Thursday, December 29, 2016

Med-View Airline pleads with aggrieved passengers over delayed luggage

Med-View Airline on Thursday assured no fewer than 100 passengers whose luggage were delayed at the Gatwick Airport, London, that they would arrive Nigeria by Dec. 31
The Airline Managing Director, Mr Muneer Bankole, gave the assurance during an interactive session with the aggrieved passengers at the airline’s office in Lagos.
Bankole explained that 365 baggage were left at the London airport affecting 100 passengers, saying that adequate compensation had been given to the affected passengers.
According to him, an aircraft will depart Lagos for London on Friday morning and return same day, saying that the remaining luggage would be transported through the British Airways on Saturday.
Bankole said he felt the pains of all the “airline valued passengers’’, who were affected by the late arrival of the baggage.
“The situation happened in United Kingdom when the airline off-loaded some baggage for safety reason.
“So, the affected passengers are those who stayed with us for possible solution for their inconveniences.
“The airline and passengers ordeal started on Dec. 19 when Gatwick Airport closed the main runway for maintenance, and directed the airline to use the shorter runway.
“This was because the aircraft loads were heavier than the shorter runway, and the affected baggage were off-loaded.
“However, we accepted the blame, and we regret all the inconveniences and sincerely apologise for all the troubles they went through.
“We feel their pains, and really appreciate the patronage and we have apologised sincerely.
“We are addressing some of their needs and that is why we are here with my team,” he said.
The managing director said that some baggage arrived on Thursday, while their owners had been contacted for collection.
He said that the incidence was an unfortunate one that was not foreseen by the airline.
Bankole, therefore, assured them that the airline would take care of their accommodation, feeding and other costs that they might had suffered in the past five days. 

Residents, fun seekers want improvement in Calabar Carnival

Residents of Calabar and fun seekers have called on organisers of the annual Calabar Carnival to improve on the various aspects of the event.
A cross section of the residents, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Calabar were reacting to the criticisms that trailed the timing and other aspects of this year’s carnival.
A resident, Mr Jude Ochala, told NAN that some aspects of the carnival were no longer in conformity with what he used to know.
“The timing of the different bands is becoming boring and unattractive.
“In time past, before 8 p.m, almost all the bands would have completed their parade along the carnival routes which gives residents and fun seekers a sense of joy and excitement.
“Then they would retire to the stadium where the panel of Judges would pick the various winners.
“But in the 2015 and this year’s carnival, the bands were still on the streets up till 4a.m.  in the morning.
“Those who were supposed to watch them had waited and gone back home to sleep disappointedly, ‘’ he said.
Miss Isabel Ruth, who came from Ogoja to watch the parade, said she was unable to watch them because of the lateness.
“I came from Ogoja with my friend to watch the carnival but we only succeeded in seeing two of them after waiting for several hours. We had to retire home.
“The bands were parading until midnight; I do not think it is fair. They should start early so that people can watch them and have a feeling of joy in the whole thing, ‘’she said.
In the same vein, a tourist from Anambra, Mr Morris Igwe, said he missed the opportunity of watching the bands because he was afraid of staying late in the night.

“I had to hurriedly rush back to my hotel room when it was close to 9 p.m.
“I watched one in the day time and another band came something past 7  p.m. and after waiting for the next two hours without any other band, I retired back to my hotel.
“Calabar carnival to me still stands out as the best in the country but If they really want people to enjoy the carnival, the organisers should make it early enough.
“I was told that the governor did not flag-off the event on time, hence the delay but I think there is need for adjustment, ‘’ he said.
A beautician, Mrs Elizabeth Archibong, further stressed the need for the organiS0ers to harmonise the various events and give enough publicity to enable people follow the events as they unfold.

“There was a lot of guess work during this year’s carnival.  I do not think that is right. The events should be clearly spelt out so that people can follow even from their homes, ‘’ she said.


 The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the Federal Government is working with the private sector to make major festivals in the country attractive to domestic and foreign tourists and to leapfrog the events to the top cadre of global festivals.
 He made the disclosure in Offa, Kwara State, on Thursday at the 2016 edition of the ''Íjakadi Festival'', a traditional wrestling event that dates back to the 14th century.
 The Minister, who was represented by Mr. Raphael Arulogun, General Manager of NTA Ilorin, said the starting point is to train the managers of the festivals, which include the Ijakadi Festival
 ''As you may be aware, the training of Festival Managers is contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that we signed with the British Council.. Also included in another MoU which we signed with the Tony Elumelu Foundation is the need to ensure that festivals like Ijakadi are not just a mere jamboree but also a source of economic empowerment for the people, in terms of injecting foreign exchange into the economy and creating jobs, especially for the communities in which such festivals are situated,'' he said.

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 Alhaji Mohammed said the beneficiaries of the partnership with the private sector would include major festivals like the Abuja Carnival, which will be made to achieve their full potentials and become household names like the Edinburgh International Festivals, the Rio Carnival in Brazil and the Notting Hill Festival in London, adding: ''Our ultimate aim is to ensure that our festivals are among the top 20 festivals in the world.''
 He announced that in order to allow prospective visitors to Nigeria to plan their trips around our festivals, ''we will be releasing, early in the New Year, a Calendar of Festivals across the country. Once this is done, a tourist coming to Nigeria can then plan his or her trip around any of the festivals. We believe that this is one of the best ways to attract global visitors to our festivals and help to make them viable entities,''

 The Minister hailed the organizers of the ''Ijakadi Festival'' for reviving and sustaining the age-long event which, he said, not only reinforces the community’s tradition of strength and determination, but also addresses the notion of equality among all the indigenes of Offa.

