world travel awardsRwanda has taken the top title at the World Travel Awards Africa Gala Ceremony 2017.

On a night of high drama in host city, Kigali, the Land of a Thousand Hills was recognised as Africa’s Leading Destination.

Also among the winners was Durban. The South African seaside city – which underwent a major makeover in the run up to the 2010 World Cup, with a sleek new stadium and a revamped waterfront – was hailed Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination. Meanwhile Durban International Convention Centre picked up the award for Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre.

The glittering event took place at the five star Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre – one of the most recognised modern structures in Africa – alongside the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and AviaDev Africa, with hospitality leaders from across the region, in attendance.

World Travel Awards Founder and President, Graham E Cooke, said: “It has been an honour to visit Rwanda for the very first time.

“We have recognised the leading lights of African tourism tonight and I wish to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all of our winners.

“Rwanda has proved a wonderful host for our Africa Gala Ceremony, cementing the country’s reputation as Africa’s rising star.”

Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa was also celebrating after scooping the award for Africa’s Leading Hotel Suite and South Africa’s Leading Hotel Suite.

Elsewhere Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo Kinshasa was voted Democratic Republic of Congo’s Leading Hotel and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Leading Hotel Suite, while the Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre, Kigali, was presented with the trophies for Africa’s Leading Conference Hotel,  Rwanda’s Leading Conference Hotel and Africa’s Leading New Hotel.

Satguru Travels was named Tanzania’s Leading Travel Agency and Nigeria’s Leading Travel Agency,

The ceremony – part of World Travel Awards Grand Tour 2017 – was compered by CNBC Africa presenter and producer, George Ndirangu, and passionate DJ and media personality, Makeda Mahadeo. Entertainment was provided by Inganzo Ngari, Rwanda’s most acclaimed traditional dance group, and the Neptunez band.

Winners from the event will go forward to complete in the World Travel Awards Grand Final, this year taking place at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam on the evening of 10th December.

In the aviation sector, Kenya Airways was selected by voters as Africa’s Leading Airline and Africa’s Leading Airline – Business Class, while Cape Town International Airport walked away with the trophy for Africa’s Leading Airport.

The travel industry’s leading awards programme also unveiled the host of the 2018 World Travel Awards Africa Gala Ceremony as the Durban International Convention Centre. Conveniently situated in the heart of South Africa’s third largest city, this world-class facility was opened by former president Nelson Mandela in 1997 and has successfully staged some of the world’s most prestigious and complex events.

World Travel Awards celebrates its 24th anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade.

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Ethiopian AirlinesEthiopian Airlines has been voted as Middle East and Africa (MEA) Airline of the Year 2017 by the Airline Economics, the largest aviation finance and leasing print publication in the world, at a Gala Dinner held in Dubai on October 3, 2017.

Winners in the Middle East & Africa Aviation 100 Awards Category have been chosen among the airlines in the Middle East and Africa through customer survey conducted by Airline Economics Magazine. Ethiopian outperformed major airlines in the Middle East and Africa to win this prestigious award.

“It is a tremendous honour to be recognized as Airline of the Year and to stand out from among the major Middle East and African carriers thru a vote of the readers of one of the most renowned aviation magazines, Airline Economics.

“We are working together to build one of the best Global Aviation Group by scaling up the unmatched and seamless connectivity of network between the Continent of Africa and the rest of the world with more than 100 international destinations operated by the most modern and less than 5 years old airplanes on average. Ethiopian Airlines Group is among the very few airlines in the world which has shown leadership in both of the most technologically advanced airplanes in the world today which are the B-787 Dream liners and the Airbus A-350s’,” said Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam.

Philip Tozer-Pennington, Managing Director of Airline Economics and Aviation News Ltd, while presenting the awards on the night, said; “Ethiopian Airlines is an African and an international airline success story. The airline is the clear winner of the industry vote for the best performing airline in the MEA region over the past 12 months. I wish to congratulate Ethiopian Airlines on this remarkable success.”

CityBlueHotelsCityBlue Hotels has announced its first property in Kenya with the opening of the CityBlue Creekside Hotel & Suites, Mombasa. The hotel is strategically located in Nyali, close to the city centre and within easy access of the surrounding business areas as well as the Moi International Airport and the new SGR rail terminus.

