Thursday, March 30, 2017


On the 1st of March Ministers from Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles sitting as the Indian Ocean Commission endorsed the Seychelles bid for Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Mauritius, the seat of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) confirmed that decision 23 d) of the Minister's Meeting of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) states that the Commission notes with satisfaction the bid by the Republic of Seychelles to head the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as Secretary General and request the Commission's Secretary General to followup as necessary and to do the needful.

This endorsement is good news for Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Candidate for the position of Secretary General of the UNWTO. The Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands where Tourism Ministers of the islands of the Indian Ocean sit have already endorsed the Seychelles Candidate, but now it was the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Islands of the Indian Ocean (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles) coming together to wish Seychelles well with its bid. 

To be noted is that the Islamic Republic of the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles are all part of the African Union (AU) and Reunion is the French Island in the Indian Ocean.

Alain St.Ange has said that he is thankful to the Governments of Islands of the IOC and salutes the Foreign Affairs Departments of the islands for standing with Seychelles to be SG of the UNWTO.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Role of tourism in reducing poverty discussed at UNWTO Workshop in China

The power of tourism to induce poverty reduction and development constituted the main focus of the UNWTO Workshop held in Guangdong, China. The workshop was conducted under the framework of the agreement signed between UNWTO and the Chimelong Group in 2016 designed to support sustainable tourism and wildlife protection through tourism.
Raising awareness on the relevance of the tourism sector in the reduction of poverty and promoting knowledge sharing on best practices constitute the major objectives of the Workshop for Poverty Reduction and Tourism Development held in Guangdong. The event takes place in a highly relevant momentum as 2017 is celebrated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, a global campaign lead by UNWTO.
"Guangdong, one of the top economic hubs in China, is one of the best examples of what is happening in China in terms of the links between development and tourism and therefore it is a perfect location to conduct this event" said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai.
We sincerely appreciate the agreement with UNWTO that includes a number of initiatives in the field of sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation, which are very much in line with our philosophy ‘Wherever Chimelong goes, the happiness follows’ as our CEO, Su Zhigang highlights,” said Chen Wancheng, President of Guangdong Chimelong Group.
Accounting for 6.3% of GDP, tourism is one of the most important sectors in Guangdong. The province receives more than 300 million domestic tourists annually and around 35 million international tourists.

The workshop included case studies from the UNWTO ST-EP Project Great Himalaya Trail Development Programme, the UNWTO Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories and from activities conducted by Chimelong in the Guangdong Province. Representatives of Provincial Tourist Authorities and Provincial Tourism Organizations, in particular from the Guangdong Province, stakeholders from the private sector and Chinese NGOs attended the event.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Med-View set for flight operations to Dakar, Conakry, Abidjan

Med-View Airline will begin flight operations to Dakar, Conakry and Abidjan on May 19 to ease connectivity in the French-speaking region, its Managing Director, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, said on Thursday.

Bankole made the announcement during at an interactive session with members of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Northern Zone, in Kano.

He said the airline was in Kano to acquaint travel agencies of its plans because they were very important for Med-View operations.

“The airline is also here to discuss with you on how it can have a smooth Hajj operations this year and how to comfort our passengers.

“We want to thank you for your support to Med-View Airline, which celebrated 10 years of Hajj operations in 2016.

“We assure you that we will add value to what we are giving to you because we know you are the king at this point in time and the master of the game,” Bankole said.

The Med-View chief told the agencies to explore the opportunities in the sector to improve their businesses in spite of the economic recession.

He said the current gains being recorded by the Naira against the U.S. Dollar was also a boost for the tour and travel sector.

On the domestic front, Bankole said Med-View Airline had begun flights on March 22 from Lagos to Kano and assured that it would continue to expand its flight operations in the region.

He reiterated that the airline, in December 2016, commenced flight operations from Lagos to Ghana, Sierra Leone and Monrovia.

Bankole said that the airline would soon begin flights to Dubai.

Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi, Vice President, NANTA, Northern Zone, commended the airline for organising the interactive session.

Abdullahi said the interaction had given the agents the opportunity to deliberate on some issues affecting their businesses and proffer solutions to them.

He said travel agents would continue to partner with Med-View Airline to give their best to their clients.

Mile2/Badagry/Seme Border Expressway’s completion to boost tourism,trade by 2019—- Ambode

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Thursday said that the Mile 2/Seme Border Expressway would boost tourism , international trade and commerce among West African countries when completed in 2019.