Ambode restates commitment to making Badagry hub of tourism in Africa

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Thursday said that his administration would ensure that Badagry becomes the hub of tourism and resort enterprises in Africa.
Ambode said this at the `One Lagos Fiesta’ which took place at the Badagry Grammar School in Badagry, Lagos State.
He added that his administration would ensure that the town becomes a flashpoint for development projects in the state.
“This administration is determined to transform this ancient city into a tourism hub that would attract so many international people to this great city.
 “The six-lane road construction would further boost its economic activities and let’s not forget the seaport that would soon be developed in the town in the nearest future.
“Our eyes are set on Badagry and we are doing things for the future because we intend to open up Badagry forever,” he said.
Ambode commended the turnout of people at the event.
“I have been to two different events but I must commend the turnout here because it is the largest and the best that I have witnessed so far.
“This goes to show that people here are committed in moving the state forward and I’m so excited and glad about that,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the artistes that performed at the all-nite fiesta were; Mayorkun, Olu Maintain, CDQ, Dremo and Ara, amongst others.

Slave Trade Museum, Badagry 
Whispering Palm resort , Badagry 

NTDC gets a new Acting DG

A new Acting Director General has been named for the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC). She is Mrs. Mariel Rae – Omoh. She takes over from the former acting DG Boniface Ebuka, who last month was first appointed into the position following the sack of the former DG, Mrs. Sally Uwechue – Mbanefo by the Federal Government.
This latest development was conveyed in a letter dated December 28 and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Ayotunde, Adesugba, to Mrs. Rae – Omoh, to the effect that she has been appointed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as the acting DG of NTDC with immediate effect.
Until her new elevation, Mrs. Rae – Omoh, was the director of Hospitality and Travel Trade. A graduate of Tourism and Management Studies (AN) Italy, Higher National Diploma (HND) in Tourism and Hotel Administration, she is a thoroughbred professional, who aside working in an international branded hotel in Nigeria, has spent most of her entire career life in NTDC where she has held various positions and responsibilities, including serving as the Zonal Coordinator of the former Calabar Zonal Office of NTDC.
Although no reasons were adduced for the change in leadership of the corporation given that Ebuka was less than one month in the office, sources however, said it may have been related to an error in the first appointment as Mrs. Rae – Omoh is believed to have been the most senior staff of the corporation but was initially overlooked for Ebuka.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Calabar carnival 2017 in pictures

13 Countries ,22 states participate in Calabar Carnival 2016

Not less than 13 countries including the United Kingdom, Croatia ,South Korea,China among others participating in the 2016 Calabar Carnival.

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The Chairman,Cross River state Carnival, Mr Gabe Onah disclosed this at the Millennium park ,venue of the flag of the 2016 Calabar carnival.

Onah said that 13 countries and 22 states were among the participants in thus years edition of Africa's largest street party.

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"We have 13 countries and 22 states participating in this years edition.It shows how big the Calabar carnival has becomes as the attention of the world is drawn to Calabar ,we have grown bigger and better as have remained consistent for 12 years. The bands will move round the 12 kilometer carnival routes entertaining people".

Calabar Carnival, best in Nigeria, says Kano participant

Dr Zakaria Idris, a Director in the Kano State Ministry of Culture has described the Calabar Annual Carnival as the best in the country.

Idris said this on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during the 2016 Calabar Carnival street party.

He said that Kano state would replicate the Calabar carnival but with slight modifications.

“We are very interested in Calabar carnival. We love the carnival. It is one of the best in Nigeria and we are here every year.

“Apart from that, Calabar as a city is very beautiful and lovely. We have carnival in Kano but with some differences,’’ he said.

He said that the state cultural troupe “Koroso Dancers’’ were in Calabar to participate in the cultural carnival and join other bands during the street party as part of inter-state friendship.

“This is not the first time for us to participate in the Calabar Carnival. We have been participating, especially in the cultural carnival, so we are not new in the carnival,’’ he said.

He stressed the importance of culture in the society, adding that Kano State government was very much aware of the rich culture of the people of Kano.

NAN reports that the Koroso dancers entertained fun seekers with their well choreographed dance steps before the official opening of the street party.

Gov. Rochas Okocha of Imo, former Gov. Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and NollyWood actress Shan George, among others joined the Gov. Ben Ayade’s band for the street party. 


Cross River state governor,Prof Ben Ayade has described the Calabar Carnival as the melting point of African hospitality and the beginning of unity.

Ayade who made the disclosure on Wednesday at the Millennium Park, venue for the flag off of 2016 Calabar Carnival said it was the beginning of a new dawn and growth for Africa.

"Cross River is at it again,you are all welcome to Calabar Carnival 2016,the melting point of African Hospitality where warmth is the order of the day in the state"

Cross River state is welcoming Africa and indeed the entire world to calabar. I want you to recognize the fact that this Carnival is the true vitality ,Unity and harmony of Africa"

Flagging off the 12th edition of the Calabar Carnival, the winner of the maiden edition of Miss Africa 2016, miss Neurite Mendes said the Calabar has been in the eyes of the world for years for organizing the biggest street party in Africa.

Mendes who lauded the effort of the state government in its awareness about climate change said it was pivotal for everyone to come together in the fight and awareness.

" It is an honour to represent my country in this years edition of Calabar Carnival,the Carnival this year is about sustainable development in climate change,

According to Miss Climate Change Ambassador, it is important to let the world know that we can combat climate change together.

Miss Neurite Mendes from Angola won the maiden edition of miss Africa Climate change organized by Cross River state government in November 2016.

Business activities boom as Calabar carnival climax

The business activities on Wednesday reached the peak at the ongoing Calabar Carnival, as investigation shows that trading activities are booming along major carnival routes in the city as residents and tourists expect street parties to begin later in the day.

A food vendor, Mrs Grace Mathias disclosed  that she woke up as early as 5.00 a.m. to prepare food for sell, adding that she began selling at about 7.00 a.m.

