nnamdi-azikiwe-international-airport-abuja

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

Flight operations and other business activities have resumed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, (NAIA) Abuja, after six weeks of closure for runway rehabilitation.

Air Peace was the first domestic airline to land at the airport on Wednesday at 7:24 a.m.

Other domestic airlines that landed in the morning are Arik Air at 7:32 a.m. and Medview at 8:20 a.m.

This is also as businesses like coffee shops, restaurants, provision shops and boutiques as well as taxi operators were ready for operations.

The airport on Tuesday received the Ethiopian Airlines’ new Airbus A350-900 to mark its official reopening on Tuesday.

hilton kenya

hilton nairobi’s proposed look

Casablanca and Nairobi are the leading destinations for Fortune 500 companies in the Middle East Africa (MEA) region in 2016.

A new report released by Infomineo, a global business research company that specialises in Africa and the Middle East, said that the region had become increasingly important for the majority of global Fortune 500 companies.

The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks 500 of the largest U.S. corporations by total revenue for their respective fiscal years.

The list includes public companies along with privately held companies for which revenues are publicly available.

The report focuses on multinationals looking at entering, or already present in the Middle East and Africa region.

“Nairobi the capital of Kenya is the leading destination for the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies and tends to be the top choice for organisations looking to service Eastern Africa.

“Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco has the highest growth rate overall with both Casablanca and Nairobi rapidly gaining traction and international awareness,” the report said.

The report added that there was a 17 per cent increase in the number of Fortune 500 companies in MEA in 2016 compared to 2015, with Johannesburg being the leading destination for Africa.

Dubai and Johannesburg are the most popular hubs overall with Casablanca having the highest growth rate overall, while Dubai has the highest count.

According to the report, leading regional destinations on the Fortune 500 list include Dubai, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Nairobi, Lagos, and Cairo.

“Egypt remains behind the leaders due to political instability, however, it has seen a 250 per cent increase in Fortune 500 investment since 2015.

“In 2016, 196 Fortune companies had established a dedicated regional headquarters in the MEA region.

“In the Middle-East, Dubai is the most popular choice with 138 companies establishing a dedicated entity in the city,” it says.

The report showed that Germany and France are leading in terms of coverage rate by Fortune 500, while Cairo, Paris, Algiers and Cape Town are at the lower end of the spectrum.

The Infomineo analysis includes the regional footprint of multinationals in the MEA region, the most commonly chosen cities, and the factors which influence the selection of a region, country and city.

Infomineo noted that there were numerous factors which impact on the organisation’s selection of a specific city.

It said they include the local market potential, maturity of the industry, existing competitors, political stability and the quality of the employment market, among others.

“Determining the attractiveness of a location along these clear lines assures the companies of a stable and profitable investment and significantly mitigates risk,” it said.

hilton kenya

hilton nairobi’s proposed look

Global hospitality chain, Hilton has signalled its intention to ramp up its expansion in North Africa with the establishment of a dedicated development office in Casablanca.

Building on an active pipeline in the region, which has grown to 15 hotels across Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, Hilton has identified North Africa as a focus area for further growth.  Its office is located in Casablanca, the city where it announced its debut hotel earlier this year, Hilton Garden Inn Casablanca Sidi Maarouf.

Carlos Khneisser, vice president, development, MENA Hilton said: “Having a dedicated presence in the market is important for us in order to sustain further growth. We pride ourselves on forging strong relationships with owners and being present on the ground is the best way to achieve this. We have almost 5,000 rooms under development in North Africa at this stage but with the majority of those being in Egypt there is a great opportunity for us to expand our presence more widely across the region.”

Having worked within Hilton’s Development team in Dubai, Feras Hasbini takes on responsibility of spearheading Hilton’s growth in North Africa and will now be located in Casablanca. Hasbini said: “It is very exciting to focus on North Africa at a time where we are beginning to make real strides in terms of our positioning in the market.  We are bringing a portfolio of world-class brands to the region with new offerings at every sector of the market. From the mid-scale Hilton Garden Inn to our Upper Upscale collection brand Curio, our brands are ideally suited to North Africa and owners have more opportunities to work with us than ever before.”

