Thursday, January 30, 2014

AERO RESUMES TWICE DAILY FLIGHTS TO NAF BASE PORT HARCOURT, OSUBI WARRI

Aero, Nigeria’s leading regional airline, has announced the resumption of services to NAF Base Port Harcourt and Osubi Warri. While NAF base will commence on the 3rd of February, Osubi Warri will commence on the 10th of February, 2014.
 
The flight which will be operated with the modern Dash 8 Q400 aircraft will depart Lagos at 7:30am to arrive Port Harcourt NAF Base at 08:50am and thereafter leave Port Harcourt NAF Base at 09:20am to arrive Lagos at 10:40am. The evening flight will depart Lagos at 04:00pm, to get into Port Harcourt NAF Base at 05.20pm and leave Port Harcourt NAF Base for Lagos at 05:50pm to arrive Lagos at 07.10pm.
Osubi airport twice daily flight will also depart Lagos for Warri at 08:00am to arrive in Warri at 09:10am while Warri to Lagos flight departs at 09:40am and arrives 10:50am. The afternoon flight will depart Lagos at 03:00pm, to arrive in Osubi airport, Warri at 04.10pm and depart Osubi airport for Lagos at 04:40pm to arrive Lagos at 05.50pm.
 
One flight will be operated each day, weekends for the two routes.
 
The airline is the foremost domestic carrier in Nigeria to pioneer online booking and payment, SMS booking with mobile phone payments, online check in, and automated customer care centre thus making travel easier for the customers.
 
At the moment, Aero operates over 55 flights a day to more than 14 destinations, including Lagos, Abuja, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Warri, Sokoto, Kaduna, Benin, Uyo, Kano, Enugu, Accra and Douala with plans to open more routes
 
Dikko Nwachukwu, the Chief commercial officer of Aero said: "We are excited to announce the resumption of services to the NAF Base in Port Harcourt and Osubi Airport in Warri, which have been our traditional destinations for decades. We look forward to offering high standard of service in a timely and courteous manner to our customers. We believe that our customers will enjoy our services and find our schedule flexible for their business and leisure trips to and from Port Harcourt and Warri. 

AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES’ 2014 AZAMAZING EVENINGS BRING DESTINATIONS TO LIFE

Azamara Club Cruises believes that destinations are more than just geography, but rather the sights, sounds and tastes of a region.  With its 2014 AzAmazing Evenings program, the cruise line is providing guests the opportunity to further their vacation by enjoying an exclusive, authentic and cultural evening event. Now up-market, well-travelled explorers can enhance their portfolios by choosing from more than 60 voyages, each with a distinctive opportunity to enjoy when sailing with Azamara.  Whether enjoying a private, three-tenors performance, set in a 19th century opera house in Livorno, Italy, or joining in a local Burmese festival, guests will find themselves immersed and living the culture rather than just seeing it during a brief visit.

            “Since its launch, our AzAmazing Evenings program has been incredibly well-received and is providing discerning travellers unique, tailor-made experiences at intriguing destinations around the world,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “Our guests look for experiential opportunities – they already come to us because we are providing longer stays and more overnights at fascinating destinations. But now after extensive research and collaboration we have created custom experiences that allow our guests to experience a destination in a way they may have otherwise never experienced – from interacting with locals at a street party or by offering them private access to world-renowned sites such as Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum.”     

            Building upon its carefully crafted itineraries that coincide with major world events, the cruise line simultaneously crafts AzAmazing Evening events that reflect those moments. For example, during Azamara Journey’s “Past to Present: Normandy 70 Years Later,” guests will be treated to an AzAmazing Evenings event of a D-Day Liberation Party at Cherbourg – exactly 70 years to the day that the landings took place.   Later in the year, guests sailing Azamara Journey’s “A Southern Hemisphere Holiday,” guests will enjoy a Plataforma 1, one of Rio de Janeiro’s leading samba show houses to see samba’s 500-year history come to life in an eye-popping show, complete with caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail.

