Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Fabien Martinez

Fabien Martinez

Marriott International has announced the appointment of Mr. Fabien Martinez as General Manager for Le Meridien Ogeyi Place Hotel, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Fabien previously worked as the Hotel Manager for the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Philippines.

The new General Manager has over 20 years’ experience in international hotel management as well as extensive knowledge and expertise in the following areas of specialization; pre-openings, concept development, hotel operations, food and beverage, luxury hotel and resort alongside corporate sales and marketing.

Martinez comes with a wealth of experience in brands such as Le Meridien (&Royal), Sheraton, and the Luxury Collection.

The teams of Le Meridien Ogeyi Place proudly welcome Mr. Fabien and congratulate him on his appointment as the General Manager. His extensive global experience and positive attitude will be an asset to Marriot International.

SavedPicture-201692775037.jpgExcitement is building for this year’s World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2017 as the travel industry’s leading awards programme makes its final preparations for the prestigious event, which is taking place on Saturday 8th July in the Maldives.

The five star Sun Aqua Vilu Reef will welcome hospitality leaders from across the region, as they gather to see who among them has been voted the pinnacle of the travel industry.

The glittering event will kick off with a cocktail reception at 7pm while the gala ceremony and dinner commences at 8pm and will, this year, be compered by Maldivian Idol hosts Moosa Waseem and Aminath Lamha Latheef – two of the most familiar faces on Maldivian television.

World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2017 will also allow attendees to get in touch with authentic Maldivian culture through traditional dances such as Bandiya and Maafathi. The main act for the evening will be performed by the legendary Maldvian singer Unoosha.

Looking ahead to the Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2017, World Travel Awards President and Founder Graham Cooke, said: “It will be our pleasure to welcome guests to Sun Aqua Vilu Reef. With just a two and half weeks to go until the event, we are putting the finishing touches in place and I look forward to greeting all our guests at a wonderful resort in a picturesque tourist hotspot.”

Evgenia Boyankova, Group Director of Business Development at Sun Siyam Resorts, added: “We love hosting world class events! It’s always been a thrill that brings a lot of fun and enjoyment to our guests. We are getting ready for World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony with great excitement. Myself and the team look forward to welcoming the participants to our boutique resort, where Maldivian hospitality, culture and luxury is unrivalled.”

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 success 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.

Andy Enahire

Andy Enahire

By VICTOR NZE

Management of the Ogba Zoo and Nature Park, in Benin City, Edo State, has called on the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to intervene over what it described as the destruction of the company’s facilities by vandals in addition to the ‘conversion of the land for private development.’

This is also as the zoo’s management accused some members of the state House of assembly, in their individual capacities, of complicity and for being responsible for acts which it said were ‘in violation of a subsisting Arbitration judgement.’

During a media conference called by the firm, Wednesday, at its facility in Benin City, Director/CEO of the Ogba Zoo & Nature Park, Mr. Andy Osa Ehanire, also urged Governor Obaseki to set up a panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the loss of nearly 70 per cent of the company’s land to land grabbers.

“We seek the intervention of His Excellency the Governor of Edo State, to set up a special investigative panel to look into the destruction of the Zoo Staff quarters and the conversion of the land for private development, in violation of a subsisting Arbitration judgement.

“This investigation should naturally extend to the scandalous incursions and destruction of nearly 70 per cent of the zoo, since we currently hold the unenviable record of being the most vandalized Zoo in Nigeria. We have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Governor to do justice to these disturbing issues plaguing Ogba Zoo, as only a panel set up by the Governor can guarantee neutrality, rather than the intended investigation by the House of Assembly,” said Ehanire.

Ehanire who said the  call for the state governor’s intervention followed a petition recently tabled before the state House of Assembly which accused it of trading off all the animals kept in its custody, thereby seeking an investigation of the zoo management by the lawmakers.

“It was alleged in the so-called petition that the Zoo animals had all been traded off and that the Zoo is now worse off from our management intervention, so much so that we are to be subjected to an investigation. It was expected that at the receipt of such a petition, the Honourable House would seek to bring such to the attention of the Zoo Management, being partners in progress, since the Zoo is a foremost tourism asset of the State, as well as a conservation heritage.

