Friday, May 20, 2016

Premier Li of China calls for higher financing for development in tourism



The role of tourism in fighting poverty and building peace were the key focus of the First World Conference on Tourism for Development. Opening the conference, Premier Li Keqiang underlined the role of tourism in lifting people out of poverty and the importance of stepping up international cooperation in tourism. The event, organized by UNWTO and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, gathered in Beijing 1000 participants from over 100 countries.
Premier Li Keqiang emphasized tourism’s capacity to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and foster inclusive development. "The global economy is lacking in growing momentum and needs a new driving force. As one of the fastest-growing and most resilient industrial sectors, tourism plays an important role in boosting world economic recovery" he said. During the occasion, China announced the launch of an international tourism cooperation plan.
Addressing the conference the President of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyussi, emphasized that inclusion through tourism requires investment in education and capacity building.
The links between development and peace were stressed by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, who said: “There can be no development without peace and no peace without development”.
In a message delivered to the conference by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Wu Hongbo, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “When tourism is well-managed, it has tremendous capacity to create decent jobs, provide opportunities for inclusion and education, and contribute to preserving cultural heritage and the environment.”
The conference included three main panel sessions dedicated to the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to poverty alleviation and to peace.
During the summit session, moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest, participants called for an integrated approach to tourism development that can contribute effectively to the SDGs. Issues discussed included effective resource management, the role of the private sector and the need for the SDGs to be understood by all - citizens, policy makers, and the business community.  
Participants in the session on tourism and poverty underlined that there is a lack of understanding and research on the impact of the sector on poverty levels. They called for better monitoring, measuring and communication through both solid indicators and people-centered stories.
The third session of the conference, dedicated to tourism and peace, stressed how people-to-people diplomacy is inherent to tourism while calling for investment in education and youth to build more stable societies.
The full list of speakers included: the Vice-Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mauritius and Vanuatu, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo, representing the UN Secretary-General, ministers and high-level tourism officials from Argentina, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, Georgia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malta, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, UK, USA, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe, and SDG Advocate Ambassador Dho Young-Shim, as well as representatives of the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA), the World Tourism Cities Federation, the Petra National Trust Fund, the Beijing Municipality, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Guizhou Province.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

ICAO EXPRESSION OF CONDOLENCES: EGYPTAIR FLIGHT MS 804

The Council President and Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu and Dr. Fang Liu, expressed the UN agency’s deepest condolences today for the families and friends of the victims of EgyptAir MS804, a scheduled commercial flight from Paris to Cairo which crashed due to unknown causes on Thursday morning.

The flight was carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew and its wreckage has now been located near Karpathos island, south east of the Greek mainland.

"Any accident or incident resulting in loss of life is always a matter of utmost concern to ICAO and to the entire air transport community," President Aliu remarked. “ICAO will await the Annex 13 accident investigation Preliminary and Final Reports to learn more about the causes and contributing factors of this event, and ultimately we will work with the global civil aviation community on any associated risk mitigation recommendations appropriate to our role.”


“ICAO stands ready to lend assistance to the aircraft accident investigation, should the State or States with due authority under Annex 13 request us to do so,” noted ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu, who also stressed that the organization does not normally participate in investigations conducted by its Member States. “In those exceptional circumstances, we would normally be requested to serve as an official observer and/or to clarify the technical requirements which must be adhered to.”

The below Fact Sheet explains how accident investigation participating States are determined, as well as the process leading to the issuance of an accident investigation Preliminary Report (within 30 days of the event) and Final Report (asap or within 12 months of the event). Final Reports ultimately provide as much official information as possible on an accident’s contributing causes and factors, as well as any recommendations on how the safety framework should be amended in the future.

