Sunday, August 30, 2015

Devotees, tourists celebrate yet another Osun festival



By Jimoh Babatunde

THE frenzy of activity in the ancient town of Osogbo last week Friday was indescribable as devotees of Osun as well as lovers of culture trooped out for yet another celebration of goddess of Osun river. The celebration of the Osun festival dates back to the 13th century and has grown to become the most famous of all traditional festivals in the South-Western part of the country.


Recognisedfestival One can not but agree with Otunba Gani Adams who said Osun Osogbo is the most recognised festival in the history of Nigeria. “Osun Festival has proved to Africans in the Diaspora that it is an event which is one of the best in the world.
There was a challenge last year because of the Ebola virus, but Osun Festival is celebrated with pomp this year. You can see it from the large turnout of the people here”, he said.
As early as 7am on that faithful Friday, the major streets leading to the groove from the palace of the Ataoja of Osogbo land, had been taken over by large crowd positioned to have a clear view of the Votary maid (Arugba).
The Arugba is usually the centre of activities on the final day of the two week long festival. As she made her way from the palace at the Oja-Oba to the groove with the ritual calabash meant to appease and worship the Osun goddess, the crowd went wild in jubilations offering prayers as she lead the people to the Osun shrines.
They sang, danced as they followed the Arugba and the Oba to the groove, Chief Gabriel Oparanti, the second in command to the Ataoja, said the festival has been celebrated since Oba Larooye founded Osogbo many centuries ago. He revealed that the goddess of the river was a living being, and the annual festival was to appreciate it for its covenant which it never breaks.
“The goddess has been so faithful to us and there are many testimonies to prove its faithfulness to us”. On the continued progress and development which Osun groove has achieved since the Osun festival started, the Osogbo high chief stressed that the festival will continue to attract multitudes due to the covenant between the goddess of the river and the founding fathers of the town.
He said “Year in year out the Osun Osogbo festival attract mammoth crowd, with unprecedented list of eminent personalities gracing the festival which is celebrated at the shrine, located in the outskirts of the capital of Osun state.” “There was an everlasting covenant between the goddess of the river and the founding fathers of Osogbo land. It was a unique covenant and the covenant cannot be broken. Since we have always honoured our own part, the goddess of the river has to honour its.
Little wonder why Osun festival has turned to an international festival that is now celebrated not only in Osogbo or Nigeria, but in some other foreign countries of the world like Brazil and France” he said. For Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, the Araba of Osogbo, while expressing happiness at the turn out of devotees and tourists, said there is no doubt in the ability of the goddess of the river to give to people whatever their requests.
“My mother was barren for several years and she later went to river Osun where she was promised a child if she could drink the water from Osun River, and I was told that my mother conceived that same month and I am the product of that covenant, that’s why I was named Osundagbonu.” He revealed that he derived his first name, Osundagbonu from the goddess of the river, having been given birth to after a promise to his mother by the priestess of the river.



Jimoh Buraimoh, an Osogbo-based artist and key stakeholder of the festival, is particularly happy that this year’s festival is better than last year’s. “I am happy because this year’s event is better than last year,” he said. “The Ebola crisis almost denied us the opportunity last year; but you can see that all that has now changed.”
For Nike Okundaye, another globally respected artist of the Osogbo art school: “We are all happy because if you come here, you will see that everybody in Osogbo is happy. The festival this year is well organised because we were not happy with what happened last year.”
Culture andtradition
Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, speaking later with some reporters said the growing number of people from several cultures identifying with the festival shows how much of a world-acclaimed event it has attained. This, according to him, is critical in the preservation of culture and tradition.
“There is the need to fully appreciate and register my gratitude to UNESCO for not only designating the Osun Grove as a World Heritage Monument, but for also elevating the festival beyond the shores of Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria, to the whole world,” he said. He also used the occasion to urge the Osun people, and Nigerians, not to emulate the attitude of people who throw away their culture. “Your culture is the only way that you can show
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/08/devotees-tourists-celebrate-yet-another-osun-festival/#sthash.vWU77N7O.dpuf

