Joburg shopping fest 1

Shoppers at the Joburg Shopping Festival

The Joburg Shopping Festival 2016 took place in South Africa’s shopping capital between 28 July and 9 August at six malls across Johannesburg: Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square, East Rand Mall, Rosebank Mall, Maponya Mall and the Oriental Plaza. On the final day of the festival, the organisers gave away five Chevrolet Sparks as well as five cash prizes of R25 000 (roughly about N625,000) courtesy of Cadbury. The retailers at the participating malls provided sales and discounts during this time to attract both local shoppers and visitors from the African continent.

The event, which is in its third year, is modelled on the world-renowned Dubai Shopping Festival, which attracts millions of shoppers every year and in doing so, contributes significantly to the Dubai economy. The Joburg Shopping Festival is supported by its headline partners, Gauteng Tourism Authority and the City of Joburg. The objective of the shopping festival is to attract tourists to South Africa to spend their money and to stay a little bit longer to enjoy the wealth of culture, history and experiences that the region has to offer in order to boost the tourism and retail sectors, and ultimately the Gauteng Economy.

Joburg shopping fest 2

Inside the malls of the Joburg Shopoing Festival

Ayoola Sadare Chief Executive Officer of brands and creative powerhouse Inspiro productions and a collaborator from Lagos, Nigeria attended the grand prize draw and pop-up showcase of local fashion designers at the end of the festival in Maponya Mall in Soweto in attendance also were the immediate past South Africa Consul General Ambassador Sam Monaisa. There, Sadare spo ke to project director and head of the organising team Ms. Tiekie Barnard on the plans to use both the Dubai and Joburg Shopping Festival models with necessary adaptations to organise the Lagos Shopping Festival in Africa’s largest city. This will also contribute to help grow the Lagos and subsequently Nigerian economy.

Ms. Barnard noted, “The Joburg Shopping Festival is in its third year and growing exponentially. We’ve already had one of our malls confirm that footfall was up by 3.5% compared to the same period last year, as well as retailers also confirming higher turnovers.”

The maiden Lagos Shopping Festival to be organised by Zeal Drive ltd in conjunction with Inspiro productions is planned for the first quarter of 2017 shortly after the annual Dubai Shopping Festival in January.

Denja Abdullahi

Denja Abdullahi

Nigeria’ s capital city of Abuja will roll out the red carpet from October 27 through to 30, this year, to welcome over 300 Nigerian writers.

The occasion is the 35th Anniversary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), the umbrella body of Nigerian authors of published works.

Abuja is part of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which has become a major Meeting Incentive Conferences and Events (MICE) destination in the country and the West African sub-region, as a whole.

As part of effective process towards the ANA 2016 35th Anniversary Annual Convention, the organizers have put in place some proposed ideas and plans to make the event not just a success but a memorable one.

An itinerary released by the Local Organizing Committee for the planned Convention includes such programmes as;

  1. Courtesy call to Senator Shehu Sani

This was done in line with the promise made by the senator at the last year Kaduna convention to host the upcoming one in Abuja. As part of partnering with him to facilitate his hosting of the forthcoming convention, the executive body of the Association upon resumption of work in November last year, made a courtesy call to the senator and are still keeping track with him with series of follow up consultations.

2       Thought Pyramid Art Centre:

The centre is one of the largest in West Africa and had since been receptive to the creative industry. The Centre has been duly secured for the opening cocktail (Festival of life) which will take place on the 27th October, 2016 from 7-10pm

  1. The Women Development Centre

The women Centre is one of the most famous in the nation’s capital and had equally been open to the creative hub. The ANA convention of 1997 held at this centre.ANA has been able to seek partnership with the organization towards the use of the Centre’s facilities for the upcoming convention at a discounted rate for the opening ceremony on the 28th October, 2016.#

The centre may likely also host the Convention play night and the premiere of the ANA Documentary film entitled ” DancingMask: The ANA Story.”