Ambode said this at the opening of the Badagry Economic Summit held at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Topo, Badagry, Lagos State.

The theme of the summit was, “Unleashing Investment Opportunities Around Historic and Coastal Zones of Epe and Badagry.”

The governor, represented by Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, the Special Adviser on Community Affairs and Development, said that the completion of the road would facilitate trade and boost tourism in and around the ancient city.

“Badagry is a historic city and its strategic location to other West African countries, makes the city to be of great importance to the state.

“With the completion of the Seme/Badagry/Mile 2 Express road, it will help in boosting tourism in the city and it will complement the soon-to-be-built sea port that will be established in the city.

“This will also provide half a million direct and indirect jobs for several youths in Badagry.

“Also, the Marina area of Badagry will be transformed into a leisure and holiday city, and this will attract several tourists from all over the world.

“This administration is committed to developing every part of the state and ensuring that everyone is carried along and no one is left out,” he said.

The governor said that his administration would soon connect communities which had not been connected to the national grid for them to start enjoying uninterrupted power supply.

“For several decades, communities at the Seme area of the city have not had any form of electricity, efforts are now being made to connect them to the national grid.

“Electric poles have been erected, so the connection will soon be completed. The government is committed in ensuring that every part of the state gets equal treatment,” he said.

He commended the organisers of the event and added that the summit would help in improving the lives of people in the ancient city.

Earlier, Mr Ashamu Fadipe, the Managing Director, Badgary Convention and Visitors Agency, said that the essence of the summit was to put Badagry on the global map.

Fadipe, who is also the Chief Organiser of the summit, noted that the event would help in tapping into the full tourism potential of the city.

“We want to ensure that in the next five years, Badagry will become the next Dubai where everyone in the world will want to visit on a regular basis.

“It will also help in creating employment opportunities for the youths as it will create awareness that will help in that aspect,” he said.

Also, Mr Jacob Kestomahun, the Sole administrator, Badagry Local Government, noted that the summit would create awareness on the benefits from investing in Badagry.

Some of the dignitaries that attended the event include: Dr Deji Femi-Pearse, Chairman, Whispering Palms, Iworo, Badagry, the Akran of Badagry, De Wholu Aholu Menu-Toyi 1, Sen. Tokunbo Afikuyomu, a former Commissioner for Tourism, Lagos State, amongst others.

Foreign investors: NIS unviels online Visa on Arrival platform

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the introduction of a
liberalised online Visa on Arrival (VOA) facility to the public, especially foreign investors willing to invest in Nigeria.

The Comptroller-General of the NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, made the announcement on Thursday in Abuja.

Babandede said that‎ the measure was part of the resolution of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) aimed at attracting foreign investors to the country.

“‎As a critical member of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the NIS has automated its visa application and processing services at all entry points.

“This is to ensure that all genuine requests for Visa on Arrival facility from any part of the world are processed and issued within 48 hours (two working days),” he said.

He explained that the‎ online VOA application and processing facility is a product of robust visa reforms regime intended to bring Nigeria in tandem with global best practices and attract Foreign Direct Investors and skilled professionals into the country.

The controller-general said that the new process was‎ designed to eliminate all unnecessary bureaucratic visa processing procedures in Nigerian Missions abroad.

He said it was also to serve the interests of would-be visitors from countries where Nigeria does not have a Mission.‎

He said that‎ ‎a dedicated e-mail address had been deployed where visa applicants, their representatives or companies could forward their requests and details.

Babandede said that‎ a‎pplicants were advised to use functional e-mail addresses where copies of approval letter shall be forwarded upon a successful process and payment.‎

‎”‎Applicants are, however, to note that successful payment online is not an approval and should not proceed to Nigeria until you have received “Visa on Arrival Approval letter” duly issued by the NIS Headquarters, Abuja,” he added.‎

He said that a VOA desk had been opened at all international airports in the country where visas would be issued upon the presentation of all the necessary travel documents and evidence of visa payment.

The NIS boss expressed optimism that the VOA process and the introduction of the harmonised arr‎ival and departure cards would go a long way in attracting investors to the country.

Badagry to become international hub for investments, leisure activities by 2020- –stakeholders

Some stakeholders at the ongoing two-day Badagry Economic Summit on Thursday said that the town would, by 2020, become an international hub for investments and leisure activities.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the maiden edition of the summit in Badagry, Lagos State, organized by Badagry Convention and Visitors Agency.