Lagos to provide Ihram cloths, rams, Zam-zam water for pilgrims



By JIMOH BABATUNDE
Lagos state government has promised to give away the cost of Ihram cloths, Ram and ZamZam water for the 3,407 pilgrims from the state. This is coming on the heels of Medview Airline promising to take all pilgrims flying with it straight to Medina from Nigeria. These promises were disclosed to the intending pilgrims from the state at a one day seminar organised for them in Ikeja during the week.
Speaking during a seminar organised for the pilgrims, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, said the state government will provide necessary welfare package – medical, spiritual and other support, as well as ensure the safety of pilgrims. The Governor explained that the involvement of the state government in pilgrimage is to safeguard the well-being of all intending pilgrims with a view to providing the necessary medical and spiritual needs to make the journey stress free.
He disclosed that the state has 3, 047 intending pilgrims out of the 66, 000 from the federation for this year’s Hajj, adding that Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, he said the exercise should be handled with all the seriousness that it required. “I urge you to take advantage of the spiritual benefits of Hajj to imbibe the exalted qualities of the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
“Our state is in dire need of men and women who have the fear of God, demonstrate religious tolerance, selflessness, who are peaceful and charitable, for the growth and development of our state and nation in general. “I hope that this Hajj will equip you with the capacity to coexist peacefully with people of other faith, religion and ideology.

- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/08/lagos-to-provide-ihram-cloths-rams-zam-zam-water-for-pilgrims/#sthash.YnOlM6a0.dpuf

Hoteliers look forward to better business later this year – Loxley



By Jimoh Babatunde
THE hospitality sub sector of the tourism industry in Nigeria is hopeful that the second half of this year will be better because of the renewed hope in the country’s economy after the last general election. The hospitality sector had it so rough last year because of the Ebola and security issues that plagued the country as well as the heightened fear about the last elections in the country.

Speaking with Vanguard recently, the General manager, Southern Sun hotel, Ikoyi, Mark Loxley, hoteliers are optimistic in terms of the new government as people are looking forward to coming back to Nigeria, and that the economic drive outside the oil and gas is giving more hope.
While noting that it has been challenging starts this year because of delayed elections and the fall in oil price, Loxley said everybody is looking forward to strong economy climate.
He said the lesson last year’s experience of Ebola and security challenges taught him and others in the industry is that they can do better in attracting Nigerians to travel within the country as a way of supporting the industry when there is fall in foreign patronage.
“Last year was tough in terms of security and Ebola, what that has taught us is that we can do better to attract Nigerians during lean period to support our business when there is fall in foreign patronage .
He advised the larger tourism industry to support the agriculture industry in terms of getting their supplies from local farmers instead of importing, “the more we can buy locally, the more cost effective and support we give to local people. We can also entice people through domestic tourism development.”
Mark Loxley said looking at the fragile nature of the nation in terms of fuel scarcity, security, the factors impact and the impact on their business, he said security is paramount and the challenge is to operate in safe environment. While commending the Lagos state government for the way it handled the Ebola case in the state last year, he explained that security is a matter that applies to hotels anywhere in the world as shown by the unfortunate incident in Tunisia recently or that of Nairobi two years ago.
He explained that the realization of that fact made the hotel to pay attention to guests security and that they are happy working with the local police in the area they operate. Loxley added that the recent grading of hotels the Lagos state government is good for the industry as the grading will help in regulation of the industry in terms in operating in accordance with international standard as well as help in marketing.
He disclosed that Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel has been graded a four star hotel and prayed that the grading continues with a proper grading council put in place by the government.
Loxley said with grading over, that the hotel will take stock of its business profile by raising the game to meet up with various marketing segments as well as seek new business. “We need to pay more attention to local events, sporting events and remain in alliance with sporting events in Lagos state as well as seek for more new business.”
Increase inoccupancy
He promised that the standards of the hotel will be maintained as the sector is becoming more competitive in Lagos state with more hotels springing up. “We are looking forward to a better occupancy rate in September. I think many states will be looking forward to attracting business and one way of doing that is increase in occupancy.”
Loxley added “We will continue to seek for new business, new market, we will continue to look for new people in the environment, Lagos is a resilient environment and we will continue to maintain and improve as individual has more choices of hotels now more than before.” Mark Loxley expressed confidence that with good location, excellent product and premium placed on staff training, the hotel will get its fair share of the Lagos market.
While hopeful of the business growth in the state , Loxley promised that the hotel is paying attention to training and re-training of its staff, “apart from refurbishing, training is corner-stone of any management philosophy; so, we are employing correctly and constantly training.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/07/hoteliers-look-forward-to-better-business-later-this-year-loxley/#sthash.GFBgjS4F.dpuf
Mark Loxley, Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel’s GM with some guests at a cocktail in the hotel.
Mark Loxley, Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel’s GM with some guests at a cocktail in the hotel. - See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/07/hoteliers-look-forward-to-better-business-later-this-year-loxley/#sthash.GFBgjS4F.dpuf