NANTA, IATA strengthen business relationship

Press Release


In a bid to proffer solutions to current crisis in the Nigeria travel sector, The new executive members of National Associations of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) has meet with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to strengthen business operations of members.
This was disclosed at a meeting between NANTA and IATA, when the former paid a courtesy visit on the latter’s office at the Murtala International Airport, Lagos, have in attendance from NANATA; the National President, Mr Bernard Bankole and Executive Secretary, Olobor Osaro Sylvester, from IATA; Area Manager, South West Africa, Samson Fatokun and Aviation Industry Analyst, South West Africa, Ifeyinwa Ukpaka, respectively.
Speaking at the meeting, the NANTA president, said the focus of the visit was to establish better relationship with the management of IATA and to also work out ways of giving NANTA’s members the rights they deserve when it comes to business.
“We also want to tell you that we are interested in visiting the regional office of IATA at Amman because there are certain things we have seen that we believe the people at the head office will be at a better position to explain to us.”
He complained about the current crisis between the travel agents and the airlines, which he said drastic decision taken by the airlines is detrimental to the travel agents, which he described as unhealthy for the travel business.
Bankole explained that there is solution to every challenge and if such arises, the next point of action is a roundtable discussion to put things at the right perspective, than the airlines take a unilateral decision.



L-R: Ifeyinwa Ukpaka, Aviation Industry Analyst, South West
Africa, International Air Transport Association (IATA); Samson
Fatokun, Area Manager, South West Africa, IATA; Bernard Bankole,
National President, National Associations of Nigeria Travel Agencies
(NANTA) and Olobor Osaro Sylvester, Executive Secretary, NANTA, during
a courtesy visit by NANTA to IATA office, Lagos on Tuesday.

NANTA as a an organised body for the travel agencies needs to be given a sense of belonging and in a time of crisis, others allied in the industry should see NANTA as partners in progress  not enemies.
In his response, the IATA, Area Manager, South West Africa, Mr Fatokun lauded the step taken by NANTA to visit IATA. According to him, ”NANTA’s visit falls within the IATA’s human touch move to give the best services to our partners in business.
“What IATA is concentrating on at present is cooperating with our partners in business, by creating a cordial business environment with agents to foster good relationships, which we call working with human touch.
“We assured our partners of prompt services and tried by all standards to fight for them at all times.
We want the new NANTA to minimize conflict which can be achieved by close meetings with parties at any time there is crisis in the sector.”
Fatokun explained that in the travel business, IATA can be said to be at the middle, between the airlines and the travel agencies, adding that their role is to make sure that every partner in the sector have       a level playing ground for a win-win deal.

Fatokun promised IATA’s absolute support for NANTA in seeing that their new vision is successful, adding that it is when NANTA succeed that they also benefit from the sector.

International Museum Day: Curator calls for assessment of heritage sites


The Curator, National Museum of Unity, Ibadan, Mr Amos Olorunnipa, has called for risk assessment of heritage sites in the country to attract attention to them.
Olorunnipa made the call on Wednesday at the 2016 International Museum Day held at the museum with the theme: ''Museums and cultural landscapes''.
He said that cultural landscapes should be under the conservation stewardship of the museum, which had been overseeing the maintenance of monuments and sites.
“The museum should be given a grant for the study of the stability of cultural and natural heritage, landscapes and structures, which have been plagued by loss of mosaic elements,” he said.
The curator said that both individuals and stakeholders were responsible for protecting and enhancing the cultural landscape.
Olorunnipa stressed that the nexus between museums and cultural landscapes which was neglected was a source of development and a means of providing additional opportunity for the country to diversify its economy for the betterment of Nigerians.
“The challenge for all is to rise up for the identification, inventory, documentation, publication, and preservation of cultural heritage, especially the ones named after trees, hills and rivers.
“We are ready to partner with the state government, private organisations, communities as well as individuals to enable us carry out activities effectively,” Olorunnipa said.
Rev. Taye Adeyemo, who also delivered a lecture on the topic, said that Ibadan has a population of 3, 565, 108 and a landmass of 27, 000 sq km.
Adeyemo said that Ibadan is a huge city of green trees, adding that its topography gave a clear picture of a land on the hills and valleys.
“Ibadan has so many historic monuments and tourist sites; it has enviable and attractive landscape and there is no better place to visit but due to neglect of these natural blessings, people are not visiting,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that students, pupils of primary and secondary schools, other stakeholders were present at the event.
The highlight of the event includes planting of indigenous trees, free gallery tours and cultural displays.
NAN reports that the International Day for Museum is an occasion to raise awareness on how important museums are to the development of the society.
Every year since 1977, the Day is organised worldwide on May 18 by many countries. 

