Thursday, October 12, 2017

Med-View airlines expands to francophone countries


Poised to have a strong presence on the West Coast, Med-View Airline said it will on Friday, October 27 spread its wings to Abidjan, Conakry and Dakar with an inaugural flight.
With the three new cities, the airline now has six destinations on the West Coast as Accra, Monrovia and Freetown are already on its network.
The flights to the new destinations will be three times a week - Monday, Wednesday  and  Friday with early departures (7.30am) from Lagos.



The airline's new generation aircraft -B737-800 is scheduled to service the route.
 Fresh from Saudi Arabia, Medview CEO, Alhaji Muneer Bankole who successfully coordinated the 2017 Hajj in which the airline airlifted over 17,000 pilgrims declared, "our expansion programme is informed by research and planning.
"In the very near future, we will be operating to Johannesburg, South Africa; Lisbon, Portugal; Libreville, Gabon and Houston in the US,' the CEO said.

He disclosed that the airline has already positioned for Dubai come November /December .


CEO, Medview Airline, Muneer Bankole, with his crew members



“Ika carnival to showcase rich culture of our people”'


Ika carnival to showcase rich culture of our people”'

The organizers of the annual Ika Xmas Carnival in Agbor, Delta State, have revealeed that this year's event will showcase the rich culture of the Ika people to tourists.
Mr. Steve Aderemi the marketing consultant to the event and managing director of Astol Communications, said the carnival would be opened up to tourists and visitors, so that visitors would have a taste of the rich tourist endowments.
He said having organized the carnival for the past two editions, the carnival will improve in terms of content and participation.
Ika Xmas Carnival is a 19-day funfair that is in its third edition. It is aimed at not only providing people from that area with the opportunity to have fun during the yuletide period, but to also promote the culture of the area through the carnival. He said the cultural endowments of the area are normally on display during the carnival.


During the 19-day fiesta also, young and talented natives of Ika have a platform to display their talents and give their careers lift. They will also win fantastic prizes.
Aderemi said: “The carnival kicks off on December 15, and ends on the 2nd January the next year. In addition to the carnival and talent and musical shows, there will also be cultural cultural exhibition, beauty pageant, cultural dance, business empowerment, comedy night and many more.
“We really want to use the carnival to not only engage the youths, but also make sure we promote the tradition and culture of our people.
It is an opportunity for us to celebrate our unity and oneness. We have heard so many positives from the last two editions of the festivals. People of the area use the opportunity to interact and know one another.


Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel hosts offshore challenge

A sizeable 23 boats contestedkeenly at the all-day 6th annual Southern Sun Ikoyi Offshore Challenge, 2017, thrilling guests who were left mesmerized by the challenging weather conditions offered by one of Africa’s budding sailing environments, Lagos.

Mark Loxley, General Manager,  Southern Sun Ikoyi; Onyekachi Paul Okereke, competitor Lightning Fleet; Jan Muyesen, competitor Lightning Fleet and Ubong Nseobot, Sales and Marketing Manager, Southern Sun Ikoyi presenting the 1st Place trophy to the winning team (Lightning Fleet category) at the 6th Annual Southern Sun Ikoyi Offshore Challenge held at the Lagos Yacht Club, in Lagos.

Encompassing designs reminiscent of the best of nautical heritage, this year’s Southern Sun Ikoyi offshore challenge was conducted with typical grace and sportsmanship by the sailors.

Commodore of the Lagos Yacht Club, Laurent Couderc expressed that despite the dull weather, “We had a good run today”. “It is often a question of boat handling and tactics as there is always a surprise with the changing winds and particularly with the rain as we’ve seen today. It is never predictable and this is what makes each race unique and very interesting”.



Applauding the efforts of the teams, Mark Loxley, General Manager, Southern Sun Ikoyi, thanked the sailors for the enthusiasm and participation, stating that, “This is a highly competitive sporting event and Southern Sun Ikoyi is very proud to again bring about this moment of happiness to the teams and to reviving the community spirit especially on the Lagos Island. We are indeed proud to have so many boats participate, all putting up their colourful sails for all to see on Lagos waters. We definitely will be back next year”.

The participating three teams were rewarded in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place categories with Julian Hardy emerging as 1st place winner in the Combined Monohull category, sailors Jay and Natasha Smulders took 1st place in the Hobbie Fleet category and Onyekachi Paul Okereke and Jan Muyesen were crowned 1st place winners in the Lightning Fleet category. Ecstatic about their win, sailor, Onyekachi Paul Okereke expressed that “We are immensely proud of our win from amongst so many boats. We got to the front early and it’s always good to stay there”.

Taking place at the prestigious Lagos Yacht Club (LYC) founded in 1932, the Southern Sun Ikoyi Offshore Challenge has in recent years become one of the most popular attractions in the city geared at reigniting a passion for sports, relaxation and networking within Lagos’ thriving business community.


The day’s activities ended with participants treated to delicious canap├ęs and fine wine alongside exciting prizes of Dinner for two, Sunday Champagne Brunch for four and Weekend Bed and Breakfast for two all at the hotel. Southern Sun Ikoyi remains the preferred lodging and hang out location for business and leisure travelers alike in Lagos. 

Kigali Marriott Hotel Clinches Two Awards at the World Travel Awards, Africa


The award was presented at a glittering award ceremony attended by eminent industry leaders and VIPs from across Africa at the World Travel Awards Africa 2017, Annual Gala at Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda, October 12, 2017/ -- Kigali Marriott Hotel (www.KigaliMarriott.com) was recognized as Rwanda’s Leading Business Hotel and Rwanda’s Leading City Hotel at the prestigious World Travel Awards, Africa 2017. The award was presented at a glittering award ceremony attended by eminent industry leaders and VIPs from across Africa at the World Travel Awards Africa 2017, Annual Gala at Kigali, Rwanda. Voted by travel and tourism professionals worldwide, this accolade underpins the hotel’s commitment to excellence and recognizes the commendable achievement of the hotel within its very first year of opening.