These signature events are complimentary and held once a voyage, typically ashore during the evening. On select voyages, the sights and sounds of a region are transferred on-board, where the ship serves as a backdrop for an evening of cultural immersion.  For example when calling at Safaga, Egypt, guests will experience an Egyptian Moulid.  This festival is part carnival and part mystical celebration, and includes ritual dancing, chanting, whirling dervishes and circus performers.
 
AzAmazing Evening events cover a breadth of activities including night access to some of the world’s best-known sites such as Ephesus; St. Michael’s Cave at the Rock of Gibraltar, or the Chateau Giscours in Bordeaux.  Travellers can narrow down their voyage by destinations or choose a voyage with an event that will add to their experiential portfolio.
 
            Azamara Club Cruises offers distinct destination-immersive experiences for up-market travellers. The cruise line uniquely features voyages with longer stays and more overnights at ports to provide guests the opportunity to experience night touring at some of the most compelling destinations of Europe, Asia, South America, West Indies, as well as Central and North America.  On board the intimate Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, guests receive exceptional and personal service and the cruise line’s authentic, exclusive and bespoke AzAmazing Evenings events that showcase the unexpected colours and flavours of a destination.   Guests also enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world, as well as more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary boutique wines, international beers and select standard spirits in the ships’ bars, lounges and restaurants when open; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centres in ports, where available.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

QATAR AIRWAYS VOTED ‘BEST LONG-HAUL AIRLINE’ AND ‘BUSINESS AIRLINE OF THE YEAR’

London, UNITED KINGDOM – Qatar Airways has been named ‘Business Airline of the Year’, and for the second year in a row ‘Best Long-Haul Airline’ at the high profile UK Business Travel Awards 2014 which was held in London recently.
Over 1,300 industry representatives attended the 19th Annual Business Travel Awards, organized by UK publication Buying Business Travel, which celebrates the achievements of the industry’s leading players. The gala evening is widely regarded as one of the highlights of the business travel calendar.
The judges commented; “We thought this was an outstanding entry, backed up by glowing testimonials from leading buyers and managers in the corporate sector. A dedicated business terminal at its home airport, cars that ferry first class passengers from aircraft to terminal and an impressive corporate client retention rate all made Qatar Airways the clear winner.”
Paul Johannes, Vice President Commercial North, South and Western Europe, said; “We are delighted to have been recognised in two categories for our high-quality product and business class offering at these prestigious awards. It is an honour to win two award categories against such strong competition."
“This award reiterates Qatar Airways’ commitment to providing excellent customer service and prominence as one of the world’s leading airlines for business travellers. Over the next few months we look forward to giving our customers increased options when they travel with the expansion of our international network and the launch of services from Edinburgh to Doha in May.”
Pictured during the UK Business Travel Awards 2014 are, from left, British stand-up comedian Omid Djalili, Qatar Airways VP Commercial Europe Paul Johannes, Qatar Airways Corporate Sales Manager UK & Ireland Emma Deering and Senior Vice President Diners Club International UK & Ireland John O'Hagan.Pictured during the UK Business Travel Awards 2014 are, from left, British stand-up comedian Omid Djalili, Qatar Airways VP Commercial Europe Paul Johannes, Qatar Airways Corporate Sales Manager UK & Ireland Emma Deering and Senior Vice President Diners Club International UK & Ireland John O'Hagan.

Qatar Airways was also recently named Best Business class at the Business Traveller UK Awards and Best Middle East Airline by readers of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 134 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas.
In 2013, Qatar Airways launched twelve destinations – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman), Basra (Iraq), Sulaymaniyah (Iraq), Chengdu (China), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Ta’if (Saudi Arabia) Clark Manila International Airport, Philippines (October 27) and most recently Hangzhou, China (December 20).
In 2014 Qatar Airways will launch services to Sharjah International Airport, UAE (March 1, 2014), Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai World Central (March 1, 2014), Philadelphia, USA (April 2, 2014), Larnaca, Cyprus (April 29, 2014), Sabiha, Istanbul (May 22, 2014), Edinburgh (May 28, 2014), Miami International Airport, USA (June 10, 2014) and Dallas Fort Worth, USA (July 1, 2014).
 