Ethiopian AirlinesAfrica’s largest airline group, Ethiopian Airlines, says it will on Wednesday start its flight to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, with its latest technology and the most modern airplane, the Airbus A350-900.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Group, Mr  Tewolde GebreMariam said this in Lagos on Tuesday.

The Airbus landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

According to a statement by GebreMariam, the state of the art airplane will start the scheduled service on the Addis Ababa- Abuja route, thereby gracing the reopening of Abuja Airport on April 18.

He said it was the joy of the airline to connect the African continent together and beyond.

“Our presence in Nigeria dates back to the 1960s, same time the Federal Republic of Nigeria got independence from foreign colonisation.

“We have always given our best to Nigeria at all times, both at good and challenging times.

“We have been part of Nigeria’s historic growth and always consider ourselves as vital partners in the history and growth of Nigeria as a country,’’ he said.

GebreMariam said the Airbus A350 was yet one of the landmarks in the airlines’ 70- year proud history; providing exceptional levels of luxury and reliability for a totally-unique passenger experience.

“Hence, with the reopening of Abuja Airport, the extra features of our game-changing fleet, Airbus A350, will be awaiting our esteemed Nigerian travellers.

“We shall continue to avail critical air connectivity options and connect African countries together and far beyond,’’ he said.

Ethiopian Airlines currently operates 20 weekly flights to four Nigerian cities; Lagos, Abuja, Enugu and Kano.

Passengers aboard the flight will enjoy the extra features of this latest flying machine: amazing cabin interior features with the latest high-definition touch screen and personal monitors, with a higher selection of movies.

The aircraft also has wider seats and windows, the lowest twin engine noise level, advanced air conditioning technology, full LED mood lighting.

Ethiopian Airlines is the first in Africa to own and operate the A350 in African skies.

Among a total of 14 orders, Ethiopian Airlines currently has three of them in operation.

nnamdi-azikiwe-international-airport-abuja

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

Normal aviation services, including flights, resumed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Tuesday, as the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, reopened the facilities a day earlier than schedule.

The airport was reopened after successful completion of its runway rehabilitation.

Sirika, while addressing newsmen in Abuja, said he decided to reopen the airport since the runway rehabilitation had been completed on schedule.

He added that even though the reopening date was supposed to be Wednesday, it was not bad to reopen a day earlier.

The minister commended Nigerians and air travelers for their resilience during the six weeks closure of the airport.

According to him, April 19 is the due date ”for us to conclude and open the airport based on our programme of work; we are able to deliver the project earlier than anticipated, so we can open it”.

“Here we are today; we set out to achieve that target and we achieved it.

“We thank Allah for His guidance and we are happy and thank his Excellency for his support.

”I also wish to thank all my colleagues who did it all and the media and the Nigerian people for standing by us,” he said.

The Abuja airport was shut for six weeks to enable Julius Berger to repair its failed runway while Abuja-bound air traffic was diverted to Kaduna during the period.

By the successful landing of the Ethiopian aircraft on Tuesday, the airport has officially been opened for flight operations.

Marriott in Kenya

The new Marriott portfolio in Kenya

Marriott International, Inc., Monday, announced its first property in Kenya with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Hurlingham.

Owned by Kamcan Properties Limited, the hotel is strategically located in the upmarket suburb, close to the city center and within easy access from the surrounding business areas of Westlands, Kilimani and Nairobi Central as well as from the Kenyatta International Airport and the Wilson Airport.

“Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi, Hurlingham is a significant addition to our fast growing portfolio in the region offering a perfect blend of stylish comfort and genuine service at an honest value,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “The hotel is yet another example of our conversion friendly strategy that highlights our ability to convert hotels successfully within a short period of time and have them join our system while delivering value to our partners and creating memorable experiences for our guests in exciting new destinations.”

Designed for the modern traveler with an emphasis on approachable design and stylish comfort, Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi, Hurlingham features 96 spacious and modern rooms as well as food and beverage options including an all-day dining restaurant, a rooftop restaurant with spectacular city views and a bar and lounge where guests can experience the brand’s signature Best Brews™ program featuring an array of local beers – the ideal spot to watch sports matches and unwind with friends and colleagues. Other hotel facilities include a fitness center, a rooftop pool and 8500 square feet of flexible meeting spaces. The hotel provides all of the brand’s defining elements including the signature Four Points bed, free bottled water in all rooms and suites, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and an energizing breakfast with fresh coffee that helps guests start and end the day right.

