is extending our lives and building strong family units. Tourism creates well – being. All work and no holiday leads to a stress-filled life and short life span.

Season of Festivities with Starwood Hotels in Nigeria as the yuletide mood swings in

Starwood Hotels in Nigeria joins the rest of its Sister Hotels worldwide to celebrate the end of year with close family and friends. 
Starwood Hotels in Nigeria made up of; Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton Lagos, Le Meridien Ogeyi Place- Port Harcourt and Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resorts- Akwa Ibom will commemorate this festive season with a lineup of creatively inspired events ranging from exceptional offers on room rates to exceptional packages which will consist of great savings on food & beverage as well as access to fitness facilities and internet.
In each of the Hotels, the Seasons celebrations will feature Christmas brunches, lunches, exciting New Year countdown festivals, kiddies recreation and fantasy Christmas themed play areas as well as musical entertainment. 
The Area General Manager for Starwood Hotels in Nigeria-Mr. Barry Curran in his chat with media in Lagos expressed his goodwill to Nigerians at this time of the year, he further added that “all our hotel teams have planned this season with an aim to ensure that our esteemed and loyal guests and customers who will be spending the holidays with us are delivered the most memorable experiences that the best of Nigerian hospitality has to offer”. 
The Area General Manager further added that “our  variety of activities and events  will exceed the expectations of all our clients from the business traveller to families, couples, friends on holiday and children”, our exciting  offers will run  throughout the season into the first week in January 2015”. 
Barry Curran equally emphasized “I truly rely on the exceptional efforts of our teams in Nigeria and the passion with which the Nigerian people render service that has impacted positively on our reputation amongst our global clientele”.  
Curran finally stated “We looking forward to welcoming all our guests to share and enjoy this special time with us”.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Souther sun hotel, Ikoyi Xmas package


Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar has teamed up with Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) as the Presenting Sponsor for the inaugural edition of the event. The alliance with the Tennis League reiterates the airline’s strong commitment towards sponsoring key sporting events worldwide.

The IPTL is the first of its kind initiative in tennis to encourage a competitive franchise-based competition. The League will travel to the cities of Manila, Singapore, New Delhi and Dubai featuring current and former ATP and WTA players in its inaugural season from 28 November until 13 December 2014.

The strategic partnership will play a key role in connecting teams and sports fans from across the world to four countries in Asia to witness the much-awaited event. In its capacity as the Presenting Sponsor, Qatar Airways will be undertaking a series of on-ground activations to engage with tennis fans across the globe. 

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are extremely excited about our partnership with the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League. At Qatar Airways, we have a long-standing history of associations with large-scale sporting events which allows us to connect with sporting fans and legendary sportsmen across the globe through our widespread global route network. Qatar Airways’ association with this event will further promote the game among the increasing fan base of tennis enthusiasts across the world.”

Starting from the Philippines, the Tennis League will travel to Singapore and India before culminating in Dubai. In its inaugural season, the championship will feature renowned players such as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and others playing for four tournament franchises – Manila Mavericks, Singapore Slammers, Micromax Indian Aces and the UAE Royals, that have been sponsored by corporates and leading sports legends.

Qatar Airways’ portfolio includes some of the highest profile sport associations including FC Barcelona, Al-Ahli Football Club, Qatar Open Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, and the World Men’s Handball Championship among others. 

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of 141 aircraft to 145 key business and leisure destinations across the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa, North America and South America.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The case for new airports- Dati

By Yakubu Dati.

The aviation industry supports 6.9 million jobs and $80.5 billion in GDP in the African Continent. Nigeria is yet to key into these numbers.

Kenya earns over US$3 billion per annum on exporting fruits, flowers and coffee whilst Ethiopia generates US$170 million annually on flower exports. South Africa exports US$600 million on citrus alone. Nigeria with its rich and diverse agricultural produce, has no official records on any form of perishable air freight. This raises concern.

It is in this context that we can situate the current call for more airports by Osita Chidoka, the Minister of Aviation. In response to request by Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State, the Minister was quoted as supporting the construction of new airports in Kogi, Nassarawa, Ogun, Bayelsa and Kebbi states, in pursuance of the government’s initiative to link states together and establish cargo terminals across the nation.