SkyTeam Launches Promotional Round the World Fares

SkyTeam Launches Promotional Round the World Fares
10% discount on tickets booked before 31st March 2014
SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, has launched a discounted fares promotion on its Go Round the World product.  SkyTeam is offering a 10% discount off tickets up to 26,000 miles purchased between 23 January and 31 March 2014. Tickets must be purchased seven days in advance and travel must be completed within six months.
 “We are continuously improving our product range, ensuring more value to customers by  offering convenience, affordability and access to more destinations,” said Mauro Oretti, SkyTeam Vice- President Sales and Marketing. “We’ve worked hard to make it easier than ever to plan and book a Round the World flight, and with 1,024 destinations to choose from it may still remain difficult to decide where to fly.”
An example of a SkyTeam Round the World itinerary possible within the promotional fare conditions* of a maximum of 26,000 miles:
 
London – Mexico City – Shanghai - Ho Chi Minh City – Moscow – London
 
SkyTeam’s Go Round the World pass can be booked online at www.skyteam.com, via any of the SkyTeam airlines’ reservations centres or a local travel agent. Customers wanting to explore a particular region in greater depth can add on any of SkyTeam’s Go Passes including: Go Africa, Go Asia, Go Europe, Go Greater China, Go Mexico, Go Russia and Go USA and Canada. For more information about SkyTeam’s Go Round the World pass, click here.
*Promotional fare conditions
·         Booking must be made before 31 March 2014 using the flights of any of the 19 SkyTeam member airlines (Garuda Indonesia can be included from 5 March 2014)
·         Travel can begin 7 days after purchase
·         Travel must commence by 30 June 2014
·         The maximum stay is six months, the minimum stay is ten days
·         A minimum of three and a maximum of five stopovers is permitted
·         Total travel may not exceed 26,000 miles
·         Valid only in Economy Class fares

SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM OPENS WEST AFRICAN MARKETING OFFICE IN LAGOS, NIGERIA



 
THE SOUTH AFRICAN Tourism Minister Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, accompanied by Nigeria’s Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Minister, Chief Edem Duke, today officially opened the very first South African Tourism marketing office on the African continent in Lagos, Nigeria.
 
Addressing the West African travel trade and guests in attendance, Minister Van Schalkwyk said that South African Tourism’s new home in Lagos serves to confirm South Africa’s support for increased economic cooperation between the southern African and western African regions. 
 



 
 
“As a nation, we see the special and longstanding relationship between Nigeria and South Africa as pivotal towards maintaining an Africa that is economically vibrant and resilient and an Africa that grows through partnerships between nations,” said Minister van Schalkwyk. 
 
“Key to creating economic vibrancy and resilience is working together to develop industries that have the potential to contribute meaningfully to our GDPs and to job creation on the continent. Tourism is certainly one such industry. Investing in our tourism network on the continent is not only indicative of our commitment to African co-operation, but it also makes good business sense,”Minister van Schalkwyk continued. 
 
“We’ve experienced positive growth figures out of West Africa; a total of 73,282 Nigerian tourists visited South Africa last year marking a 13.8% increase from 2011. At the end of June 2013, Nigerian tourist arrivals had continued to grow on a strong trajectory with 15.9% during the first six months of this year.
 
“Likewise, tourist arrivals from Ghana to South Africa grew by 23.8% in 2012, when South Africa welcomed 22,953 Ghanaian tourists. Up to end June 2013, arrivals from Ghana were growing at 27.3%, to 13, 663 tourist arrivals for the six-month period. The steady growth in both markets makes this region very valuable to us,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.  
 