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sen. Ekwunife , others get NCPC awards


NCPC Media

The Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mr. John Kennedy Opara,has honoured Sen. Uche Ekwunife with an appreciation award for sponsoring pilgrims to the Holy Land over the years. Senator Uche Ekwunife is representing Anambra North Central Senatorial District.
While presenting the award to the senator, the Executive Secretary commended and described her as a role model and a woman of substance. In his words, “You are a champion and a role model who people look up to”.
He affirmed that the Commission uses pilgrimage as a tool for moral transformation and spiritual rebirth, adding that people who are spiritually rich but materially poor should be given the opportunity to experience God in the Holy Land.
Mr. Opara informed that the Commission is currently partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture, Israel, and the Hebrew University in Israel on skill acquisition programme for youths who go on pilgrimage in order to empower them to be financially independent, considering the present economic situation of the country.


Executive Secretary Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mr. John Kennedy Opara presenting an award to the distinguished Senator, representing Anambra Central Senatorial district, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife for partnering with NCPC in sponsoring Pilgrims to the Holy Land at NCPC Corporate headquarters in Abuja,recently 

He urged the awardees not to relent in their good deeds but encourage other well meaning Nigerians to partner with the Commission in sending more Christians on pilgrimage so as to experience God in Israel and affect others positively on their return.
He thanked the recipients for the love they have shown to the Commission and prayed that God would honour them. In his words, “For those who are faithful, the Lord will be faithful. You have been faithful, May God be faithful to you.”
In her response, Sen. Ekwunife commended the Executive Secretary for the diversification of activities which now makes the youths more equipped to earn a living for themselves and the nation, aside the spiritual benefits of pilgrimage. She expressed gratitude to the NCPC work force for the support they have given the Executive Secretary, John Kennedy Opara, through the years of his leadership in the Commission.
She expressed her surprise and delight to receive the noble honour bestowed on her by the NCPC boss and promised to expand the scope of pilgrims she sponsors on pilgrimage as soon as the economy gets better. She encouraged her colleagues to ensure that their constituents are sponsored to go on pilgrimage.
Mrs. Comfort Mary Edewor of St. Anthony of Padua who was also awarded, commended the Executive Secretary for his efficiency in the Commission in ensuring hitch- free pilgrimages to Israel.
She affirmed that as a result of testimonies from members of the St Anthony sodality who went on the just concluded youth pilgrimage, a lot of people from other sodalities are presently indicating interest in pilgrimage.


