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.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tourism expo to showcase Nigeria’s assets, says organiser

Tourism expo to showcase Nigeria’s assets, says organiser
Mr Ayo Omotoso, the Chief Organiser of Destination Tourism Night, says that the expo will serve as an avenue to showcase Nigeria’s tourism assets to the rest of the world.

Omotoso, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Travelogue Communications Ltd, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday that the aim would be “connecting values.

“The more our people cross paths, the better our social, cultural and economic life becomes.

“It will also connect destination values, people from different backgrounds, race and culture together, ” he said.

Omotoso said that the one-day expo would hold at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Sept. 22.

According to him, Destination Tourism Night is an expository digital tourismtainment, which will savour the offerings of different tourism destinations around the world and Nigeria.

“Our focus is to showcase the hidden tourism destinations in Nigeria to the world.

“ We will achieve that through a digital platform, so that participants can appreciate and savour the tourism offerings of all these notable sites,” he said.

Omotoso said that the expo would be used be an opportunity to send signals to local and international investors, tourists, public and private sectors about the huge tourism potential in the country.

“Some call domestic tourism low hanging fruits but to me, it goes beyond that. It is a virgin sector opened for development and investment.

“It opens up new worlds, new vistas and greater understanding. There are lots of people who have not visited some of the tourism sites in the country.

“The expo will encourage Nigerians and international tourists and investors to visit the numerous tourism sites that the country is blessed with it,” he said.

He said that South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and some other neighbouring countries as well as members of the diplomatic corps would be expected to participate in the event.

He urged the Federal Government to improve on tourism infrastructure and other basic amenities needed to facilitate domestic tourism development.

“Successive governments must use tourism as an instrument to eradicate poverty but to create employment.

“Government should also encourage public and private partnership for tourism to thrive in the country, ” he said.

AFAC Expo: 24 countries, 150 exhibitors to participate – Runsewe

The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) says it is expecting at least 25 countries and 150 exhibitors at the 10th African Arts and Crafts (AFAC) Expo scheduled for Abuja.

The Director-General, NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe, made this known in an interview in Abuja.

Runsewe said that participants from these countries and the exhibitors were expected to showcase their unique cultural identities at the expo to hold from Aug. 27 to Sept. 17.

He expressed commitment to justifying his appointment by using culture as the only tool to change the narratives of Nigeria.

“This time, we want to depart from having expo without media content so we need an overwhelming publicity for the event.

“The expo will be a market place for showcasing arts and crafts products such as fabrics, leather and souvenirs from Nigeria and other African countries.

“The expo is also apt as Nigeria needs to record remarkable achievements in developing the culture industry to enviable heights through festivals like AFAC,’’ he said.

Runsewe said that the expo, with the theme: “Nigerian Crafts: The Untapped Treasure” would be geared toward harnessing and developing arts and crafts and other creative industries in the country.

“It will be a unique opportunity for artists, craft dealers, manufacturers and other stakeholders to buy and sell their brands.’’

According to him, the expo will play a key role toward job creation and economic empowerment.

NCAC is a Federal Government organ charged with the responsibility of coordinating, developing and promoting the country’s arts and culture at national and international fora.

The council focuses its programmes and projects toward positively changing the perception about culture and cultural activities as serious business opportunities.

It portrays arts and culture as tool for the promotion of peace, social integration and national identity.

British Airways introduces new Boeing 747 to Lagos route

British Airways (BA) will be introducing a bigger and better Boeing 747 to its London-Lagos route from September.

Mr Kola Olayinka, British Airways commercial manager in Nigeria, said this in a statement released by Nosakhare Emma-Iyamu from QuandrantMSL Group, the agency that handles the airline’s media.

Olayinka said that each of the Lagos Boeing 747 fondly referred to as the ‘Super High J Aircraft’ within the BA’s family would have 14 seats in its first class, 86 in business class, 30 in world traveller plus and 145 in world traveller.

“The new aircraft are larger than the Boeing 777s which the airline currently operates and will add an extra 343 seats a week on the busy route between London and Nigeria’s commercial capital-Lagos.

“The newest aircraft with well refreshed interior, and the state-of-the-art entertainment system, also have a larger Club World cabin with 86 lie-flat beds and choice of the upper deck cabin for our dedicated business class customers,’ Olayinka said.