The Nigeria office opening comes on the heels of South African Tourism having officially extended an invitation to the rest of Africa to showcase the continent by exhibiting  at the annual Tourism INDABA held in Durban in May every year. South African Tourism has also invited more than 500 hosted buyers to INDABA 2014; offering exhibitors the opportunity to promote their destination at the heart of Africa’s biggest, most established and best-attended travel trade exhibition.
 
In addition, an announcement at the end of last year, of collaboration between INDABA and the bespoke We Are Africa tradeshow (that takes place days before INDABA) exponentially increases the exposure to top-quality buyers for exhibitors at both travel trade shows.
 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nigeria’s jollof rice great – Menard



BY JIMOH BABATUNDE
Marlene Menard works with the United States Government. She has worked in several countries of the world in the course of her duty. Now, she works with the Office of Marine Conservation (OMC) in Washington DC. OMC is a part of the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). Menard was in Nigeria for the first time recently as part of the team that came for re-certification of Nigeria’s fishery and Shrimps industry. In this interview, she shares her travel experience. Excerpt:



On how often she travels
Let me start by saying this is my first visit to Nigeria but not my first visit to Africa. Before now I had been to Egypt and Tunisia, but my first time to west Africa. I travel often in the course of carrying out my duty, I will say maybe 40 %. I work in the Marine Conservation in the US Department of States, based in Washington DC. I have worked overseas in the past 10 -11 years. I have worked in the US embassy in Abu Dahbi, the US embassy in Argentina , the US consulate in Karachi and US consulate in Munich and now Washington DC.
On her first travel memory
My first travel memory was when I was 35years when I went to Europe, Paris for the first time. So, that was my first travel.
On her favorite destination
It is hard to say a favorite place. The reason why I say that is that sometime the most interesting places are places that are not popular for tourism and so every place has a beauty to it, so it is difficult to say. I have been to every continents. I have visited Africa now, I have lived in the Middle East, I have visited Australia , South America, Europe and North America. When I was in Buenos Aires , I went on a cruise to Antarctica, every place is beautiful and has its own strength.
On where she likes most
Oh my goodness. I have to think about it. I don’t know , because every place is great, but I love to see the cities and also love to see the country sides. For me what makes a destination thick is the people and the food. I love to try different food.
On her best Nigerian food
I have tried jollof rice and it is great. I love it. In fact, I got the recipe so I can cook it when I get home.
On what she has learnt travelling
The most important thing I think I have learnt travelling is that even though we differ in different ways, in terms of our societies, cultures and religion that we all still have so much in common. I think if we look at what we have in common then we can live together in peace.
On her best travelling companion
My younger brother. We know each other so well as we grew up together. I have six brothers and sisters, but my younger brother I love traveling with. Though I have travelled with friends, I think I enjoy the company of him more as brother and sister.
On her best reading material
I tried to read something about where I am. For example my recent vacation in July, I was in Galapagos Island in Ecuador , because I was there for meeting and work , I took extra time for vacation and on a sail boat cruise it was amazing and beautiful. When I was doing that I was reading a book about choice of touring , you know something that will make me have a better and fuller experience on my travel.
On weather she likes departing or arriving a destination
Oh!. I like to arrive, because everything is in front of me. I am so sad when I leave a destination because the visit is over and there is always more to do than the time that I have. So, the beginning of the visit, I will be looking forward and everything is great. I prefer arriving to departing.
On her best hotel
Sigh!.I don’t know. Please can we skip this one. ( Laughter)
On best airline
I love Emirates airline. I think they have wonderful services . I love Air France because the food is fantastic. It is hard to say my favorite.
On her favorite city in the world
My favorite city in the world is Rome , Italy. It is so beautiful , there are so many places to see in just walking around the city.
On worst traveling experience
There was a time I received a friend in Argentina , though it was fun, but we can say it was bad as we got stuck in a mud visiting a Peninsula Island to go see the whales and it was raining, we got stuck in the mud for an hour before somebody came to help us.
Though it was okay as we had cookies and water with us
On what she will not forget while preparing for a tour
I always packed too much . I tried to pack only what I need, but I end up packing too many clothes . So, if I have my vitamins I can find everything else that I need. My vitamins is the most important thing to travel with.
On next vacation
I will like to come to Africa for my next vacation, so as to spend time for tourism and go outside the cities to visit the country sides.