NTDC partners Viko; opens info desk at Enugu airport

PRESS RELEASE

Following the recent opening of NTDC Tourism Information desk in Kano and Calabar, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has added Enugu amongst the list of States where it has tourism information desks.
 Speaking at the opening of the NTDC’s Tourism Information desk in Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu, the Director General of NTDC, Mrs. Sally Uwechue Mbanefo said that tourism is the greatest employer of labour which contributes about 9.3% to the global GDP with the Gambia contributing 17.7%%, Egypt 13%, South Africa 9%, Mexico 11.9%, Kenya 12%, Brazil 7.8%, Cuba 6% and Nigeria 4%, stressing that tourism development remains relevant and important in the economy building of any nation in the world.

From left, Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo; Group Managing Director, Viko Nigeria Group of Companies, Mr. Lucky Kanu; Chukwu Debelu (II) of Ibagwa Aka, HRH Igwe (Dr) H.I. Eze and the Airport Manager of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Mr Mgbemene Ojiako, during the commissioning of the NTDC Information Desk at the airport, recently.

In her speech, she explained that the NTDC’s information desk is part of the Corporation’s effort towards promoting domestic tourism. She recalled that the Corporation’s collaboration with Viko Group of Companies Limited had earlier commissioned four information desks at major airports in the country such as Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Calabar and now Enugu. She also noted that Enugu State is one of the tourism friendly states and a major tourism hub in Nigeria
“Enugu State is a place to visit and a destination of choice for tourists of various inclinations, Enugu and Nsukka towns present tourism infrastructure for cultural, eco-tourism, sporting, business and conferences. The following facilities are prominent; The Nike lake Resort, Enugu Polo Amusement Parks, Enugu Zoological Garden, Nsukka Zoological Garden, Hotel Presidential, Ezeagu Tourist Complex, Dugudu Lakes and Ajali Owa sandy Stream among others”. She said.

She asserts, “Nigeria has been solely dependent on the oil sector for many years. Nigerians are not encouraged to visit the various attractions from North to south, East to West to experience what God Almighty has endowed Nigerians with and we want Nigerians to take their life styles seriously, knowing that one’s health depends on leisure which is part of Tourism which is one of the things that promotes longevity of life”, “Tourism is sustainable and a necessity in economy building and not a luxury”, she added.
Mrs. Mbanefo however called for higher support from both private and government to promote domestic tourism activities in Nigeria in order to move away from total dependence on oil and create jobs for the teeming youth, allievate poverty and reduce urban migration.
Addressing the top government officials, traditional rulers and the press men earlier, Mr. Lucky Kanu, CEO of Viko Group of Companies said “This information desk features a travel information portal for tourists with information on the aviation industry, ‘real time’ flight information can be personalized with alarm sent to customers phones as reminders of their scheduled flight time”
Mr. Kanu further said that the portal is opened to provide information about attractions in Nigeria that are not known to tourists. “We are promoting domestic tourism in the country in order to increase revenue generation for the country, opening for job opportunities for our teemin unemployed yout”, he said.
The Viko Group of Company Nigeria Limited boss expressed his willingness and determination to collaborate with the NTDC to create job opportunities and will work on the existing partnership with NTDC to open more information desks in all major airports in Nigeria. However, he said, “Passengers can browse for free and view tourists sites, tourists activities, products, hotels, car hire services, events and festivals. Also they can make enquiries and book excursion trips to schools and holiday sightseeing within the country at no cost at all”.
The manager of the Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu, Mr. Mgbemene Ijiako was impressed by the synergy between NTDC and Viko Limited which has resulted to the establishment of the NTDC Information desk in Enugu International Airport, Enugu State
He said, “On behalf of the federal republic of Nigeria, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, I commission this Tourism Information desk to the glory of God.” 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Delta Governor pledges support for Xtian pilgrimage

Executive Secretary Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mr. John Kennedy Opara (right) presenting a plaque to the Governor of Delta State, Doctor. Ifeanyi Okowa during the ES NCPC Sensitization visit to the Governor at the Government house in Asaba.