“As usual, today is our day. As you can see, people have started eating; very soon I will go home to cook another round for afternoon and if things go well, I will cook another round for evening,’’ Mathia said.

Mr Reginald Chukwu, a clothe seller from Aba in Abia, said that he came into Calabar since Dec. 26 to sell his stocks.

“Every year, I come to Calabar with clothes of different designs and I sell all.

“As early as 8.00 a.m. this morning, I have been making good sales,’’ Chkwu said.

Also speaking, Mr Mfon Essien, a petty trader said  that he opened his small business stand as early as 6.00 a.m.

“I have sold almost a carton of dry-gin and cigarettes among other items this morning. For now everything is moving well,’’ Essien said.

As  usual, residents living along the routes are also taken advantage of the carnival to make quick money by renting out canopies and plastic chairs to tourists along the routes.

People pay a token to sit with their families and loved ones under the canopies to watch the different bands of musicians participating in the carnival street party.

Ice cream companies and other business outfits engaging in entertainment business are employing various tactics to attract patronage to their products.

This year’s carnival will witness blaring of music from different loudspeakers mounted along the carnival routes with the “Shoki Governor’’, Sen. Ben Ayade leading the dance party.

Akwa Ibom experiencing boost, growth in tourism development

Despite the economic recession in the country, tourism in Akwa Ibom has continued to receive a tremendous boost as thousands of fun-seekers gathered at Ibeno and other beaches on Tuesday in the spirit of the Yuletide.

Visitors from across the country also thronged the Women War Museum, Uta Ewa beach, Ebughu fishing terminal and National Museum in Oron.

Most spectacular was the carnival that took place at Ibeno beach where thousands of fun-seekers took time out to celebrate with their families and friends.

Speaking, Mr Effiong Eyina, a member of the organising committee of the carnival, said that tourism was capable of generating huge revenue for the state to develop its developmental projects.

He commended the state government for partnering the organizing committee of the carnival while calling on corporate citizens and other investors to invest in tourism sector.

“All that is needed is the development of a framework by the state government to make the entire state an ultimate tourism destination in Nigeria,’’ Eyina said.

Also speaking, Mr Daniel Godwin, another reveler, said he came to Ibeno beach to catch fun with friends and admire its beauty.

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He told NAN that he never thought the beach could have commanded such a large turnout of visitors.

Godwin, a member of a social club said the club had a joint picnic at the beach to celebrate the Yuletide, adding that there was a lot of fun to catch there.

“After doing a lot of humanitarian services to the public during the year, we also created time for ourselves to come here for our happy hour,’’ Godwin said.

Another fun-seeker, Mr Uyoata Udoh, said he came to the beach for recreation and to enjoy himself after a long working period.

“I came here with my co-staff to catch fun and enjoy the allurement of the Yuletide,’’ he said.

Udoh urged fun-seekers to visit tourist sites with their families and friends to enjoy themselves, especially, during Yuletide season because it comes once in a year.

“I think visiting the beach and other enticing sites in the company with ones families and friends is a good recreation for the people.

A tourist, Mr Okonkwo Ebu, said he came to confirm the history of Nigeria as recorded through museum in pictures and archives.

He said he was at the National Museum in Oron with his family to educate his children on the history of the country and to also recreate with his family.

NAN during a visit to the National Museum in Oron observed that it was filled with visitors and fun-seekers playing beach ball, volley ball and swimming.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Why Nigerians still visit Dubai--- Obinwa

By Jimoh Babatunde
At a recent travel exhibition  in Lagos, one stand that was the cynosure of all eyes was that of the Dubai tourism.

The stand had Emirates Airlines, Emirates Holidays, IMG Worlds of Adventure, North Tours, Red Apple Middle East Tourism, Time Hotels, Hilton Hotels, All in One Tourism, Alpha Tours and Arabian Falcon Holidays displaying.
The pull for Nigerians to the stand was not surprising to the officials of the Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) as Dubai, the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is one of the favourite destinations for Nigerian travellers.
It is a top leisure destination for both leisure and business vacations for many Nigerians. This is attested to by the volume of flights from Nigeria that terminates in the city either directly or indirectly.
Speaking on the need for the Dubai Tourism to participate at the yearly travel show, the Regional Director Africa for Dubai Tourism, Stella Obinwa, said: “Dubai continues to establish itself as a destination of choice for travellers from the African continent, holding particular appeal amongst those looking for wholesome family fun, incredible shopping deals and year-long entertainment.
She said the decline in traveling due to the economic recession has not affected Dubai compared to other destinations, because Dubai is closer to Nigeria and has more to offer Nigerians.
“We offer theme parks and some opening in few months and Dubai keep reinvesting itself that is why people keep coming back over and over again.”

Stella Obinwa continued: “We are very excited to provide our African visitors a glimpse of Dubai’s thrilling additions to the family entertainment portfolio. With the recent opening of IMG Worlds of Adventure and the soon-to-be-launched Dubai Parks and Resorts, we are proud to see Dubai’s steady success towards becoming the world’s number one family holiday destination.
“We are also bolstering our commitment to further enhance Dubai’s shopping experiences which include the upcoming Dubai Shopping Festival from December 26 to January 31.”
On the Dubai shopping festival
First launched in 1996, Dubai Shopping Festival has grown to become one of the largest shopping, fashion and entertainment extravaganzas in the world, with exciting activities such as musical concerts, sports shows and fashion displays.
And what we have discovered is that yes Africans come to Dubai, but not many are aware that in certain month of the year that there is what we call Dubai shopping festival, where all the retailers are mandated by the government to run discount programmes and each one of them runs a program that is up to 70% on regularly priced items.
So, we want Africans to experience the shopping festivals for themselves and then become regulars, so we are willing in Dubai tourism to pay for 200 Nigerians to come for the 2016 Dubai shopping festival.
Tagged the “Dubai Shopping Festival Give away” promotion, Dubai Tourism plans to reward Nigerians who are keen travellers with thrilling shopping experiences in Dubai. Over the past decade, Dubai has developed into a leading shopping destination offering visitors a wealth of unique experiences and opportunities.
The package includes flights, tickets to some of Dubai Shopping Festival’s many events, hotel accommodation and visa application – all paid for by Dubai Tourism.