He said that some of the aircraft had begun flying on popular BA routes to New York, Chicago, Johannesburg, Dubai, Boston, Riyadh, Kuwait, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC from London.

Olayinka also noted, “We know customers who fly in these aircraft will appreciate the improved interiors, with their mood lighting, updated seating and the new entertainment system.”

He added that the aircraft were equipped with Panasonic’s next-generation eX3 entertainment system.

He said these would give BA’s customers a choice of over 1,300 hours of entertainment that would include over 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, high-resolution screens, with touch and swipe functionality, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.

“As part of the upgrade, customers in world traveller plus will now have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe.

“In addition, world traveller customers will have their own USB sockets to power phones and tablets,’’ he said.

He said that its seats in the world traveller’s section had been upgraded to ensure customers’ comfort.

He said that flight numbers and schedule would remain the same with BA75 departing Heathrow at 11:30 a.m. and landing in Lagos at 1755p.m.

He said that the return service operates as BA74, would depart Lagos at 22:55p.m., to arrive at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 05:25a.m., the following morning.

Monday, July 10, 2017

NANTA seeks effective awareness creation to develop tourism

National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) has advocated for effective awareness creation among Nigerians by government and stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sector to facilitate its development.

Mr Barnard Bankole, the President of NANTA made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

“For tourism and hospitality industry to thrive and benefit the Nigerian economy there is need for the right awareness; the private sector has to drive the awareness creation supported by the government.

“The government is aware of the fact that tourism is capable of contributing positively to the growth of the country; the government needs us as their foot soldiers in tourism development.

“The government has different platforms for awareness creation, like radio, television and others; they should give us the opportunity to ride on these platforms to effectively sensitise Nigerians on the need to patronise local tourism.

According to the NANTA president, the government does not have business in managing activities that can be handle by the private sector adding “Government business is formulating and regulating policies.’’

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He maintained that government can equally involve in a public private partnership arrangement regarding tourism sites across the country.

Bankole stressed that private firms in developed countries were in charge of supplying guns, weapons and other products, wondering why such cannot be done in tourism in Nigeria.

“The government should allow the private sector to drive some of the initiatives by allowing us create awareness; the same awareness they created about oil made oil what it is today.

“If we do not create awareness about tourism, it cannot grow to a remarkable level of development that would bring in more revenue for the practitioners and government respectively.

“In the oil sector, we have the likes of Mobile, Oando, Total, Fo, and others; they are private companies; the government should help the tourism and hospitality sector to also flourish like them,’’ Bankole said.

He, however said NANTA’s relationship with Ministries of Aviation, Information and Culture has improve significantly adding that it was a sign of good things to come in the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors.

First storey in Nigeria records 7,433 visitors in 6 months

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The first storey in Nigeria located in Badagry, Lagos State, recorded 7,433 visitors from January 2017 to July 2017.

Mr Hodonu Daniel, the officer in charge of the building , told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Badagry that the tourists that visited the 171-year-old structure in the first half of 2017 were higher this than those that did within the same period in 2016.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the foundation of the building was laid in 1842 and was completed in 1845.

Daniel said, “We have been able to attract more tourists to this site because of its proper maintenance and our ability to preserve its originality.

“In the first six months of 2016; 3,767 people visited the monument compared to 7,433 visitors and tourists that visited in the first six months of this year.

“We are certain that the statistics will increase in the other half of the year due to the historic nature of the site and the willingness of people to always visit.’’

He advised Nigerians to be more patriotic by visiting the various monuments in the country.

“Nigerians should imbibe the habit of visiting the various museums and monuments in the country in order to boost tourism development in the country.

“Many Nigerians prefer to visit foreign countries’ monuments but forgetting that one of the ways to improve tourism in the country is by patronising our monuments,’’ he said.

Daniel advised the Federal Government to support the management in giving the building a facelift.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

NTDC set to rebrand Nigeria with” Tour Nigeria” logo

 Nigerian Tourism Development Corporations (NTDC) has concluded plans to rebrand the country with “Tour Nigeria” logo to promote domestic tourism.

Mr Folarin Coker, the Director-General (D-G) of NTDC disclosed this at an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos late on Saturday.

He said that the brand was an ambitious attempt at promoting tourism in Nigeria.

“It will showcase the vibrant and friendly energies of Nigerians through different creative expressions.