TOURISM ALTERNATIVE TO OIL –SAYS NTDC DG

By NTDC media team 
The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Dr. Mrs. Sally Uwechue-Mbanefo has reiterated that tourism is an alternative to oil
Mrs. Mbanefo emphasised that tourism is a sector that can give the Nigerian economy the paradigm shift from the absolute dependence on a dwindling oil sector to a vibrant and sustainable multi sector driven by tourism. She emphasised that what the country needs now is to increase its production capacity by investing in sectors that are labour intensive like tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.
She highlighted the role of government through her corporation to market Nigeria as a foremost destination for business, sports, religious, leisure and cultural tourism. Sighting that the current administration’s change agenda, has provided the right platform to attract the much needed investment into tourism ventures. She also said the contributions  of tourism activities which range from transportation (carhire, buses, trains and airplanes) to accommodation facilities (hotels, motels, guest inns) and food (bukkas, restaurants) have not been properly captured in the statistical data of Nigeria as defined by UNWTO criteria, saying that “if this is done, the huge earnings of tourism sector will be seen and government, donor agencies, Nigerian and internal business owners will be convinced to fund and invest in the sector”.
She explained that the tourism value chain that cuts across all sectors of the economy has the potential to create the most employment opportunities, grow small and medium scale enterprises, reduce poverty and foster encourage social integration
Promoting and preserving our tourist and historical sites and assets she said will empower local communities, states where they are located which would reduce rate of urban migration She made this assertion known during the 7th Annual National Conference of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies, Nigeria (AES) recently held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos with the theme” Nigeria Beyond Oil”.
The NTDC Boss, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo defined tourism from a United Nations World Tourism organisation (UNWTO) and said the  tourismvalue chain means we must apply a holistic approach to what tourism is, the prospects and the challenges. She further said that Tourism is the greatest employer of labour in the world, as one in every eleven jobs is a hospitality employee, so we must not under estimate the power of tourism to generate revenue and boost the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of any economy.
 The event had various speakers from both the government and private sector, who presented papers focused on the need for economic diversification from oil dependence as captured by the conference theme.
Speaking earlier, the Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Remi Ogunmefum opined that “the future is bright for Nigeria, with Landmass population of 9237km abound in human and natural resources. He further emphasised on the relevance of manufacturing to the economic growth of the Nigerian economy, stating that interest rates on credit facilities must be reviewed to make facilities accessible and profitable for Nigerian entrepreneurs.
Lagos State Governor His Excellency Akinwumi Ambode, represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosimi said, “My administration’s commitment to wealth creation and youth empowerment initiatives is a top priority of our programmes’, He also pledged to support the goals and aspirations of AES to enhance good governance and economic development in Nigeria.
Dr.(Mrs) Nike Akande, former Minister of Industries and Chairman AES Excellence Club in her speech said that  the forum is timely despite the setback Nigeria is witnessing due to over dependence on oil over the years. She further clarified that the AES is a non- political group rather it comprises of Nigeria of impeccable Character, high integrity, technocrats and proactive professionals who are passionate about Nigeria.