“We would have expected that the Honourable House would have even brought the petition to the State’s Ministry of Environment that has competency as a regulatory authority over the Zoo. We would have expected to be invited by the appropriate Committee of the House in charge of Tourism or Environment to underscore a latent consummation of liaison and synergy.

“We were not accorded any of these privileges stated above or even the benefit of doubt, but these disturbing issues were thrown into the public domain to the effect of misleading the public as to the State’s tourism standing and creating a negative or perverted image that has caused severe harm to the Zoo, its Management and its clientele. Schools on excursion, as well as other visitors come daily from as far as Delta, Bayelsa, Anambra, Ondo and Kogi States, on account of this facility that provides conservation education and recreation to children, scholars, our teeming youths and those of all ages; so such negative signal being put out in the public domain will unwittingly dissuade them from this important tourism circuit, thus causing further stress to the economy of Edo State,” he said.

According to Ehanire, the Ogba Zoo, as a privately managed facility, was ‘rescued by us after it had suffered prolonged atrophy and extensive decay under Government, we can at least reveal that all the physical improvements and animal collections in the Zoo now are all from private efforts and not what can be brought under any charge of misappropriation or mismanagement of any kind.’

On his frustration with the lawmakers over the problem of land-grabbers, Ehanire said: “It is a common charge we make that zoos lack institutional support in this clime, as the Ogba Zoo has been thoroughly vandalized by land grabbers in recent years and we have not received any solution from this honourable House. Rather, this House spent more than three years (2012 -2015) investigating the demolition of some illegal structures on the Zoo land and at the end of it all, the Zoo lost almost 70per cent of its entire expanse to land grabbers, only for some of its Members to be found to be complicit in the very same act.”

FTAN readies for 2017 AGM

Posted: June 15, 2017 in general
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By VICTOR NZE

FTAN prez

Chief Tomi Akingbogun, FTAN (l)

Umbrella body of travel and tourism practitioners in the country, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has stepped up preparations ahead of its forthcoming 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The planned AGM, an elective one, will see the election of a new executive to take over from the outgoing Chief Tomi Akingbogun committee that had completed two terms.

Speaking on the event, which is scheduled to hold June 29 at NANET Suite, Abuja, Akingbogun, the President of FTAN said in a media forum with members of the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET, that the AGM will be ‘a milestone event in the annals of the federation and Nigeria tourism industry.’

According to him, all the federating associations, including government officials and private operators in the allied industries are expected to attend the event which is organized under the theme: ‘Financing as a catalyst to a sustainable tourism development,’ with key speakers slated to address the issue of funding for tourism, which he said is the bane of developing and marketing the tourism industry.

Akingbogun, also disclosed that he would use the occasion to give account of his leadership of the federation in the last four years having served two terms of two years each, adding that a lot of achievements were recorded during these four years despite the challenges that the federation had to contend with.

Besides celebrating the milestone of his tenure, he promised members ‘an exciting and fulfilling time during the AGM with many activities already lined up, including setting up a clear roadmap for the federation by raising the bar in tourism practice in the country, even as he promised a free and fair election.

By VICTOR NZE

MMIANigeria’s foremost gateway, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, has since Thursday, recorded a high level of compliance with the Federal Government’s Executive Order on ‘the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.’

Sequel to the order, the airport’s manager, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), had as part of the reform, banned the manual search of passengers’ baggage by the officials of the various security agencies and had also removed all tables by the check-in counters of airlines.

The agency had also directed that the physical examination of passengers should be stopped forthwith.

An official of FAAN Aviation Security (AVSEC) at the airport terminal, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said only the AVSEC personnel were at the entry and exit points of the terminal, as directed.

The official said that touting inside and outside the terminal had been reduced to the barest minimum.

He said that the taxi drivers that used to loiter inside the arrival hall to look for potential passengers had been asked not to move close to the exit point of the terminal.

“Bags and luggage are being checked by the scanning equipment at the entry point and also the body scanner is being used only on travellers,’’ the official said.

