Monday, September 22, 2014

NTDC, Israel to grow tourism in Nigeria

Senior Media& Political  Officer, Embassy of Israel, Abuja,
Tony Obiechina; Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Uriel
Palti;  Director General ,  Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation
(NTDC) Chief . Dr. ( Mrs.) Sally Mbanefo ; Nigeria- Israel, Chamber of
Commerce (NICC) Ike Willie-Nwobu and Director, Marketing & Promotions,
NTDC, Mrs Fibi Ikilama    in a group photograph  during a  courtesy  call
on  the Director General  by His Excellency at the corporate headquarters
of the Corporation in Abuja recently.

NIGERIA'S tourism industry is poised to receiving a huge boost as the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and the government of Israel have agreed to work on the development and promotion of the industry.
This was following the courtesy call of the Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, Uriel Palti, on the Director-General of NTDC, Chief Dr. (Mrs) Sally Mbanefo.
Palti during the courtesy call expressed his readiness to facilitate collaboration between Israel and NTDC to develop tourism in Nigeria.
The Ambassador of Israeli to Nigeria said: "It's my pleasure to be Israel Ambassador to Nigerian. I enjoy the friendship of Mr. President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and fall in love with Nigeria. I won't be shy to say this. I am totally at the disposal of NTDC to help develop tourism in Nigeria.
"I must say that Nigeria has the highest pilgrims to Israel, hence we cannot but to be at her disposal to render assistance and develop her rich tourism potentials.
"To achieve this, I and my team will go together with NTDC to visit beautiful tourist sites and destinations in Nigeria, and also invite NTDC to visit Israel, meet with Israeli government and other tourism stakeholders in the country, and sign a Memorandum of Understanding on development and promotion of tourism in Nigeria.
"This arrangement will also enable Nigeria brings more investors from Israel to Nigeria."
Palti also disclosed that he loved the idea of exchanging programme and will facilitate exchange programmes on best practices in tourism between NTDC staff and Israel's Tourism Board.
Dr Mbanefo earlier in her speech disclosed that NTDC was working on how to be self accounting, "hence we have put some machineries in place to achieve this. One of these is the MoU we signed with Jovago, which enables tourists to book hotels in Nigerian from our website. With this, we will generate revenue. While our Tour Abuja City project will be launched this month."
The NTDC boss emphasised the machineries put in place by President Goodluck Jonathan to encourage tourism growth in Nigeria, saying "One of the most important things President Goodluck Jonathan has done is improving the power sector. Another thing is the upgrading of airports in Nigeria, which has been neglected for the past 52 years. He also did a lot with transportation, ensuring a good rood and working earnestly on the railway, among others.
"All these are lubricants to the wheel of tourism development in Nigeria. The Jonatha-led administration meant so well for the course of tourism development in Nigeria, hence all stakeholders must join this progressive course."
Dr Mbanefo who described the rationale behind her campaign for domestic tourism development and promotion as to create wealth and job at the grassroot, enjoined Nigerians who stay within Nigeria, and foreigners to appreciate the beautiful tourist sites that abound in Nigeria.

NTDC pledges support for YabaTech on school Tourism Village

NIGERIAN Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has thrown its weight behind the move of the management of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos to establish a Tourism Village in Epe, Lagos State.
Director General of NTDC, Chief Dr (Mrs) Sally Mbanefo, while addressing the 5-man delegation from the foremost college of technology in Nigeria commended the initiative of the institution to establish a tourism village, which according to her, will enhance better and practical understanding of the course in the institution.
"This is a good development in the educational sector. We need to accord good attention to the study of tourism, not only in tertiary institutions, but right from the primary schools.
"To ensure true and rapid development and promotion of tourism in Nigeria, with domestic tourism as a catalyst, we must consciously infuse tourism interest in the minds of young ones, right from their primary school days.
"We will intensify efforts at incorporating tourism in the academic curriculum in Nigeria. We will achieve this in collaboration with the Ministry of Education," Dr Mbanefo disclosed.
The NTDC boss who stressed the need to educate young ones in Nigeria on tourism, culture and tradition revealed that domestic tourism development and promotion are keys to a sustainable wealth and job creation, integration of culture and encouragement of unity in Nigeria.
"I am passionately promoting domestic tourism to empower local government at the grassroots level, create jobs at local governments, reduce urban migration, encourage integration of culture within Nigeria and to encourage unity," Dr Mbanefo added.
She charged the management of the institution to ensure that practical is given high priority over theory during the course of study of the students.
Hon. Philip Olabode Aivoji, member of the Governing Council of the institution, who led the 5-man delegation earlier in his speech commended the efforts and activities of the NTDC boss, which according to him, are geared towards true and lasting development of tourism in Nigeria.
Hon Aivoji said: "We believe in Dr Mbanefo's domestic tourism initiative as a viable catalyst to national development, creation of wealth and job, especially at the grassroot levels, and we have been busy instilling it into our students. Studying tourism guarantees self-reliance. This is because you can stand on your own, becoming a tour guide, for instance."
The Head of Department of Leisure and Tourism Department of the institution, Mr Okunlola Gabriel, who corroborated Hon Aivohi's submission disclosed that the school management wanted to expand the department and move it to the permanent site in Epe, Lagos State.
Department of Leisure and Tourism of Yaba College of Technology according to the HOD was created in 2007.
"We plan to promote Nigeria's local dishes, hence we made it part of our curricular," Okunlola said.
Ensuring timely actualisation of the establishment of the Tourism Village, Dr Mbanefo set up a planning committee, which comprise of directors, deputy directors and members of the delegation from the institution.