The festival is not all about just shopping, there is shopping, there is musical experience, there is gastronomy experience, there is much more. Even if you don’t want to shop there is so much more to do as we have planned programmes for holistic experience of Dubai.

Pictures from Calabar carnival 2016

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NMMA award winner wants more private sector investment in tourism

Ms Yvonne Bassey, Executive Producer, Thru’ The Eyes Of An African (TTEOAA), who bagged two awards from Nigeria Media Merit Award this year, has urged more private sector investment in the tourism industry.

Bassey told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos that though there were private sector investments, the tourism industry had huge potential that had not been tapped.

The television presenter said that Nigerian tourism industry needed to be properly groomed to generate huge revenue and further create employment opportunities.

She said that government was considering tourism as a realistic alternative to oil now which could be if it is properly groomed and the right people involved.

“The tourism industry should be managed by the private sector because it is private sector-driven.

“It is the private sector that feels the pinch of loss and gains; it should be handled by people who have passion for it because it is an interactive and intimate sector,’’ Bassey said.

On her awards, the presenter said that for the first time she was not focused on it due to health challenges but gave God the glory for identifying her for excellence due to hardwork.

“The awards represent healing and strength for me as it came during my recovery process,’’ she said.

Bassey, who has become a reference point in the media promotion of travel and tourism in Africa through TV documentaries, emerged winner of two Nigeria Media Merit Awards (NMMA) 2016.

She clinched the award for Television Programme of the Year as well as for Television Reporter of the Year; bring the number of NMMA awards she has won to 10.

Bassey, who still suffers excruciating pains in her neck after a fatal accident on Sagamu road, seized the opportunity of this interview to appeal for the payment for a documentary she duly executed for the Cross River State Carnival Commission since 2013.

She said that the Calabar Carnival documentary was commissioned by the Chairman, Mr Gabriel Onah, who approved the project, adding that she executed it with her personal funds, but had not been paid.

“Mr Gabriel Onah requested that I should execute it with my personal funds, after which I would be reimbursed but I have just got a thank you for that.

“I lost my loyal and dedicated driver in this fatal accident on my way from Calabar to demand for the payment for my job which has not been paid.

“I humbly request for a prompt payment for the documentary I ran since 2013,’’ she said.  

Baggage delay: NCAA fines Arik Air N6 million

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued a N6million fine to Arik Air Limited for contravening the provisions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs).

The NCAA also ordered the airline to pay its passengers ,whose baggage were delayed on the London to Lagos route between Dec. 2 and Dec. 4 , $150 each as compensation.

The authority disclosed this in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Sam Adurogboye, and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the Letter of Sanction with reference no. NCAA/DG/CSLA/RM/1-06/16/439 and dated Dec. 22 ,has already been sent to Arik Air.

It said in the letter, the NCAA discovered that Arik Air violated Part 19.7.2 and (ii) of the Nig.CARs 2015.

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The statement said the authority was earlier inundated with complaints of delay and inability to ferry the passengers’ checked – in luggage on the airline’s services from London to Lagos from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4.

It said upon receipt of the complaints, the NCAA invited the airline to a meeting on Dec. 6 which was duly attended by the airlines’ representative.

“However, Arik embarked on continuous flouting of the Nig.CARs and the authority’s directives to freight all backlog of short – landed baggage to Lagos within 48 hours.

“Similarly, the carrier declined to offer care and compensation to the affected passengers which were unanimously agreed for $150 toeach passenger.

“In addition, the airline did not inform the passengers at the soonest practicable time that their checked – in baggage would be off – loaded as required by Part 19.7.2 of Nig.CARs 2015,” the statement said.

It said the N6 million fine must be paid within seven days of receipt of the letter while the $150 compensation to each of the passengers must be made within 30 days.

The statement said :”the NCAA expects strict compliance with the provisions of Part 19 of the Nig.CARs by the airline in future.

“This is to assure all stakeholders that the authority exists to protect their rights at all times and as such any violation of the regulation in that regard will be viewed seriously.”

Ijakadi Festival begins on Monday in Offa — Organisers

Activities to mark this year’s annual ‘Ijakadi Festival in Offa, Kwara State, will start on Monday with general sanitation
in Offa town.

The information is in a statement by the Chairman, Publicity Sub-committee of the festival, Prince Ademola Ajibade, made available in Omu-Aran, Kwara State, on Sunday.

Ademola said the sanitation would be followed by prayer session at the Olofa’s palace and a lecture on the town’s cultural heritage.

He added that the Ijakadi Festival, a symbol of unity, was meant to showcase the traditional heritage and cultural potential of the community to the outside world.

The chairman said many innovations and side attractions had been included in the festival proper as a way of attracting the desired private sector participation.

According to him, the Ijakadi Festival as being practiced today is a far departure from the olden days.

“More programmes and initiatives toward getting the deserved glamour to the festival have been introduced to further enhance private sector participation,” he stressed.

He listed the programmes as youth dinner night, cultural dances, free healthcare services, as well as traditional parade by clubs and associations in the town.

He said the grand finale of the festival would witness the traditional cutting of yam tubers to demonstrate equality and unity among the people of the town.

Major highlight of the festival would be a novelty wresting bout between the Olofa of Ofa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi and Chief Eesa of Offa, Olofa’s second in command.  


