wp-1490262309560.jpegBy VICTOR NZE

Marriott Hotels in Nigeria has unveiled exceptional offers ahead of the Christmas Celebrations as it also announced a partnership with domestic carrier, Dana Air, which gifts traveller 25 per cent discount on flight tickets.

Marriott International Hotels In Nigeria including the Sheraton Lagos Hotel, the Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton in Lagos and Le Meridien Ogeyi Place, in Port Harcourt have in addition repositioned their services to ‘deliver elevated Christmas experiences this season of cheer,’ according to Area General Manager for all the Hotels in Nigeria, Mr Barry Curran, in a statement, Monday.

Specifically, the selected hotels will offer free feeding to children under the age of five and room rates below N40, 000.

“We have special offers for everyone, from food lovers to music enthusiasts. For those visiting our hotels, get ready to illuminate your mind and sight as the ambience of the statement décor will highlight the Christmas spirit for those coming through the doors of our hotels.

“We have partnered with Dana Air to make this season much more memorable, the first 20 people who book a stay at any of our hotels will enjoy 25 per cent discount off your next Dana air flight.

“Our ginger bread houses at Sheraton Lagos Hotel and Sheraton Abuja Hotel will be set up at our lobbies for kids to go in, take pictures and pick up treats as a token of how much we love and cherish them”. Santa’s Grotto Corner with free cookies, games, and loads of favorites for all kids will be a “mind blowing experience” at Sheraton Abuja Hotel.

“Le Meridien Ogeyi Place, Port Harcourt will have the young ones from 0-5 years eating for free on all packages, while Santa Claus will thrill the kids at the hotel premises. A delightsome kid’s corner with gifts awaits each eager tender tot.

“From Friday the 8th of December till the 25th of December, various Caroling activities will take place at the lobbies and Gardens of our hotels with a range of interesting choir performances from various groups and churches. The children from Ijamido Orphanage will perform at Sheraton Lagos Hotel while the Zumuta Mata women, Abuja Choral Ensemble just to mention a few will serenade guests at Sheraton Abuja Hotel.

“At the Sheraton Lagos Hotel our teams have put together a list of Christmas cakes on sale from 15 December to January 1. Favorites such as Yule log cakes, mince pies, stollen cakes and Christmas cupcakes will be available for your purchase and pleasure”.

“Room offers are also available throughout the festive season and rates start from N34, 999 inclusive of taxes, complimentary breakfast, and access to recreational facilities, internet, and late check outs. Free to half price meals for kid’s under13yrs of age and other Christmas specials and New Year’s Eve treats”.

“Four Points by Sheraton Lagos will deliver an unforgettable Brazzerie Restaurant extended Christmas and New Year day buffet lunch relishing tasty dishes, and a selection of beverage, while the Sheraton Lagos Hotel will feature alongside special meals for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day; a New Year’s Eve a gala dinner and a free glass of champagne for all once the clock strikes midnight to ring in the New Year.

“For those visiting Le Meridien Ogeyi Place, Port Harcourt be sure to savor the unique South South specials from the Ororo restaurant along with delectable all day dining and special buffets during the season, the carving station at the buffet Special boxing day with unlimited Star Beer will create the right party for your pleasure.

“At Sheraton Abuja Hotel, every group or family of five diners gets a complimentary bottle of wine during the Christmas Day Lunch at the Ladi Kwali Conference Center and an enriching New Year’s Lunch offer, 20% discount off individual gym membership, complimentary spa vouchers for pedicure, manicure or any massage for any package purchase; a silent disco courtesy of Hennessy Nigeria- all at Four Points by Sheraton Lagos.” said Curran.

Speaking on the partnership, the Communications Manager of Dana Air, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa said: “It is Christmas, and families, friends will be planning special getaways, and to lessen the burden of having to pay far more. We have decided to partner the Marriott hotels to unveil these amazing Christmas and New Year offers. With these special offers on hotel and flight ticket, our guests can plan conveniently, get best fares and enjoy the season.’’


(From left to right): Delta Air Lines Executives-Mr Jimmy Eichelgruer, Director of Sales, Africa, Asia, Europe; Mr Bobby Bryan, Director of Commercials, East & West Africa Region, Mr Bob Cortelyou, Senior Vice President, Network Planning; Mr Shane Spyak, Vice President, Sales Europe, Middle East, Africa & India (EMEAI); and Olufemi Adefope, Managing Director, Skylogistics (Delta GSA in Nigeria), at Media launch of Delta Air Lines 10th Anniversary Celebration, which held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Monday


Delta Air Lines has lifted more than 1.12 million passengers on the Lagos – Atlanta route since it commenced service from Nigeria ten years ago, according to Mr Bobby Bryan, Commercial Director, East and West Africa, who also added that it has carried over 80, 000 travellers on the Lagos – Atlanta schedule this year alone.