The Executive Governor of Delta State, Governor Okowa, has pledged his support for Christian pilgrimage. He made this known while playing host to the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), John Kennedy Opara, and his management team who were on a sensitization visit to the State.
In his remarks, the Governor commended the Executive Secretary of NCPC, John Kennedy Opara for his giant strides in the Commission and for the new innovations he has put in place towards self sustenance. In his words, “A lot of people now embark on pilgrimage because of your contribution in pilgrimage; there is no doubt that you have taken pilgrimage to another level”
Speaking further, Gov Okowa affirmed that because of the nature of their work, most of them do not have enough time to spend with their families; thus he posited the family pilgrimage is a good thing to embrace as it provides the rare opportunity for families to spend time together with God in the Holy land.
He seized the opportunity of the sensitization visit to encourage other politicians to embrace family pilgrimage. According to him, it is better to spend time with God, together with their families than going on robust holidays.
He assured the Executive Secretary that he would not shy away from sponsoring the poor and would further continue to stir up well meaning Nigerians to sponsor people. He promised to be in Israel for the “A day with Jesus” programme on 25th October.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, Mr. John Kennedy Opara, congratulated the governor for his victory at the 2015 elections and commended him for his exemplary life. In his words, “You are a man of many colors and a child of destiny”.
He intimated the governor on the four programmes the Commission runs yearly: The Easter pilgrimage, the youth pilgrimage which is designed to ensure that the youths are captured on time; the Family pilgrimage, and the Main pilgrimage usually held between October/December. Adding that skill acquisition programme has been recently added to pilgrims’ activities while in the Holy Land, with the aim of empowering Nigerian youths due to the economic situation in the Country. He therefore urged the Governor to partner with the Commission to empower the youths in the State.
Mr. Opara informed the Governor of the Commission’s lottery Scheme through which people will be enabled to embark on Pilgrimage with little or no cost; this is one of the steps the Commission has taken towards self sustenance.
He further informed his host that 98 percent of the youths that embarked on pilgrimage were sponsored by individuals and churches, adding that this is the era of self sponsorship. He quoted from the Scriptures “I will not give to the Lord that which will not cost me something”. Thus, going on pilgrimage should be a sacrifice that would cost people something.

AERO WINS AWARD FOR EXCEPTIONAL SAFETY CULTURE

...receives free ambulance from NECA
Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s leading regional airline, has received an ambulance from Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) for winning the Exceptional Safety Culture Award.
The award was won following a rigorous audit by a team of consultants from NECA/NSITF on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policies, procedures and culture.
Aero’s win of the award, reiterates the airline’s high safety and security standards in the Nigerian market. The airline, known for its approach to cutting-edge technology also combines safety, comfort, flexibility and quality services to customers.
Commenting on the award and the kind gesture from NECA, the Acting Managing Director of Aero, Capt. Russell Leefoon said; "Aero won the Exceptional Safety Culture Award for 2014, after a thorough audit from a respected and professional team of Safety Consultants from NECA/NSITF on the airline's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policies, procedures and Culture.
“We are delighted that our hard work to ensure highest safety standards are being recognized by reputable organizations like NECA and NSITF.
“Aero is in business to ensure that the travel experience for travellers in Nigeria and other regions in Africa is of global standards. We are here for the long haul to raise the bar in aviation service standards in the country.”
Aero has grown to be one of the most reputable regional carriers in West Africa operating over 50 daily flights with a fleet of Boeing 737s and Bombardier Dash 8s.1.jpg
L-R:  Stanley Ododo, Aero HSE Officer; Matthew Ubanyi, Ag. Head Human Resources and Admin; The Director General of NECA, O. A Oshinowo (middle); Capt Gerald Nmoka; and Victor Daudu Aero HSE Executive during the presentation of the Ambulance to Aero recently in Lagos.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Medview takes delivery of 767-300ER