The Women Centre is also being earmarked at the arrival point though we are toying with the idea for attendees to arrive straight to their designated hotels and pick up their accreditation materials there.

  1. National University Commission/ Nigerian Turkish Nile University

The National University Commission or the Nigerian Turkish Nile University may likely host the AGM and business meeting of the convention in the morning of Saturday 28th October, 2016.

  1. Awards / closing Dinner

This is being considered to take place in any of the top class hotels in Abuja and ANA is talking with some corporate organizations that have indicated interest to sponsor this event.

  1. Regular and special features of the convention
  2. Pre-registration and accreditation will be strictly enforced this time around to enable us reduce or completely eradicate the arrival tumult. Attendees will be encouraged to register well in advance through their various State chapters with strictly enforced deadlines and procedures that will be communicated to members nationwide and worldwide immediately after this inauguration.
  3. Excursion is being planned for the tour of the city of Abuja after the opening ceremony and it will be to primarily ANA land in Mpape Abuja so that ANA members will view the progress of work there. A mini literary event will be held on the land. From there members will be taken to a few other places of attraction in Abuja.
  4. The convention keynote address on the theme ” Re-Contextualising African Literature for the African Renaissance: Emergent Trends, Realities and Strategies for the 21st Century”. will be delivered by Prof Isidore Diala of Imo State University, Owerri. He is a renowned literary scholar and critic of African literature who won 2015 NLNG Prize for Literary Criticism. He is also among the judges for NLNG literature prize for 2016.
  5. This forthcoming convention will feature regular and special publications, investiture of new fellows and patrons for the Association. The trustees of ANA are expected to be in attendance and other very important dignitaries. The 2017-2022 ANA Strategic Plan Document will be presented to the public and the Congress.
  6. Book exhibition- This will take place at the foyer of the auditorium in the women development centre during the opening ceremony and at all the convention activities venues.
  7. ANA Documentary:

The ANA documentary which marks a huge mile stone in the history of the Association would be premiered during the convention. The production of the documentary is being supported by the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) and produced by Box Office Studios LTD.

  1. The present national executive council in its bid to give the Association one of the best conventions in recent time in terms of organisation and programming has taken these initial steps and has gathered here a team of well heeled people to assist in bringing this new thinking of the possibility of a near perfect convention into reality.

The 19-member 35th Anniversary International Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) comprises: Denja Abdullahi-Chairman; Ofonime Inyang- General Administration; Hasiya Mohammed- Finance & Accreditation; Ikechi Owabie- Finance & Accreditation; Yusuf Dingyadi- External Publicity; Olatunbosun Taofeek- External Publicity; Benjamin Ubiri- Ceremonials/ protocols/; Mrs Chinyere Obi Obasi- Ceremonials/ Protocols; Uduakobong Kanico- Venues/ Accommodation/ Security.

Others are: Edward Akobi- Venues/ accommodation/ Security; Teresa Ameh- Governmental Relations; Patrick Tagbo Oguiejiofor- Governmental Relations; Halima Usman- Governmental Relations/ Welfare; Lois Otse Adams- Internal publicity; Joy Aikoroje- Transport & Logistics; Josephine.       – Transport & Logistics; Jerry Adesewo- Productions & Cultural Entertainment; Dauda Abubakar- Exhibition; as well as Salamatu Sule- Secretary/ Coordination.