The Director General,  Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation  (NTDC) Chief . Dr. ( Mrs.) Sally Uwechue – Mbanefo flanked by Former Minister  of Industries, Chairman, Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies(AES) , Excellence Club  Dr. (Mrs) Nike Akande(Right);  President , AES, Ausbeth Ajagu (2nd Right) and Admiral Superintendent Naval Doctrine & Assessment Centre , Rear Admiral Kenneth Bolanle Ali-John(Left);  Honourable Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Lagos State, Fuad Babatunde Durosinmi (2nd Left) during the Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies(AES) 7th Annual National Conference  with the theme: Nigerian Economy: Beyond Oil recently held at the  Nigeria Institute of international Affairs(NIIA) Victoria Island, Lagos.

Speaking earlier the registrar of AES Mr. Paul Umukoro emphasised on the need to shift attention from oil. He noted that part of the problems bedevilling the country has been lack of transparency and saving culture.  “A country with a large deposit of gold and the oldest forest in the world has no business with poverty if we properly explore and harness our endowments to unravel the economic challenges that befalls us, he said”
Another speaker, entertainment practitioner and renowned comedian, Mr. Julius Agu applauded the Director General  of (NTDC), Mrs. Mbanefo in her dogged efforts in promoting and marketing domestic tourism and said the creative art industry is the key to youth and economic empowerment as such government should support and promote it.

Other speakers at the forum included representatives of the Ministers of Agriculture, Minister of State for Petroleum, Minister State for Trade and Investment, Executive Secretary Technical education Board who all echoed the need to diversify into other sub sectors such as farming, gas and hydro carbon and education.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Association wants LASG to provide enabling environment for boat operators

The Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transport of Nigeria (ATBOWTON) on Monday called on the Lagos State Government to provide an enabling environment for boat operators to thrive in the country.

The ATBOWTON National President, Mr Ganiyu Balogun, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that government’s policies had not helped the growth of the industry.
Balogun said some association members had, sometime in the past, wanted to develop the sector by providing capacity building and infrastructure but they were hindered by government’s policies.
He urged the state to also be flexible in its policies’ implementation to encourage positive development in water transportation.
Balogun urged the state government to earmark portions of land in every local government area as dumpsites to minimise dumping of refuse into the waterways by the public.
He said throwing faeces into the waterways could also be curbed, if public toilets were provided at strategic locations all over the state and the country also.
``Dumping of refuse and faeces in the waterways pollutes the waterways and causes it to smell; and this has always deterred the average tourist from plying the waterways.
``Apart from this, when refuse and feaces get into the boats' engines, it destroys them.
``We need to have a neat and organised society,’’ Balogun said.
He, however, lauded the Lagos State Government for deploying marine police officers to functional jetties that in the state.
``Each of the jetties is now being manned by two marine policemen, and this has drastically reduced the crime rate.
``We love this development but we want more friendly laws that will enable us take water transportation to the next level,’’ Balogun added. (

Tourism can provide paradigm shift from over dependence on oil- DG NTDC


 Mrs Sally Mbanefo, the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) on Tuesday stressed that tourism would provide the paradigm shift from overdependence on oil.
Mbanefo made this assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
``Tourism is a sector that can give the Nigerian economy the paradigm shift from the absolute dependence on a dwindling oil sector to a vibrant and sustainable multi sector driven by tourism.’’
She said that what the country needed was to increase its production capacity by investing in labour intensive sectors like tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.
``The current administration’s change agenda is providing the right platform to attract the much needed investment into tourism ventures.