The summit theme is:” Unleashing Investment Opportunities around Historic and Coastal Zones of Epe and Badagry”.

NAN reports that the summit is to create economic opportunities for the ancient city that is blessed with several natural economic endowments.

Speaking on the summit, Prof. Femi Pearse, the Managing Director, Whispering Palms Resort, said that the summit would bring about social and economy developments to the ancient town.

He said that the investment opportunities abound Badagry when fully harnessed would create millions of employment opportunities for the youth in the community, especially, the indigents.

Also, Sen. Tokunbo Afikuyomi, a former Commissioner for Tourism in Lagos State, said that Badagry had come of age to be the leading destination for business leisure and investment in West Africa.

He said that Badagry used to be a slave port and market, where the largest enslaved Africans were taken to Europe some centuries ago.

Afikuyomi said that the historical antecedents coupled with the natural endowments of the locality such as the border ports, oil exploration and upcoming seaport in Africa would project the town into limelight.

He said that without doubt, all these investments opportunities would draw a good number of visitors and investors to the ancient town, making Badagry prosperous than any city in West Africa.

Similarly, Mr Gani Balogun, the Managing Director of Tarzan Boats and Water Investment Ltd., said that the summit would expose the aquatic-tourism and water transportation investment opportunities in Badagry to the outside world.

He said that Badagry was blessed with enormous investment opportunities and cultural/tourism potential that investors could invest in it.

According to him, “The term aquatic refers to water body, the ecosystem and its biodiversities which can be transformed into leisure activities otherwise refers to as tourism.

“Tourism activities began with water transportation in Lagos State, movements of people from one community to another through the waterways.

“Example is the movement of people from Epe to Badagry, Ikorodu to other coastal communities within the state ,” he said.

Balogun said that these were some of the various opportunities that the summit would expose the community to for its social and economic developments.

Mr Fatai Shokunbi, Chairman, Badagry Convention and Visitors Agency, said that the summit was organised in partnership with Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture.

Shokunbi said that the summit was designed basically to bring together cooperate organisations and individuals to share ideas about tourism, culture and economic investments opportunities embedded in Badagry.

“The main objective of the summit is to provide direction into the reality of making Badagry an international market hub for investment and leisure activities.

“The ongoing deep seaport projects, railway, ultramodern market and Oil discovery/exploration in the ancient city when completed will make Badagry a preferred tourism and business destination in Africa,’’ he said.

Shokunbi said that Badagry opportunities lay on three economic agenda: Tourism and Hospitality, Seaport Development and Logistics, and Oil exploration.

He said that at the end of the two-day summit, Badagry would have experienced massive influx of tourists and investors that wanted to tap from the investment opportunities abound in the ancient city.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

World Travel Awards set for Latin America Ceremony at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

World Travel Awards will host its much anticipated Latin America Ceremony 2017 at the glittering, all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya on 9th September.

Located on Mexico's breathtakingly beautiful Pacific Coast, the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya consists of 687 rooms and suites in the family-friendly Hacienda section and 577 rooms and suites in the adult-only Heaven section, catering for families as well as adults seeking a child-free break.

“We are beyond excited to be hosting the World Travel Awards Latin America Ceremony for the very first time at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya,” commented Frank Maduro, VP of Marketing for the AIC Hotel Group of which the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is a part.

“It is a great honour and true pleasure to welcome the region's best-of-the best in hospitality. With the World Travel Awards being a pinnacle in the travel industry and a benchmark of success, we're thrilled to be a part of such a monumental event.”

The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya also boasts a private white sand beach on its door-step, in addition to six swimming pools (two family pools and four adult only pools), endless dining options, a first rate fitness centre and the Rock Spa® - the largest in the Caribbean with 75 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy current pools and steam rooms.

Further afield, the delights of Mexico’s Riviera Maya - think Mayan ruins, world-class diving sites, tropical forests and eco parks - reward exploration.

World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke said: “The Latin America Ceremony is always a highlight of the Grand Tour for World Travel Awards, and the team and I are excited to be bringing the event to the Mexican Riveria for the first time since 2009.”

“We look forward to welcoming industry leaders and luminaries to the all-inclusive five-star Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in September, and I know it will be a night to remember.”

Voting for the World Travel Awards Latin America nominees will open on 22nd March 2017 and conclude on 19th July 2017.

World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire. Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

World Travel Awards Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.