Organising your travel plan 101

Posted: August 18, 2016 in general


Travelling is all about fun and fresh experiences. What isn’t fun is getting lost on a trip without a clue of the local language or how to get yourself understood. Imagine being stranded at a train station in Japan with over a hundred persons walking past you, and you can’t even get a direction from one person of the lot on how to return to your hotel, and this is after you’ve probably walked in circles like seven times! For most travellers, travelling out of one’s comfort zone means everything, even typical routines like: finding where to eat and drink, finding a place to sleep and places to visit could become rather awkward if you have travelled without a plan. In today’s world, there is no better way to explain why investing in a good travel guide and making sure your smartphone works, is a wise investment for any traveller—regular or first-timers.
Planning your trip: Tickets, Packing tips and all that prep stuff
Whether you’re travelling alone or going with family or friends, you will have to prepare. Travelling is like managing a project—actually, travelling is a project. So if you’re keen on a hassle-free, smooth trip, you will need to research your destination and even plan your finances by making careful choices.
From dealing with airfares, hotels and rental cars to finding entertainment stops for you and your family.
While employing the services of top travel agencies like and is not a bad idea, you can also consider planning your trip on your own using the Internet. Using Google Search for example, you can research your options of flights, duration and the best ticket deals. For example, searching for “Lagos Amsterdam” on Google Search presents you with a complete list of airlines flying that route, how long they take and the number of stopovers per flight.
Once this is set, the next step will be to get a hotel that will suit mood and your pocket. Again, you can do this yourself without breaking a sweat. On Google you can find an exhaustive list of hotels close to your area of interest. For example, typing “hotels hotels in Amsterdam city centre” in Google presents you with a list of over 50 hotels, as well as their prices. And to help you decide on your ideal hotel, you can look through photos, and reviews from other travellers who have stayed at those hotels.
As for packing into that small suitcase, it’s all right, everyone gets flustered about packing their bags so that they can travel and feel comfortable. This however needs skill. Thanks to the internet, one can now go on YouTube for expert advice from butlers who have turned packing into an art form, teaching many how to roll and fold their clothes without wrinkles.
Now you’ve arrive at your destination… what next?
You probably are feeling jetlagged and peckish, so you need a nightcap? Exploring the places mentioned in your guide book or simply clicking on the Google App on your smartphone, and you’ll get a larger display of nearby hostelries, complete with ratings and helpful reviews.
What this means is that being a wise traveller today means having a travel guide along with a smartphone—as even Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide in the world has a YouTube channel. So whether you’re logging around your tourist guide map or simply punching letters for a description on Google Maps, which you have the option of using offline or online, you can explore Street View imagery of where you want to visit, look at local transport connections to all major attractions/airports and Compass Mode will make it feel like you’re standing right in that location, get a glimpse of the cultural nuances and etiquette primer of the place.
So even when you’re squeezed on a bus in a bustling city, and your fingers can’t punch in the words correctly, using the Google Voice search for enquiries that range from where to hire a car, top up on petrol or even find out know where you are.
On the trip to your fun location, there could be instances of short boredom, and you can tap into the enormous content on Google Play, to watch movies, play games, read books and even listen to music.
Emergency Checklist
A good travel plan is one that has a checklist of quick reference to things you may need in your travel location. From Medical to transportation, and a small index on smart phrases so you don’t go about in circles when lost or in need of something. There would however be instances where the needed phrase is not in your travel guide, all you need to do is open your smartphone and take advantage of Google translate, which has over 64 different languages to understand better.
Moments are Forever
Selfies, family poses and those special moments on the trip deserve a place, and this is one thing your travel guides can’t offer. If you’re taking a lot of photos you won’t want to lose them at all. Thankfully, apps like Google Photos brings all your videos and photos in one place, offering you an opportunity to repeatedly enjoy the great moments and those they’ve enjoyed them with. Backed up and safe.
In all, as you travel this holiday, remember if you plan your travel, you’ll most likely return home after exploring new destinations, feeling like a newly cased book with fresh ideas.

Courtesy: Nosakhare Emma-Iyamu
32, Ladoke Akintola Street,
Ikeja – Lagos,

world travel awards

World Travel Awards

World Travel Awards has confirmed the Europe Gala Ceremony 2016 will join World Spa Awards at Forte Village Resort on the southern tip of Sardinia, Italy.

Both events will take place on the evening of September 4th at the world-class resort, welcoming hundreds of hospitality leaders from across the region and around the world.