DOHA, Qatar – Qatar Airways Cargo has announced that it will launch freighter operations to four new destinations in the Americas, starting 2 February 2017.
Boeing 777 freighters will fly twice a week to the South American cities of Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Quito* and the North American city of Miami. The twice weekly freighter service will depart from Doha via Luxembourg, the cargo carrier’s European hub, with stops at Sao Paulo in Brazil, Buenos Aires in Argentina and Quito in Ecuador. On the return leg, the freighter will stop in Miami, Florida and Luxembourg before arriving in Doha.
These new freighter services aim to meet the growing demand for import and export trade in the region and will supplement the belly-hold cargo capacity on Qatar Airways daily flights to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Miami.
Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo, Mr. Ulrich Ogiermann, said: “We are excited to start 2017 with the launch of four new freighter destinations. These new destinations will connect the burgeoning import and export markets in the Americas region with the rest of the world. Through our expertise in specialised solutions, namely QR Pharma for pharmaceuticals and QR Fresh for perishables, we are able to offer our customers a seamless and an unbroken cool chain for their temperature-sensitive products via our state-of-the-art fully automated hub in Doha.”

The launch of this new freighter route represents great business and network growth for Qatar Airways Cargo as it brings the cargo carrier’s total freighter destinations in the Americas to 12 while offering belly-hold services to 13 cities on the continent. Major commodities out of Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Quito* comprise of fresh flowers, perishables and pharmaceuticals, whilst imports into South America include a wide variety of products ranging from medicines, automotive, chemical products to high tech commodities and equipment for the oil and gas industry. Miami in the United States will serve as the distribution hub of these air freight to and from the Latin American and Caribbean regions.

The launch of this new freighter route represents great business and network growth for Qatar Airways Cargo
The introduction of these new freighter services will also provide support to the perishables and pharmaceutical exports out of these key markets, offering businesses in the continent a young and modern fleet and access to the cargo carrier’s global network of more than 150 destinations via Doha hub. The state-of-the-art, fully automated cargo facility at Hamad International Airport operates in accordance with the highest Pharmaceutical Industry Standards, compliant with ‘Good Distribution Practice’. Pharmaceutical and perishable shipments are stored in segregated areas, transported and handled under strictly monitored conditions as required by product specification and are handled in a climate-controlled environment during every stage, including ramp transportation, warehouse storage and aircraft-to-aircraft transfers. Qatar Airways Cargo is the only global airline to offer reefer truck transportation on the ramp at its Doha hub.
Qatar Airways Cargo total freighter destinations in the Americas are 12 while offering belly-hold services to 13 cities on the continent
The world’s third largest cargo carrier recently took delivery of its 11th Boeing 777 freighter, taking the total count of freighters in operation to 20. The cargo carrier offers QR Charter, utilising its most modern fleet of Boeing B777s, Airbus A330s and Boeing 747 freighters. Its portfolio of distinctive products currently includes QR Pharma, QR Fresh, QR Live and QR Express offering efficiency and compliance in the handling of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and perishable cargo, transportation of live animals as well as time-critical shipments.

The carrier earned three accolades in 2016, namely Payload Asia’s Cargo Airline of the Year (Customer Choice Category), the prestigious All-Cargo Carrier award at the 33rd Cargo Airline of the Year event and the International Award for Excellence in Air Cargo at the Air Cargo India 2016 exhibition and conference.

Poland to host 3rd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism: promoting shared responsibility

Coinciding with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development to be celebrated throughout 2017, the third International Congress on Ethics and Tourism will be held in Poland, on 27-28 April 2017. Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with the European Commission (EC) and the Government of Poland, the event will focus on the shared responsibility of all stakeholders in promoting a more sustainable tourism sector.
Held in the framework of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Congress will discuss the global sustainability agenda, particularly issues of governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR), responsible consumption patterns, universal accessibility as well as effective management models for natural and cultural resources.
On the agenda are also inclusive tourism practices that contribute to socio-economic empowerment of local communities and individuals and spread the benefits of tourism development, notably to women, youth, indigenous people and persons with disabilities. The Congress will further highlight the competitive advantages of investing in a more inclusive and diverse tourism sector.
“With more than 1.2 billion international tourists crossing international borders in one single year and the prospects of continuous growth, it is crucial that we manage growth in an ethical and responsible manner” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The tourism sector needs to build equitable partnerships and adopt effective national policies and sustainable business strategies in all areas of development.”
The 3rd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism is organized in the framework of the cooperation between UNWTO and the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission (DG GROW), with the support of the EC and the Government of Poland.
“I have gladly accepted the decision of the World Tourism Organization to choose Poland as a host for the third edition of the International Congress on Ethics and Tourism” said Witold Bańka, Minister of Sport and Tourism. “Poland is actively channeling efforts to implement ethical standards among the tourism organizations in their everyday business. I am confident, that the great atmosphere of Krakow, one of the most beautiful sites in Europe will foster thoughtful discussions and yield positive results of the Congress - added Mr Bańka.
The event will include the signing ceremony of the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism by a group of prominent companies and trade associations with sound CSR policies and strategies.
About the ‘Enhancing the Understanding of European Tourism’ Project
‘Enhancing the Understanding of European Tourism’ is a joint project by UNWTO and the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission (DG GROW). The project aims to improve the socio-economic knowledge of the tourism sector, enhance the understanding of European tourism and contribute towards economic growth, job creation, thus improving the competitiveness of the sector in Europe. The project includes three components: 1) increased cooperation and capacity building in tourism statistics; 2) assessment of tourism market trends; 3) promotion of cultural tourism through the Western Silk Road and; 4) promoting sustainable, responsible, accessible and ethical tourism.
The project is co-financed with COSME funds and will run until February 2018.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Grilled lamb chops for Xmas

Chef Alex over Mwaura , a graduate of the famous Kenyan, Utali College, with over 27 years of culinary experience in over five countries, is the Executive Chef at Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He shared one of his recipes for the hotel, Grilled lamb chops, which is a popular delicacy familiar to many , who are used to dining at the hotel's restaurant for in-house dining or the popular Sunday Brunch.
Sunday brunch features about 12 course meals with different culinary treats from across the world.
No matter your preferences, you are sure to find something special to delight your taste bud from the well crafted and delicious bumper brunch table by the hotel’s executive chef, Alex Mwaura and his team.
These special offerings are accompanied by a wide selection of drinks ranging from wine, champagne, cocktails and beverages. And to spice your christmas, Mwaura offers one of his recipes from his Sunday brunch’s repertoire.