The is just as the United States-based carrier commemorated its ten years of servicing the Lagos-Atlanta route with a media launch and celebrations which gathered the airline’s top executives from Europe, Middle East, Africa and India regions of operations.

The event which took place at the Federal palace Hotel in Lagos also saw the cutting of the anniversary cake in celebration of the milestone.

Launched on December 4, 2007, Delta remains the only, United States airline to fly nonstop between Nigeria and the United States and has carried more than 1.12 million passengers between the two nations over the past decade.

“It’s an honour to serve Lagos. For 10 years it has been an important route in our trans-Atlantic network not only for the business community, but also for customers reuniting with friends and families across the United States,” said Bob Cortelyou, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Network Planning.

Continuing, Cortelyou said: “With this milestone comes a new flight to New York-JFK starting in March and our customers can be sure we remain as committed as ever to delivering the very best in terms of network, schedule and on-board experience in Nigeria.”

The airline also announced that from March 26, 2018, it will commence a three days of weekly flight operations from Lagos to the JFK International Airport in New York to complement the existing Atlanta route, which will now be increased to four weekly services.

The New York – Lagos route will be operated with the A330-200 aircraft, recently introduced into the Lagos-Atlanta route, adding more seats and offering an enhanced on-board experience.

In addition to fully flat-bed seats in Delta One, Wi-Fi access, screens at every seat and free-mobile messaging throughout the aircraft, Delta’s services between Lagos and Atlanta are tailored to meet the preferences of local customers. This includes regionally inspired cuisine with locally sourced ingredients, offering a wider selection of sodas and fruit juices, and showcasing Nigeria’s vibrant film industry.



United States-based On Point Loyalty, LLC has announced the release of its first annual report on the Top 100 Most Valuable Airline Loyalty Programmes around the world providing the first-ever comprehensive, data-driven ranking of the value of airline loyalty programmes with Delta Air Lines topping a list of ten other airlines.

Examined was public information on over 170 airlines around the world to determine an estimated value for each airline’s loyalty program.  Over 50 variables relating to the airline, loyalty programme, credit card industry and local market dynamics were incorporated into On Point Loyalty’s proprietary valuation algorithms.

This pioneering report gives a unique view on the value generated by these somewhat opaque marketing businesses which are important ancillary revenue contributors for airlines.

“We are excited to share this report with the airline, investor and credit card communities to shed new light on the value of airline loyalty programmes from around the world.  This report will be a new standard by which programs can be measured,” Managing Partner, Jeremy Rabe said.

The global airline loyalty industry is estimated to be worth over US $160 billion.  Airline loyalty programmes are tremendously popular with approximately 288 million active loyalty members earning around 3.5 trillion points per year.

wp-1490262309560.jpegMarriott Rewards has come out on top once more in J.D. Power’s new 2017 Hotel Loyalty Programme Satisfaction Study.

Marriott Rewards ranked highest with a score of 806 on a 1,000-point scale, and was followed very closely by World of Hyatt with a score of 805. Hilton Honors, which tied with Marriott last year for the top ranking, had a score of 793. Last year, Marriott and Hilton tied for first place with scores of 741 each.

Satisfaction took into account the following four factors: ease of earning and redeeming rewards (35 percent of score); program benefits (27 percent of score); account management (22 percent of score); and member communication (16 percent of score).

The study measured responses from 4,682 hotel rewards program members who took five or more trips in the past 12 months. The survey was conducted from September to October 2017.

The criteria for this year’s study was different from last year’s, said Rick Garlick, global practice lead, travel and hospitality, for J.D. Power, so “it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison between this year and last year.”

Marriott is preparing to merge its Marriott Rewards programme with Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Ritz-Carlton Rewards by 2019. New reports suggest the programmes will remain separate throughout 2018, and giving customers the same amount of choice will remain crucial to guest satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s findings.

Africa tourism growing – UNWTO

Posted: December 7, 2017 in general

SavedPicture-2017222144421.jpgThe potential of tourism in poverty alleviation and to induce transformative change has been addressed in Lusaka, Zambia, in the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Conference on Promoting Sustainable Tourism, a Tool for Inclusive Growth and Community Engagement in Africa.