Gov. Obiano promises to support 2014 Christian pilgrimage exercise

By NCPC Media

The Executive Governor of Anmabra State, Chief Dr Willie Obiano has said that Anambra State Government will do everything humanly possible to ensure a hitch free 2014 pilgrimage exercise. He disclosed this when the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Mr John Kennedy Opara and his Federal Commissioners paid him a sensitization visit at Awka, Anambra State Capital.
 He thanked the Executive Secretary and his team for their visit to the State. He further thanked Mr President for allocating 850 seats to Anambra State. He promised that he would use his good offices to ensure that all the five block of CAN and Christian Leaders are represented and carried along in this year’s pilgrimage exercise.
He commended the NCPC boss for his visionary leadership style and for how he has piloted the affairs of pilgrimage in Nigeria, according to him, “you have worked effortlessly to ensure that Christians enjoy the best of pilgrimage in Nigeria”, he added “God will bless all your efforts and help you do more for the Commission and for Nigeria as a whole”
Speaking earlier ,the Executive Secretary of NCPC Mr. John Kennedy Opara congratulated the Governor on his victory over the gubernatorial election and prayed that God will give him the enablement to serve the good people of Anambra State, in his words “it is God who has given you this position and he will give u the wisdom to do the work he was brought you to do”.
Mr Opara commended the Governor for his visible developmental project in the state within the short period he has assumed office in the areas of road constructions, Medical care service, and environmental sanitisation “you have really touched the lives of the people of Anambra within your short time in office”. He further commended him for being able to pay the outstanding pension and gratuity arrears of local government pensioners in the state and prayed that God will reward his good work of labour.
He told his host that him and his Federal Commissioners were in the State to sensitise the people of Anambra state in preparation of the 2014 pilgrimage exercise. He further told the Governor that Commission runs three pilgrimage packages in a year: The Easter Pilgrimage which runs from March-April, Family Pilgrimage runs from July-September and the main pilgrimage in October. 
The NCPC helmsman maintained that the Commission is using pilgrimage as a tool for moral and spiritual transformation. He explained that people who go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land have an encounter with God they will come back transformed, they will affect their society positively and would help to change Nigeria and make it a better place.  He urged the Governor to encourage well able Christians and business men in the State to sponsor Christians who cannot afford to sponsor themselves to the Holy Land, because according to him “pilgrimage should be for those who are spiritually rich but materially poor”.
He informed the Governor that Mr President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had approved a concessionary exchange rate of $1 dollar N150 naira for this year’s pilgrimage exercise and further informed him that Mr President has allocated 850 seats to Anambra State for this year’s pilgrimage exercise.

