Ebola virus claims planned WTA Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony in Abuja

Posted: August 27, 2014 in general

fascinating nigeriaThe recent outbreak of the ebola virus in Nigeria has claimed its first major casualty on Nigeria Tourism as organizers of planned World Travel Awards’ Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony scheduled for the Transorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, have cancelled the historic event on account of the disease.

Speaking exclusive to Daily Champion, Mr. Christopher James, Public Relations, World Travel Awards said the ebola virus outbreak informed the decision to pull the event in Abuja.

“Sadly, the 2014 World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony has been cancelled due to the on-going Ebola medical emergency in Nigeria,” said Christopher James, Public Relations, World Travel Awards

Earlier in the year, the World Travel Awards (WTA) had revealed plans to stage its prestigious Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2014 in Abuja, Nigeria, on September 5 at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja which would have effectively positioned the country to attracting hundreds of industry leaders to the Nigerian capital.

The Gala Ceremony traditionally celebrates excellence in travel, tourism and hospitality in the Africa & Indian Ocean regions with industry leaders from across both regions gathering to recognise the achievements of companies in the past 12 months.

According to the organizers of the prestigious awards ceremonies, the choice of the Transcorp was informed by the wide range of leisure facilities offered, ‘and is the perfect setting for the glittering red carpet ceremony.’

Apart from the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) shortlisted along with eight other tourism boards, in the Africa’s Leading Tourist Board 2014 category, no Nigerian travel and tourism operator named in the nearly 60 categories of the awards.

Transcorp Hilton Abuja would have marked the fourth stop on the annual World Travel Awards Grand Tour, with proceedings having kicked off at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, with Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso, in Athens, Greece, following on the year-long global search for the world’s finest travel tourism organisations, on August 2nd, with Quito, Ecuador, following on August 9.

Regional Gala Ceremonies will follow in New Delhi, India, and on the beautiful Caribbean island of Anguilla later in the year, before World Travel Awards arrives in Marrakech, Morocco, for the Grand Final 2014 in November.

Following the announcement of Transcorp Hilton as host of the Africa ceremony, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, Managing Director and Chief Executive of Transnational Hotels & Tourism Services, owners of Transcorp Hilton Abuja, remarked: “’We welcome the opportunity to host the prestigious World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2014 in our hotel. Coming soon after we successfully hosted the 24th World Economic Forum on Africa, the Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony provides us another opportunity to showcase the best of Nigerian hospitality and reinforce the position of Transcorp Hilton Abuja as the choice destination for high profile events.”

In the wake of what is being considered as the worst ebola outbreak in history, World Health Organization (WHO) it would be recalled issued an ‘international public health emergency’. More than 1000 people have died since the epidemic broke out earlier this year.

Certain carriers have already suspended flights to regions near and across West Africa. Emirates was the first major international airline to suspend service to Guinea, saying “the safety of our passengers and crew is of the highest priority and will not be compromised.”

British Airways is the latest major airline to suspend flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia, due to the “deteriorating public health situation.” BA’s cancellation comes as it emerged that a Cardiff resident has quarantined themselves at home over fears they may have been exposed to the deadly virus in West Africa.

Also, in order to support the global efforts to contain the spread of the disease and provide a coordinated international response for the travel and tourism sector, the heads of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Airports Council International (ACI), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) decided to activate a Travel and Transport Task Force which will monitor the situation and provide timely information to the travel and tourism sector as well as to travellers.

Travel restrictions and active screening of passengers on arrival at sea ports, airports or ground crossings in non-affected countries that do not share borders with affected countries are not currently recommended by WHO.

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