According to Rex Nijhof General Manager Kigali Marriott Hotel, “We are truly honored to win this coveted award and be recognized for our efforts to create experiences that meet the needs of the modern traveler. We remain committed to enabling our guests to think differently when they travel by offering aesthetically inspiring spaces, and forward thinking experiences that spark their creativity together with the acclaimed Marriott service.”

World Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. Regarded as one of the highest accolades in the travel and tourism industry today, the selection process for these awards consists of public voting as well as recommendations by professionals from travel, tourism and hospitality industry worldwide.

Conveniently situated along KN3 Avenue in the city center, near the financial district and Kigali City Hall, Kigali Marriott Hotel provides a luxurious home away from home for business and leisure travelers. The hotel offers 254 spacious and elegantly appointed rooms including 25 suites, an executive club lounge and over 11,000 square feet of flexible event space with 10 meeting rooms. The hotel also offers an array of dining options from the all-day dining Soko, to Italian specialty restaurant Cucina and the Iriba Bar and Terrace. Recreational facilities include an outdoor pool, fitness center, Saray Spa, and gift shops.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

ANJET confirms speakers for inaugural Tourism Summit 2017


Speakers have now been confirmed for the inaugural edition of the Tourism Summit 2017 organised by the umbrella body of travel writers in the country, the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET), in partnership with the Southern Sun Hotel Ikoyi, Lagos.

 A statement by the body said the summit slated for November 2 at the expansive Ikoyi-based hospitality establishment on Alfred Rewane Road, is part of activities marking the World Tourism Day (WTD), that was celebrated globally last September 27.

 While Chief Executive Officer of CELTRON Nigeria Limited, Dapo Adelagan has been lined up to deliver the keynote address on the theme of the seminar, which is: ‘Tourism – A tool for Sustainable Development,’ same as the UNWTO’s WTD global theme.

The other speakers include: Kofo Adeleke of the Community Conservation Development Initiative (CDDI), Dr. Olatunji Babatola of the Department of Geography, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba.

The Chief Executive Officer of media and public relations firm, Chain Reactions, Israel Opayemi, completes the roll call of distinguished speakers at the Tourism Summit 2017. 

According to ANJET, the summit is part of its commitment towards broadening discourse on the Nigeria tourism agenda, its potential as well as challenges, just as it also added that as a major stakeholder, its ‘responsibility transcends reporting the industry.’

“We lend our voice to issues bordering on the development and promotion of the sector which is essentially why we have also created different platforms in the course of the year to engage with both the private and public sector operators on ways to drive growth and progress in the industry.

 “Hence we annually organise event around the WTD, but this year we have decided to make the celebration much bigger by partnering with the Southern Sun Ikoyi, which is one of the leading international hotel brands in Nigeria as well as other stakeholders in the industry, including the government agencies which are expected to support this initiative in different ways,” read the statement.

 Notable figures expected to grace the epoch-making event include: The Minister of Culture and Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Lagos State Acting Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Adebimpe Akinsola, the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, the Director General, Nigeria Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun.

 Others include: The President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Alhaji Saleh Rabo, the President of the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, and that of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bankole Bernard as well as students, members of the Diplomatic Corps, media practitioners, and a host of other dignitaries from the private and public sector organisations in the country.

 The one day seminar would also feature a host of other related activities such as arts and craft exhibition, music, dance drama, spoken word presentations, selected to showcase products that make Nigeria tourism unique.

ANJET is an organisation, which has been in existence in Nigeria for about three decades and is an affiliate of the global body, FIJET and a member of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN).

It is devoted to the development, promotion and marketing of Nigeria tourism through its various activities, which also include advocacy, education, enlightenment, setting of agenda and creating networks and rallying operators to brainstorm on issues affecting the industry.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Conspiracy theory trails Ogba Zoo invasion


Conspiracy theory trails Ogba Zoo invasion  

Conspiracy theories have continued to trail last Sunday’s deadly attack on the Ogba Zoo and Nature Park in Benin, Edo State, culminating in the death of security operatives and the abduction of the facility’s Chief Executive Office/Managing Director, Dr. Andy Osa Ehanire, tourism experts have expressed worry that the problem of insecurity which had plagued tourists destination in the northern regions of the country have now become a cause for concern to sites in the south.

It would be recalled that gunmen reportedly attacked the iconic Ogba Zoo and Nature Park in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, during the peak hours of tourists’ activities, leaving three policemen attached to the Edo Police Command dead with the whereabouts of Ehanire still unknown but presumably abducted by the attackers.

The policemen who were posted to provide security for fun seekers died in the ensuing surprise attack even as they also lost their service rifles to the assailants who also allegedly abducted Ehanire in the process.

 

Spokesman of the Edo Police Command, DSP Moses Nkombe, who confirmed the killings and abduction on the phone, said that the attackers would soon be brought to book as security had been beefed up in the area, just as he assured members of the public that the park is safe for fun seekers.

 

State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has since condemned the attack saying he would soon meet President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to restructure the Edo Police Command so as to strengthen the state’s security situation.

 

The governor, while describing the incident as unfortunate, said that Edo has not had such situation for a long time.

 

“As we move toward the end of the year, this kind of occurrence is not unusual, but we have taken necessary steps to stop such,” Obaseki said.

 

Similarly, the Federal Government in condemning the attack and kidnapping of Ehanire, described it as ‘saddening, condemnable and most unfortunate.’

 

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the government’s position known,  said, in a statement that the attack on one of the country’s foremost tourist destinations was a big blow to ongoing efforts to lift the tourism sector in the country.

 

”The success or failure of a tourism destination depends largely on a safe and secure environment. Incidences such as the attack on the Ogba Zoo and Nature Park therefore negate the concept of tourism as well as government’s determination to develop our tourism industry as a tool for socio-economic development.

 

”The killing of the three policemen attached to the zoo to provide security for fun seekers, the abduction of the zoo boss and the trauma suffered by the visitors who witnessed the attack are saddening, condemnable and most unfortunate,” he said.