“By introducing a Four Points property, we expect to attract travelers familiar with this popular global brand and everything it has to offer,” said Vivek Mathur General Manager Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Hurlingham “and we are confident that the hotel will emerge as a preferred choice for travelers looking for stylish accommodation and a relaxing atmosphere whether they are on business or on leisure.”

Marriott International is also currently developing a 365 room JW Marriott in Nairobi slated to open in 2020 which will substantially enhance Marriott International’s presence in the country.

Globally Four Points by Sheraton continues to experience incredible growth momentum. In East Africa alone the brand is set to open three more hotels later this year with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport, Four Points by Sheraton Dar es Salam and Four Points by Sheraton Arusha.

Chief Samuel Alabi (2)

Chief Samuel Alabi

By VICTOR NZE

Chairman, Board of Trustees of the umbrella body of tourism and travel practitioners in the country, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Chief Samuel Alabi, has called on the federal government to decentralize its policies geared towards tourism development and promotion in the country.

This is just as the tourism expert urged the Nigerian elite to buy into products of domestic tourism in the country in order to drive the industry and position it effectively to realize its full potential.

At a Media Forum with travel and tourism writers, Tuesday, at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, Alabi posited that Nigeria was too large an entity for a one-size-fits-all policy and tourism marketing plan, as, according to him, states of the federation should be encouraged to develop their own tourism products and market among themselves.

“We are still being pursued by the military experience, where everything was expected to be unitary, including programmes and policies geared towards growing the economy or improving the lives and business of the people. It would be an anomaly for any minister of tourism in Nigeria to attempt to cover the country with one development and marketing plan.

“As far as tourism policies are concerned, it has to be state-based. Nigeria is too large to attempt to cover it with one programme or policy, or even as in the case of a tourism development body like the NTDC somewhere to attempt to proffer solutions or evolve a one-policy to fit all states of the federation. Every state in Nigeria has unique products, they should be allowed to develop, market and showcase these products to suit their own peculiar identities.

“States should evolve tourism projects, packages and others to sell to other states and market it, and vice versa. Let each state of the federation evolve its own tourism products. We have gotten our indices wrong under the present modality of attempting a wholesale production of tourism product as brand identity for Nigeria.

“If you are attempting to promote a destination from the platform of the hotels located in that area, you also have to know that nobody visits a destination because of the hotels there, but rather for other attractions there and then they get to stay in the hotel for added comfort. By the way, not all tourists come for hotel relaxation; some will even carry their own backpacks, so it’s not the luxury of the hotel that they are looking for. We should all come together and brainstorm on the way forward. If you don’t have enough resources to build a hotel, why not partner with others to realize that project; just as they do in Kenya,” said Alabi, a one-time president of FTAN.

Continuing, Alabi, who is presently Company Secretary/Legal Adviser of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, also advised the country’s elite to buy into products of domestic tourism so as to lift the sector and reposition it in the minds of the populace for patronage, while insisting that this remains the biggest challenge to growing domestic tourism.

“The Nigerian elite should be encouraged or even be made to key in to local tourism products. We need them to buy into these products by way of patronage. The problem of Nigeria tourism is the elite. Once we begin to consume our products, sincerely, we will begin to get it right. Basically, we have to redesign our scope; we have to begin to consume our tourism products for a start. The Nigerian elite should also be made to buy into it.

On the issue of capacity in the industry, Alabi called for streamlining of training in the industry and in the academia.

“We don’t have a streamlined training and curriculum on the subject of tourism in the country today. So if you hear or see anybody who says he or she is a tourism graduate, it’s a lie. The tourism sector is diverse. There’s wildlife, travel, hospitality, adventure, and so on. So it not right for anyone to claim to be a tourism graduate just for having studied one aspect of the industry,” he said.

Alabi also used the platform of the Forum to caution the government to be mindful of its economic policies, which, according to him, tended to put the industry on the first line of impact, due to what he described as the ‘fragile’ nature of the sector.