FG Working With UNWTO, UN To Implement Tourism Master Plan —Lai Mohammed

TOURISM, travel and hospitality industries in Nigeria are poised for speedy development and promotion as the Federal Government is working with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the specialized agency in the United Nations (UN) in the field of tourism, towards full implementation of the Tourism Master Plan.
This was revealed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in his remark at the 41st Annual General Meeting of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), today, at Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja Lagos.

The Minister, represented by the Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, speaking on the theme of the event, “Tourism in a Recessed Economy – The Way Forward,” said the Tourism Master Plan, when implemented, would “attract increased funding for the Nigerian tourism sector, enhancing the coordination of practitioners, tourism trade groups and government, the re-enactment of the Presidential Council on Tourism, review of tourism related laws and policy, putting in place, Tourism Satellite Account for the country, promoting domestic tourism and pursuing the ideals of Sustainable Tourism Development.”

The minister who revealed that government determination to implement the Tourism Satellite Account is to ensure that the actual contribution of tourism to the economy is properly captured as well as to track the direct and indirect effects of tourists spending on outputs and job creation, among others, in order to assist the Ministry in its determined drive to attract improved funding for the sector.

Lai Mohammed further said that in response to the economic challenge in the country, “this administration is not relenting on its drive to diversifying the economy. Tourism stands to be a major beneficiary of this initiative as new investments, jobs and growth will be stimulated in the sector.”

Alhaji Muneer Bankole , CEO, Medview Airline with NANTA President, Benard Bankole  at the association's  41 AGM in Lagos
The Minister, who said travel agencies have a great power to influence and direct consumer demand compared to other industries, said they are not just intermediaries, “they act as an interface between supply and different segment of demand across the hospitality and tourism value chains."

While giving the assurance that the government sees the tourism and travel sector as a serious and important arm if the economy, Alhaji Mohammed enjoined the association to partner with the government to move the industry to greater heights.

He charged tourism and travel practitioners to show creativity and innovation in product development, partnership and collaborations across the industry and all ties of governments as well as invest in human capacity building for the sector.

Alhaji Muneer Bankole , CEO, Medview Airline ,  NANTA President, Benard Bankole  and Demurin, former DG, NCAA at the association's  41 AGM in Lagos

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Travels with Jimbabs: UNWTO clears seven for Secretary-General position

Travels with Jimbabs: UNWTO clears seven for Secretary-General position: By Jimoh Babatunde  At the end of the deadline for the submission of candidatures for the Secretariat of the World Tourism Organizat...

Tourism and economic growth under the spotlight at UNWTO & Arabian Travel Market Ministerial Forum 2017

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are expected to welcome 195 million international tourists by 2030. Between 25 million and 50 million new jobs will be required in the region over the next decade. Over 20 Ministers and industry leaders will gather at the Ministerial Forum to discuss how tourism can play a role in the future of the MENA region.
Visitors to the MENA region will total 195 million by 2030, growing at a rate higher than the world average, according to figures by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The rapid development of the sector will form part of the discussion at the UNWTO & ATM Ministerial Forum at the Arabian Travel Market, taking place on April 24 in the Dubai World Trade Centre, United Arab Emirates. The Forum, an official event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 returns to ATM this year, with a particular focus on the contribution of tourism to sustainable economic growth and economic diversification of the MENA region.
“Tourism is an increasingly important sector to support the economic diversification of the region. In addition to generating foreign exchange earnings and creating jobs, tourism promotes trade and investment and significantly contributes to the development of other sectors of the economy - such as construction, manufacture, retail and financial services.” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “The Middle East has experienced huge changes since the UNWTO Ministers Forum was last held at ATM back in 2015. This year will reflect the pace and level of that development, uniting more than 20 ministers with industry leaders in the MENA region to consider methods of capitalising on tourism growth and building a sustainable ecosystem for the sector to unlock its potential within each country’s National Agenda. Specific areas of focus will include GDP growth and economic diversification, innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity, job creation, human capital and infrastructure development, investment and export promotion.”
The Forum is one of a number of events in the year-long programme of official activities of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.
In his message on the occasion of the Year, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said: “Tourism has become a pillar of economies, a passport to prosperity, and a transformative force for improving millions of lives. The world can and must harness the power of tourism as we strive to carry out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Taking place on Monday, 24 April from 3.30pm, the Forum will be held under the patronage of H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates. This will follow the 42nd meeting of the UNWTO Commission for the Middle East which is being held at 10am in the morning.
The Forum will address the following issues:
- Empowering evidence based decision making and accurate measurement of the contribution of tourism to current and future economic growth - particularly as regards GDP, jobs and exports - and its multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy.
- Enhancing the contribution of domestic tourism alongside international tourism (especially intra-regional) in delivering sustainable economic growth from the sector.
- Main challenges and opportunities for securing investment in tourism (FDI and domestic investment).
- Strategies and measures to strengthen tourism’s resilience to external shocks.
- Ensuring that economic growth due to tourism leads to the sustainable and inclusive development of host communities and the transition towards a green economy.
- Investing in technology - driven innovations to enhance performance and improve competitiveness.
- Policies to promote job creation and entrepreneurship