``The role of government through NTDC is to market Nigeria as a foremost destination for business, sports, religious, leisure and cultural tourism,’’ she said.
Mbanefo regretted that in spite of the contributions of tourism activities, which ranged from transportation to accommodation facilities and food, this had not been properly captured in the statistical data of Nigeria.
``If this is done, the huge earnings of tourism sector will be seen and will encourage government, donor agencies, Nigerian and internal business owners will be convinced to fund and invest in the sector.
``Tourism value chain cuts across all sectors of the economy and has the potential to create the most employment opportunities, grow small and medium scale enterprises, reduce poverty, foster and encourage social integration.
``Promoting and preserving our tourist historical sites and assets will empower local communities and states where they are located, this will reduce rate of urban migration,’’ she said.
She said that tourism was the greatest employer of labour in the world which boosts the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of any economy and its power to generate revenue must not be under estimated.
``The future is bright for Nigeria with a land mass population of 9237km in human and natural resources, in spite of the setback we are witnessing due to over dependence on oil over the years.
According to Mbanefo, ``Nigeria has no business with poverty if we properly explore and harness our endowments to unravel the economic challenges that befalls us.’’
``Each and every one of us must be involved in promoting and marketing domestic tourism which is the key to youth and economic empowerment,’’ she said 

Dance instructor wants FG to involve tourism professionals in packaging tourism sector


 Mr Isioma Williams of Drumsview Concepts, a dance institute, on Tuesday called for the involvement of professionals in packaging the tourism sector as an alternative to oil in revenue generation.
Williams, the Institute’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that this would make the sector achieve maximum effect and contribute meaningfully to the nation's internally generated revenue(IGR)..
He said that for the government to also achieve positive results in its diversification assignment, it should employ experienced professionals for the packaging and branding of the sector.
Williams said that government by this would also be achieving its set target of turning the sector to one of its major economic cornerstones.
``When we have novices managing a sector or an aspect, failure is very likely.
``Experience is the best teacher and enables an individual to proffer reasonable solutions to identified challenges.
``Qualified hands who have been in the sector for years, who know the problems so far and know what can be done to make tourism better should be integrated in decision making,’’ he said.
Williams also urged government to concentrate on maintaining most of its facilities, especially the country’s tourism potentials like monuments, caves, waterfalls, ancient buildings and beaches.
He said that Nigerians lacked a maintenance culture which had affected the tourism sector over the years.
``Most of our tourism sites are presently in shambles because they are not properly managed by their operators.
``Nigeria is blessed with natural sites, which need little maintenance, unlike in developed world where they create tourist sites and maintain them well.
``The roads to most of our tourist sites must be fixed and the sites renovated before we can expect to see a boom in in-bound tourism,’’ the dance instructor said.
He also called for an increase in security at tourist sites to attract local and foreign tourists to them.
``Everyone wants to go to places where their security will be guaranteed and not threatened.
``We must, collectively, as Nigerians be security conscious by reporting suspected criminal moves to security agencies,’’ Williams added. 

FTAN backs fuel subsidy removal, hails Buhari


 The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) says the removal of subsidy on fuel by President Muhammadu Buhari administration is a welcome development and calls on labour to support the government.
Chief Tomi Akingbogun, the President of FTAN made the position known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Akingbogun said, ``we totally support the removal of fuel subsidy; even though it is a bitter pill to swallow, it is better because it has brought so much corruption in the country.
``President Buhari is not corrupt; with the removal of subsidy and his character and personality, he will be able to fantastically cure this corruption disease.
``The global community knows that he is working hard to remove corruption in the country; we are in support of that and labour should also support the move.
``Though it will affect our customers and cost of businesses; prices will be up, but we believe it will be only one time and that will be final,’’ Akingbogun said.
He said that by the time the removal came to stay, everybody would adjust and everything would fall in place.
He said that if former President Goodluck Jonathan was allowed to remove the subsidy in 2012 ``we would have gone far and felt better by now’’.
He reiterated FTAN’s support on removal of fuel subsidy, adding that the money would be used to develop infrastructure in the country and make life better for all Nigerians.
``However, it is only when we have solid infrastructure that the country can grow and it is only when the country grows that tourism itself can thrive.
``The subsidy removal is a bitter pill that we must take now; but if labour forces them to revert back to subsidy, then that will be pushing the evil day ahead.
``That was what labour did in the last administration and the reason we are still in this situation; therefore, we have to do it differently,’’ Akingbogun said.
The FTAN President said that the former Central Bank Governor, now Emir of Kano, Malam Lamido Sanusi had repeatedly said there was corruption in fuel subsidy but labour refused to understand.
``If we truly want change; we should allow change to do it in a different way,’’ he said.