It would be recalled that the Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma, had during a meeting with the various stakeholders on Tuesday sued for their support and co-operation in ensuring full compliance with the order.

The participating agencies were: the Nigerian Police Force, Directorate of State Security, Quarantine Services, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service and FAAN Aviation Security.

The order which was signed by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to ease doing business at Nigeria’s airports by streamlining the activities of various agencies and reducing interface between passengers and airport security personnel.

Meanwhile, Group Managing Director of Dana Air, Mr Jacky Hathiramani, has lauded aviation agencies for their swiftness and commitment shown so far in the implementation of the Executive Orders as signed by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

Hathiramani who gave the commendation while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, Wednesday, said: “The recently signed Executive Orders by the acting president is a welcome development. It underscores President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment towards creating a favorable environment for businesses, particularly local businesses to thrive, and promoting our made in Nigeria goods and services.

“Apart from the fact that aviation industry is critical to the economy of our nation, I believe the executive orders will take away unnecessary bureaucracies at the airport.’’

According to him, it will also provide solutions to a lot of anomalies in the system and open a vista of opportunities not just in the aviation industry but all sectors of the economy.

Hatharimani said the aviation agencies such as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) had already shown commitment towards its implementation.

“We also need to commend our aviation agencies for the swift reaction in carrying out the order. Aviation is a key sector like I said earlier and the progress and commitment shown so far by our agencies are exemplary. What is now left is for us to see how these changes will have a positive impact on the operations of domestic airlines in the country,’’ Hathiramani said.

Springfountain

(L-R): Representative of Minister for State of Aviation, Director of Operation and Training of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Sidi Abdullahi; Sales Director, West Africa Commercial Airplanes, Boeing, Mr. Larry Tolliver; Executive Director, Spring Fountain, Mrs. Tokunbo Fagbemi; Special Guest, Chief Femi Olopade during the Seminar on 2017 Expanded Horizon Conference which held under the theme of: ‘Aviation Education Infrastructure Challenges and Potential,’ in Lagos

By VICTOR NZE

Aviation infrastructure firms and aircraft manufacturers, Springfountain, and the Boeing Company USA have signed a strategic agreement that would lead to a $20 billion investment in the Nigerian aviation industry within the next few years.

The agreement was signed, last Monday, in Lagos by Mrs Tokunbor Fagbemi, Managing Director, Springfountain and Mr Larry Tolliver, Head of Sales, West and Central Africa, the Boeing Company.

Speaking at the ceremony, Fagbemi said the proposed investment would be carried out through the African Aircraft Leasing Company (AALC), OEM Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre, African Aircraft Spare Parts Company (AASC) and Aggregated Services Solutions.

Fagbemi said it would cover aircraft leasing, maintenance, repair and overhaul, spares logistics and supply, as well as aggregated services solutions, further noting that the absence of such facilities and services in Africa were some of the major challenges faced by the Nigerian airlines and the aviation sector.

“We, as dynamic Nigerians and as patriotic citizens of this great nation have made Nigeria our first port of call to situate, subject to provision of all the necessary enabling environment, free of the risk of expropriation.

“We believe that through this venture, we would have added our quota to ensure that Nigeria does not lose out, as African aviation is gathering momentum and countries within Africa are repositioning, developing culture, business, economy and so on, around aviation and increased intra-continental air connectivity.’’

“We, therefore, call on government to facilitate the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) and the African Union Declaration 2063,’’ Fagbemi said.

She also urged the government to create an enabling environment for the projects to take off by way of policies and waivers, as well as investment in aviation education, skill building and skill development.

Also speaking, Tolliver said the partnership was aimed at improving Boeing’s services to its clients, adding that Springfountain had demonstrated sufficient commitment towards making it a success.

On his part, Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of State, Aviation, represented by Capt. Sidi Abdullahi, Director of Operations, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), congratulated Springfountain on the attainment of the strategic relationship with Boeing.

Sirika said the partnership was expected to bring in innovative solutions that would assist in solving major issues bedeviling the Nigerian aviation industry.