- Strengthening the sector’s institutional framework, engaging and aligning key governmental role players on tourism policy issues and targets and developing result driven partnerships with local and international stakeholders.

UNWTO clears seven for Secretary-General position

By Jimoh Babatunde 
At the end of the deadline for the submission of candidatures for the Secretariat of the World Tourism Organization, seven candidates have been cleared to contest the election for post the Secretary-General for the period 2018-2021.
Seven other applications which were not accompanied by the required documents were not cleared, “consequently, the applications will not be submitted to the 105th session of the Executive Council.
The following candidatures were completed and duly accompanied by the required documents (letter of the candidate, curriculum vitae, statement of policy and management intent and a certificate of good health signed by a recognized medical facility), along with the letter of support from the Government of the country endorsing a candidate (listed in alphabetical order of the Member State):

Mr. Vahan Martirosyan submitted with the support of the Government of Armenia and received on 10 March 2017;

Mr. Márcio Favilla submitted with the support of the Government of Brazil and received on 6 March 2017;

Mr. Jaime Alberto Cabal Sanclemente submitted with the support of the Government of Colombia and received on 6 March 2017;
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili submitted with the support of the Government of Georgia and received on 2 December 2016;
Republic of Korea:
Mrs. Young-shim Dho submitted with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea and received on 24 February 2017;

Mr. Alain St. Ange submitted with the support of the Government of Seychelles and received on 18 January 2017;

Mr. Walter Mzembi submitted with the support of the Government of Zimbabwe and received on 4 March 2017;

The Secretariat received seven other applications which were not accompanied by the required documents. Consequently, the applications will not be submitted to the 105th session of the Executive Council.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tourism opens our hearts and our minds: UNWTO Secretary-General at ITB Berlin

Tourism can transform our world and build better understanding in a world living a deficit of tolerance said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, at the opening ceremony of the 2017 edition of ITB Berlin (Berlin, Germany, 7 March 2016).
We live the worst of times and the best of times. Times when we wake up every other day with the threat of terrorism at our doorstep and the glooming numbers of unemployment. Times of isolationism and ill-conceived actions like travel bans, which do not lead to increased security but just to growing tension. Despite all these complex and interlinked challenges, despite acts against the freedom of travel, the power of tourism continues to shine through the darkness” said Mr Rifai.
Quoting the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, he said, “Beyond the measurable advances that tourism can make possible, it is also a bridge to better mutual understanding among people from all walks of life.”
In this context, Mr Rifai recalled the declaration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations is a clear recognition of the potential contribution of tourism to social progress, equality and prosperity and peace and that tourism must be at the forefront of the 2020 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In a world that seems increasingly short of tolerance and generosity, we should cherish tourism as a precious pillar of peace amongst communities and nations.“ he said.

We all need to ensure that, as our sector grows, it contributes to the wellbeing of the world and not to its peril. Tourism must fulfil its responsibility to contribute to all 17 universal Sustainable Development Goals” he added.

Female Lufthansa pilots are taking off

Female Lufthansa pilots are taking off
Six crews consisting of only women will be setting off from the Lufthansa Group hubs to Berlin for International Women's Day
12 female pilots will fly passengers from Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels to the German capital

On 8 March, on International Women's Day, six crews from Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Brussels consisting only of women will make their morning flights from the Lufthansa Group hubs to Berlin. The jets setting off from Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf, Vienna, Zurich and Brussels will each be flown by two female pilots.