2016 Hajj: FG approves 6 air carriers to transport inntending pilgrims


 The Federal Government has approved six air carriers to transport intending pilgrims for the 2016 hajj operation, a statement said in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement, issued by Alhaji Uba Mana, Head of Media of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), said the carriers included a Saudi-designated airline.
It listed the carriers as Med-view Airlines Limited, Max Air Limited, Dornier Aviation Nigeria AEP Limited, Top Brass, AZMAN Air Services and Fly-Nas Air (Saudi Arabia designated carrier).
It added that the government had approved two companies to airfreight pilgrims’ excess cargo during the exercise.
According to the statement, the companies are NAHCO Aviance and Medview International Travels and Cargo.
It said NAHCON called on the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation to accord the appointed carriers all the necessary logistic and consular support.
`` This will enable them have smooth plan and execution of their assignment through prompt issuance of necessary visa for their officials as well as officers of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Chinese Tourism Investment To Hit USD$306 Bln By 2020

Chinese investment in tourism will double to around CNY2 trillion yuan (USD$306 billion) by 2020, the China National Tourism Administration said, as the country looks to support its service sectors and tap consumer spending.
Tourism investment will hit CNY1.25 trillion yuan this year, the tourism body forecast in an annual report. Investment in the sector rose 42 percent to top CNY1 trillion in 2015, it said.
China is pinning hopes on areas such as travel to propel growth amid signs of weaknesses in many key areas of the economy.
"In the future we think tourism investment has huge potential with hot spots starting to spring up," the tourism body said. Online travel services, rural tourism, cruising and sports tourism were big investment areas, it added.
Investment from the private sector accounted for just over 57 percent of money pumped into the sector last year, it said.
(Reuters)

Rivers Govt. to partner private sector to promote culture, tourism


The Rivers Government said it would partner private sector investors to tap the culture and tourism potentials that abound in the state.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, stated this on Sunday in Port Harcourt during the presentation of a Dance Drama titled `Seki.’
Banigo said the Nyesom Wike-led administration was passionate about preserving and showcasing the rich culture of the state to the world.
She said that Rivers was blessed with rich and diverse culture and arts that could yield financial dividends if well tapped.
``Our culture which is our way of life has a rich content; I see huge deposits of creativity and abundant cultural heritage.
`` All we need is to devise the best approach to properly harness these potentials, it can boost the internally generated revenue of the state,’’ she said
Banigo commended the management of Heritage Bank, sponsors of the Drama Dance presentation for the gesture.
`` By sponsoring this presentation, you have shown yourself to be a socially responsible organsiation, I urge you to take this dance beyond the shores of this country.
`` This also is a wake-up call on other private organisations in the state, you should embark on activities that will impact positively on our people,’’ she said.

NAZG raises alarm over trafficking of wildlife …charges govt on collapsed zoos


 

 
ABUJA – The Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens (NAZG) has raised alarm over increasing rate of trafficking of wild animals and birds from Nigeria, describing it as a big threat to tourism development in the country.  
 
The President of NAZG, Dr Olajumoke Morenikeji said wildlife had a lot of potentials to boost the country’s economy, but it was so unfortunate that they were being watched into extinction in the country.
 
Dr. Morenikeji, who was speaking in an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, called on the federal and state governments to resuscitate collapsed zoos across the country to improve tourism sector.
 
She attributed Jos scenario; where Lion escaped from Zoo to dilapidated state of Zoological Garden in the country, adding that a situation where Zoo-land are being taken for residential building portends danger to both human and wildlife.     
 
According g to her, “We want government to recognize the zoo, because the zoo are very important, it offers education and they tell about our environment and animals, and children get to learn a lot.