Abraka turf club, the diamond in Delta


What comes to the mind of many when the name, Abraka is mentioned is the University town in Delta, but there is a diamond that lies in the town that many have not explored.
That diamond is the Abraka Turf and Country Club, a private country club that has been created to function at the highest levels of luxury and guest satisfaction.
Abraka Turf and Country Club has taken on a leading role in the nation’s leisure and catering industry, and prides itself on its ability to deliver exquisite services.
From anywhere in the university town, the residents can easily direct one to the turf. For a first timer at the resort, the entrance does not reflect what lies ahead, but the beauty opens up as one maneuvers through the entrance to the large expansive green of well-manicured lawn that stretches as far as one’s eyes could take in. Dotted on the lawn are buildings for accommodation and other activities.
Okorie Uguru on visiting the turf said “The first thing that hits one on entering Abraka Turf and Country Club is the overwhelming hue of green.”
He added that a vast stretch of expansive well-manicured land bursts into one’s vision as one heads for the reception area of the resort. “Green, the colour of nature, has the effect of giving the feeling of calmness and tranquility. That is what Abraka Turf and Country Club offers.”
The resort is eco-friendly as one can breathe in clean and unpolluted air as the green environment makes one close to nature. Tourists can enjoy hot sun, cool blue pool; clear emerald green river, natural greens and a Savannah adventure of a lifetime on a quintessential multi-sport odyssey in Delta’s paradise.
On the lawn are horses that lazily graze on the grass. Looking a little further is a dense mangrove forest that reminds one that one was in the Niger Delta.
The resort includes perfect villas, chalets, and caters to high-end clientele that includes families, vacation seekers, campers, as well as corporate groups.
Abraka Turf and Country Club is fully equipped with state of the art facilities and the outdoor activities include golf, tennis, canoeing, kayaking, polo, horseback riding, fishing and deep river diving.
Fishing and deep river can be done at the River Ethiope that cascade through the resort. What strikes one first about River Ethiope is the unnatural purity of the water. At most of the points where the river flows across one could from the river bank see the bottom of the water.
In fact this has even given some people a false sense of shallowness of the river to their peril. Fishes could big seen swimming enthusiastically in the water but quickly swim out of reach on noticing human presence.
River Ethiope is one of the most popular rivers in Delta State. This has to do with the fact that as the water traversed through villages, towns and cities in Delta before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean.
However the Ethiope River apart being a source of pure drinking water to the villages that the river flows through, is also known to have its source from Umuaja flowing though Umutu, Abraka and finally emptying into the Atlantic ocean.
Although the club is open to the public, facilities at the club could also be enjoyed by being a member of the Abraka Turf Club. The club members and their family members enjoy memorable and serene holidays in the luxury villas and chalets.
As a corporate member, all club facilities are at one’s disposal. Other facilities at the turf club include a-state-of-the-art conference centre that can comfortably seat 75 people.
There are facilities for personal computers, laptops and take-away memory sticks. The turf has equestrian facilities for polo and horse riding and has the best stables in the country with various breeds of horses, ranging from local to argentines.

British Airways Excites Travellers with N50,000 fares to UK, Europe, Others

… Marks Nigeria’s 54th Independence with special ‘Companion Fare’

 British mega carrier, British Airways and its partner, Iberia Airlines have launched what could best be described as the most amazing offer of the year. The new offer, which is available for trips to the United Kingdom (UK), and select destinations in Europe, affords customers the unique opportunity to purchase a ticket for their companion for as low as N50,000, and N100,000 to US and Canada.

Known as the ‘Companion Fare’ the new promo comes in celebration of the 54th Nigerian Independence anniversary and are available for purchase from 24th September until 15th October, 2014.

According to the airline, with N50,000, BA/IB customers travelling to London and other destinations in the UK, Europe and North America from Lagos and Abuja in the World Traveller (Economy) class can now extend to their companions or loved ones, the opportunity to experience the unparalleled service within the luxurious ambience of British Airways cabins while those on a trip to Canada and US from Lagos and Abuja can travel for as low as N100,000 each, all fares excluding taxes.

Giving details of the offer, British Airways Regional Commercial Manager for West Africa, Mr. Kola Olayinka, said the Companion fare is available for the customers to book at all British Airways & Iberia call centres and travel agents in the country.

In his words, “This is our way of saying thank you to our customers for their support over the years especially as we celebrate Nigeria’s Independence Day. We have realized the importance of companionship while travelling, so, with this offer, we are telling our customers to take a companion or loved one along on their next trip to UK or other destinations in Europe, and pay just N100,000 for two tickets and N200,000 for two tickets to US and Canada.

He, however, advised customers to hurry to confirm their bookings, to confirm their seats on these amazing return fares.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


SPG Targets Meeting and Travel Pros to Gain Greater Share of Global B2B Business
Plus Any SPG Member Who Books Group or Corporate Travel Will Earn Starpoints
Starwood Turns Lifestyle Lens on B2B Marketing with $30MM SPG Pro Marketing Campaign

Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), is breaking new ground in customer loyalty and personalization with the debut of SPG Pro, an all-new, comprehensive loyalty program for meeting and travel professionals.  Set to debut in October 2014, this new program will offer meeting and travel professionals SPG elite status, upgrades and Starpoints for B2B business booked at any of Starwood’s nearly 1,200 properties around the world. Plus going forward, any SPG member who books a group stay, event or corporate business meeting, regardless of if they are a travel professional or not, will earn Starpoints and status for the business they influence.
Starwood President and CEO Frits van Paasschen said that SPG Pro was designed to leverage the strength of SPG, which today drives more than 50% of the company’s occupancy and continues to shift consumer business to Starwood hotels.    
“The work that we’ve done to make SPG the richest elite program in the industry has proven that we can create true and lasting loyalty with our most profitable guests and shift share of wallet to our hotels,” said van Paasschen. “With SPG Pro, we’re focusing our powerful loyalty lens on B2B to cultivate ever stronger and more personal relationships with our global customers who deliver guests to our hotels.”
Today, B2B accounts for nearly 70% of Starwood’s overall room revenue and is comprised of corporate travel, meetings and events and leisure and wholesale travel. With a salesforce of more than 5,000 globally, Starwood’s Sales Offices manage 1,200 global accounts from more than 30 offices around the world. According to Christie Hicks, Senior Vice President, Starwood Sales Organization, the top 1% of accounts drives 40% of Starwood’s B2B revenue. 
“SPG Pro is a compelling way for Starwood to reward our  global customers, provide more personalized service on property and  really understand the totality of the business our partners influence,” said Hicks.  “SPG Pro will also help us extend our reach beyond our managed accounts to attract new businesses, regional organizations and a next generation of travel professionals. New global travel patterns are driving more corporate, leisure and meetings business than ever before and with each 1% share shift in this business, we add $80MM in revenue.”    
Extending Loyalty Beyond the Guest Room
In addition to travel pros, Starwood is also targeting a new source of untapped B2B potential:  its most loyal guests.  According to Mark Vondrasek, Starwood’s Senior Vice President of Distribution, Loyalty and Partnership Marketing, 34% of SPG’s elite Platinum guests, who may be senior executives or business consultants or small business owners, book meetings and events in hotels.
“As we’ve gotten closer to our best guests through SPG, we’ve learned that while one-third of our elite members are also B2B decision makers. Starwood only gets a 40% share of that part of their business,” said Vondrasek.  “We realized there was a great opportunity to recognize our guests’ business holistically, beyond just our guest rooms.  By rewarding business like corporate off sites, product launches or even personal events like weddings or bar mitzvahs, we build greater stickiness with our loyal guests, who in turn become an extension of our sales team.”  
Travel Pros Strike a Pose: Starwood Launches SPG Pro with New $30 MM Lifestyle Marketing Campaign
The $30 million launch of SPG Pro is Starwood’s largest and most expensive B2B marketing program in its history. In a departure from traditional hotel B2B marketing, which has been defined by photography of empty ballrooms, banquet tables and a handshake between a “sales executive” and “client,” the SPG Pro campaign takes a lifestyle approach with vibrant photography that puts real-life travel partners center stage.  Featuring a series of “behind-the-scenes” photographs of meeting and travel professionals on the job, the campaign celebrates the dynamic role they play on behalf of their companies, organizations and clients.
“Our relationship with our clients is about so much more than booking rooms or meeting space,” said Hicks.  “They create unique experiences on behalf of their travelers, and our hotels work with them to bring those to life.  Our SPG Pro campaign looks to showcase our partners as people and shine a light on the creativity and passion they bring to their work.” 

Shot by New York City based lifestyle photographer Jim Franco, whose work has been featured in leading travel, fashion and lifestyle publications, the campaign’s imagery provides a sneak peek into a day-in-the-life of travel pros including:       
  • A music industry event planner scouting a suite at the legendary St. Regis New York for a high-profile VIP function.    
  • A global event planner for a Fortune 100 tech giant taking a deep breath after a successful event at the W Hoboken.
·         A meeting planner for a large non-profit channeling her inner design diva to style a rooftop event at the W New York.   

The inspiring photography will be featured on the program’s new website, in SPG Pro communications and collateral including on-property materials and online and trade magazine advertising. More members will be introduced as part of the campaign throughout the year.  
Richer Rewards for Booking Business with Starwood
Beginning today, meeting and travel professionals can immediately register for SPG Pro at Registered professionals, as well as SPG Members who influence group, event and corporate travel, will begin earning Starpoints for business booked starting in October 2014. Additionally, SPG Pro marks the first time accredited travel agents will have the opportunity to earn Starpoints and elite status with SPG. 
The more members book the more they earn, which means access to everything SPG has to offer and reaching elite status even faster through combined B2B and personal bookings.
Visit to view the creative, use the SPG Pro Calculator to determine individual earning potential, and see testimonials from other SPG Pro members.