Ethiopian AirlinesBy VICTOR NZE

Ethiopian Airlines has won the African Aviation ‘African Airline of the Year’ Award for 2017, for the second consecutive time, during the 26th Annual Air Finance Africa Conference & Exhibition held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The award was presented to Ethiopian in recognition of its continued rapid growth, increased profitability and its outstanding contribution to aviation development in Africa.

Receiving the Award Mr Meseret Bitew, Acting Chief Financial Officer, Ethiopian Airlines, said: ‘’We are pleased to win the “African Airline of the Year Award for the second time in a row; a testimony of our commitment to serve our beloved continent Africa.

“The commendable success of Ethiopian Airlines attributes to the visionary leadership of Ethiopian management and the hard work of thousands of Ethiopian employees who work hard around the clock with unity of purpose.

“Mobility and air connectivity being the economic engine of growth and development, we shall continue to play vital roles in connecting African countries with their major trading partners around the world and realize an economically liberal Africa.”

Announcing the Award, African Aviation CEO, Mr Nick Fadugba, said: “In the past 12 months, Ethiopian Airlines has further expanded its route network, modernized its fleet, inaugurated three new aircraft maintenance hangars, as well as a new world-class in-flight catering facility and has strengthened its airline joint ventures in Africa. In addition, Ethiopian Airlines has achieved a record financial turnover and profitability in spite of various industry challenges.

Ethiopia TourismEthiopia is keen to boost foreign earnings from investments in the hospitality sector, according to the Ethiopian Tourism Organisation (ETO), Thursday.

Hosting the 5th continental hotel show in its capital Addis Ababa, the East African country aimed to boost investments in the hospitality sector so as to generate additional foreign earnings.

According to the ETO, although the country is not currently satisfied with the number of visitors, it is hosting less than a million tourists annually.

The contribution of the hospitality sector to the country’s GDP is forecasted to have risen by 5 per cent to 3.7 billion U.S. dollars in the next 10 years, with an expected 2,422,000 jobs by 2026.

Ethiopian Tourism Organisation CEO, Yohannes Tilahun, said that the East African country has targeted the hospitality and tourism sector as its major priority intervention area together with the manufacturing industry.

The contribution of the hospitality and tourism sector, which is also an emerging source of employment, currently accounted for 4.1 per cent of Ethiopia’s GDP, according to Yohannes.

Despite Ethiopia’s push to boost its earnings from the sector, the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism recently revealed that the political unrest that broke out in 2016 had slightly affected tourism and hospitality services.

Organisers of the continental hotel show, Ozzie Hospitality and Tourism Group, also noted that Africa’s share from the global travel and tourism sector is insignificant given the continent’s potential in the sector.

“We have a lot of grounds to make before our region successfully builds a meaningful international presence,’’ said Kumneger Teketel, Group Managing Director of Ozzie.

AccorHotels

(L-R): Steven Daines- CEO AccorHotels Africa and Middle East, Olivier Granet- COO AccorHotels Africa and Middle East, Naushad Jivraj- CEO Queensway Group, Philippe Baretaud- SVP Head of Development EMEA AccorHotels, Pierre Hardy- Group Finance Director- Queensway Group, Craig Erasmus- Technical and Design Director Africa and Indian Ocean at AccorHotels

AccorHotels has announced the signing of a management agreement to operate the currently branded Tune Hotel Westlands, Nairobi. This agreement will see AccorHotels re-launch the existing property under the ibis Styles brand during the second half of the year.

The signature ceremony took place at the hotel, in the presence of Naushad Jivraj, CEO of Queensway, Steven Daines, CEO of AccorHotels for Africa & Middle East and the group’s New Businesses and Olivier Granet, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of AccorHotels Middle East & Africa.

This agreement is an important step for AccorHotels towards expanding its footprint on the continent and in East Africa in particular.

“With this signature, we are expanding our commitment to leverage Africa’s enormous growth potential. Kenya is a strategic market for AccorHotels’s development in East Africa. It is a key window for the region where we see a strong potential for AccorHotels’s brands on all market segments with a positive and promising economic outlook” said Steven Daines.