“What children see stick better into their brain than what they read, so the only place they can see wild animals is when they visit zoo. I have privilege to visit so many zoos in the world, I was able to see Tiger in Germany, Australia.

“Zoo is the most visited place on earth; government must do something about zoos because it actually generates a lot of monies as they are patronized heavily.

“Zoo helps us to ensure animals do not go on extinction. It is unfortunate, we are neglecting the part of tourism, and the only way to have our indigenous wildlife is to have zoo, for people to pay to watch the animals they don't have in their country, so when we keep them well, we will continue to generate more money through foreigners, because people we come to see what we have.

“Also, the Zoo will help us in research, let me tell you today, the only place you can do meaningful research with wildlife is the zoo. We cannot begin to pursue wild animal in the bush, but in the zoo, there is what we call face to face encounter with such animal.

“On the entertainment side, it’s a major part of tourism, so country who neglects the zoos is not doing well. So, I want the government to recognize the zoo and do something about collapsed zoos.

“The last time a lion escaped in Jos, and it was killed that is not good, the reason was that no funds to maintain the Zoo. A country that doesn't have interest in wildlife is not a good, buoyant and healthy country, because if we allow wildlife slip into oblivion gradually as they go extinct we also will go into extinction, because it’s an ecosystem and it must be balance.”
 
However, NAZG President decried paucity of funds, saying “One of the challenges we are facing is funding, our zoo is not funded well by the government that is why lion escaped, the structures are dilapidated. Zoo lands have been taken for residential building.”
 
She maintained that the association is ready to partner with government at all levels “to ensure the zoos are appreciated in the country.”
 
While commending the Lagos State Government for putting Zoo in Epe, Dr Morenikeji challenged other state governments to emulate Lagos state by investing into the development of wildlife and tourism at large.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ebonyi leases hotels to private investors


The Ebonyi Government has leased the state-owned Ebonyi Hotels to two investors, in a bid to increase the government’s Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR).
The state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mrs Euphemia Nwali, who made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abakaliki said the lease involved the hotels’ branches in Abakaliki and Afikpo.
She said that government advertised the lease last year.
“We followed due process in the leasing process as we were convinced that the private sector manages businesses better than government.
“The successful bidders are reputable as they have commenced immediate renovation of the complexes as stipulated in the agreement we entered with them.
“The funds generated from the leasing process have been duly paid directly to the State Government’s IGR account for its enhancement.”
She noted that the ministry would be carrying out enumeration of hotels and restaurants enumeration in the state to ensure better service delivery to customers.
“We will compile the lists of the hotels and restaurants to know what can be generated from them as we will gazette them to provide relevant information to the public.
“The information will reveal their names, contact phones, locations and all the services they can provide to the public,” she said.
Nwali noted that other parastatal agencies under the ministry, like the tourism board, international conference centre, amusement parks, among others, would also receive attention.
“We will upgrade facilities at these centres to enhance the services they provide to the people for the good of the state.
“We are trying to revitalise the state’s Arts Council troupe by increasing the number of troupes we have from one to three.
“This is also aimed at generating revenue for the government alongside the sale of their performance cassettes,” she said. 

Lagos seals 53 hotels for tax evasion


The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has sealed 53 hotels and eateries for failing to remit about N119.41 million occupancy and consumption taxes to the State Government.
The Head of the Distrain Unit of the LIRS, Mrs Ajibike Oshodi-Sholola, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday.
She said the sealing was carried out by two enforcement teams set up by the LIRS.
Oshodi-Sholola, who led the enforcement teams, said the teams sealed 23 companies for not remitting over N66.07 million, while 30 firms were sealed for not paying taxes, amounting to N53.34.
She said the sealing of the firms was carried out earlier this month.
The LIRS official said that not up to 70 per cent of hotels and hospitality companies operating in the state were paying tax.
``The essence of the three-day consecutive sealing exercise is to ensure that large numbers of the hospitality firms owing occupancy and consumption taxes to the State Government paid their taxes.
``LIRS has, therefore, resolved to frequently embark on such enforcements until tax payers and corporate organisations in the state imbibed the culture of paying tax voluntarily.’’
Oshodi-Sholola noted that a large number of the affected hotels had rushed to LIRS offices to pay their taxes during the sealing enforcement, adding that the firms had since re-opened shops.
She said that hotels that were yet to make payments would remain shut until their taxes were paid. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Nigerian, Italian tastes meet at Intercontinental Hotel