 

Also, the umbrella body of travel and tourism operators, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) strongly condemned the incident, as the body, in a statement by its President, Alhaji Saleh Rabo described it ‘as a sad development for the Nigerian tourism industry and a major set-back for the little gains made by the Nigerian tourism industry.’

 

“I find it difficult and unacceptable that such a thing should happen at a tourist site in the country.  The kidnap of Ehanire at the Ogba zoological garden is a serious set-back for the tourism industry.  We are putting in efforts to promote local tourist sites and also promote our sites and destinations as safe to visit. Ehanire has contributed so much to this industry and is at the forefront of the drive to develop it and make tourism a major income earner for the country. It is unfortunate that he would now fall victim of kidnap.  It is important for the Nigerian tourism industry that Ehanire is safely released back to his family.

 

“We are appealing to his captors to immediately release him and also call on the Edo State government to leave no stone unturned to ffect the release of Ehanire,” FTAN said.

 

The operators also called on the government to increase security at tourism sites to avoid such occurrence in the future: “Tourism is big business and cannot flourish under insecurity. All tiers of government should ensure that our sites are safe and secured. This is the only way they could attract visitors as no tourist would like to go to any site that is unsafe.”

 

However, Oracle Today notes that the abducted Ehanire has for decades been involved in a running battle with highly-placed indigenes of the state who had engaged others from communities surrounding the zoo in destroying and encroaching on the nature park.

 

The battle by the zoo’s management which has also reached the court as the management had sought its intervention in checking alleged land-grabbing moves by indigenes, communities and other interested parties, only recently in June attracted the attention of the state governor, Obaseki, who granted the management team audience following a desperate appeal to his office.

 

At the June meeting, Ehanire in company of the Chairman of Ogba Zoo Board, Prof. (Chief) EU Emovon had urged Governor Obaseki to quickly set up a panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the loss of nearly 70 per cent of the company’s land to land grabbers.

 

 “We seek the intervention of His Excellency the Governor of Edo State, to set up a special investigative panel to look into the destruction of the Zoo Staff quarters and the conversion of the land for private development, in violation of a subsisting Arbitration judgement.

 

“This investigation should naturally extend to the scandalous incursions and destruction of nearly 70 per cent of the zoo, since we currently hold the unenviable record of being the most vandalized Zoo in Nigeria. We have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Governor to do justice to these disturbing issues plaguing Ogba Zoo, as only a panel set up by the Governor can guarantee neutrality, rather than the intended investigation by the House of Assembly,” said Ehanire.

 

Following that meeting, Obaseki immediately acceded to the appeal of the Zoo’s management with the setting up of an investigative committee to look into these complaints and charged with making recommendations within six weeks.

 

Many believe that the Obaseki panel may have indicted the highly-placed Edo indigenes, some of who, according to Ehanire, are lawmakers at the state House of Assembly.

 

It would be recalled that in the same June also, the Ogba Zoo management raised an alarm over moves by the state House of Assembly members to set up a probe over allegations it levelled against the zoo of trading in animals kept in its custody, an accusation the management denied citing ‘spurious petition that had neither been verified nor investigated.’

 

“It was alleged in the so-called petition that the Zoo animals had all been traded off and that the Zoo is now worse off from our management intervention, so much so that we are to be subjected to an investigation. Gentlemen of the Press, these grave allegations were the subject of a sensational Press coverage in the House that we see as an attack on the reputation of the Zoo and its Management, especially when the allegations had not received preliminary or even a cursory verification.

 

“It was expected that at the receipt of such a petition, the Honourable House would seek to bring such to the attention of the Zoo Management, being partners in progress, since the Zoo is a foremost tourism asset of the State, as well as a conservation heritage. We would have expected that the Honourable House would have even brought the petition to the State’s Ministry of Environment that has competency as a regulatory authority over the Zoo. We would have expected to be invited by the appropriate Committee of the House in charge of Tourism or Environment to underscore a latent consummation of liaison and synergy.

 

“We were not accorded any of these privileges stated above or even the benefit of doubt, but these disturbing issues were thrown into the public domain to the effect of misleading the public as to the State’s tourism standing and creating a negative or perverted image that has caused severe harm to the Zoo, its Management and its clientele. Schools on excursion, as well as other visitors come daily from as far as Delta , Bayelsa, Anambra, Ondo and Kogi States, on account of this facility that provides conservation education and recreation to children, scholars, our teeming youths and those of all ages; so such negative signal being put out in the public domain will unwittingly dissuade them from this important tourism circuit, thus causing further stress to the economy of Edo State,” said Ehanire at the press meeting in Benin.

 

Continuing, Ehanire said: We are actually in damage control mode, since a public facility like the Zoo is always open for easy verification and confirmation if there is any disappearance of lions or other species. As a privately managed Zoo that was rescued by us after it had suffered prolonged atrophy and extensive decay under Government, we can at least reveal that all the physical improvements and animal collections in the Zoo now are all from private efforts and not what can be brought under any charge of misappropriation or mismanagement of any kind.

 

“It is rather uncanny that the Zoo Management only recently brought a Court action against some principal officers of the House of Assembly in their private capacities for the destruction and conversion of six (6) blocks of Zoo staff quarters and taking over the land for their private developments. This charge against the Zoo Management, coming from the House so soon after we initiated this Court action, gives the impression that it is designed to intimidate the Zoo Management and dissuade it from pursuing a legitimate legal action in the public interest.

 

“Perhaps, the honourable Members are not aware that the Zoo recently won an Arbitration judgement, in which the same Zoo quarters is amongst the reliefs granted to the Zoo Management, in the overriding consideration that since the inception of the Zoo, the quarters served the purpose of providing critical accommodation for Zoo staff in close proximity to the Zoo, in the interest of public safety concerns. It is rather unfortunate, therefore, that soldiers were used to chase away the occupants of these quarters and the buildings were summarily demolished one month after the Arbitration judgement.