“The hotel industry typically is a fragile one. Any slight shift in the economy affects the industry first and directly. This is largely because for whatever it offers, there are alternatives for the consumer. So it is at the first-line of hit in any policy or paradigm shift in the economy. Also, any negative fiscal policy of government puts the hotel industry in the frontline of impact.

“So we are careful and we are always wary of government policies, hence we constantly advise them on these. If it is coming to the hotel for food only and you suddenly cannot afford it, you go to the nearest cafeteria, if you can’t afford that, you eat at home, all depending on your bank account. The same goes for accommodation. So for much of what the hotel offers, there are alternatives, in addition, also to there being competition among the operators. So any government that tends to affect the purchasing power of the consumer hits us first at the hotels,” he said.

Describing his entrance into tourism as an act of ‘sheer providence’, the legal practitioner pointed out that his tenure at FTAN provided him a veritable platform to effect some fundamental changes in the industry, even as he was quick to admit the inherent problems bedeviling the association.

I’m a corporate guy and I’m in the tourism industry. I’ve been at the Eko Hotels since 1997 right from my national Youth Service time when I was posted here. I came into tourism by sheer providence because I studied law and I’m a lawyer by practice. I was called to the bar technically while still serving in the NYSC at the Eko Hotels where I was posted to. I came into hotel industry as a youth corper. If I had my way I’d want my children to go into the hotel industry. It’s very peaceful. This is where you can grow without any godfatherism.

“In my time as president of FTAN, much as I tried, we are unable to bring all or most people onboard, we tried to bring the road transporters like the ABC Transport company man but it wasn’t possible. Today, no tourism and travel event can hold without consultation with FTAN. We also ensured that hoteliers didn’t dominate the affairs of the association since so many past presidents of the body had been produced by the hoteliers affiliate bodies to FTAN.

“We made sure that the travel agents body like NANTA made an inroad into FTAN in terms of control. We put an end to international branches of FTAN, when you used to hear of FTAN USA, FTAN UK, FTAN Ghana, and many such anomalies. We ended the cap-in- hand to government trend for execution of association’s programmes and events. I believe we should be independent. Tourism is a private sector driven industry, government does not even own hotels, hence, you don’t have to go to government for money.

“However, today, we are unfortunate to have pretenders at FTAN. We have people who are there for what they can get rather than for what they can contribute to the organization, and by extension the tourism industry inn Nigeria. The seeming lack of real standard in the industry is the greatest burden and challenge of FTAN as it is today.

“That the association has been weakened at the expense of affiliate bodies within it is a sad case. The FTAN I met on ground when I came was comatose and if I had known that before, I probably would not have not come in. But I was encouraged to go in because of my relationship with the association as former President of the Hotel and Personal Services Employers Association of Nigeria (HOPESEA).  There are professional bodies affiliated to FTAN that have become stronger and domineering over the parent body itself. That should not be the case, but is a major problem. If FTAN is to grow, the stakeholders must come together instead of allowing consultants to control the body,” he said.

Abike Dabiri

Abike Dabiri

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and The Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Thursday announced that there were currently about 15 million Nigerians in various parts of the world.

Dabiri-Erewa made the announcement at the Island Club, Lagos, in a lecture entitled: ‘Nigerians in The Diaspora: Strengths and Challenges in Pursuit of National Development.’

The Senior Special Assistant said that Nigerians living in the different countries of world were not all completely bad, but many of them were doing “excellently well” in their professions.

“We have found out that there are currently about 15 million Nigerians in the Diaspora.

“We have Nigerians in different parts of the world. Although, we have the good, the bad and the ugly, Nigeria has proud stories to share of many of her Diaspora nationals.

“Let us always celebrate the good things that many of our globally celebrated Nigerians in the Diaspora are doing today.”

Dabiri-Erewa said that the Federal Government was working at engaging Nigerians in the Diaspora in contributing to the socio-economic transformation of the country.

She also said that the government was looking at the possibility, under the presidential initiative for excellence, to make Nigerian medical doctors abroad, to come home during their vacations, to enhance national healthcare delivery.

The senior special assistant said that the establishment of a Commission for Nigerians in the Diaspora, would help government the harness the potential of Nigerians living outside the country.

“We are also looking at the possibility of having a Commission for Nigerians in the Diaspora.