“AccorHotels has been operating in Africa for nearly 50 years, and we look forward to develop our brands in the region. AccorHotels is already present in Kenya with two lodges (Fairmont Mara Safari Club and Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club), and the Fairmont Norfolk in Nairobi. The ibis Styles Nairobi Westlands is our second hotel in Nairobi but the first on the promising economy segment. We are planning to open a third hotel in the city, under the Pullman brand, shortly.” he added.

On his part, Naushad Jivraj, CEO of Queensway Group said: “We are delighted to be partnering with AccorHotels – they have a proven track record in Africa with strong brands and an excellent reservation system. Since the hotel opened to its first guests in July 2016, it has become a firm favorite with the Nairobi business and leisure community offering great value accommodation, a wide range of menus in a variety of restaurants and one of the best roof top bars in the city. We look forward to this property joining the ibis Styles portfolio and benefitting from AccorHotels’s management expertise and strong international marketing capability.”

The ibis Styles – Nairobi Westlands is located in Westlands, a prime business location in Nairobi. This recently built 280-room hotel is conveniently located near the city’s central business district and local business parks. The hotel features modern architecture emphasizing comfort and well-being. It offers 280 rooms, Utamu restaurant, Grab & Go coffee shop, Tuskar Lite Sky bar and Kilele rooftop lounge.

Commenting, Olivier Granet, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of AccorHotels Middle East & Africa, said: “We are thrilled to be adding the ibis Styles Nairobi Westlands to our portfolio. This hotel will take the number of ibis in Africa to 43. We want to offer to our guests great experiences at the best price anywhere in Africa. ibis Styles Nairobi Westlands is a further step in our journey to doubling our network in Africa to reach 200 hotels in the mid-term.”

Denja Abdullahi

Denja Abdullahi

Chief Executive Officer of Korlie Mobs Venture Limited, the developer in charge of building the Abuja Writers Village, Mr Kolawola Shaw, has assured that the project will be ready and delivered for use by December.

Shaw who gave the assurance in Abuja, said work was being intensified to ensure completion of the village.

“Among the structures in the writers’ village are guest houses, conference hall, archives and others. By December this year, it will be completed. Other structures will also be up by then; it is realisable and by God’s grace, we will get them done and delivered.

“I believe that Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and writers around the country would find the place interesting”, Shaw said.

The land on which the village is being built was donated to the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) in 1985 by the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory under the administration of now late Maj.-Gen Mamman Vatsa .

When completed, it would house the national headquarters of ANA, a 50-room hotel, residency chalets, 500-seater auditorium, archives and other facilities befitting a writers’ resort.

It would be recalled that National President of ANA, Malam Denja Abdullahi, had last month disclosed that his administration had already concluded arrangements to begin the construction at the Abuja Writers’ Village at Mpape, in Maitama extension of the FCT.

Abdullahi explained that the project had been on the drawing board since a piece of land was allocated to the association by the late Vatsa, then Minister of the FCT.

“Since then, ANA has been trying to develop the land, but due to paucity of fund and lack of assistance, the land remains undeveloped. But about four years ago, we did a groundbreaking ceremony and with the aid of a developer cleared the place and do other earthworks on the land.

“After the ceremony we entered into the process of development plans and getting approval for the building plan; we have been trying to do a lot of things. The things that preoccupied us for the past four years were infrastructure-based, building drainage to control flood, and all that.

“Now we are set to commence effective development of the Writers’ Village that can be seen. This is what we want to do and will happen on Friday,”Abdullahi said.

The ANA president said that if completed, the structure would house the National Headquarters of the association, which is currently at National Theatre, Lagos.

“We also want to use the foundation laying ceremony to embark on some developmental models which we already have. Similarly, we want to use the opportunity to appeal to state governments in the country to donate a building each and name it after their States or a writer from their states.

“We also want to call out to national and international bodies towards assisting ANA to achieve the dreams of Vatsa, a writer and a soldier who was so passionate to donate the land to the association in 1985.

“ANA is the sole owner and has a legal right to the land even though it has gone through attempts by some people to take it away, “Abdullahi said.