40mls olive oil
Two cloves garlic, pressed
30mls balsamic vinegar
5gms rosemary leaves
5gms thyme leaves
20mls Worcestershire sauce
Three pieces lamb chops
10gms ginger fresh clashed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Using olive oil, marinate the cleaned chops with garlic, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic, ginger, black pepper and salt to taste for about one hour. Grill well on both sides, to medium or to well done, as desired. Serve with sautéed vegetables. Best served with basmati rice.

Maintenance is major issue in hotel management in Nigeria--- Sokunbi

As Lagos state government promises to transform Badagry into a major tourism hub in the state, residents and investors are already preparing for the bust in the expected activities.
One of such investors is Mr. Fatai Sokunbi, who has built a fifty room hotel, FAMS EXECUTIVE SUITES, in the town. In this interview with JIMOH BABATUNDE, he talks about the choice of Badagry for the hotel and the role of good infrastructure in the development of tourism.
Here is an excerpt from the interview
On the hotel’s location in Badagry
This hotel was initially planned to be at Seme, the Border town between Nigeria and Benin Republic. We see the place as an international hub for trading, but in the process of doing the documentation with the Benin government, I decided we needed to do it in Badagry, Nigeria.
So, I chose Badagry as a Tourism destination, even though it does not have companies that can use the hotel. I did so, because I believed in the future of Badagry. We had the feeling that the future of the town was bright for tourism and business.
I also chose this place to encourage others that we can all build in cities. I believe having the hotel here will stem rural urban migration.

On challenges he faced
The hotel will be three next February, but the first challenge was with the local people. I expected it base on the people’s attachment to land, but we were able to resolve that and we are all happy.
Starting here was not encouraging. When we came to this site, there was no good road, at a point they came to fix the roads.
The road has a big role to play in people coming to Badagry. So, it is important to the growth of tourism and business in Badagry.
We hope the ten Lane roads from Orile will get to Badagry soon. I believe with the investments coming into Badagry that it is inevitable to have the road from Mile 2 getting to Badagry
In terms of encouraging hotel investment, I think the government needs to do more. They should encourage direct foreign investment. Lots of people want to come here to invest despite the lack of good infrastructure.
I know of many Nigerians that want to come home to invest. It took me time to do that as Rome was not built in a day. Many people want to come home, but our government should do more to attract inventors.
For example they can give tax incentives for about five years after construction of hotels. There is great unemployment in the country and direct foreign investment can help in reducing it.
Here we have employed over 100 people including women. We have to have full occupancy to pay these people.
We have bills to pick like diesel; we run this place with about eight to nine million naira every month. And we have been doing it for the past three years.
The good thing is that since we commenced operations here the hotel has been funding itself except for the generators fuelling.
But now I am proud to say the hotel is taking care of itself. But we have not been able to recoup the money used in building the hotel.
On what should be done by government to attract more business to Badagry
I think it will happen with the expected investment coming from the deep sea port. I believe when the sea port takes off many people will invest in Badagry.
Already, I learnt from my guests that that they are investing in Technology village here in Badagry
That is good news. So, having a deep sea port here will bring lots of investors. For example Alaba traders will bring in their goods through here as it is close to them.
With that port taking off, business and tourism will grow.
On entertainment
I have always been an entertainment person and passion for the industry which includes hotel.
I have always seen hotel business as a retirement investment, in terms of having something to put food on my table. So, I believe it is a life time investment.
It is all about rendering of service to your guests, who come to sleep, wake up and go.
I have passion for entertainment and hotel. So, we will be expanding the facilities here.
We will be providing theater here as there is none in Badagry. This will boost the hotel as family can afford to come to Badagry for weekend. We are also building a mall here too.
On his experience running hotel
When we started we decided we were going to stay here and develop it ourselves. I want to thank my mum for the business skill she impacted in me.
My brother and I decided not to give it out to any management company, if we had done that in two years this hotel would have gone down.
What is lacking in hotel management in Nigeria is maintenance, but every kobo we have made here we have put back.
So we have been maintaining it on our own. And am happy and fulfill but we need more business.
On governor Amode holding Council meeting in Badagry
It was like the seat of government was moved here when Governor Ambode held the council meeting in Badagry. We recorded full occupancy as most of the people stayed here.
I was at the forum he held with the people and what he said about transforming the town and tourism here is gradually coming through.
The Governor is interested in the development of tourism in Badagry and he said much about that then, though we have not started seeing that, but I believe it is a matter of time before we start seeing that too.
With the discovery of oil here in Badagry and from people I have been interacting here in the hotel, I know we are in the right path.

Pix: tourism and tourism1  

Boxing Day: Suntan Beach, Badagry, records large turnout of fun seekers

The Suntan Beach in Badagry on Monday recorded a large turnout of fun seekers who trooped out to celebrate the Boxing Day.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the beach was filled with visitors from various parts of the country in spite of the hot weather condition.

A fun seeker, Miss Busola Lawal, from Ota in Ogun, said that she took advantage of the holiday to catch fun at the beach due to her busy schedules.