“ It will also leverage on our abundant power to celebrate our heritage and promote our natural and cultural tourism assets, destinations and people, ” he said.

Coker said that part of his mandate as he DG of NTDC was to reverse the negative impressions in the minds of the public about Nigerian Tourism.

It is also to galvanize commercial tourism, promote our diverse multicultural heritage, he said.

He listed others to include evolving new channels of tourism markets whilst promoting Nigeria in a positive light and shaping a positive perception of its citizens.

He added that the brand would leverage on the best of Nigeria.

“Nigerians are known to be intelligent and hardworking people.

“We are also known for our “can-do” and “never-say-never” attitudes, which are complemented by friendly and accommodating spirits.

“We are proudly the most populous black nation on earth; home to the second largest film industry on the globe whilst also being the fashion, technological and creative hub of Africa,”Coker said.

Coker said that in line with the corporation’s agenda to promote domestic and regional tourism, the “Tour Nigeria” brand was conceived to drive domestic consumption of our tourism assets and products.

It would also add to the nation’s GDP, create employment, and increase spending in the economy.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NTDC to partner airline operators on #MyAbujaweekend Project

The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) says it will form a strong synergy with Airline Operators on its #MyAbujaweekend Project of Nigeria to ensure development and promotion of the Nigerian Tourism industry.

The Director-General of the corporation, Mr Folorunsho Coker made this known in a statement on during the week in Abuja.

According to him, the synergy, under the #MyAbujaweekend Project will promote domestic tourism in Nigeria and encourage Nigerians to take their holiday or weekend break within Nigeria.

He stressed that affordable air travel was indispensable in building the tourism economy.

According to him, the corporation will explore packaged tours and digital technology to drive the consumption of the tourism assets in the country.
The Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation(NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker(Left)  shaking hands with the Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Nogie Meggison during a courtesy visit to the Director General on partnership and promotion of domestic tourism in Nigeria held at the corporate headquarters  of the Corporation in Abuja recently.

“This is why NTDC finds it important to establish a strategic partnership with Airline Operators of Nigeria to create affordable air fares within inclusive packages in order to boost domestic tourism.

“ We seek discounted weekend airline tickets to Abuja to propel the success of ‘#MyAbujaWeekend’ Project, further encouraging the travel businesses and promote hospitality and tourism services in capital city of Nigeria,” he said.

The statement also said it would explore the travel, accommodation and entertainment/hospitality with the airlines, hotels, car hire services, tour operators and others to bring out affordable package tours to encourage Nigeria to tour Nigeria.

The NTDC boss, therefore, called for a conscious investment in the promotion of domestic tourism, appealing to relevant stakeholders to drive the market with a new brand TOUR NIGERIA.

Monday, July 3, 2017

ASKY Airlines to begin flights from Accra to Lagos, Abuja on July 10

ASKY Airlines on Monday said it would begin daily flight operations from Accra, Ghana to Lagos and Abuja from July 10.
ASKY’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Mr Simon Mobolaji, told newsmen in Lagos that the move was in line with the airline’s mission to seamlessly connect West and Central Africa and reduce the flying time to connect cities in the region.
Mobolaji said that with the new service, passengers would be able to connect these cities every day, departing in the morning and arriving later in the day.
He said: “We are particularly glad to introduce this service to serve our esteemed loyal customers who have long wanted these connections to happen.
“We thank them for their loyalty and patronage and can only introduce more convenient connections to meet their travel needs.
“Now they can fly their community airline not only to Dakar or Niamey or Abidjan, from the airline’s hub in Lome, but also fly to Accra directly from Lagos and to Abuja directly from Accra.”
According to him, the new route offers more capacity and flexibility with a significant reduction in flight time between Lagos, Accra, Abuja and the entire network of ASKY.
He said that with the airline’s schedule, a passenger could leave Abuja early in the morning for Accra and return to Abuja later in the evening via Lagos.
The country manager said: “Sales of tickets have since commenced with the travel agents and the airline’s offices making tickets available at very affordable airfares.
“In addition to this, ASKY also introduced additional baggage allowance which enables passengers travel with more baggage for less.
“Passengers in Economy class will have 40kg baggage allowance, while passengers in business class will be entitled to 50kg.

“This offer will be valid from July 10 to Oct. 2 on all flights on the new service.’’