 

“It is a common charge we make that zoos lack institutional support in this clime, as the Ogba Zoo has been thoroughly vandalized by land grabbers in recent years and we have not received any solution from this honourable House. Rather, this House spent more than three years (2012 -2015) investigating the demolition of some illegal structures on the Zoo land and at the end of it all, the Zoo lost almost 70% of its entire expanse to land grabbers, only for some of its Members to be found to be complicit in the very same act,” he added.

 

According to Ehanire, the Ogba Zoo, as a privately managed facility, was ‘rescued by us after it had suffered prolonged atrophy and extensive decay under Government, we can at least reveal that all the physical improvements and animal collections in the Zoo now are all from private efforts and not what can be brought under any charge of misappropriation or mismanagement of any kind.’

 

On his frustration with the lawmakers over the problem of land-grabbers, Ehanire,  said: “It is a common charge we make that zoos lack institutional support in this clime, as the Ogba Zoo has been thoroughly vandalized by land grabbers in recent years and we have not received any solution from this honourable House. Rather, this House spent more than three years (2012 -2015) investigating the demolition of some illegal structures on the Zoo land and at the end of it all, the Zoo lost almost 70per cent of its entire expanse to land grabbers, only for some of its Members to be found to be complicit in the very same act.”

 

The popular Ogba Zoo which was designed and developed in the early seventies by then military Administrator, late Brig. General S. O. Ogbemudia, was an extensive biological garden, with potential for resort development. In tandem with the ambitious and iconic scale of Ogbemudia’s drive and vision for the defunct Midwest Region, later Bendel State, and now Edo / Delta States, Ogba Zoo was at par, or even surpassed most of its kind, both far and near.

 

However, soon after Ogbemudia’s regime, Ogba Zoo suffered a long era of decline and eventual collapse, spanning the late eighties and nineties. 

 

“It must be understood that the decline and neglect of any zoo is always horrible, since without a proper winding-down procedure, the animals suffered neglect and deprivations akin to torture. It is instructive that the treatment of wildlife in any society can be likened to the barometer for measuring the level of its humanity, hence the circumstances of the collapse of Ogba Zoo, or any of such therefore, would amount to criminal neglect in humane or civilized societies.

 

“Nevertheless, Ogba Zoo experienced a painful rebirth through our rescue mission, which was purely self-financing, with no support from Government. On the contrary, it is the nature of the Lease Agreement that our private sector led eco-tourism outfit pays rents to Government. But as challenging as reviving a dormant zoo was, there were other hidden challenges that can hardly be imagined in a sane society.

 

“It started as a minor incursion by community land grabbers into the zoo land, until it was aided by official government instruments in the form of a gazette. Even with Government claiming, soon after, that it committed an error in issuing such gazette, the errant instrument has not been repealed for more than ten years running, but left to serve as a license for unlimited plunder of a foremost tourism heritage of the State.

 

“All these years of battling the encroachment on the Zoo, our private-sector led management was as good as left to solely tackle the growing menace unaided. With little or no response to dozens of memos crying for speedy deployment of Government machinery to dislodge and prosecute offenders, the area encroached upon grew from about 10% of the zoo land that was purportedly ceded by the gazette, to more than 60 per cent of the entire Zoo.

 

“It was like a horror movie to see bulldozers levelling priceless forestry in this pristine Conservation heritage that had been a classic urban forest rarely found anywhere in the world. It is a sad commentary that these last three years (2014 to 2016) have seen the greatest devastation of the zoo, even when the then Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, would be making pronouncements as to immediate Government intervention. While not tolerating any nonsense in other areas, all the administrative machineries of his Government was appearing helpless in the face of the onslaught on Ogba Zoo.

 

“It eventually dawned on me that I had been encircled by a mammoth conspiracy and therefore published a series of open letters to the Comrade Governor calling for an administrative or judicial inquiry, but all to no avail. It also became evident that a cabal was bent on sharing most of the zoo land without any official Government process but the diabolical ploy of community youths and thugs as alibi.

 

“The sum effect was to create widespread but dangerous impression in the area that Government had acquiesced to sharing the zoo land, but that we were the only one standing in the way. It was also painfully obvious that the security situation had long degenerated, with threats and suspicions of ecological terrorism becoming a constant nightmare, yet our pleas for police protection went unheeded. It was rather intended to intimidate. than merely to inform, when some Government officials hurried to say that an infamous Government political appointee and other cultists were amongst those carrying on with illegal development on the Zoo. Fingers also pointed at House of Assembly Committee members, who were assigned to look into the issues, but spent over three years purporting to be engaging community agents without any new position on the matter, after an initial one had declared that the encroachment was illegal and unacceptable, as far back as year 2011. Meanwhile, all these were happening at the time of the worst incursions and impunities, making it all an uncanny coincidence. 

 

We finally had recourse to an Arbitration process in order to encapsulate the issues in proper legal perspectives. It is disheartening that even while the Arbitration was ongoing and up till the Award was published in January this year, various levels of devastation were still being unleashed on the Zoo and its assets. For example, even after the Arbitrating ruling, a six block staff quarters meant to keep critical staffers resident in close proximity to the Zoo were bulldozed and the place is already shared to powerful individuals who are hurrying to develop their own piece of the loot. A purpose-built lion enclosure in the middle of the encroached land was also bulldozed only last month (April) and the foundation of a mansion is coming up on the premises. The case of the Zoo staff quarters that have now been demolished is of particular interest since it was part of the specific provisions in the Arbitration Award requiring it to be dedicated for the use of the Zoo. Coming from this brutal experience, we now have a new Governor who is most likely to take a decisive approach to save the Zoo from the grips of brigandage and anarchy.