The former Best Western Plus property is designed for the modern business and leisure traveler with an emphasis on classic CityBlue comfort. The hotel features 100 spacious and modern rooms as well as food and beverage options including an all-day dining restaurant. Other hotel facilities include a fitness centre, an outdoor pool and flexible conference and meeting spaces.

The CityBlue Creekside Hotel & Suites will provide all of the brand’s defining elements including free bottled water in all rooms and suites, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and an outstanding breakfast.

CityBlue Hotels’ Founder & CEO, Jameel Verjee, explained: “We plan to open the rebranded CityBlue Creekside Hotel & Suites next month as the value hotel of choice for the Mombasa market, as it takes off post-election and into the busy December season. The location of the hotel makes it ideal for conferences, weddings and leisure vacations but it also clearly falls into the business hotel “value” category that CityBlue is currently known for.”

Next month, CityBlue is also opening a 76 room CityBlue Epic Hotel & Suites in Nyagatare, Rwanda with huge wedding and conferencing facilities, tennis and basketball courts and a planned golf course.

The CityBlue brand continues to experience incredible growth momentum and with the two new openings, CityBlue has now created more than 400 local jobs across Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

The group is set to open at least three more hotels by 2020 in East Africa but it also has a strong development pipeline in various Southern and Western African countries.

marriott-international-boss

Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.

By VICTOR NZE

Global hotel chain, Marriott International, Tuesday, announced further expansion plans in Africa with seven new hotel signings, including two in Nigeria, three Ivory Coast,  one each in Ghana and Ethiopia, all slated to open in 2020.

The two pipeline projects in Nigeria are; the Renaissance Landmark Lagos Hotel and the Marriott Executive Apartments, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Others also slated for opening by 2020 across the continent include; the Sheraton Abidjan, Four Points by Sheraton Abidjan, the Abidjan Marriott Hotel, all in Ivory Coast, Protea Hotel by Marriott Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Le Meridien Accra, Ghana.

Marriott International was the first global chain to make a significant investment in Africa with the acquisition of Protea Hotels for $210 million in 2014. The company is now targeting over 200 hotels with 37,000 rooms open or in the pipeline by 2022, equating to around $8.5 billion of capital investment by its real estate partners, reinforcing its continued commitment to expansion in Africa and solidifying its leadership on the continent.

The investment is expected to generate substantial economic activity and around 50,000 direct and indirect jobs once the hotels open.

“Africa today makes a very compelling story. We are seeing unprecedented traction for our compelling brands, driving our momentum of growth.

“We have always believed in the potential of Africa and the opportunities the continent has to offer. With economic growth, a rising middle class and rapid urbanization, the demand for travel and high quality lodging is growing, providing us with a significant opportunity to enhance our footprint and play our part in supporting many emerging markets across the continent,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.

Marriott is present in 20 African countries, namely: Nigeria, Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

The company is expected to foray into new markets including Benin Republic, Botswana, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal and has signed 1,300 new rooms marking the debut of Marriott International into Ivory Coast while strengthening its presence in existing markets including Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria.

Owned and developed by Landmark Africa Group, Marriott International will manage the 216-room Renaissance Landmark Lagos Hotel, as well as a 44-room Marriott Executive Apartments. Slated to open in 2020, the hotels will be located within the Landmark Village precinct, a premier mixed-use, business, leisure and lifestyle development along the Atlantic Ocean waterfront in Victoria Island, the central business district of Lagos.

The 25-floor hotel will offer a wide range of amenities, including local and international restaurants, spa facilities, a fitness center, and an infinity pool with access to a 100-meter-long boardwalk overlooking a vibrant beach club offering exciting watersports.

Speaking on the increased interest in mixed-use development projects, Kyriakidis said, “As cities evolve and grow into flourishing urban centers, we will continue to see a lot of activity in this space. An international hotel brand can bring cachet to a project that positions it significantly above its peers and differentiates it from its competitors. Our compelling brands spanning every segment from Luxury to Premium to Select to Extended Stay, lend themselves to grow in all markets, city and resort as well as standalone and mixed-use formats, providing developers the flexibility and choice to identify the right brand for the right location.”

It would be recalled that Marriott also recently opened the Protea by Marriott Owerri Select in Nigeria.

