wpid-wp_20141126_034.jpgCentre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) has said it is collaborating with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to produce custom vehicle number plates for the commemoration of FESTAC’77 at 40.

Director-General of CBAAC, Dr Ferdinand Anikwe, who made this known in Lagos, explained that the commemorative number plates were aimed at relaying the memories of FESTAC’77 to young Nigerians and other blacks.

According to him, the aim was also to promote the nation’s culture and boost the economy, adding further that the number plates would be produced by the FRSC and that attendees to the FESTAC’77 at 40 celebration would fix them on their cars “to further advertise the only famous cultural event that ever happened in Africa’’.

“FESTAC’77 in Memorial’ will be inscribed on the number plate and the picture of the FESTAC mask, produced by great artist of Benin extract, will be on it,” he said.

According to Anikwe, the production of the number plates will begin in June.

He said that relevant agencies had begun consultations with the embassies and high commissions to ensure that the number plates could be used in other African countries after the celebration.

Anikwe said that the commemorative number plates could be used in Nigeria or be replaced with the existing number plates after the ceremony.

“We want to ensure that this event will henceforth be recognised and celebrated. The vehicle number plate will represent the dignity of the black man as FESTAC’77 and the mask will be inscribed on it. I have finalised plans with FRSC, which will produce it, and some tax agencies so that the production will start early June.

“I want all Nigerians to embrace this, as it will go a long way in boosting the nation’s economy and promoting our cultural heritage,” he said.

Anikwe, however, said that the cost of the number plate would be determined after production.

Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) took place in Nigeria in September 1977. It is also known as FESTAC ’77.

The ‘Rolling Out of 40 African Drums’ programme which held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on March 3, this year, kicked off the FESTAC’77 at 40 commemoration, which will formally open from June to December, this year.


MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has urged foreign investors and companies willing to apply for the new Visa on Arrival (VoA) facility to always do so through the NIS online platform.

The NIS Spokesperson, Mr Sunday James, said this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that the Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, noted that in spite of the instruction that companies should send their applications by email, some still sent representatives to the NIS headquarters in Abuja.

“We wish to note that despite the liberalisation policy on the application for the Visa on Arrival (VoA) facility by email, some organisations/companies still‎ send their representatives to physically submit their applications at NIS headquarters.

“We advise that applications should be filled online, instead of visiting the office.”

Babandede also reiterated the need for applications to be sent to — voa@nigeriaimmigration.gov.ng with relevant documents for immediate processing in line with the Executive order on “Ease of Doing‎ Business in Nigeria.”

He said NIS had put in place the necessary machinery in compliance with relevant provisions of the Executive Orders relating to the discharge of immigration duties.

The NIS boss urged foreign investors and the public to visit the immigration website for the requirements, eligibility, fees and how to apply for the facility.

The VoA platform was recently introduced by the Federal Government as part of plans to clear bottlenecks in issuing visas to genuine investors and ease the way of doing business in Nigeria.

ibis Lagos Ikeja

Ibis Hotel, Ikeja

Hotel Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA) has resolved to admit only guests with valid means of identification in hotels as part of security measures in the Federal Capital Territory.

The president of HOFA, Dr Chike Ezeudeh, said in Abuja on Monday that the move was to checkmate criminality and terrorism in hotels in the nation’s capital.

Ezeudeh noted that identification of guests with valid means like international passport, drivers’ license and others was not strange adding that it was a global practice.

“When you get to Dubai in the Emirate, you surrender your International Passport; that is the only way to identify a guest.

“Plans are underway to legalise it. Soon, people who want to lodge in hotels will surrender their driver’s license, international passport and any other means of identification.

“When such is done, data including telephone numbers and addresses of the person will be documented just in case of eventuality, the person can be traced or his next of kin communicated,’’ Ezeudeh said.

The president said that no fewer than 235 members of the forum are law abiding and security conscious.

He implored the government to collaborate with the forum to ensure the success of security in hotels pointing out that some unpatriotic people would not want to patronise hotels because they would be identified.

Ezeudeh also urged the government to make it compulsory for all hoteliers to register with the forum before operation in the FCT for security reasons.

He described as a welcome development the recent collaboration between Interpol and Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to checkmate criminality in hotels in the country.

The president maintained that HOFA and NTDC were partners in progress, stressing that the forum also collaborated with security agencies to ensure security of guests at the hotels.

“We do have meetings with the Nigeria Police, Directorate State Security and other security agencies.

“They train our staff; give us tips on security and use of CCTV. Look at the one that happened in Lagos State with Cynthia and her face book friends which led to her death. The CCTV helped in the process of apprehending the culprits,’’ Ezeudeh said.