 

“But then, there is a stranger element and a very sad feeling that some of those involved in perpetrating these atrocities on Ogba Zoo may have taken prominent roles and positions at the elaborate ceremonies to mark the exit of the revered Brig. Gen. S. O. Ogbemudia, while destroying his legacies even while he was alive. We do pray that the forces of light will prevail over those of darkness in this nascent and very promising Administration of Governor Obaseki,” narrated Ehanire to Oracle Today, adding: “My role in the rescue and resuscitation of Ogba Zoo has evolved from just its management, to that of an activist, since the Zoo Association (NAZAP), of which I am National Secretary, is aimed at the pioneering mission of bringing sanity to all the Zoos across the Nigeria.”

Thursday, September 28, 2017

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina receives accolade of highest honour from the Republic of Niger





The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has been bestowed with the Grand Officer in the Order of Merit of the Republic of Niger  by the President of the Republic, Issoufou Mahamadou, during a gala dinner hosted by Nigerien Prime Minister Brigi Rafini at the Gaweye Hotel in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
The award was bestowed on the AfDB President during a two-day official visit to the Sahelian country.
“I am both surprised and very touched by the honor you have given me. I ask you to convey to his Excellency the President of the Republic my deepest thanks,” said the President of the premier African financial institution before an audience of members of the Government, high-ranking accredited ambassadors and diplomatic staff, the Bank’s Executive Director to Niger, Martine Mabiala, and the AfDB Director General for West Africa, Janvier Litse.
The award was in recognition of Adesina's visible and tireless commitment to the rapid economic development of the African continent through the implementation of the Bank's priorities as set out in the High 5s: Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.
"These High 5 priorities are in line with Niger's development priorities," said the Nigerien President, after listing them in front of the AfDB President during an audience earlier the same day at the Presidential Palace in Niamey.
"The African Development Bank will continue to finance many other projects in Niger, particularly in agriculture and energy," said Adesina.
Since December 17, 1970, the African Development Bank has been actively involved with Niger in a variety of projects, with a total funding amounting to US $1.4 billion as of August 31, 2017, (nearly 840 billion CFA francs) largely for rural development.
The Bank's active portfolio in Niger comprises 15 projects totaling US $510 million, distributed as follows: 44% in rural development, 20% in transport, 14% in multi-sectoral projects, 12% in water and sanitation, and 10% in the social sector.

AfDB joins international community in supporting sustainable tourism development in Africa



This World Tourism Day, September 27, 2017, the African Development Bank has called for collaborative actions from all stakeholders for sustainable tourism development in Africa. The Bank recognizes that Africa’s tourism and travel industry can serve as an engine of progress for socioeconomic transformation.
The United Nations’ World Tourism Day, with the theme ‘Sustainable Tourism − a Tool for Development’, presents a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the contribution of sustainable tourism among public and private sector decision-makers and the international community.
In addition to its investments in tourism infrastructure (ports, airports, roads and rail, among others), the AfDB is promoting the creative and cultural industries to diversify the economic base of African countries and attract tourism. 
The Bank has, through various initiatives, given tourism development a new focus.
Through its Fashionomics Africa initiative, the AfDB is supporting the development of creative industries that utilize local products, especially cotton, in Africa. The Bank’s Food Cuisine Africa platform connects key players and newcomers in the food industry in Africa.
Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week, stressed how the fashion industry fuels sustainable tourism.
“Fashion weeks [fashion industry events] generate considerable foot traffic for cities like Lagos, which hosts the annual Lagos Fashion and Design Week. But there needs to be a deliberate attempt on the part of African governments to tap into the potential that fashion has to grow the tourism industry,” Akerele said.
AfDB’s Visa Openness Index measures how open African countries are when it comes to visas by looking at what they ask of citizens from other countries in Africa when they travel.
Visa openness blends with AfDB’s ‘Integrate Africa’ agenda, which seeks to make Africa more open, prosperous and interconnected.
After adopting a visa-on-arrival policy, Rwanda witnessed a 22% annual increase in the number of tourism arrivals for meetings, conferences and events. Many visitors in turn have become investors in the country.
“Of course, visa openness is not the solution to all problems, structural aspects such as the size of the market, infrastructure connectivity, and purchasing power are as important. Visa openness is really a quick-win,” said Jean-Guy Afrika, Principal Policy Expert at the AfDB.
The 2017 Africa Tourism Monitor – an annual research publication by the African Development Bank in collaboration with New York University Africa House and the Africa Travel Association – highlights the importance of developing a sustainable and resilient tourism industry through innovation, entrepreneurship and technology.
The AfDB has for many years highlighted infrastructure development as one of its focal priorities to facilitate accessibility and trade across the continent.
The Bank is also supporting the construction of a new terminal at Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport. The project is expected to make the country a destination of choice with a yearly target of 5 million passengers.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cross River targets million tourists

The Cross River state government has restated its avowed commitment to attract one million tourist to the state yearly.

Mr Clement Umina ,Managing Director, of Cross River State Tourism Bureau, made this known on Wednesday during the World Tourism Day celebration in Calabar.

Umina said that the Cross River sate is poised to making sure that one million visitors state with view to generating 1.7 billion naira yearly from the tourism sector.

His words: " From our findings ,we know that if a visitor stays in the state for two nights he or she will spend close to 34,000 naira and when this multiplied by one million tourists which is our target we can generate about 34 billion naira and when the five percent is released to the state as me levy we have about 1.7billion naira"

"We want to use this works tourism day celebration to launch the campaign on " No Standard ,No Tourism" whereby tourists who are coming to Cross River will enjoy value for thier money becuase our target is to market a destination that tourists will love to repeatedly visit and also get quality service delivery"

" It is quite unfortunate that we don't have up to 50 hotels and hospitality outfits who are duly licensed but we are determined to make the sector which is the highest employer of labour to become more viable" 

 

Also speaking ,the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism,Eric Anderson said that Cross River state defines tourism.

According to him: "Being a tourism capital of the nation ,the Ayade adminstration has embroided our tourism with the campaign of enterprise as a spirit for development and this has paved way for great tourism innovation"

He said innovations like Calasvegas,Yatch clubwater games,Carnival monrail amongst others are ways to attracts more people to the destination 

His words : "Tourism is an important tool for growth has factored in UN concept of sustainable development; sustainable tourism is therefore an integration of developmental element meaning that it must be responsible and not destructive,this is the path the state is towing" 

"As a government we are determined to adopt appropriate policies that will boost the tourism sector of the state " he stated,he stated.