Golf tourism: MicCom redefines leisure business…plans hotel for Lagos





By Jimoh babatunde with agency reports
Nestled in the the forest in the rustic town of Ada, Osun State, is a resort that is promoting golf as a niche tourism product that can help the state showcase its other tourism attractions as well attract more tourists.
The resort, MicCom Golf Hotels & Resort, started some years ago as a pastime of a couple who love playing golf so much they turned part of the land they inherited into a golf course.
Today, that pastime has turned to a business entity that can be considered the perfect getaway haven for seekers of leisure, solitude and golf.
MicCom resort has over the years redefined the concept of hotel services by offering pure teeing-off delight to all golf enthusiasts, a unique ambience of tranquility and relaxation, while enjoying a premium sports.
Apart from pulling golf lover, the serene environment has also transformed the facilities into one of the leading resort for retreat and conferencing. It has a 90-room accommodation, a banqueting hall that can sit 500 and three meeting rooms that could each take 40 persons.
Listening to the Managing Director of the resort, Mrs Bukola Adubi, one gets enthralled in the concept and vision of the founder of the resort. Her passion is not surprising. She had abandoned her profession, Pharmacy, for the resort.


Mrs Adubi said: “My parents are keen golfers and they are from Ada where the hotel is situated. When they started to be addictive to the sports, they thought okay, we have land that we inherited in our village, why don’t we do something that we can play golf on. They had an acre of land that they inherited from my grandfather. They bought small parcels of land around and did a nine-hole golf course.
“By the time the golfers finished playing, they would have been tired and needed rest. So, Ponle decided to build some 24 rooms for the purpose. Later, people who had social engagements such as wedding too began to ‘borrow’ the rooms.
Not long after, the volume of golfers attracted increased, and the course had to be expanded to 18 holes. By 2003, they had acquired more parcels of land and increased the rooms to 90. Thus the need to transform the pastime into a structured business.
“I said okay, I have some free time. I can help you set it up, put some people inside, put some structures and let’s see if it is viable.”
Mrs. Adubi disclosed that they had spent a huge some of money already and no bank will loan them anything because nobody thought it was viable project. “I think the rest is history,” she mused.
Speaking on how the resort has performed, she said: “Quite viable. It has been a very interesting journey. The first three years was quite challenging because by then, nobody wanted to come because there was no reception.
Nothing. We had to literally beg MTN to put up a mast. We had to also beg Glo to put a mast to encourage communication and since then it was been fantastic.
“We’ve lived off word of mouth consistently. Again we cannot survive on that. We’ve had guests that come in as far as from Abuja and Port Harcourt. They drive down. They normally tell us that it was somebody that had used the facilities that recommended us.”
Adubi said over the year, due to the its location, facility and the top services it offers, conference and retreat had taken high percentage of the resorts clientele base. She said: “You know, the funny thing is, the golf part of the  whole set up forms maybe 30 per cent of clientele.
We have also come to realise that our golf tournaments or golf as a game, can only be played during the weekend because of our location. A lot of people that will come, a lot of the high network proper golfers, are people that are in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, and so on. They have their regular day. All of them can only converge at weekends.
“So, the golf helps us to also push for the rest of our business which is corporate retreat because this same big boys of golf are managing directors and heads of companies that would come for retreats. That keeps us Mondays through Fridays.”
MicCom, she said, is ideal for family vacations: “We categorise ourselves as having three categories of guests. I will say 60 per cent fall under corporate retreats.
They are the ones that are always doing something. Then I have my golfers. That takes another 20 to 25. Then I have my social: there are weddings, birthdays, honeymooners, and people coming for vacations.
“We have a huge vacation crowd now for Easter and Christmas. People that normally don’t come home or people that travel out of the country for vacation. Now we have an increasing number of them that would rather come and spend the week with the family.”
On promoting tourism around the area, she said: “Osun State is vast and fantastic. Sometimes I tell a few people I know in government that I patronise and advertise your tourism sites more than the state itself. They are fantastic. I have been to a few myself and they are amazing.
“We encourage our guests to visit the tourism sites. We try and encourage corporate people that come for retreats to have a day off and see the sites. We always encourage a half or full day tour. Some of these people have never gone out of their comfort zone and when they go for retreat, they don’t leave the hotel.”
While appreciating the growth in the hospitality industry in Nigeria, Adubi said one major challenge is that of trained manpower, especially in such a sector where a lot of untrained hands find their way in. But she explained that she has been addressing this challenge by consistent training of her staff.
She notes that another problem MicCom Resort has had to grapple with is accessibility. Accessibilty, not just in terms of distance to a major city such as Lagos,  but also because of the bad state of some of the major roads.
Despite all these challenges, she disclosed that, “I started this whole thing and it has grown so beautifully. I did some work after my Master’s Degree in Pharmacy. I haven’t done anything in that area in the past nine years. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else apart from this business of leisure. Pharmacy is now like my past life and I feel very fulfilled doing what I am doing right now.”
She added that that she was looking forward to building a strong brand with the MicCom in the hospitality sector in the next five years and, “God willing, my next target is to have a hotel in Lagos with the same brand.”