MMIAThe Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), has restated its commitment towards accelerating the digitalization of Aeronautical Information Service in view of the centrality of data automation to the overall safety of civil aviation.

Managing director of the Agency, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, who disclosed this on the occasion of the World AIS Day in Lagos said: “In view of critical deliverables of the Aeronautical Information Management project such as the enhancement of e-NOTAM, e-Flight Planning, e-AIP,   e-TOD, e-Charts, e-Flight briefing and others, and given that it represents a global migration to a dynamic data oriented aeronautical information management system that facilitates the timely exchange of aeronautical information in an accurate and standardised format from anywhere to everywhere globally, on real time basis, the automation project is a must-do for NAMA.”

Akinkuotu said for the dream of AIS Automation to be realized, it requires staff of the department to put in their best to see that their service both at the individual and group level remains invaluable, adding that they could do this through extensive research and paper presentation at seminars, targeted at enriching the system and taking it to the next level.

He promised to open his doors to their professional and technical advice which he said would give him the needed guidance in taking key decisions.

The NAMA helmsman also lauded staff of the AIS department for their diligence, hard work and dedication to duty:  “AIS remains one of the most critical departments in the agency even though they are hardly given the prominence they deserve, because their job most often, is behind-the-scene,” he said, stressing that the absence of AIS in the system will bring about chaos in the entire civil aviation.

In his welcome address, the General Manager, AIS, Mr Kabir Gusau appealed to NAMA management to consider the periodic training and retraining of AIS personnel which according to him, “would bring staff up to speed with modern trends in a dynamic aviation industry and also prepare them to effectively embrace automation when fully deployed.”

Gusau also harped on the need for the agency, through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to ensure that qualified AIS personnel were licensed as this would bolster them towards hard work, commitment to duty and enhanced productivity. Observed in 191 contracting states globally, the World AIS Day is a day providers of the service, regulatory authorities, users of the service, other aviation stakeholders, as well as AIS systems manufacturers, critically assess the performance of the service and recommend appropriate measures for its enhancement.

In Nigeria, the 2017 World AIS Day with the theme: Efficient Data Management System that Supports Digital Aeronautical Information Services was celebrated on May 15, 2017 simultaneously in all parts of the country.

Med-View Airlines

Med-View Airlines

Following Wednesday’s reported ban slammed by the European Union on airlines including Nigerian carrier, Med-View, from its airspace, the operator, Thursday, debunked the alleged operational restriction, describing it as a misunderstanding by the public ‘as a total ban on its UK operations.’

Med-View Airline was believed to be one of those under the EU Air Safety List Annex A, which includes all airlines banned from operating in Europe.

A total of 181 airlines were barred from flying into Europe, with 174 airlines barred due to safety oversight by aviation authorities in their home countries.

The EU Air Safety List is a list of non-European airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.

In the updated version, all air carriers from Benin Republic and Mozambique were removed from the list, while four individual airlines, one each from Nigeria, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe, were added.

However, the airline in a statement signed by Executive Director, Business Development and Commercials, Mr. Isiaq Na’Allah, stated that its operations to London has not in any way been affected by the ban, saying it has been operating with its wet-leased aircraft.

The ban which falls under exception rule in EASA, Annex A, where it states that “Air carrier listed in Annex A could be permitted to exercise traffic rights by using wet-leased aircraft of an air carrier, which is not subject to an operating ban”, the Na’Allah said in the statement.

The Airline regretted the anxiety the misinformation may have caused its teeming passengers and assured them that there is no basis for alarm as the Lagos-London flight remains unaffected.

“We at Med-View Airline is committed to safety, and currently working with EASA and NCAA to restore normalcy,” the statement said.

The airline has been operating normal scheduled flights to London despite the purported restriction.

Ramadan at Marriott Hotel's brands in Nigeria 3

Ramadan at Marriott Hotel’s brands in Nigeria

In a bid to deliver an enriching Ramadan Kareem for loyal patrons of the Marriot International’s Starwood brands in Nigeria which comprise the Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton Lagos, Le Méridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort and Le Meridien Ogeyi Place, Port Harcourt, hospitality teams have created an interesting package which include Suhur and Iftar Buffet offers, room discounts and a range of seamless activities guaranteed to unleash an original Ramadan Kareem experience.

“Our hotel teams are set to deliver a unique variety of inspiring experiences this season .Our room rates start from as low as N25,000  per person per night and includes complimentary Buffet Breakfast (Suhur) a chance to Earn starpoints with free enrolment for new SPG members, 4pm late check-out based on availability, in room internet all-inclusive of taxes as well as access to our Pools, Gyms, Sauna’s and Steam rooms,” said General Manager for the Starwood Legacy Hotels in Nigeria, Mr.Barry Curran.