PROTEA HOTELS BY MARRIOTT STRENGTHENS FOOTPRINT IN NIGERIA

 

 Protea Hotels by Marriott, part of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR), today announced the opening of Protea Hotel by Marriott, Owerri Select in South-Eastern Nigeria, a development, which further consolidates its presence in the country.

 

The 90-room hotel, developed by African Capital Alliance, a leading investment firm, and Kunoch Limited, is located in Owerri city, the capital of Imo State. ‎ Imo State is commonly referred to as the “Heartland” and is regarded as the entertainment capital of Eastern Nigeria. The state is also a producer of oil and natural gas and is home to a large number of regional oil and financial services offices.  

 

Commenting on the opening of the hotel, Mr. Volker Heiden, Vice President Protea Hotels by Marriott, Marriott International said: “The opening of Protea Hotel by Marriott, Owerri Select, illustrates our confidence in the potential of Nigeria and is in line with our commitment to grow in strategic secondary cities across the continent. The recent expansion of the city’s airport, will give the city better accessibility, which we are confident will further drive business travel.”

 

Mr. Obiora Nwogugu, Principal and Head of Real Estate at African Capital Alliance added, “This new hotel is an important addition to the hotels we already own in the cities of Lagos and Benin in Nigeria, and Takoradi in Ghana. We are pleased to partner yet again with Protea Hotels by Marriott, which enjoys strong regional brand equity and awareness coupled with the global distribution of Marriott International.”

 

Described as ‘the continent of opportunity for the 21st century’, Africa continues to be an attractive investment proposition for many global corporates including the hotel industry. Marriott International, a leading hotel operator on the continent, currently operates over 140 hotels in 20 countries and is targeting a projected growth by 2022 of over 200 Hotels with more than 36,000 rooms across operating and pipeline hotels.

 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Proposed NTDC bill ‘vexatious, lacks capacity’ -- ANJET

 
Travel and tourism writers in the country have described the proposed  Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Act Cap N137 LFN, 2004 (Repeal Re-enactment) Bill, 2017 (SB.429),which came up for public hearing on the floor of the senate, last week, as ‘confusing, vexatious and lacks the capacity and sincerity of purpose.’
 
In a statement, released Monday, the group under the auspices of the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Editors of Tourism (ANJET) cited contentious provisions concerning the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and Tourism Development Levy (TDL) in the proposed bill as an indication of the fact that ‘NTDC wants to muzzle everyone in the country, including corporate businesses and tourists, which among others it is proposing to pull money from.’
 
It would be recalled that the NTDC had proposed a bill before the National Assembly in which it sought to repeal the original but controversial act which established it in 1992 as well as insert new provisions into a new law that empowers it to, among others control and expand funding sources for the corporation.
 
However, stakeholders in the industry have picked holes in the proposed bill even as they have also mounted criticisms against the document with the umbrella body of travel and tourism operators, the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) presenting its own dissenting position paper at the August 9 hearing.
 
“Other critical and vexatious provisions in the bill include the sections on Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and Tourism Development Levy (TDL). These two put together, clearly shows that NTDC wants to muzzle everyone in the country, including corporate businesses and tourists, which among others it is proposing to pull money from.
 
Chairman Senate Committee on Tourism, Mathew Uhrohide, with Tourism Minister, Lai Muhammed
 
 
“Other than the fact that NTDC don’t have such powers, it also lacks the capacity and sincerity of purpose to do so and administer these funds in a transparent manner and more importantly, it is way of denying the private sector the opportunity to muster funds on their own for their businesses.
 
“The two provisions are confusing and go against the grains of the TDF and TDL provisions and recently the Tourism Development Bank (TDB), which the private sector operators have been clamouring for and which was later approved by the Federal Government and even contained in the National Tourism Master plan provisions, which was recently reviewed by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
 
“Beside these, there are other areas of ambiguities, which make NTDC a busybody in other areas and tend to confer on it powers and functions outside it and for which it lacks the structure and capacities to carry out. For instance, the provision for the establishment for a tour company, which though is not new but for the addition of ‘to operate tour services within and outside Nigeria,’ is in total negation of its primary duties, which is to promote domestic tourism and inbound and not outbound tours,” ANJET said in the statement.
 
Continuing, ANJET said: “No country national tourism agency seeks to promote outbound tours as being proposed by NTDC bill but inbound. By this provision, which FTAN and its member association, Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), have opposed because it tends to take away their businesses by the corporation setting itself in direct competition with the people which the corporation had pledged to protect, promote and boost their operations, but clearly shows that those currently at the helm of affairs at NTDC, lack total understanding of what their role should be and therefore, should be flushed out of the place before they set the gear of tourism in reverse mode.”
 
ANJET, while flaying the proposed bill as defective, as it alienates the NTDC from the body of travel and tourism operators in the country, said the bill made no attempt to locate NTDC under any ministry as it is the case with other ministries, agencies and agencies of government (MDAs).
 
“Another issue that totally shows how defective the bill is, is the fact that NTDC is seeking to make itself an orphan in the Nigerian environment, because the bill does not locate NTDC under any ministry as it is the case with government parastatals. At present, the corporation is under the Ministry of Information and Culture but nowhere under this new bill was the ministry mentioned or even Ministry of Tourism which is being clamoured for by the Senate itself, except the bland reference to a ‘minister.’”

The travel and tourism writers, therefore, advised the senate to avoid passing the proposed bill in its original form ‘to avoid the imminent doom and implosion in tourism.’
 
“The Senate committee should rise to the occasion by doing the needful. That means, it needs to properly scruntise the document, the various summations during the public hearing, the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended, the ruling of the Supreme Court of 2013 on the matter of tourism and the extant laws of NTDC 1992,” it said.
 