The Managing Director of Medview Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole , has urged bankers in the country not to overlook funding of the aviation industry as he commended First Bank for its leading role in the industry.
Speaking at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos while taking delivery of a Boeing 767-300ER just acquired by the airline, Bankole said most banks in Nigeria do not understand the aviation industry.
Bankole commended First Bank for its effort at financing the purchase of aircraft by the airline, “we started the business with First Bank and since we commenced business deal with it, the bank has been appreciating us for our commitment and consistency.
He noted that the newly acquired Boeing 767-300 ER is an integral part of its long-term business model, adding that the aircraft would immediately be deployed for this year's hajj operations which will commence August 18th.
Alhaji Muneer Bankole, said the airline is set to change the face of pilgrimage in Nigeria with its Boeing 767-300 ER as Nigeria pilgrims deserve the best too, “this is why we brought in this aircraft, it will be commissioned with the first flight to Makkah and Medinah .”
His words: “We are as usual poised to give our customers the best of service and with the introduction of our additional new baby, we will definitely expand our fleet and operations.
Bankole added that the aircraft will join the airline's growing fleet after the hajj operations, just as he said another Boeing 767 aircraft being expected soon would be deployed to Jeddah and Dubai routes.
“Today is an historic day for the country, because this is one of the domestic carriers in the country that commenced operations just three years ago , we ventured into regional operations with Accra and the Federal Government designated us to fly international too with Jeddah, Dubai and London, which has led us to source for a bigger aircraft to match any of the international airlines.

“This aircraft you are seeing is 767-300 ER, it has an endurance of over 14hours flying. We have six aircraft in our fleet now. These are the new generation aircraft you will find us using when we commence operations to UK and Dubai soon.”

Hamad International Airport Caters to 28 Million Passengers in its First Year of Operations

Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar’s gateway to the world,has completed a year of operations and has served a total of 28 Million passengers from June 2014 to May 2015.

Detailing the second quarter of 2015, HIA saw 7.28 million passengers arriving, departing and transferring from April to June with 2,495,191 passengers in the month of April, 2,419,783 passengers in May and 2,367,230 passengers in June.

HIA seamlesslytransitioned from its previous hub, Doha International Airport (DIA), to its current state-of-the-art facilities and full commercial operations of the airport began on May 27, 2014. This successful transition was a testimony to the intensive planning efforts by the airport management, Qatar Airways and all its subsidiaries,HIA has now matured into a globally-recognised airport.

The past year saw a total of 28,047,750 passengers arriving, departing and transferring through the airport; this represents a 23.6% year-on-year increase, having served 22.6 million passengers in its previous hub at Doha International Airport (DIA). The airporthas also handled more than one million metric tonnes of cargo in total in its first year,demonstrating a 12% increase compared to the previous hub.

Along with the exponential growth of its passenger numbers and cargo, HIA nowaccommodates 36airlines having efficiently handled 193,173 aircraft movements in the past year, which is 11.4% more than was handled per annum in the previous airport.

 HIA is the hub of Qatar Airways – the world’s fastest growing airline – and the transition to this new location has facilitated even further growth of the airline, which now operates 157 aircraft to 146 destinations worldwide.

Within less than a year of commencing operations, HIA has won sixSkytrax 2015 awards at the Skytrax Airport Award Ceremony, held at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2015 in Paris. These include the Best Airport in the Middle East award as well as the second position as the Best Airport in Performance and Services.HIA has also won the 'Strategic Project of the Year' award at the 2015 Global Projects of the Year awards ceremony organised by CG/LA Infrastructure.

HIA has also performed well in the surveys conducted by Airport Service Quality (ASQ) in the first quarter of 2015. This includes being ranked first in the Middle East for Cleanliness of Airport Terminal, Speedy Baggage Delivery and Comfort of Waiting Areas.

At the heart of Hamad International Airport is Qatar Duty Free (QDF), the airport’s award-winning shopping emporium with more than 40,000 square metres of combined retail and dining with more than 70 boutiques and 30 caf├ęs and restaurants. QDF offers an unprecedented selection of designer labels, electronics, gourmet foods and much more. It alsoboasts an extensive portfolio of luxury brands and unique retail concepts,and is home to the largest perfume and cosmetics hall in any airport worldwide. HIA is also home to the Middle East’s first branch of Harrods.