Taking lesson on falconry at the desert




A visit to Dubai is not complete for most people without a safari tour where a mysterious desert beckons tourists for a magical evening out. Jimoh Babatunde joined other tourists to experience how the sun descends into the horizon around the enchanting show of falconry…
With several visits to Dubai in the last few years attending the Arabian Travel Market, the opportunity for safari trip had not presented itself until recently when the Emirates Airline provided it as part of the tour packaged for a trip to watch Arsenal football club in London.
GETTING STARTED
The journey from London Heathrow to Dubai would have been stressful having to travel immediately after watching Arsenal and Norwich match live at the Emirates stadium but for the opportunity to fly An Airbus A380.
Stepping into the Business class located at the upper deck of the aircraft at Heathrow, I was not prepared for the flying experience awaiting me.
The A380 offers a flying experience no other aircraft in the sky can match, and redefines the meaning of comfort for all passengers – whether they are premium customers in first and business class, or leisure travellers in the economy cabin.
The manufacturer of the Airbus has gone to great lengths to make long-haul flying aboard the A380 feel more natural for its passengers – with broader seats, more personal storage, better head room and wider stairs and aisles.
The Emirates’ A380 offers 14 flat-bed First Class Private Suites with electrically operated doors and 76 fully-flat mini-pods in Business Class – all with aisle access – on the upper deck. Downstairs, there are 427 comfortable contoured seats in Economy Class, spread across four separate cabins.
I soon slept after the delicious meal on board to enjoy the Business Class seats that convert into a flat bed at the touch of a button. Using the touchscreen controller, you can adjust your seat to suit your own preferences and comfort. Each seat extends to form a flat bed up to 79 inches long.
Arriving Dubai refreshed, we were checked into the hotel where we had some hours of sleep before the safari tour billed for 3pm. “Jimoh, Please you are the team leader now. Make sure you are at the lobby 15 minutes before the time. It will be worthwhile experience.” That was Liz Opalka of the Emirates Airline.
BRIEFING
Expectedly, the three of us (Jimoh, Tunji and Ajanaku) were at the lobby when the tour guide from Arabian Adventure arrived. “I am Yamen. I am here to pick you for the tour. Please lets go”, with this he ushered us into a Toyota four wheel car for the journey that took about 45 minutes.
As we left behind the crowds and chaos of the city, our tour guide, Yamen, took pleasure in telling us about political issues back in his native country of Syria and world politics. Just as he also informed us that the Arabian Adventure company is owned by the UAE government and sponsor by Emirates and that informed why it is the only tour company allowed to do drone drive, so as to guarantee safety of tourists.
Arriving at the gate of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, deep in the heart of the desert, the tyres of the Toyota Land Cruiser had to be deflated. There were other vehicles parked for the same purpose.
TREASURE
We alighted from the vehicle to the warm, breezy afternoon sun to watch the falcon show. Lots of tourists were seated under canopies erected in the open field about to participate in a falcon hunt or learn about the history of these magnificent birds, and even experience a little of what life was like for the Bedouin.