The decision to combine World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony and World Spa Awards Gala Ceremony will give nominees and delegates a heightened exposure on the night as well as increasing the networking opportunities on offer.

The event will be a showcase of both the best of European hospitality and the global spa and wellness industry.

World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke said: “Having taken the decision to combine both the World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony and World Spa Awards Gala Ceremony it is a pleasure to confirm they will both take place early next month at Forte Village Resort.

“We are currently putting plans in place for the event and I look forward to welcoming out delegates from across Europe and the wider world to the dual Gala Ceremony.”

Forte Village Resort is the perfect host for the dual-event.

The world renowned location stands in a unique 47 hectares tropical park setting on the beautiful south coast of Sardinia, approximately 40 kilometres from Cagliari airport.

The resort is a world of its own, with a wide choice of four and five star hotels, beachfront suites and villas, restaurants, pools, sports activities, children’s clubs and entertainment, on a magnificent beach where guests can be as active or relaxed as they wish.

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

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Each year World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective successes within each key geographical region.

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

World Spa Awards is a dynamic awards programme, launched in 2015, and is designed to drive up standards within spa and wellness tourism by rewarding the organisations that are the leaders in the field.

World Travel Awards celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade.

Attended by senior executives from major travel companies, operators, destinations, WTA events are universally respected as providing established, top level networking opportunities, regionally and globally.

The brand aims to celebrate those organisations who push the boundaries of industry excellence.

four points by sheraton lekki lagos

Four Points by Sheraton Lekki, Lagos

The Four Points Lagos spa is proud to present salsa dancing beginning this August.

According to the newest Starwood Hotels & Resorts properties in Lagos, there is never a better time to learn salsa dancing other than now especially if you reside within the Lekki vicinity.

“This is another better way to be fit and have fun with one of the best salsa instructors, you are guaranteed to have a phenomenal time. For those that want to have fun, having an outlet to release physical energy, impress dance partners on a dancing date, or get a date, these classes are for everybody.

“For those people who have been making resolutions to get fitter, leaner, healthier, or livelier but have never started on them yet, now is the time. Many will be surprised at how Salsa dancing can enrich their lives. Salsa dancing improves flexibility, coordination, and passion. Dancers will learn a skill that will give them enjoyment for years to come.

“There will be free first class session for guests and gym members, don’t delay, get started dancing today. There’s no better way to begin this August than with the excitement salsa dance can offer! So come join us, learn the salsa dance and have a fantastic time,” it said.

While the package is free for First Class and In-House Guests and Gym members, tickets are valid for 3 months for 20 to 30 sessions and 6 months for 40 to 60 sessions (no extensions).

With over 200 FourPoints hotels in more than 30 countries, travellers can find the timeless style and comfort they’re looking for with genuine service and everything that matters most, all around the world.



The United Kingdom has officially launched the Super Priority Visa Service in Nigeria to allow customers to process their applications within 24 hours.

The British High Commission, in its website, said the new service was to particularly meet the needs of those who required urgent service to travel.

The High Commission quoted the British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright, as welcoming the introduction of the Super Priority Visa service in Nigeria.

“I am pleased to see the Super Priority Visa service being launched in Nigeria.

“This comes with an additional cost but is designed to give greater flexibility to our customers and underlines our strong commitment to make improvements to the visa services we offer.

“We expect this new service to be particularly useful for business. We understand that business opportunities and urgent requirements can arise at very short notice.

“We recognise this and want to facilitate such travel to the UK with this new super-fast service”, Arkwright said.

The High Commission said the introduction of the service allowed customers greater flexibility to choose from a number of visa products to meet their needs.

“It is offered alongside our current Priority Visa (front of queue processing five to seven-day) and standard (15-day) services.

“The UK is the only European country to offer a visa decision in 24 hours.

“The Super Priority Visa service is aimed largely at key business customers and those needing to travel urgently by providing a visa decision for collection at the Visa Application Centre the working day following submission.”