The conference, a flagship event of the Africa region for the celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, took place last 16-18 November and was coordinated by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in cooperation with Zambia.

According to UNWTO statistical data, the African continent had an increase of international arrivals of 8 per cent in 2016, compared to the previous year. This, together with the increasing commitment of African governments to position tourism in their agenda, reveals the gaining prominence of the sector as well as its strong potential to foster positive change and transformation.

The Conference that was preceded by a technical workshop to revise strategies and approaches to develop sustainable tourism initiatives in the African continent, tackled these issues as well as the potential of sustainable tourism to lead policies to foster communities inclusion.

The summit was attended by more than 200 international and local participants from Angola, Egypt, Jordan, Cabo Verde, Guinea Equatorial Kenya, Mali, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Switzerland, Spain, Union of the Comoros, Malawi, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The framework of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals were defined together with the African Union Agenda 2063 as the best scenario to foster sustainable tourism in the continent.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, who congratulated Zambia for hosting the Conference as member of the UNWTO Executive Council and Chair for 2019, highlighted that the current world is facing major transformations namely the digital revolution, connecting our minds virtually and globally, the urban revolution, connecting our life style and our livelihoods and the travel revolution connecting us physically and culturally

“Today, the world is at a major transformation juncture, rapid and fast change is the essence of our time. The three global forces are leading this transformation”, he added. During his visit, Rifai also declared the South Luangwa National Park of Zambia as a sustainable park.

The sessions were organized into four panels tackling Public-Private Partnership, the Role of Technology in the development of tourism, Wildlife conservation and Community Engagement and Air Connectivity in Africa.


Nigeria Tourism


The exit door at the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) may once again welcome the embattled Director General of the agency, Mr Folusho Folarin-Coker, as aside his drop in rating among industry operators of late, has now also lost the trust of his staff, who last Wednesday,  demanded the resignation of the former Lagos State Commissioner.

Unceremoniously shoved out of Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode’s cabinet as Commissioner for Tourism, Folarin-Coker’s appointment as Director General of the NTDC in April, this year, was expected to seal the constantly revolving door at the agency that has seen four chief executives occupy the top seat in a space of three months.

Folarin-Coker’s appointment by the Federal Government was initially hailed as a step in the right direction by industry operators against the backdrop of his professional background as an outsider considering that the previous three occupants of the position who succeeded the sacked Mrs Sally Mbanefo, had been from within civil service structure with two of them senior directors from within the NTDC.

It would be recalled that following the sack of Mbanefo in November 2016, three senior directors, namely; Mr Boniface Ebuka in December 2016 (acting capacity), Mrs Mariel Rae-Omoh in January 2017 (acting capacity) and Dr Paul Adalikwu in March 2017 (in acting capacity,) were variously appointed within three months from late December 2016 to March 2017, before the eventual emergence of Folarin-Coker in April (in full capacity).

However, less than eight months into his tenure as boss of NTDC, Folarin-Coker has already fallen out with the industry stakeholders who celebrated his initial appointment, as well as other interest groups. And only last Wednesday, staff at the agency’s headquarters located at the Old Secretariat, Garki, Abuja, took over the corporation’s premises in a protest demanding the immediate removal of their Director General over accusations bordering on misconduct and incompetence.

The aggrieved NTDC staff accused Folarin-Coker of high-handedness and poor welfare of workers, in addition of further claims that he was not competent to occupy the position, just as they called on the Federal Government to remove him immediately.

The demonstrators carried placards conveying different messages including ‘NTDC staff not animals,’ and ‘NTDC staff says no to oppressor,’ ‘DG Mr Folunrusho Coker, we are tired of your insults, we are not your slaves,’ ‘Coker, give us our job, we want to work,’ ‘Coker needs management training,’ ‘Coker, stop all impunity and financial recklessness in NTDC.’

Other placards read: ‘NTDC staff are not animals, treat us like human beings,’ ‘Special assistant is not a full time employment,’ ‘Let the staff work, what kind of a leader is Coker,’ ‘Seven months after assumption of duty, no meeting with staff,’ ‘Coker said Buhari has not been able to achieve anything in two years and so NTDC staff should not expect him to do magic,’ ‘Folunrunsho Coker lacks human relations, he is a bully,’ ‘PMB, as a matter of urgency, should sack Folorunsho Coker,’ ‘Only Coker attends foreign exhibition,’ among others.