Other forthcoming openings over the next couple of months include Sheraton Bamako which marks the debut of Marriott International in Mali, Protea Hotel by Marriott Constantine, the brand’s debut in Algeria and the Accra Marriott Hotel, the debut of the flagship Marriott Hotels brand in Ghana.

Presently, Marriott International has a strong footprint across the continent operating 140 hotels with close to 24,000 rooms across 12 brands.

 

Abidjan Marriott Hotel, Ivory Coast

Within walking distance from the Presidential Palace, the 200 room Abidjan Marriott Hotel is strategically located in the heart of Plateau, the central business district and the commercial, financial and administrative center of Abidjan. Owned by Ivory Coast Investissement, the hotel is slated to open in 2021 and will be part of a mixed-use development that will include a conference center, offices, retail and a national library.

Sheraton Abidjan and Four Points by Sheraton Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Slated to open in 2022, both Sheraton Abidjan and Four Points by Sheraton Abidjan will also be part of a mixed-use development which will include a convention center, a marina, a shopping center and an office building. The 259 room Four Points by Sheraton Abidjan will be a conversion of an existing hotel, which will be rebranded following extensive refurbishment, while the 300 room Sheraton Abidjan will be a new build property. Owned by the Societe Des Lagunes, the hotels will be set on the waterfront in the affluent neighborhood of Cocody, an upmarket residential commune that also houses the embassy district.

With Ivory Coast being celebrated as one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, and re-emerging as the gateway to Francophone Africa, the new hotels in the capital city of Abidjan are ideally placed for a long and thriving future.

Le Meridien Accra, Ghana

The 160-room Le Meridien Accra, owned by 4-Mac Limited is strategically located close to the international airport, within the prestigious Airport Residential Area of Accra. It will provide easy access to key commercial, diplomatic and government nodes as well as to major city attractions. Scheduled to open in 2021, the hotel marks the debut of Le Meridien brand into Ghana.

Protea Hotel by Marriott Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Projected to open in 2021, the 165 room Protea Hotel by Marriott Addis Ababa, located on Churchill Avenue will mark the debut of the brand into Ethiopia. The hotel will offer a specialty restaurant, a lobby bar and lounge and meeting facilities as well as a fitness center and spa.

 

 

Rwanda WTAWorld Travel Awards (WTA) has touched down in Rwanda ahead of its Africa Gala Ceremony 2017.

The prestigious event will take place in the country’s thriving capital, Kigali, on 10th October, with hundreds of leaders from across the hospitality industry expected to attend the glittering red carpet ceremony.

Local stars, George Ndirangu and Makeda Mahadeo – both hugely experienced as hosts and presenters – will compere the event which will take place at the five star Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, alongside the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and AviaDev Africa (10th-12th October).

The leading hotel investment conference that connects business leaders from the international and local markets, driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across Africa, AHIF is attended by the highest calibre international hotel investors of any conference in Africa.

Meanwhile AviaDev Africa is a unique event bringing together airports, airlines, governments, industry suppliers and tourism authorities to determine the future air connectivity and infrastructure development of Africa. The event provides an opportunity for the aviation and hotel development communities to share intelligence on their future plans, catalysing tourism development on the continent.

Speaking ahead of the event, WTA President and Founder Graham E. Cooke said: “It is an honour for World Travel Awards to be here in Rwanda, for the very first time.

“The heart of Africa, Rwanda has become rightfully known for its spectacular scenery – think thundering waterfalls, towering mountains and virgin rainforests – and rare wildlife.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Rwanda to claim its rightful place as Africa’s rising star and I can’t wait to welcome all our nominees next Tuesday, as we recognise the leaders among them.”

SavedPicture-2017222144421.jpgFor the second time this year, Ministers of Culture and Tourism from around the globe, including Nigeria’s Alhaji Lai Mohammed, will converge on the city of Muscat, in Oman from December 11 to 12 for another edition of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)/ United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Conference on Tourism and Culture.

Mohammed is the Vice President (Africa) of the UNWTO.

This second edition of the conference is also expected to bring together private sector stakeholders and experts with the objective of building and strengthening partnerships between the Tourism and Culture sectors and enhance their role in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The cnference is a sequel to the First UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture, held in Siem Reap, Cambodia in February 2015 and will provide the platform to reflect upon the Siem Reap Declaration that pledged to explore the synergies of the tourism and culture sectors to work in harmony for sustainable development.