It said the service costs 750 Pounds in addition to the visa fee and would be available to eligible customers applying in the Abuja and Lagos Visa Application Centres.

The High Commission said those applying in the “Visitors” or “Points Based System Tier 4” are eligible to use the Super Priority Service.

It said appointments are available from Mondays to Thursday from 8.30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and Fridays from 8.30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Abuja and Lagos centres only.

“Extending the Super Priority Visa service to Nigeria is another example of how the UK is leading the world in the provision of premium visa services for those coming to the UK to visit, do business or study.’’

President John Mahama

President John Mahama of Ghana

Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) said, Monday, that foreign nationals from the African Union (AU) member states can now travel to Ghana and be issued with visas on arrival.

Francis Palmdeti, Head of Public Affairs of the GIS, said on Monday in a statement that Ghana kick-starts the new visa policy.

He said the arrangement would be piloted at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra for three months, and thereafter extended to all other entry points of the country.

“All AU nationals affected by this policy who arrive in the country must have a passport, valid for at least three months, from the date of entry; they must have a return ticket or evidence of onward travel.

“Travellers must show evidence of sufficient funds and proof of accommodation before they are granted visas,’’ he said.

Palmdeti said that the visa-on-arrival decision by the Ghanaian government was in fulfilment of a resolution adopted at the AU Executive Council meeting held earlier this year in Addis Ababa.

He said that the resolution stipulates that AU Member States should review their internal and external security realities in an attempt to implement mechanisms allowing for the issuing of visas on arrival for citizens of member states, with the possibility of a 30-day stay.

Palmdeti said Ghana became the first AU member state to adopt such a policy and has received commendation from the AU Commission for the bold step.



Nigeria with flair

By Akinsiku Hellen

There have been many speculations by foreigners who are visiting Nigeria as regards to security and health safety. While some international travel blogs or websites have tagged Nigeria a travel risk country, it will be wise to examine the map earlier released by International SOS and also read from a Nigerian on this.

First let’s examine the International SOS map last updated November 2015

Travel Risk:

International SOS in November 2015 under Travel Security Risk listed Nigeria as a high security risk, putting us on the same level as Chad, DRC and Venezuela. According to the map, travel in Nigeria is more risky than in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

High risk is applied to countries where protests are frequently violent and may target or disrupt foreigners.

It says in Nigeria “Protests are frequently violent and may target or disrupt foreigners; they may be exacerbated by governance issues, including security or law and order capacity. Violent crime or terrorism poses significant direct or incidental risks to travelers and expatriates. Communal, sectarian or racial violence is common and foreigners may be directly targeted. Certain parts of the country are inaccessible or off-limits to the traveler.”

So what does it take to be considered safe?

The status of “insignificant travel risk” applies to very few countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Greenland.

Medical Risk:

The map also rates medical risk in different countries. In this category, Nigeria is also considered high risk – “Basic emergency services and dental care may be available. Specialist care is limited. Access to quality prescription drugs may be limited and, in some cases, counterfeiting and/or improper storage of drugs is an issue. Serious infectious diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dengue fever and malaria may pose a threat.”

Road Safety Risk:

Nigeria is considered as a high risk saying “Road safety is a major public health issue. Many factors will likely be contributing to the dangers experienced by road users and high levels of caution should be shown at all times. Always select a reputable transport company and ensure seat-belts are fitted. Do not travel by 2 or 3 wheel vehicles and display high levels of care as a pedestrian.

Note: Dangers on the roads vary from country to country. Be sure to understand the laws and road safety culture of the country before you travel.”

To be considered as posing an insignificant travel risk, rates of violent crime need to be very low, security and emergency services must be effective and infrastructure must be reliable.

“Transport services are of a high standard with good safety records and only occasional travel disruption,” International SOS said.

For further reference you can see

Now from a Nigerian:

It will be excessive to say Nigeria is a High Travel Risk country simply by generalizing based on few places in the Northern part that were experiencing security issues.