Continuing, Curran said: “Those visiting Sheraton Abuja Hotel should not miss our special Ramadan venue which will feature an expansive buffet spread and live cooking station at Iftar as well as a make shift mosque and daily live broadcast proceedings from Mecca. Equally on offer are special Iftar vouchers on sale to help foster the spirit of sharing and giving in the holy season. From May 26th to June 25th 2017.

“While Guests at Sheraton Lagos Hotel will experience a transformative Ramadan special with friends and family, you will be amazed at the original Middle Eastern meals and a choice of Complimentary Breakfast or Dinner”. In addition, guests may take advantage of the special Ramadan weekend offer at just N62, 000 per night. From May 27th –June 25th 2017.

“At our Four Points by Sheraton Lagos at Oniru close to the beaches, corporations and culture of the Lekki Peninsula- the hotel teams have elevated the Ramadan menu to accommodate the needs of our fasting guests; the restaurant will also be opened in time for Suhur and Iftar.

“While at Le Méridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort Encircled by palm trees, outdoor adventure, and destination golf; room offers start from N25, 000 and are inclusive of complimentary breakfast, soup of your choice at dinner, unlimited golf activities and bicycle riding for a token. Valid from May 26th- June 24th 2017”.

“If travelling to Uyo, Le Meridien Ogeyi Place, Port Harcourt teams have packaged for our valued in-house guests and visitors a Suhur menu of Nigerian favorites for just N5, 300.

We have planned our offerings in consideration of the particular needs of our guests and customers during this Holy period, our venues will portray the look and ambience of the season and we truly look forward to welcoming all our visitors to partake of our unforgettable offerings this season.”

Ritz Carlton Zanzibar

(L-R): President and Managing Director Middle East/Africa Region, Marriott International, Mr. Alex Kyriakidis and Mr Saleh Said, Director, Pennyroyal Gibraltar, signing the agreement for the Ritz Carlton Zanzibar

Marriott International, Monday, announced the signing of an agreement with Pennyroyal Gibraltar Limited, to debut The Ritz-Carlton brand in the exotic Zanzibar Archipelago.

Slated to open in 2021, the 90-room, all-suite and villa resort will bring the defining luxury experience of The Ritz-Carlton to one of the most magical destinations in the world.

Located within a convenient 45-minute drive from Zanzibar International Airport, The Ritz-Carlton, Zanzibar will provide easy access to the fabled and magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stone Town, often referred to as the cultural heart of Zanzibar.

The signing of The Ritz-Carlton, Zanzibar took place at an intimate ceremony attended by the owners, Mr. Saleh Said and Mr. Brian Thomson, Directors of Pennyroyal Gibraltar Limited and Mr Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, along with other executives from both companies.

“Celebrated as one of the world’s most exotic destinations, Zanzibar, is a perfect destination for The Ritz-Carlton,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International said, adding: “The Archipelago has the potential to strengthen its position as a key leisure destination in the Indian Ocean and to effectively compete with the more established islands of Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives. The Ritz-Carlton, Zanzibar will compliment Marriott International’s strong presence in the Indian Ocean and provide the necessary impetus to put the destination on the global itinerary of our guests.”

Also remarking, Mr. Saleh Said and Mr. Brian Thomson, Directors of Pennyroyal Gibraltar said: “We are delighted to partner with Marriott International to debut The Ritz-Carlton in such a culturally significant destination and are confident that the brand’s allure, coupled with Marriott International’s strong base of loyal guests, will entice the affluent travelers to visit this enchanting destination, making it one of the most coveted resorts in the region.”

The Ritz-Carlton, Zanzibar will be an all-suite and villa resort with 90 luxuriously appointed spaces including over water villas, each with its own private pool and a distinct contemporary design inspired by the island’s tropical tableau and unique culture. It will boast of a distinctive dining scene with four restaurants and bars allowing The Ritz-Carlton chefs to showcase their culinary versatility and engage with guests through curated and immersive dining experiences.

Leisure facilities will include an outdoor pool, a Health Club, a Beach Club and a Kids Club. Guests will have access to a tranquil Spa with eight private Spa Suites offering individual and couple treatments as well as outdoor treatments. An intimate meeting facility will complement the resort facilities for personalized and bespoke events.

The hotel will be part of the Amber Resort complex expected to be the largest mixed use development in Africa occupying approximately 1,750 hectares of pristine Indian Ocean coastline in the north east of the island. The complex proposes to provide an integrated high end lifestyle experience with a marina, a signature golf course designed by Ernie Els, residential villas and condominiums as well as leisure and entertainment facilities including a water park, and an equestrian center.