They further accused Folarin-Coker of setting up a project unit which is not part of the NTDC nomenclature, but a conduit pipe to syphon money out of the NTDC.

The workers lamented that Folarin-Coker has not been able to achieve anything since taking over NTDC barely eight months ago as they also expressed disappointment over what they called his poor leadership style and lack of respect for the workers.

However, the NTDC helmsman is not new to controversies as back in August, his decision to forward to the National Assembly a bill which sought to revise the framework of operations of the corporation came up for public hearing drew the ire of industry operators.

Heavy criticisms trailed the proposed  NTDC Act Cap N137 LFN, 2004 (Repeal Re-enactment) Bill, 2017 (SB.429),as it came up for public hearing on the floor of the senate, with the umbrella body of industry practitioners, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN)and other stakeholders contesting amendments sought by the corporation in the bill.

Immediate past president of FTAN and chairman of its Board of Trustees, Samuel Alabi, who is also a legal practitioner, described the proposed NTDC bill said as an ‘illegality.’

‘‘It appears the drafters of the bill are not aware of the import of the Supreme Court judicial pronouncement on the status of tourism in the 1999 constitution as amended. By the Supreme Court decision, tourism has been held to be a residual matter, and therefore, only state Houses of Assembly could validly legislate on it.

‘‘It is laughable that what the Supreme Court had dismantled in 2013 on the basis of the 1999 constitution is now been reassembled by the Senate without first amending the relevant 1999 constitution. It is like reinventing the will, pure and simple,’’ said the Legal Adviser of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos.

The FTAN in its own position paper presented on the floor of the Senate by its President, Alhaji Rabo Saleh Kareem, faulted Section 4 (c) Membership of the Governing Board; Section 15 (c) Functions of the Corporation; Section 15 (d) Functions of the Corporation; Section 16 (f) – Functions of the Corporation (continued);

Other contentious portions of the proposed bill, according to FTAN, include: Section 18 – Establishment of a Tour Operating Company; Section 22 (f) and (g) Funds of the Corporation; Section 26 & 28 – Establishment and object of Tourism Development Fund; Section 29 – Tourism Development levy, which the association must be expunged from the proposed bill.

Particularly for  Section 29, titled; ‘Tourism Development levy’, FTAN said the ‘entire prayers sought for inserting this section and clauses into the amendment are ill conceived and would make the Levy inoperable on ground, more so there would be no transparency in the processes.’

According to FTAN, “Tourism Development levy should be collected on the site where it is applicable by the operators and immediately paid into the bank accounts of Tourism Development Fund. Tourism Development levy should be the primary source of funding for the Tourism Development Fund.”

Other stakeholders flayed the NTDC for introducing a bill which seeks to ‘alienate the private sector operators in the country.’

A tourism expert, Dr. Franklin. J. Adejuwon, advised that the bill should treat the NTDC as a regulatory and supervisory agency of government and ‘not an autocratic organization that would begin conflicting with Minister’s powers or encroaching on the rights of the people,’ adding further that ‘tourism is entirely based on human relations and influence. The bill must therefore attend to these tendencies in its contents.’

Adejuwon chaired the Presidential Committee which drafted the original National Tourism Masterplan that was adopted by the former President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s administration and launched by Chief Adetokunbo Kayode as then Minister of Tourism and National Orientation.

“The proposed bill should limit the cooperation to giving guidelines only and follow up with state governments to operate within the guidelines. We should remember when a situation is within the concurrent list, state governments have direct powers to do and undo. There cannot be any imposition of powers by federal government in this aspect. Inspectors can only operate through state organisations responsible for tourism. Let us avoid building an empire for NTDC at the expense of poor people who wish to earn a living and provide jobs for other people by investing in the industry,”Adejuwon said.

President, Nigeria Hotel Association, Mr Lanre Awoseyin, on his part, criticised the contents of the bill, saying the document were against the spirit of the constitution of the country, even as he advised President Muhammadu Buhari not assent to it.

He said that the bill also stated that one per cent of hoteliers’ charges each year would be remitted to the Federal Government, which he described as “outrageous, obnoxious and abnormal”.

KenyaPresident Uhuru Kenyatta has assured that any African can get a visa on arrival in Kenya, and will be free to settle in the country if they marry a Kenyan, removing restrictions on some nations.