"We specifically look out for potential female employees on our application channels and we provide an employee-friendly working environment that means that family and work can be reconciled; this allows us to attract more young women to supposedly typically male professions such as the pilot's job", says Dr Bettina Volkens, Chief Officer Corporate Human Resources and Legal Affairs at Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The first two women began their scheduled service with Lufthansa in 1988. The year 2010 saw a world premiere in the airfreight industry: a Lufthansa Cargo aircraft took off with an all-female crew. These days, women in the cockpit are no longer an exception. Around six percent of pilots at the Lufthansa Group are female and the percentage has been continuously increasing over the past years. Around 80 percent of the cabin staff are female. Lufthansa received a blessing from the Society for the German Language for the new German word "Kapitänin" (female form of "Kapitän" = captain) specifically to refer to the growing number of female pilots.

Women play a central role not just on the plane. Be it on the apron or in the logistics centre, more and more women are opting for more technical jobs at the Lufthansa Group – such as Christina Schultheis. She has been a ground operations agent at Lufthansa since 2012, where she has been working in a 2-shift system since completing her training as an aviation service expert. She has about two hours to service a long-haul flight, which includes cleaning the cabin, refuelling, loading freight and luggage and boarding the passengers. Around one quarter of ground operation agents are women. "Here you can make a difference: It is my responsibility that every flight leaves safely, efficiently and on time", says Schultheis. "We are the link between passengers, crew, tower, cleaning, catering and cargo – we talk to everyone. I particularly like the diversity and responsibility that comes with this job. I love doing it. I never want to leave."

In addition to the supposedly male domains, increasing the percentage of women in management is another goal of the Lufthansa Group. "We are well on our way to achieving this through the introduction of a transparent job posting process and the use of recruitment diversity criteria", says Volkens.

In 2011, Lufthansa and other major German companies set themselves voluntary targets to increase the number of women in management. By 2020 the aim is to have 30 percent more women compared with 2010.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tourism: As UNWTO Sec. Gen. Election Campaign Enters Its Final Stages, Africa Must Work As A Team

Come May 2017, a new Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] will be elected by member nations.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNWTO]is the specialised agency of the United Nations [UN] in the field of tourism and it generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world based in Madrid, Spain.

UNWTO’s membership includes 157 countries, 6 territories and over 500 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities. Its headquarters are located in Madrid.

Add caption

Over the years, the UNWTO has struggles to speak for the entire world when it comes to travel and tourism issues.

Surprisingly non-members are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Comoros, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America.

As the race for the post of Secretary General of the UNWTO enters its final stages, and with seven aspiring candidates having announced their intention to run for the post, recent weeks have seen the emergence of some rather intriguing manoeuvres on the part of some of those candidates  -  all designed, presumably, to enhance their respective election chances.

Perhaps the most interesting development has been the emergence of an electoral coupling between late-entrant Mrs Doh Young-shim of South Korea and the current UNWTO Executive Director Carlos Voegler [of dual Spanish-Venezuelan nationality]. 

If Mrs Doh wins, she has apparently promised Voegler that she will revive the position of Deputy Secretary General  - a function currently exercised, albeit nominally, by another Executive Director, MarcioFavilla of Brazil, who has also entered the race for the UNWTO’s top job.

In view of the aforementioned shenanigan, UNWTO insiders point out that Voegler  -  who turns 65 this year  -  is way past his sell-by date and is already living on borrowed time  in the rarefied atmosphere which pervades the upper floors of the Organisation’s Madrid headquarters.

His electoral alliance with Doh represents something of a last-gasp attempt to hang-in there, boosting his pension and further extending what many believe is his already over-prolonged presence in those corridors.

Favilla – another internal candidate was promoted in May, 2016, by the incumbent Secretary General, Dr TalebRifai, to effectively deputise him and has made good use of his elevation to quietly lobby support for his bid for the Secretary General-ship, whilst leaving the formal declaration of his candidature until 19 January, 2017.

The evident conflict of interest and unfair advantage handed to Favilla have not gone down at all well within the corridors of the UNWTO itself or, of course, with the other aspiring candidates who sense a whiff of déjà-vu as the executive hierarchy manoeuvres to favour its own in the hope of pulling off yet another internal, incestuous succession.

As for Doh, a South Korean has been the Chairperson of the UNWTO- STEP organisation since 2002.

Based in Seoul, South Korea, STEP’s focus is the funding of tourism-based poverty alleviation projects in UNWTO member states: a sort of development arm of the mother organisation.

Interestingly, and just to add to those increasingly in-breeding undertones of the intensifying electoral race, the President of ST-EP is none other than Dr Francesco Frangelli  -  himself a former Secretary General of the UNWTO.