The Ritz-Carlton brand currently operates 12 properties across Middle East and Africa and is gearing up to open hotels in Amman (Jordan), Tunis (Tunisia), Ras Al Khaimah (UAE), Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) and three properties across Morocco – Tamuda Bay, Marrakech and Rabat. The Ritz-Carlton, Zanzibar will be a significant addition to this fast growing brand portfolio across the region.

La Giara Restaurant

La Giara Restaurant inside Sheraton Lagos

Sheraton Lagos Hotel has announced that it will re-open the newly renovated Italian Restaurant – La Giara, this Tuesday, May 17.

Sheraton Lagos Hotel, located on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way at the epicentre of Ikeja’s bustling area, is delighted to usher in the ‘Year of the Rooster’ with all lovers of the Chinese.

The restaurant has undergone works to bring the Italian charm of dining to life. Guests will be able to get the full Italian dining experience as they enjoy the traditional Italian Recipe, in a stylish contemporary environment.  The new menu consists of traditional hand crafted dishes ranging from pizzas to pastas that are sure to delight lovers of Italian cuisine.

The hotel has carefully selected items the décor to create a modern ambience. It is guaranteed that all guests will leave feeling satisfied after being fully immersed in the culinary culture it provides.

At Sheraton Lagos, action speaks louder than words and by doing this, the hotel believes that it will be cementing its place as a hotel not just business travelers but also a property that creates experiences leisure seekers too.

With the hotel’s proven success and exceptional reputation in culinary expertise, The Sheraton Lagos Hotel looks forward to inviting all food lovers and enthusiasts to the property to try out the new La Giara.

Protea Hotel Umhlanga

Protea Hotel Umhlanga

In an announcement that re-enforces the brand’s growing traction in the South African market, Marriott International, Monday, announced that Protea Hotels by Marriott has been named the Coolest Hotel Brand in the Sunday Times Generation Next Survey 2017.

Designed for the progressive yet pragmatic traveller seeking a high-­quality travel experience, Protea Hotels by Marriott has been consistently emerging as a favorite in South Africa particularly with the young travellers winning this coveted recognition for the 7th consecutive year.

“Our forever-young market comprising of the next generation of travellers consists of a vital segment of progressive individualists and forward-thinkers and we are delighted to see that Protea Hotels by Marriott® is a brand that is resonating with this audience in South Africa,” said Neal Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.

“South African brands look to the prestigious Sunday Times Generation Next Survey as an industry benchmark and we are excited to be featured in the coveted list, year on year, gaining the confidence of this important and key market and the next generation of travelers.”

Emphasizing the importance of being perceived as “cool”, Danny Bryer, Area Director for Sales & Marketing, Protea Hotels by Marriott added: “Reinvention is the key to success in an extremely competitive market and must take place on a continuous basis to stay relevant. We are committed to providing a dynamic and personalised experience at every touchpoint of the guest journey. Our associates, a large number of them from the next generation themselves, help us deliver a level of service that not only matches global standards but is also uniquely local, understanding and anticipating needs and making each guest stay memorable.”

Now in its 13th year, Generation Next polls the opinions of over 5,500 young South Africans mainly below 22 years of age from urban and peri-urban environments in six provinces across South Africa. The lifestyle and consumer behaviour questionnaire is boosted by over 4,500 additional face-to-face interviews. The results of the 2017 Generation Next Survey were published on 12 May 2017.

Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma will on Tuesday, 16 May 2017, officially open the Tourism INDABA 2017 at the Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

The INDABA is Africa’s top tourism trade show that brings together more than 7 000 delegates that represent the top tourism products in Africa, as well as the world’s leading travel buyers and travel and tourism media.

The South African Government has targeted tourism as one of the key sectors to stimulate inclusive economic growth and job creation, in line with the National Development Plan, which is government’s blueprint for growth and development aimed at eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030.

Government remains committed to creating a fertile environment in which tourism can take root and flourish as well as investing in tourism.

An additional R494 million had been allocated by government over the medium term budget expenditure to promote tourism over the next three years. This includes an injection of R110 million over three years to help attract more business events and delegates to South Africa, in the form of a Bidding Fund. The fund will enable South Africa to bid more aggressively for international association conferences, meetings, incentives and exhibitions.

Whilst Government has committed to supporting tourism, it will continue to enlist the support of the private sector.

Domestic tourism also remains critical for the South African economy, where each South African has a role to play in contributing to the growth the economy.

The INDABA will also boost the efforts to get more South African citizens traveling within the country and will play a major role in bringing about radical economic transformation in South Africa.