And when a  middle aged man  came  to the scene with a falcon bird with a bag stripped round his neck, he  immediately became the point of focus as he takes the tourists on the history of falcon which is the national emblem of United Arab Emirate.
He said falconry is an age old tradition for the people of this region, especially for the Bedouin. The falcons themselves are beautiful birds of prey with an impressive capacity to learn and to trust their handlers.
“Three things to know about a falcon, if you want them to hunt. One, is the falcon needs to be hungry. They will never hunt if they are full. Second, it is insulting to the falcons if you offer them small prey, such as a mouse or rabbit. These birds can, and have, taken down animals as large as an oryx. Lastly, a falcon will never chase it’s prey if it is still and most animals know this, so they remain motionless hiding in the desert grass.”
It wasn’t long before the prey was brought fro the bag and the falcon soon began her hunt. Between the time the falcon was released and the prey was captured could not have been more than five minutes. The falconry show not only showcases the majestic bird of prey, but also the beauty of the desert making for multiple photo opportunities.
With the falcon show over, over 45 Toyata jeeps, each taking not less than three tourists, were on ground for the thrilling journey – over towering sand dunes, and through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, deep in the heart of the desert.
The Arabian roller coaster ride known as dune bashing (desert driving) was interesting as we shriek and laugh with excitement as the car goes up and down the dunes.
As the sun descends into the horizon, the vehicles stop to allow tourists to take sunset photographs, while standing on top of the fading desert dunes.  We then head to the campsite where a convoy of camels awaits our arrival for short camel rides. As the sun casts its glow over the soft sands, lanterns come to life in the distance, signaling a traditional welcome.

After returning from the camel ride, we moved into the camp relaxing on low cushions in traditional Bedouin tents to enjoy an Arabian BBQ (barbeque/barbecue) buffet dinner and dessert beside a blazing bonfire with traditional cups of coffee and dates, underneath the pitch-black night sky.
Before we head back to Dubai, we were entertained by the dancing of a belly dancer to traditional Arabic music in company of a friend from New Zealand we met on the trip.
Heading back to Dubai, we had  discussion on  the economic benefit of the tour to the Dubai government and its people taking into consideration that Nigeria has a huge potentials  in tourism that  are not being utilized . “Did you see the number of tourists  from different parts of the world there? Don’t  forget  that we were told that  over  forty five jeeps with at least three people were with us  this evening.
“There are three session per day. Imagine what they would have spent on accommodation and food  on this tour as more than 500 people  come here  every month from this company not to talk of others.” Tunji said.
Ajanaku quickly added that the issue of security is taken for granted here as  there is no policeman or soldier wielding guns going about  as is common back home. The absence of  gun carrying security officials doting all nooks and cranny does not mean that tourist are left unguarded.
There is no doubt that an internal security mechanism is put in place since government is aware of the huge economic interest inherent in a sustained thriving and security guaranteed tourism.