Naturally - and perhaps a little unwisely - he has thrown his weight behind Doh.

Whereas the ST-EP organisation has succeeded in implementing a range of what it terms ‘library’ projects in a number of countries, the general feeling  -  even within the UNWTO Secretariat  -  is that ST-EP has failed to live up to expectations, both of the mother body and, more importantly, of the 157 member states themselves. 
The promised Korean funding therefor has simply not materialised and, given the chaos which has now engulfed the body-politic in Seoul and which seems destined to continue for some time, is unlikely ever to materialise.

The manner in which ST-EP has been managed has also not been without controversy: indeed, unhappy with the way in which its funding has been utilised, some countries have suspended any further contributions towards ST-EP, prompting suggestions that there may well be need for some form of forensic audit in order to clear the air and renew confidence in the organisation.

Some UNWTO watchers have expressed their surprise and even disappointment at Mrs Doh’s entry into the race and interpret it as a means of diverting attention away from the concerns, of some, about her management of ST-EP.

‘What happens to ST-EP ‘?  ‘Why is Doh running away’?  are pretty constant refrains since her surprise announcement.

Others, well-acquainted with ST-EP issues, are equally surprised about her leadership aspirations given her distinct lack of diplomatic finesse [notwithstanding her apparently self-appointed title of ‘Ambassador’] and her hectoring style of engagement. 

“The contrast in management style and overall approach between Doh and the man she seeks to replace, TalebRifai, could not be more marked, “commented one Secretariat insider.  “Taleb is smooth, tactful and a consummate diplomat: Doh, is anything but tactful or diplomatic”.

At a recent dinner to promote her candidature and to which all other candidates, and others, were invited, Mrs Doh openly called for support from those countries to which she had ‘given money’ by way of development projects under ST-EP programmes.

Obviously she learned little from the misfortunes of a fellow Korean who, some years back, stood as a candidate against TalebRifai but had to withdraw from the race when his ‘brown-envelope’  cash-for votes approach was exposed. 

To UNWTO insiders, the prospects of a Doh-Voegler double-act and the only marginally preferable but-oh-so-dull Favilla solo effort do not inspire at all.

“Succinctly speaking, it’s depressing. Taleb deserves much better  -  but , there again, he is the one who put these people in place”, confided one long-time UNWTO staffer who did nothing for Africa or even the region he represents; rather the photo sessions that he enjoyed with African leaders and tourism aficionados.

“From what we Africans or Africa witnessed under Telab, which this writer has continuously criticised him for, none of other insider candidates can provide the calibre of leadership required to build the UNWTO into what it can and should be”.

Informed rumblings from far-distant Addis Ababa, Headquarters of the African Union [AU], indicate that questions are also being asked why Korea - which, through its Korea-Africa Forum, provides a platform to build friendship and cooperation between Korea and Africa  -  would now seek to undermine Africa’s chances of landing the top UNWTO job, especially since another Korean national, Ban Ki-moon, has just stepped down from a double mandate at the head of the mother UN body itself.

Unfavourable comparisons are being made between Korea and China, with African diplomats praising China for supporting Africa in its quest for the UNWTO job whilst criticising Seoul for challenging that quest.

True, like Africa, Asia has never led the UNWTO, but Asians  -  including Koreans  -   have had and continue to have a high profile throughout other, significantly more mainstream UN and other international agencies  -  including inter alia WHO, IAEA, UNESCO, etc.

‘New blood’ candidates for the UNWTO include the youthful, charismatic Tourism Minister from Zimbabwe, Walter Mzembi, who never fails to impress; Gloria Guevara, the attractive, competent former Tourism Minister of Mexico; and the taciturn, burly Alain St Ange  -  former Tourism Minister of the Seychelles who controversially quit his job to enter the  UNWTO race months after his own country  -  a member of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community [SADC] and the 54-nation African Union [55 since Morocco re-joined the continental body some three weeks ago] - formally endorsed Mzembi as Africa’s candidate for the top UNWTO post.

Besides the naivety and greedy of Alain St Ange - former Tourism Minister of the Seychelles, the position of  African Regional Representative at the UNWTO is occupied by ElciaGrandcourt, another person from Seychelles.

The question is, are there no other qualified person from Africa?