“Due to the nature of my job, I rarely have time for myself, so I usually use holidays like this to relax and catch fun,’’ she said.

Another fun seeker, Mr Ayobami Badejo who came with his family, said he was using the holiday to spend more time with his family.

“I work in Port Harcourt and my family stays in Lagos. So, during times like this, we always go on outings to where we can have fun,’’ Badejo said,

Mr Nuru Mohammed, a seller of roasted meat, popularly known as suya, said he had made sales close to N7,000 and still expecting to earn more before the close of the day.

“I wish everyday can be a public holiday in Nigeria so that I can make this kind of money every time.

“I have made over N7,000 now and I am sure that I will still make more because more people would patronise me.

“The crowd is so much and this means good business for me,’’ he said.

A soft drink seller, Mrs Maupe Adeovi, could not hide her joy over the sales she made.

“Business has been great today and I am so glad about this because things had really been slow for over a week.

“My drinks even finished and I had to quickly rush to the market to get more drinks.

“This kind of thing happens once in a while and I am going to make the best use of it, ’’she said.

The Officer in Charge of Suntan Beach, Mr Stanley Hungbo attributed the large turn out to the safety of the beach and the patriotism of Nigerians.

He said that the beach had not witnessed any mishap for over a year.

“For several years, we have not witnessed any drowning in this beach and this can be attributed to the safety measures we put in place.

“The beach is very safe and this factor has contributed to the large turnout of people because they are assured of their safety, ‘’ Hungbo said.

Boxing Day: Fun seekers throng parks, beaches in Lagos

Some tourist parks and beaches in Lagos on Monday recorded a large turnout of fun seekers who came out to have fun on the Boxing Day celebration.

NAN reports that the Federal Government had declared Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 Public holidays.

Some of the fun seekers, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said they had always looked forward to public holidays like this for them to catch fun.

NAN correspondents, who visited some parks and beaches around the city, observed that they were filled with fun seekers.

A fun seeker, Miss Tolefe Okonji, said she took advantage of the holiday to catch fun at the Freedom Park due to her busy schedule.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, crowd and outdoor
Tourist at the One Lagos fiesta, Bar Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos

“Freedom park is an environment I have been looking forward to visit and I am happy that I finally made it to the place due to the public holiday.

“I rarely have time to have fun due to the nature of my job, so I use holidays like this to relax and catch fun,’’ she said.

Okonji expressed satisfaction with this year’s long holiday, adding that it gave her the opportunity to hang out with friends and family.

A banker, Miss Jenifer Nwosu, said that due to her work, she always took advantage of the day to have fun.

“Due to the nature of my job, I always use public holidays to come to places I have not been to. So, coming down to Amusement park is more of an adventure to me.
“I am having fun here and I am very impressed with what I am seeing, “ Nwosu said.

A soft drink seller in Oshodi Heritage Park, Mrs Tinuade Adepegba, expressed optimism that the business would be profitable this time.

“So far, I have not sold much but am very sure that I will still make money because fun seekers are still coming and I am going to be here all the day, “ Adepegba said.

She said that she made reasonable profit on Christmas Day celebration, adding that she was hopeful she would make the same today.

Mr Lanre Aladesanmi, who came to Elegushi Beach with his wife, said he always looked forward to public holidays in order to visit beaches to catch some fun.

“I always look forward to days like this because I use it to have a memorable outing with my loved ones.

“I love to visit beaches, most especially Elegushi beach, because of the serene environment.

“It is a well organised beach with lovely facilities and fun activities surrounding it, “ Aladesanmi said.

A seller of roasted meat (suya) at Arhakab Beach, Malam Ibrahim Danyaro, said he had made up to N15,000 and still expecting to make more sales before the close of the day.

“With a large turnout of people here, I still expect to make more sales because there is still time.

“The influx of people here today is good for my business, “ Danyaro said.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Carnival: Taxi drivers, market women record high patronage

A cross-section of taxi drivers and market women in Calabar, Cross River , on Thursday said they had recorded profits due to the high patronage of their businesses following the ongoing 32 days’ carnival in the state.

The carnival that was inaugurated by, Gov Ben Ayade, on Dec. 1, will end on Jan. 1, 2017.

A taxi driver, Mr Hilary Etta, in an interview in Calabar , said that his savings had increased since the inauguration of the carnival.

According to him, he now gets `special drop’ from tourists who are already in the state with their families and friends for the celebration.

He told NAN that before the carnival, he usually realized between N4,000 and N5,000 per day; but due to the carnival in the state, he now realizes between N8,000 and N10,000 daily.

“Cab business in Calabar is not too profitable because of the high number of cabs in the state.

“Before the carnival, I was barely saving between N4,000 and N5,000 per day after I would have deducted fuel and ticket expenses.

Image result for calabar carnival
“But, shortly after the inauguration of the carnival, business changed because a lot of people have been coming into the state daily for it. I now make between N8,000 and N10,000 daily’’, he said.

A female taxi-driver, Ms. Eno Okon, told NAN that every carnival season was their peak period to make profits.

“Now that tourists are trooping into the state daily; we are getting special offers to take some of them around town to visit various tourist sites.

“I thank God for this carnival because I hope to safe my children school fees from the profit I will make’’, she said.

Okon lauded the state government for sustaining the carnival in the last 12 years; stressing that it was revenue driven for businessmen and women in the state.

A trader, Mrs Uduak Ekpo, who sells vegetables and other food items, said that her business was booming now as compared to the previous months.

Ekpo, who attributed the high patronage to the carnival period said that she hardly recorded unsold food items in her shop again.

At the Calabar Municipal Council area, the 2016 carnival village, NAN observed that business activities were booming and conducted smoothly under tight security.

The patronage was high in one of the popular stands selling beer.

The stand’s manager told NAN that he was still expecting a high record of sales this year.