For many patrons of the Lagos Intercontinental hotel, one of the restaurants that attract guests is the Milano restaurant that offers Italian cuisine. So, it will not be strange to see items like Petto Di Pollo Ripieni , fried calamari, risotto, grouper fillet, and fettuccine alla carbonara among others in the menu list.
But on a recent visit, I was surprised to see on the menu list Italian pizza with Nigerian flavour. So, it was a delight having gizzard pizza, asun pizza and suya pizza.
In a chat with the hotel’s Director of Food & Beverages, Mr. Ahmed Raza, later on the new culinary adventure, he said they needed to introduce Nigeria flavour when they discovered that many Nigerians have started patronizing the restaurant unlike when they started.
“To be very honest with you, for the first couple of years, because we were getting a lot of corporate clientele, lot of expatriates were coming to the restaurants, but now the trends have changed.
“Now a lot of locals and lots of Nigerians are coming to dine in our restaurant. We are really proud of that because we think the restaurants cater to the people of Lagos. So , we have added a lot of Nigerian dishes to it. That is what we want, we want the expatriates and we want the people of Lagos.
Mr. Ahmed Raza added that they are looking beyond in-house guests to patronize the restaurant, but also outsiders, “We want to capture average diners who are dining outside, to come to Intercontinental Hotels, we have the Nigerian flavour fused with the Italian flavour.”

“The Nigerian food is normally specie that is why we are having the Italian pizza with the Nigerian flavour. We have the gizzard pizza, asun pizza and suya pizza. Basically it is picking the basic elements of Nigerian food and merging it with the Italian food to give it an exciting flavour that people here will enjoy.”

Edo community appeals for resuscitation of Ososo tourist site

 The Ososo community in Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo has appealed to the state government to rehabilitate Ososo Tourist Site as part of its effort to boost tourism in the state.

Members of the community made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ososo on Sunday.
They said that the rehabilitation of the site would create employment opportunities and boost economic activities in the area.
The said that the tourist centre had in the past attracted people from all walks of life and from within and outside the country.
They said that the facilities in the site including accommodation had decayed, while the premises had been taken over by weeds.
Mr Monday Bello, a former staff of the centre, said the rate at which the site deteriorated was so fast that the people kept wondering.
He blamed successive governments in the state for not paying attention to the centre.
“It all started around 1992 when the then military administration laid off workers in the centre and by the year 2000, the place was no longer functioning at all.
“I, as a former employee of the place, am not happy. It pains me so much that we could allow such a beautiful place to waste away.
“The government should at least consider what the place used to represent and bring it back to life,” Bello said.
Another resident, Steven Clement, said the current state of Ososo tourist site had denied some families in the community of their daily bread.
“I must tell you that in the past the place generated employment opportunities for the people and made economic activities to boom in this area.
“You can see how desolate the place is now. Serious economy activities used to take place in the surroundings when the centre was functional,” he said.
Mrs Nana Bello, also a resident, said: “I use to sell petty items like soft drinks and snacks here, but now all I do is to sit at home all day.
“I know what the income I got from this little trading did in my life then. It’s so sad the centre has been left to rot away,” she said.
“I am seriously appealing to the government to do something urgent to put this place in order.

"We are not blaming any government for the centre’s present state; my appeal is for the general turnaround of the place,” she said.