Qatar Duty Free won three prestigious awards at the 2015 Duty Free News International Global Awards held in London. It won the coveted Global Travel Retailer of the Year award as well as the Airport Travel Retailer of the Year and Best New Shop Opening (since January 2014) for its Marmalade Market concept at HIA.

HIA’s cargo building is two stories high and covers 55,000 square metres of the facility. It is entirely self-contained, with 11 wide-body aircraft stands and 42 loading docks, and has the capacity to handle 1.4m tonnes per year. It is highly automated and contains dedicated facilities for special categories of cargo such as live animals, perishable goods or temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals.

HIA is the hub for Qatar Airways Cargo, which is the freight arm of Qatar Airways, and currently serves more than 45 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide.Qatar Airways Cargo has witnessed rapid growth over the past five years and hasbecome the world’s fifth largest cargo carrier in January 2015 in international freight tonne kilometres. It also won the highly-acclaimed 2015 Global Cargo Airline of the Year award in February at the Air Cargo Africa Awards as voted for by readers of STAT Trade Times.

Commenting on the airport’s achievements in its first year, Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at Hamad International Airport, said: “We owe our accomplishments to our focus on customer satisfaction. We put the customer at the heart of everything we do. With this in mind, we have invested in a bespoke research programme to get to know our passengers and their needs. We not only offer passenger services, we offer an overall passenger experience.

“Talking about the future of the airport, Mr. Al Meer said: “Our future development strategy will focus on increased capacity and additional facilities. The development of our core aviation facilities is based on forecasts of passengers, aircraft growth figures and KPIs relating to service levels, which will all dictate our development plan. Additionally, we have created processes and management structures to manage and deliver our multi-million dollar future investment programmes strategically.”

We have now geared up to manage a much larger and more mature business, creating the capability to integrate several diverse service propositions in a manner which will lead to efficiency and an overall experience for our airport stakeholders and our passengers alike,” he concluded.
  

Monday, August 3, 2015

South African Tourism announces lead marketing agency


South African Tourism today announced the appointment of FCB South Africa (PTY) LTD as its Lead Marketing Agency in the execution of its mandate to market South Africa as a tourist destination of choice to both domestic and international tourists.
FCB South Africa’s appointment is on a non-exclusive basis to provide SA Tourism with the development and execution of integrated marketing services, media buying, planning and coordination services globally for a period of 3 years effective 1 October 2015. The contract is extendable for a further 2 years at the sole discretion of South African Tourism.
The tender process was completed having full regard for all laws and regulations governing supply chain management in the public sector with specific reference to Section 51 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), Act 1 of 1999.
South African Tourism's Internal Audit unit played an oversight role during each of the stages of the tender process to ensure that roles, responsibilities and processes were executed in unison of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and National Treasury Regulations to ensure that all relevant aspects were addressed and complied with.
Thulani Nzima, SA Tourism’s Chief Executive Officer says: “We are very excited as SA Tourism to have FCB South Africa come on board as a Lead Marketing Agency at this critical point when we are aligning our international and domestic marketing strategies to speak in uniformity to the South African Tourism brand. We are operating in a very competitive environment that requires a well-defined brand that has global appeal and affinity, is consistently and seamlessly communicated and marketed, and has the impetus to attract tourists to our beautiful country.
FCB South Africa is widely regarded in the industry for building some of South Africa’s iconic brands and we are excited of our new partnership in taking tourism forward.”
Thulani concludes: “We are thrilled with the new partnership that we envisage will strengthen our brand, making it more recognisable and appealing to both domestic and international tourists. We believe that the strength of our brand will attract more tourists to our shores and contribute to the growth of our economy and job creation.”

-ends-