Also remarking, immediate past president of FTAN and chairman of its Board of Trustees, Samuel Alabi, who is also a legal practitioner, described the proposed NTDC bill said as an ‘illegality.’
 
‘‘It appears the drafters of the bill are not aware of the import of the Supreme Court judicial pronouncement on the status of tourism in the 1999 constitution as amended. By the Supreme Court decision, tourism has been held to be a residual matter, and therefore, only state Houses of Assembly could validly legislate on it.
 
‘‘It is laughable that what the Supreme Court had dismantled in 2013 on the basis of the 1999 constitution is now been reassembled by the Senate without first amending the relevant 1999 constitution. It is like reinventing the will, pure and simple,’’ said the Legal Adviser of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos.
 
Similarly, in its rejoinder to the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Act Cap N137 LFN, 2004 (Repeal Re-enactment) Bill, 2017 (SB.429), the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), also contested amendments sought by the corporation.
 
The FTAN in its own position paper presented on the floor of the Senate by its President, Alhaji Rabo Saleh Kareem, faulted Section 4 (c) Membership of the Governing Board; Section 15 (c) Functions of the Corporation; Section 15 (d) Functions of the Corporation; Section 16 (f) – Functions of the Corporation (continued);
 
Other contentious portions of the proposed bill, according to FTAN, include: Section 18 – Establishment of a Tour Operating Company; Section 22 (f) and (g) Funds of the Corporation; Section 26 & 28 – Establishment and object of Tourism Development Fund; Section 29 – Tourism Development levy, which the association must be expunged from the proposed bill.
 
Particularly for  Section 29, titled; ‘Tourism Development levy’, FTAN said the ‘entire prayers sought for inserting this section and clauses into the amendment are ill conceived and would make the Levy inoperable on ground, more so there would be no transparency in the processes.’
 
According to FTAN, “Tourism Development levy should be collected on the site where it is applicable by the operators and immediately paid into the bank accounts of Tourism Development Fund. Tourism Development levy should be the primary source of funding for the Tourism Development Fund.”
 
Also, commenting on the document, a tourism expert, Dr. Franklin. J. Adejuwon, advised that the bill should treat the NTDC as a regulatory and supervisory agency of government and ‘not an autocratic organization that would begin conflicting with Minister’s powers or encroaching on the rights of the people,’ adding further that ‘tourism is entirely based on human relations and influence. The bill must therefore attend to these tendencies in its contents.’
 
Adejuwon chaired the Presidential Committee which drafted the original National Tourism Masterplan that was adopted by the former President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s administration and launched by Chief Adetokunbo Kayode as then Minister of Tourism and National Orientation.
 
Continuing, Adejuwon said: “The proposed bill should limit the cooperation to giving guidelines only and follow up with state governments to operate within the guidelines. We should remember when a situation is within the concurrent list, state governments have direct powers to do and undo. There cannot be any imposition of powers by federal government in this aspect. Inspectors can only operate through state organisations responsible for tourism. Let us avoid building an empire for NTDC at the expense of poor people who wish to earn a living and provide jobs for other people by investing in the industry.”

Thursday, August 10, 2017

CNN Stephanie Busari Is Moderator At Luxury Lifestyle Summit


TOPCOMM PR and The Luxury Reporter, organisers of The Luxury Lifestyle Summit have confirmed CNN Africa Editor, Stephanie Busari as the moderator of the panel discussions at the inaugural Summit billed to take place on September 06 and 07 2017 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
Stephanie Busari is coming with her wealth of experience working for CNN, the most viewed international news network in Africa. She will be engaging panelists on various issues on the Nigerian and generally African luxury sector.
According to Busari: "The luxury sector in Nigeria is fast growing and it is important to have a conversation about how the industry can scale and grow. I think the Luxury Lifestyle Summit will have some very interesting talking points and I am looking forward to engaging the panelists at the Summit.”
With the theme of the summit, Digital Inside - Get Wired to Deliver the Ultimate Luxury Experience, panellists from different sectors of the luxury market will discuss relevant topics aimed at creating important discourse to improve the luxury brands and promote consumption of the Nigeria luxury market.
Earlier, Paul Andrew, Founder and Chief Responsibility Officer, African Wealth Report, a research and intelligence publication of Blackpace Africa has been confirmed to spearhead the array of other notable speakers to discuss key issues affecting the growth and development of the Nigerian luxury industry.
With over two decades of global investments and wealth advisory experiences, Andrew who is based in Geneva, Switzerland, brings an exceptional knowledge of African and global luxury practice to The Luxury Lifestyle Summit in Lagos.
Also, Daniel Weihrauch, CEO of Lions&Gazelles and RAIN’s group consulting partner for Middle East and Africa, will be speaking at the summit. The German born global traveller, will bring his wealth of experience in the luxury hospitality industry to the summit.
Other speakers confirmed for the summit include: Oliver Williams, CEO, Firebreak Group and a founding member of Wealth Insight, a leading wealth consultancy advising clients in over 15 countries; and Funmi Onajide, Founder, Regalo African Luxury Store, a concept store which stocks high end leather goods, tea range among others sourced from Africa will also be speaking at the Luxury Lifestyle Summit in Lagos.
The summit will provide a veritable platform for diverse retailers of jewellery, beauty, motor, watches, private equity, investment Banking, private banking, investment / asset management, architecture, travel companies, luxury Hotels, luxury Event Management companies, luxury service providers, airlines and others to showcase their products and discuss how to maximise the online market.
Other discussants at the summit include: Mr. Abiona Babarinde, Group General Manager, Marketing and Communications, Coscharis, Mrs. Kavita Chellarams, CEO, Arthouse Contemporary, Mr. Ejiro Onobrakpeya, expert in African art, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, KPMG, Mr. Kayode Kasunmu, the Executive Director, Beauty Bar and Essenza who has been a player in the Luxury Industry in Nigeria for over 30 years.
The summit is the brainchild of The Luxury Reporter, publisher of the e-magazine, TLR in partnership with TOPCOMM PR Concept & Events, an integrated marketing communication and events management company with sponsorships from Balmoral, African Wealth Report, BlackPace, Lions&Gazelles, Regalo African Luxury, FireBreak Group, Access Bank, Sun International, Delta Air Lines, South African Airways, GHI Assets and Emirates Holidays.