Countries benefiting from their aviation sector were able to build these new economies by aligning air transport to the Fresh Produce value chain thereby making them global players in the Fresh Produce export market.

Statistics show that between 50 to 70 percent of the Fresh produce produced by the Nigerian farmers perish due largely to the absence of storage facility, efficient transportation system and competitive pricing. The one-stop solution lies with the Fresh Produce Cargo Terminal, a requisite infrastructural requirement for a viable international trade.

With Fresh produce being sensitive to time and temperature, air transport is the best means of transporting these goods either domestically or internationally from ‘Farm-to-Market’. The attendant benefit is scaled-up innovation in Fresh Produce and boosting air cargo network. This will not only ensure sustainable food security outcomes and adequate income for our small-scale farmers, but will increase exports thereby reducing post-harvest losses.

A carefully structured collaboration between aviation and agriculture will ultimately boost air cargo trade with its value chain of creating millions of jobs especially for our youth and women.

President Goodluck Jonathan's Transformation in Aviation is designed to unlock our potentials to exploit the multi-billion naira global trade in Fresh Produce by connecting rural farmers to domestic and international markets with Aviation as a facilitator.

With this, Nigeria has the potential to exceed the earnings of smaller Africa countries like Kenya, South Africa, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt who are actively exporting perishables (fruits, fresh fish, vegetables and flowers) by freight.

The recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics attest to the fact that Nigeria has grown appreciable in recent years; from 13,891,677 passengers in 2010 to 14,899,958 passengers lifted in 2013. Surely this growth is not by voodoo, but outcomes of deliberate strategic transformation by the government in the sector. It is indeed, a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that the reforms are yielding positive outcomes.

Already sixteen airports have been designated as Cargo terminals and the construction of cargo sheds and other infrastructure is on-going. The World class new International terminals under construction in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Portharcourt, Enugu and Bayelsa have reached advanced stages of completion.
The Federal Government facilitated the construction of State airports in Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Delta, Gombe, Delta and Jigawa States.

All these are etching us closer to the vision of developing a perishable airfreight value chain in Nigeria.

Chidoka’s passion for driving President Jonathan's Transformation Agenda aimed at reinforcing Aviation as a catalyst for movement of passengers, goods and services as well as fostering partnership between the Government and Private Sector should be commended.

Therein lies the lifeline for achieving our shared dreams of value addition in terms of job creation for our youths and contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

 Yakubu Dati is the Coordinating General Manager, Aviation Parastatals.


Qatar Airways has been honoured for the third year in a row as Best Middle East Airline Serving China at the 2014 Business Traveller China Awards. This accolade comes barely a month after Qatar Airways was voted “Best Middle East Airline,” for the fifth consecutive year, at the 2014 Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards.
The Business Traveller China Awards are acknowledged as the airline industry’s benchmark for excellence in China. The award ceremony, which was held in Shanghai, was attended by key individuals from the aviation, travel and trade industries.
The awards are based on votes by readers of Business Traveller magazine with the results authenticated by an independent auditing company and are widely recognised as the market's benchmark for excellence. Readers base their voting on the strength of the airline’s customer service, its route network and services.
Qatar Airways Marketing Manager China, Jeanie Jin, accepting the Best Middle East Airline Serving China award, on behalf of the airline, at the 2014 Business Traveller China Awards.
Traveller China Awards.
“On behalf of Qatar Airways, I would like to extend my gratitude to our most valued passengers who have travelled with us and voted for us,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. “We are constantly looking to redefine air travel, and provide unforgettable flight experiences through our five-star service. We are honoured to retain our crown as “Best Middle East Airline Serving China” for the third year, and are delighted to hear that our dedicated services to China continue to be appreciated.”
Qatar Airways began operations to China in 2003 with the launch of non-stop flights to Shanghai, with the airline further expanding its portfolio over the following decade with the addition of Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Chongqing, Chengdu and Hangzhou.
The year 2014 has been remarkable for Qatar Airways. In May, the airline moved to its new home base at the state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, which includes the 10,000 square foot Al Mourjan Business Lounge, a 100-room airside hotel, more than 70 retail outlets and 30 cafés and restaurants. It also welcomed its first Airbus A380 and launched 11 new routes to its network, including Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia and Edinburgh.
Qatar Airways also took home three honours at the annual Skytrax 2014 World Airline Awards held during the Farnborough Air Show in the UK. The airline was awarded World’s Best Business Class for the second year consecutively, World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge for the second time consecutively and, Best Airline in the Middle East for the eighth time.
The airline was also named Best Business Class Airline for the second year in a row at the recently held high profile Business Traveller Awards 2014 (UK Edition), held in London.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of 141 aircraft to 145 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