The United Nations has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, thereby offering a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential to help transform the world into a place of prosperity and wellbeing for all.

In this context, the second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture features prominently as one of the official events on the calendar of activities of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

Gathering tourism and culture stakeholders from all world regions in Muscat, Oman, the Conference will address a wide range of topics, including governance models, tourism development and protection of cultural heritage, culture and tourism in urban development and creativity, and explore the nature/culture interface in tourism as a vehicle for sustainable development in destinations worldwide.

DT Hurlingham Nairobi receptionGlobal hotel chain, Hilton says it is committing a total of $50 million over the next five years towards its Africa Growth Initiative to support the continued expansion of its Sub-Saharan African portfolio including those in Nigeria.

According to the hotel group, these funds are intended to support the conversion of around 100 hotels (roughly 20,000 rooms) in multiple African markets into Hilton branded properties, namely into its flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand, the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton and the recently launched Curio Collection by Hilton.

Senior Vice President, Development, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton, Patrick Fitzgibbon, said: “Hilton remains committed to growth in Africa having been present on the continent for more than 50 years. The model of converting existing hotels into Hilton branded properties has proved highly successful in a variety of markets and we expect to see great opportunities to convert hotels to Hilton brands through this initiative.”

“It enables us to rapidly grow our portfolio and delivers returns for owners by increasing exposure of their business to more international, inter-regional and domestic travellers, and specifically to our 65 million-plus Hilton Honors members, who look to stay with us in our suite of industry-leading brands. We see huge potential here in key cities and airports, as well as allowing us to develop our offering in resorts and safari lodges.”

These hotels will receive all the benefits associated with Hilton’s industry-leading brand proposition and world-class commercial platforms. Guests will also be able to take advantage of Hilton’s innovative technology platforms such as online check-in and the ability to choose individual rooms when booking via the Hilton Honors App.

“The range of brands we have at our disposal allows owners the flexibility to pick the right fit for their property. We have already deployed this initiative in the signing of two hotels: our first DoubleTree by Hilton property in Kenya, and our first hotel in Rwanda, and expect to be able to announce further additions before the end of this year,” Fitzgibbon added.

The first hotel to benefit from this initiative is the 109 guest room Amber Hotel on Nairobi’s Ngong Road, which will re-launch under the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand. The hotel, which opened in 2016, is currently undergoing a series of renovations and will join the brand by the end of the year.

Following the refurbishment, the hotel will be known as DoubleTree by Hilton Nairobi Hurlingham and will continue to be operated by the owner under a franchise agreement through the leadership of its current General Manager, Elisha Katam.

The 153-room Ubumwe Grande Hotel in the Kigali central business district will trade under the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand when it fully converts in 2018. This franchised property – with 134 guest rooms and 19 apartments – opened in September 2016. The hotel will undergo some changes in order to rebrand and will be Hilton’s first property in Rwanda. Once rebranded, the hotel will trade as the DoubleTree by Hilton Kigali City Centre.

Hilton currently operates 19 hotels in the Sub Saharan Africa region with a further 29 in its pipeline. It has held a presence on the African continent for over 50 years.

Turkish AirlinesTurkish Airlines has extended its ‘Stopover’ service to include transfer passengers departing from Nigeria, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Australia, Algeria, South Africa  and travelling to selected destinations across the United States, Europe, South America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Far East, Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

According to the airline, passengers travelling from Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa who have more than 20 hours of connection time in Istanbul can avail this service which was previously offered to passengers departing from Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Australia.

‘Stopover’ services offer passengers complimentary accommodation and a great opportunity to discover the unique beauty of Istanbul during their transit.

Passengers will receive an accommodation voucher from Turkish Airlines’ authorised staff after booking their flight. Using the voucher, economy class passengers will receive a one night stay at a 4-star hotel; and business class passengers a two night stay at a 5-star hotel in Sultanahmet and Taksim; popular neighbourhoods widely regarded as the central points of Istanbul.

“After receiving a positive response from our passengers we are excited to extend our ‘Stopover’ programme to more countries. We want to provide our passengers an opportunity to experience Turkish hospitality and other attractions that the beautiful city of Istanbul has to offer. We are confident that our passengers will benefit from our service and will make the most out of it,” said Turkish Airlines’ chief marketing officer, Mr Ahmet Olmuştur.