World Tourism Day 2017 celebrated on the theme Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development


This year’s World Tourism Day, held on 27 September, will be focused on Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development. Celebrated in line with the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Day will be dedicated to exploring the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
World Tourism Day has been celebrated since 1980 on September 27, the day in which the Statutes of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) entered into force. Peace and Dialogue, Energy, Accessibility, World Heritage and Water and Tourism have been some of the topics tackled on the 37 previous editions of World Tourism Day.


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“Last year alone, 1.235 million travellers crossed international borders in one single year. By 2030, this 1.2 billion will become 1.8 billion. The question, as we celebrate World Tourism Day 2017, is how we can enable this powerful global transformative force, these 1.8 billion opportunities, to contribute to make this world a better place and to advance sustainable development in all its three pillars. This World Tourism Day, whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to respect nature, respect culture and respect your host,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
The official celebrations of World Tourism Day 2017 will be held in Qatar, as decided by the UNWTO General Assembly.
The event will be structured around two sessions, focused on ‘Tourism as a driver of economic growth’, and ‘Tourism and the Planet: committed to a greener future’. In addition, a high-level think tank will be conducted with the aim of opening the debate on the potential of the sector to enhance cultural preservation and mutual understanding.
On the Agenda will also be the presentation of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy, which advances sustainable approaches.

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The initiative is aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030, which focuses on Economic, Social and Human Development and prioritizes tourism as a catalyst to progress towards a more diversified economy.

Monday, August 7, 2017

There are many ways to boost domestic tourism – Coker

There are many ways to boost domestic tourism – Coker
…to repackage Oct. 1 celebration
ABUJA – The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Folorunsho Coker has said that there are many ways to promote tourism sector with little government resources through collaboration of public and private sectors.
To this end, he said they are working assiduously to ensure a complete repackage of the October 1 Independent Day Celebration to boost domestic tourism in the country.
Coker stated this at Delphino Picnic tagged; ‘Spreading Happiness’, organised in collaboration with the NTDC, in Abuja.
The Berger Shooting Range close to Jabi Lake (venue of the picnic), which had been all this while an exclusive of the ‘high class people’ in Abuja, came alive as social class that had been the barrier of accessing the park was stripped just with N2000 gate fees.
Music of various lyrics, sports and other extracurricular activities were at different spots going on at the park that was filled to its capacity with both old and young, enjoying different side attractions, as security of the park was never a concern.
The DG, who spoke to Journalists in an ecstatic mood, suggested that having something like Independence Picnic going on simultaneously in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would be a fantastic concept.
“October 1, for instance, what do we do? We have a (military) parade on the day we are celebrating our independency. Now, national day celebration, it is a time, this kind of event should happen in every state, every local government area in Nigeria. No matter how bad it is, there is a reason (for us) to celebrate,” he said.


The DG said the idea would be achieved by “bringing different assets together; music, sports, vendors, stage performance, lights, events planners, etc. it is not something that NTDC must do it, the state government can do it, the local government can do it, anybody can connect to these new values we have, in terms of our cultural heritage, sport, among others.”
Coker maintained that government at the state and local government levels did not need to panic over the paucity of funds, but should rather approach the private sector for partnership to boost the tourism sector at their various levels.
“Do you see any government money here? Nobody is asking state government to spend government money in doing this. What you see here is a government brand ‘Tour Nigeria’ that is promoting domestic tourism that is asking people to come out for their own and have fun together.
“This is about a private sector in partnership with government, driving the consumption of our tourism assets, not about spending government resources,” the DG clarified.
NTDC Boss explained that the Delphino Picnic had been on in Abuja, and that, the corporation just partner with the company to promote domestic tourism in the nation’s capital. “It is just people coming together in public space to enjoy what is abundance in Nigeria.”


In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Delphino Entertainment, Onoja Adole said the event was part of their token to resuscitate domestic tourism in the nation’s capital through entertainment.

Monday, July 31, 2017

FG to rebuild Sukur World Heritage Site destroyed by Boko Haram


The National Commission for Museum and Monuments (NCMM), says it is exploring ways to rebuild the Sukur world heritage site in Adamawa destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.

The Director-General of the commission, Malam Yusuf Usman, who made the disclosure in an interview on Monday in Abuja, said that efforts were also on to address conservation challenges at Osun-Osogbo Grove in Osun State.

“Provisions have been made in the 2017 budget to address the conservation challenges of the Sukur site and Osun-Oshogbo sacred grove. These are both national monuments.

“Secondly, UNESCO has also made provisions for assistance to Nigeria to address these challenges.

“So in the coming weeks, you will see lot of activities around Sukur Cultural Landscape to address those conservation challenges following the attack of Boko Haram insurgents,’’ he said.


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The NCMM boss added that the target was to restore the conservation status of the sites, ensure they attain cresting stage and become well maintained enough to attract tourists.

The director general said he expects other agencies to popularise the Sukur site to attract tourists from across the world.

“Our major concern is maintaining the conservation status of the sites and that is what we want to address.

“We also have plans for tourism development and tourists in case of disaster and so on at the sites,’’ Usman said.

Sukur is a stone-age iron smelting community whose history dated back to the Dur Dynasty in the 17th century.

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The Dur had established a major supply link for raw materials needed for iron manufacture to north eastern Nigeria which continued into the first decade of the 20th century.

UNESCO had designated it a World Heritage Site because of its cultural heritage, material culture and the naturally-terraced fields.

Sukur is the first African cultural landscape to receive heritage list inscription in 1999 at the 23rd Session of UNESCO.

NAN also reports that the landscape is located on the hill above the village of Sukur in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa.


It is situated on the Mandara Mountains close to the border with Cameroon.