“Sales have been very okay this year and we have sold about 7,000 create of drinks.

“We are targeting 15,000 crates of drinks this year and we hope that before the end of the carnival; we will achieve our target”, he said.

Image result for calabar carnival

Drummer canvasses for national drumming festival to boost tourism

Mr Ayankojo Ayanwola, the Governor, Association of Professional Drummers of Nigeria, has urged the Federal Government to set aside a week for drumming festival to boost tourism.

Ayanwola told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  in Lagos that such a festival would attract international and local tourists and boost the nation’s revenue base.

He said that the country had a good number of indigenous drums which were under-utilised, noting that the festival would go a long way in advertising Nigerian drums.

According to Ayanwola, different indigenous drums will be on display at such a festival, while people will be taught how to make such drums and when to use them.

The drummer said that the drumming festival could facilitate cultural exchange programmes with countries.
Image result for yoruba drummers

“ During this festival, we can have drumming competitions among drummers from different ethnic groups.

“ Each time I travel out of the country, I observe the rate at which foreigners love our drums and love to dance to the beatings.

“They can drop their last kobo to watch us beat our indigenous drums; so, if a drumming festival is in place here in the country, they will come over to participate.

“Through that, we are developing tourism and at the same time, promoting our culture and increasing our revenue base,” he said.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Qatar airways and Hasbro inc. refresh children’s in-flight experience

Qatar Airways, in partnership with Hasbro Inc. has updated its range of plush toys, children’s activity kits and in-flight lunch boxes designed to entertain and delight the global airline’s youngest travellers.
Plush infant toys Elefun and Mr. Potato Head are joined on board by classic favourites such as Clue Junior, Guess Who, Monopoly Here and Now World Edition and The Game of Life for older children, as they go places together with the award-winning airline. The airline’s specially prepared children’s meals feature new Pictureka or Monopoly designed lunch boxes – a gift that children can take home and use long after their flight*.
Minors will stay entertained thanks to the range of different activity kits being provided on flights across the airline’s network of more than 150 places. Special thought has been paid to families travelling on overnight flights with the introduction of a glow-in-the-dark Clue Junior entertainment pack; perfect to keep restless youngsters busy once the lights are dimmed.
The updated plush toys, activity kits and lunch boxes, containing comforting favourites such as healthy and delicious pastas, fish or chicken dishes, fresh seasonal fruit, fruit juice, and sweet treats, are available now on Qatar Airways’ A380 services between Bangkok, Guangzhou, London, Paris, Sydney, and Doha. The updated range will be rolled out across the airline’s global network of destinations from early 2017.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Mr. Rossen Dimitrov, said: “Flying can be a new and exciting experience for children, and our partnership with Hasbro Inc. allows us to make their journey extra special.

We are committed to ensuring we provide the very best customer experience to families flying with us, and that includes continually updating our children’s activity kits with different games to ensure our young travellers remain engaged, and most importantly – entertained. All of our children’s activity packs and lunch boxes are mementos that remind them of our journey together.”

Favourites such as Clue Junior, Guess Who, Monopoly Here and Now World Edition and The Game of Life for older children.

Young travellers flying on Qatar Airways’ global network can also enjoy one of the industry’s leading in-flight entertainment systems, Oryx One. Providing hundreds of different entertainment options for minors via a dedicated children’s platform, Oryx One also features the very first dual-screen interface; allowing children to multi-task by playing a game while watching a movie.
Qatar Airways also provides an exceptional unaccompanied minor service across its global network, with children enjoying priority assistance through immigration, security, boarding, baggage and customs clearances, while those children transiting in Doha have access to the airline’s fully dedicated Children’s Lounge inside Hamad International Airport.

Med-View expands West Coast flights to Monrovia, Freetown

 Med-View Airline has expanded its operation in the West African sub region, extending flight services to Monrovia, Liberia and Freetown Sierra Leone via Accra, Ghana.
Mr Obuke Oyibhota, Media Consultant of the airline announced the expansion in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday.
The maiden flight, which started on Tuesday, was in fulfilment of the airline’s promise to use its Accra operations as stepping stone to other countries in the West Coast,”he said.
According to him, flight to the two countries took off from Lagos via Kotoka International Airport, Ghana to Roberts International Airport, Liberia and Freetown International Airport, Sierra Leone.
Oyibhota said the outbound flight headed straight to Kotoka in Ghana before going back to Nigeria.
He said that both countries welcomed the airline, describing the operation as a giant step towards strengthening regional integration among Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries.
The maiden flight was received in Liberia by the Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Ambassador Tunde Ajisomo, he said.
The media consultant quoted Ajisomo as describing the new operation as a courageous move by Med-View to fill the vacuum created by the absence of African airlines plying the West African routes.
He also quoted Ajisomo as saying that the development aligned with the vision of ECOWAS to deepen trade and economic relations between African countries and their peoples.
Oyibhota said that the flight was also received in Freetown by the Sierra Leone’s Minister of Transport and Aviation, Mr Leonard Koroma.
The consultant quoted Koroma as saying that the government and people of Sierra Leone were delighted with the development.
Accordingly, Koroma was quoted as describing Med-View as not only the airline of Nigeria but that of Sierra Leone, urging the airline to further expand its operation in the country.
Also, the Managing Director of the airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, said that the airline opened the two routes to improve regional integration which the West African leaders had been agitating for.
Bankole said the flight service would also improve business activities, capacities and capabilities of people of the two countries.
He explained that Med-View Airline was in Liberia and Sierra Leone to create jobs for the people and assured that the airline would be consistent in the new routes.
Meanwhile, the airline has taken delivery of one of its new aircraft, a B737-800, which arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday.
According to Oyibhota, the additional aircraft is expected to strengthen the airline’s domestic operations, especially as the Christmas and New Year festivities draw nearer.