“If you wish and find a willing partner, you can marry and settle in Kenya. This commitment we make again with no requirement for reciprocity,” he said, last Tuesday, during his inauguration address, adding that the move was designed to cement African ties.

Kenyatta of Kenya was sworn in for a second term after he won a repeat presidential election on October 26 that was boycotted by Odinga, who claimed it would not be free and fair.

The Supreme Court nullified the first presidential election, in August, over irregularities.



Dana AirThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) has formally presented Dana Air with its membership certificate.

The certificate was presented to the Accountable Manager of the airline, Mr Obi Mbanuzuo, by IATA’s Area Manager, South-West Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun, in Lagos.

Speaking at the occasion, Fatokun said that not all airlines were members of IATA as a result of its stringent admission process.

He commended Dana Air for making the list and joining over 300 airlines presently on the association’s registry.

“We have requirements for any airline that wants to join the IATA family and one of that requirement is that they must pass the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and this has kept most of them back. IATA comes with a requirement of quality and people expect the airline to operate with recommended standards of aviation globally. We commend Dana Air for this feat and hope that they will keep up the good work,”Fatokun said.

Responding on behalf of the airline, Mbanuzuo assured of Dana’s continuous safety and operational efficiency and a commitment to raising the standards of air travel with its admission into the registry of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Mbanuzuo also assured the airline’s teeming passengers of its commitment to guarantee sustainability and professionalism in Nigeria’s aviation industry.

‘’Since becoming an IATA member, we have received a barrage of requests for interline and code-share agreements and we can’t wait to take our unrivaled services in Nigeria to the global stage. Dana Air remains uncompromising in its commitment to maintaining global best practices and as always, we will continue to churn out world-class initiatives to meet and exceed the flying aspirations of our teeming guests,” he said.

He also stated that being a member of IATA came with benefits and responsibilities, benefits that the airline is already tapping from with the deluge of information it gets as well as the airline body’s ability to lobby government and aid in favourable policies for the airlines.

He said the airline had also successfully undergone an operational audit conducted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and its foreign partners, the Flight Safety Group.

“We also scaled the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and we wish to assure our guests that we are not resting on our oars as commitment to professionalism is unwavering,’’ he said.


Nigeria and eight other African countries including; Angola, Algeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe, have been accused of blocking global airlines’ funds amounting to $1.2 billion.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said, Monday, that foreign airlines’ operations were being crippled following the failure to remit foreign exchange owed the carriers by governments of the named countries.

According to IATA, the global airline industry has $1.2 billion blocked or trapped in nine African countries

At an aviation meeting in the Rwandan capital, IATA’s Vice President for Africa, Raphale Kuuchi, said that airlines were in talks with “a few governments to unblock airline funds”.

“To do business effectively, airlines must be able to reliably repatriate their revenues,” Kuuchi said, adding: “And that’s not the case in nine African countries: Angola, Algeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe.”

Of the total of $1.2 billion, Angola has blocked the largest amount, $500 million, while Sudan has held up $200 million, another IATA official, Adefunke Adeyemi, said.

Last year Nigeria owed airliners $600 million but as of October the amount had fallen to $221 million, she added.

Lagos TourismLagos State Government has said that the six `Eko Theatres’ under construction across the state would be ready before the end of next year.

State Commissioner of Information, Mr Steve Ayorinde, disclosed that the six theatres are located in Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Ikeja, Igando and Lagos Island areas of the state.

Ayorinde, who spoke at the recently-concluded All African Music Award (AFRIMA) 2017 in Lagos, said that the construction of the theatres was aimed at boosting tourism and entertainment in the state.

He said that three of the theatres would be commissioned by the first quarter of 2018 ahead of the third anniversary of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration.

According to the commissioner, the construction of the theatres is on course and will be ready on schedule.

“The first three of the Eko Theatres will be ready on schedule by the first quarter of next year.

“Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode is passionate about it: He visited the construction site of one of the theatres in Badagry last week and it is about 65 per cent completion level; same thing we have in Alomosho and Ikorodu.


“There are six of them scattered all over the state, but we are sure that the first three will be ready for inauguration before the next democracy day May 29, 2018. The opening will be used to commemorate the third anniversary of the administration, so we are putting much energy on it to have them completed,’’ he said.

Ayorinde said that other three Eko Theatres would be ready by December 2018, adding that Ambode was ready to make tourism and entertainment the hallmark of his administration.

“We are committed to the new economy because we all know what entertainment and tourism brings to table when it comes to revenue and income generation,’’ he said.