For the Zimbabwean Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Dr Walter Mzembi and Former Secretary for Tourism of Mexico, Ms Gloria Guevara Manzo

St Ange has made no secret of his intention to enter the Presidential race in his own country in two years’ time - which immediately casts serious doubt on the sincerity of his purported commitment to the UNWTO and implies that, if elected Secretary General, he would only serve for two years before standing down to re-enter politics in his own country.

Already under significant criticism from within Africa for its flagrant disregard of both SADC and AU decisions  -  decisions made by African Heads of State and Government and to which they [the Seychelles] were party  -  the Seychelles risks yet further criticism by its endorsement of a candidate whose motivation appears to focused more on himself than on service to the UNWTO.

The race is still far from run.  Other candidates might yet emerge before the 11th March deadline.  Existing candidates might yet withdraw or, like Doh-Voegler, seek electoral couplings with each other in the hope of boosting their chances.

At the end of the day, however, this race is about the future of the UNWTO and the pivotal role it must play in mainstreaming tourism, in all its many facets, at the very core of the global development agenda.

Having read all candidates’ Madrid campaign launch read or listened to the ‘vision-statements’ and contacts with UNWTO staffers and other insiders, it seems obvious that Walter Mzembi stands pretty much alone : not only in terms of his understanding of the industry and the challenges it faces; or his measured, focused programme for addressing those challenges should he find his way to the top floor of the UNWTO building; but equally, in terms of the passion, commitment and energy that positively radiate from within as he articulates that vision and that programme  -  primarily the need for the UNWTO to champion more inclusiveness and greater equality in its quest for global tourism growth and enhanced relevance within the broad UN family.

But, as the election draws closer and as a means of broadening his already considerable appeal, perhaps Minister Mzembi should give thought to a coupling of his own.  Ms Guevara, of Mexico - sharp, business-savvy and the obvious answer to a glaring lack of gender-balance within the upper-echelons of the UNWTO  -  could well be his perfect running-mate : and what a dynamic duo they would make.

The Minister might well consider squaring this ‘electoral circle’ by also reaching out to MarcioFavilla as a potential third running-mate  -  ensuring that, when the election dust has settled,  the Brazilian stays on and ensures a level of administrative and operational continuity as the incoming Secretary General sets about restructuring the Organisation to his or her liking,

Whereas Favilla is widely regarded as a ‘nice guy’, his leadership aspirations are seen as unrealistic and over-ambitious  -  certainly by many within the UNWTO headquarters building who, of course, know him well. 

An approach by aMzembi-Guevara election alliance might actually be his best chance of survival within the Organisation and certainly something which he should consider; if ever such an approach were to be made.

The origin of UNWTO stems back to 1920 when the International Congress of Official Tourist Traffic Associations [ICOTT] was formed at The Hague. Some articles from early volumes of the Annals of Tourism Research claimed that the UNWTO originated from the International Union of Official Tourist Publicity Organizations [IUOTPO], although the UNWTO states that the ICOTT became the International Union of Official Tourist Publicity Organizations first in 1934.

Another version have it that that the first International Congress of National Tourism Bodies, meeting in ‎London, decides to create a new international non-governmental organization to ‎replace the International Union of Official Tourist Propaganda Organizations ‎‎[IUOTPO], established in 1934.

By On 27 September 1970, the IUOTO Special General Assembly meeting in Acapulco Mexico ‎adopts the Statutes of the World Tourism Organization [WTO].

From 1980 ‎onwards, this day was declared as “World Tourism Day” based on the proposal of a Nigerian Late Ignatius AmaduwaAtigbi [former Head of African Desk at Reuters in London], who was then the Chairman of Africa Travel Commission.

Since the body formerly became a specialised agency of the United Nations [UN] in the field of travel and tourism in 2003 and who heads the agency has become so political and competitive.

Previous heads are, Robert Lonati, [French, 1975–1985], Willibald Pahr [Austrian, 1986–1989], Antonio Enriquez Savignac [Mexican, 1990–1996], Francesco Frangialli [French, 1997–2009] and TalebRifai [Jordanian 2010–till date].

Without doubt, Dr. Walter Mzembi, current Zimbabwean Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Africa’s candidate is the best for the job because of his experience, knowledge and friendship he has made in the last 10 years around the world.

Finally, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco and Seychelles must respect the African Union decision and ensure Mzembi’s victory come May 2017.

By Lucky Onoriode George
Publisher/Editor: African Travel Times Magazine

Winner: European Commission Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalists Reporting Human Rights and Democracy

Former Publicity Secretary, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN]

Marketing and Public Relations Expert on African Travel and Tourism