Nigeria

Nigeria Tourism

Kaduna State Government has shifted attention to its tourism industry as it looks to woo both tourists and investors to the state, even as it further disclosed of plans to corner the market with an ambitious target of 100, 000 tourists before the end of year.

State Commissioner for Industry and Culture, Manzo Maigari, who disclosed this at the recently concluded Akwaaba African Travel Market in Lagos, said following the tourist projections, the state government has set in motion a machinery to map out its attractions with the aim to put them out in the public domain for the interest of investors and tourists.

According to the commissioner, given the huge potential of tourism, the state governor, Nasir El – rufai, has mandated his ministry to use the tourism to bring about sustainable economic development for the state, including job creation.

The agenda of the state government, he said include putting a workable tourism policy in place to drive investment, review its tourism master plan and document its tourist sites.

“The idea is to attract local and foreign investors to invest in the rich culture and tourism potential of the state. It will also serve as an opportunity for indigenes to get employed. This will help the state to have a proper tourism map, through which it could showcase its tourism potential to the outside world as a good tourism framework has to be in place for investors to have confidence in the state’s tourism sector,’’ he said.

The commissioner further revealed that the state government would create an enabling environment and infrastructure for tourism to thrive.

“The role of government is to create an enabling business environment while investors are to invest in the business opportunities provided. The Kaduna State Government will create a business enterprise in the area it has a comparative advantage especially in the area of culture, commerce, industry and tourism. This will fast track development in the state and boost government revenue earnings,’’ added Maigari.

The commissioner who disclosed that the state government is targeting 100,000 tourists in the last quarter of the year, assured of the safety of lives and property in the state, adding that the state government is desirous of making Kaduna State an economically viable state.

Some of the tourism assets spotlighted by him include: Kajuru Castle, Kamuku National Park, Fifth Chukker Polo Club, Kagoro hills, museums, amusement parks, the Nok Village, Gurara Falls, Lord Lugard Footbridge and Gamji Park.

sheraton vodka cocktailThe iconic Sheraton Lagos Hotel has announced that the hotel’s food and beverage teams have commenced work on a collection of recreated signature cocktails, which the portfolio is renowned and also in line with ‘offering Loyal Patrons elevated and transformative experiences.’

A statement by Ms Nanji Tyem, Head of Public Relations for Marriot in Nigeria quotes the General Manager of the hotel, Mr Barry Curran, as disclosing that the Sheraton Lagos will also leverage on its cocktail experience in celebrating this year’s World Vodka Day on October 4 with a competition for vodka connoisseurs on social media.

“At Sheraton Lagos Hotel, we have 3 bars that cater to cocktail lovers who visit. As cocktails continually become an art of the bar man, Sheraton has decided that its bars will be renown as the place to go to for cocktails within the vicinity.

“Since we are strategically located along the Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way at the epicentre of Ikeja’s bustling area, our commitment towards ensuring consistent food and beverage experiences will drive us to celebrate the World Vodka Day on the fourth of October 2017, which is marked to celebrate the many flavours and recipes that make Vodka the world’s favourite Spirit,” said Curran, who is also the Area General Manager for Marriott in Nigeria.

Continuing, Mr Curran explained that “ to celebrate World Vodka Day, the hotel will  host a social media competition which will bring  all cocktail connoisseurs together  to guess the ingredients of  each vodka-based cocktail posted on all our hotel social media pages.

“Winners will be treated to a free cocktail of their choice at the hotel. In order to be eligible for this competition, participants must be follow the hotel on Twitter and Instagram and like our Facebook page Sheraton Lagos Hotel.

“Sheraton Lagos Hotel has carefully put together a cocktail menu that will inspire everyone who comes through the doors. We are sure that guests will leave very satisfied after tasting our specially crafted beverages”.

“At Sheraton Lagos, actions speak louder than words therefore  we believe  that we will be cementing our place as a hotel not just for business travellers but also as a  property that creates experiences for leisure seekers too.

“With the hotel’s proven success and exceptional reputation in culinary expertise, The Sheraton Lagos Hotel looks forward to inviting all vodka lovers and enthusiasts to the property to celebrate this great day.”