“We need an institution to deal with Nigerians in the Diaspora, otherwise, we will just be paying lip service to issues concerning such Nigerians.”

Dabiri-Erewa said that the government was also working on a system that would sensitise young Nigerians aspiring to travel abroad on possibilities and challenges in such countries.

Dean of The Diplomatic Corner, one of the conveners of the Lecture, Amb. Segun Akinsanya, said that the event was organised to stimulate public interest and reactions to the welfare of Nigerians abroad.

Akinsanya described Dabiri-Erewa as an accomplished journalist and broadcaster, and a voice for the voiceless.

The lecture brought together former Nigerian Ambassadors to various countries of the world, who used the opportunity to ask Dabiri-Erewa pertinent questions on Nigeria’s foreign policy and the welfare of Nigerians abroad.

The well-attended lecture was jointly organised by the Diplomatic Corner and the Centre Table Group of the Island Club, a premier elite club in Lagos.

ibis Lagos IkejaVICTOR NZE

Ibis Hotel Ikeja, an economy brand of the global chain, Accor, has lined up an exciting package of attractions for all guests ahead of the forthcoming Easter celebrations.

“As Easter holiday approach, find comfort in the inviting atmosphere of our all-day-dining restaurant daily. Or connect over cocktails and a variety of special buffet menu ranging from Nigerian dishes to international cuisines. From the entertainment at the Poolside Lounge and Pool Terrace every day will bring excitement to the whole family,” according to a statement, Tuesday, by Sales & Marketing Manager of Ibis Ikeja Hotel, Mrs Deborah Ifejokwu.

Ifejokwu explained that the offers were ‘a way of participating in the season of celebration as the package has its own uniqueness and this entails lot of surprises at an affordable price. This will also make our guests feel very special as Ibis makes a daily commitment to offer its customers the highest level of service, efficiency, hospitality and comfort. Today, it is the only European economy hotel chain that provides around-the-clock availability of the main hotel services in all its hotels.’

Located a few minutes’ drive away from the Murtala Mohammed International airport, Ibis Hotel Ikeja has been noted for great deals for a good night’s sleep at the best price.

Nigeria

Nigeria Tourism

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and The Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Thursday announced that there were currently about 15 million Nigerians in various parts of the world.

Dabiri-Erewa made the announcement at the Island Club, Lagos, in a lecture entitled: ‘Nigerians in The Diaspora: Strengths and Challenges in Pursuit of National Development.’

The Senior Special Assistant said that Nigerians living in the different countries of world were not all completely bad, but many of them were doing “excellently well” in their professions.

“We have found out that there are currently about 15 million Nigerians in the Diaspora.

“We have Nigerians in different parts of the world. Although, we have the good, the bad and the ugly, Nigeria has proud stories to share of many of her Diaspora nationals.

“Let us always celebrate the good things that many of our globally celebrated Nigerians in the Diaspora are doing today.”

Dabiri-Erewa said that the Federal Government was working at engaging Nigerians in the Diaspora in contributing to the socio-economic transformation of the country.

She also said that the government was looking at the possibility, under the presidential initiative for excellence, to make Nigerian medical doctors abroad, to come home during their vacations, to enhance national healthcare delivery.

The senior special assistant said that the establishment of a Commission for Nigerians in the Diaspora, would help government the harness the potential of Nigerians living outside the country.

“We are also looking at the possibility of having a Commission for Nigerians in the Diaspora.

“We need an institution to deal with Nigerians in the Diaspora, otherwise, we will just be paying lip service to issues concerning such Nigerians.”

Dabiri-Erewa said that the government was also working on a system that would sensitise young Nigerians aspiring to travel abroad on possibilities and challenges in such countries.

Dean of The Diplomatic Corner, Amb. Segun Akinsanya, one of the conveners of the Lecture, said that the event was organised to stimulate public interest and reactions to the welfare of Nigerians abroad.

Akinsanya described Dabiri-Erewa as an accomplished journalist and broadcaster, and a voice for the voiceless.

The lecture brought together former Nigerian Ambassadors to various countries of the world, who used the opportunity to ask Dabiri-Erewa pertinent questions on Nigeria’s foreign policy and the welfare of Nigerians abroad.