Why Nigerians should travel to South Africa —Pitso

Why Nigerians should travel to South Africa —Pitso

South African Tourism team was at the recently concluded Akwaaba Africa Travel Market held in Lagos The team led by Hloni Pitso, SAT Regional Manager, West Africa truly showcased the rainbow country as a must visit destination for Nigeria and West Africa travellers.

In this chat Hloni Pitso talked about why is South African Tourism exhibited at the Akwaaba Travel Market where SAT has continued to win awards. Excerpt
On the role of the SA Tourism West Africa office in Lagos.
Nigeria is an attractive location for marketing efforts due to increased air traffic from international destinations with a steady flow of passengers from Ghana and the ECOWAS regions.
Our office in Lagos is to firstly help us with our work of growing arrivals from this market. Secondly, it is to use as springboard into the West Africa region as a whole, which we have communicated is pivotal to our strategy. Our presence, via the SA Tourism office, will further strengthen our trade relations with key the stakeholders who are integral to helping us achieve these objective of growing arrivals from these markets to South Africa.
On SA Tourism strategies in Nigeria
Our strategies are targeted at the consumer and trade driven. We want to equip the trade to be able to package quality and value for money leisure experiences that can be proudly shared with peers.
And we want to show consumers the extensive range of unique and premium tourism offerings and experiences to be found in South Africa
Key to showcasing this is hosting media for FAM trips (often) ties in with key music and trade events (Indaba) and at the end, giving a leisure experience we know our market would be keen in.
On what South Africa got to offer the young, savvy generations of Nigerians who are very adventurous
South Africa offers a range of bespoke, premier tourism offerings.  These include shopping centres with high end boutique stores, a bustling night life to be found in Johannesburg and Cape Town….in fact if you’re lucky you may bump into a Hollywood star or one of our own renowned celebrities.
For the adventure seeking tourist, if bungee jumping is your idea of fun, try the Orlando Towers or Bloukrans Bridge in PE, Eastern Cape which happens to be the world’s highest commercial bridge.  We are a destination that is able to package and package well a holiday experience to suit your needs and your   interests, ensuring you have a memorable and fulfilling stay.
On why then should Nigerians travel to South Africa
South Africa is really incredibly accessible for Nigerian travellers.  It’s a six-hour direct flight with no jet lag involved.  More than this, South Africa’s city and urban infrastructure rivals that of the other destinations you speak of. South Africa – and especially the big cities – offer fantastic shopping, nightlife, entertainment.
There’s excellent value for money to be had in South Africa, meaning your Naira will buy you more in South Africa than it will in the other destinations. For example, a three course dinner for two (with wine) in a fantastic restaurant in Cape Town will cost you about 8 750 Naira. The same meal, in London for example, could will set you back at least twice that… if not more
The same principle applies to accommodation, a night on the town and general shopping.  But perhaps the biggest reason to choose South Africa over the other destinations is the South African people: warm, friendly and welcoming with a truly deep and authentic culture of service excellence… it’s the people who make this destination special. And it’s for the warm welcome you receive in South Africa that you should choose South Africa first.
On how SA Tourism is promoting entertainment tourism
Yes. You are absolutely right. South Africa is a fantastic entertainment, music and big concert destination. And certainly, collaboration between our two countries has done much to grow South Africa’s status as a music and other event destination
We market these music events in many ways. There is much marketing work around the South African jazz festivals.
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