Presently many expatriates are domicile in Nigeria especially in the Eastern and Western part of the country. Also many people come in as tourists or for business. Nigerians are friendly and welcoming people. Visiting places in the western part like the cosmopolitan Lagos will pose a very exciting and fulfilling experience for you as Lagos is vibrant and often tagged the “New York” of Nigeria.

You can easily find classy hotels in Lagos that offer world class hospitality. Besides, locating restaurants that offer intercontinental cuisines in Lagos is not difficult especially in highbrow areas like Victoria Island, Ikeja, Ikoyi and Lekki. Even if you want to cook your meals yourself, it’s not difficult to get groceries from malls and supermarkets like Shoprite and Park ‘n’ Shop.

If you are to visit the northern areas like Kano, Borno, Maiduguri and the rest, it is advisable to have a local guide who can easily help you around and intercede on your behalf if issues arise.

Lastly, keep up to date with the news in where you are visiting in Nigeria by reading local newspapers online.

Welcome to Nigeria!

Hellen is a tech-savvy and seasoned Communications Expert with extensive knowledge of media production (both traditional and online media), messaging, communications and dissemination techniques.

With great flair for writing, her most powerful weapon is a pen because it allows her to express herself and draft her ideas. She has published over 350 articles on the web spanning across but not limited to various scopes like travel, food, health, business, fashion and relationships. You can visit her personal website at to see some articles she has published.

le meriedien ogeyi place port harcourt

le meridien ogeyi place, port harcourt

Hotels in the Middle East reported mostly negative results in May compared with the previous year, while hotels in Africa reported mixed results, according to STR data.

The Middle East subcontinent reported nearly flat occupancy (+0.1% to 69.1%). Average daily rate for the month was down 4.7% to US$156.75, and revenue per available room fell 4.6% to US$108.34.

Africa experienced a 5.8% decrease in occupancy to 56.1%. However, average daily rate was up 8.8% to US$100.16, and RevPAR increased 2.5% to US$56.15.

Compared with May 2015, the Central/South America region reported an 8.8% decrease in occupancy to 51.9%. Average daily rate was up 7.7% to US$88.86. Revenue per available room fell 1.8% to US$46.11.

Meanwhile, the European hotel industry recorded mostly positive May results year-over-year: The continent reported nearly flat occupancy (-0.3 to 73.4%), but a 2.1% rise in average daily rate to €114.28 (US$129.74) drove a 1.7% increase in revenue per available room to €83.89 (US$95.24).

Belgium rebounded slightly after the March terrorist attacks.

Sheraton Abuja Hotel, a Starwood Hotel & Resort property, has in commemoration of the 2016 Father’s Day celebration, put together a line-up of enriching activities with a bid to celebrate fathers within the FCT, Abuja.
The event which is scheduled to hold on Sunday, the 19th of June, will host a special jazz brunch package for fathers at the Pool Bar and Restaurant where they can savour sumptuous meals amidst a bubbly live jazz band performance.
During the pre-event briefing, Area Communications Manager for Starwood Hotels in Nigeria, Nanji Tyem, announced that “there will be free gym access for all fathers who are accompanied by their families to patronize our Sunday Brunch on Father’s day.
”We have put together a variety of eclectic culinary offerings by renowned Chef Nicholas Geba and his team. The free gym access to all our fitness facilities will provide an elevated father’s day experience for all fathers on the 19th of June 2016” Said Nanji.
“To spice up the event, there will be a social media competition between Fathers and their kids. Fathers are encouraged to post pictures of their most interesting moments with their kids while kids can equally post their most fun moments with their dads on any of the Hotels social media platforms with the #SheratonAbuja. This gives each participant a chance to win a free dinner for two at our Papillion Restaurant”, Nanji mentions.
“We look forward to welcoming all Fathers and their families to have a great time with us on Sunday” she concludes.