tiv manA five-man delegation from the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) led by National President, Mallam Denja Abdullahi, penultimate Tuesday, stormed Makurdi, the Benue State capital city to assess facilities in place ahead of the association’s Annual International Convention scheduled for 26-29 October, 2017.

They were received at the ANA State Secretariat located on Number 34, former Alhaji Dash Building,Ankpa road, Makurdi by members of the Local Organising Committee for the convention.

Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), Professor Idris Amali and his Vice, Professor Jerry Agada along with the Secretary, Dr. Raymond Anumve, Otse Otokpa, Dr.Tartule Tijah, Abo Abgochenu, State Chairman of ANA, Mr. Charles Iornumbe and Mrs. Dorcas Otalu among many others were on hand to receive the delegation at the ANA Benue Secretariat.

Receiving the delegation, LOC Chairman, Professor Idris Amali, who thanked the team for the visit, while also noting it would help in strengthening the commitment of members towards planning for success of the occasion., informed the visiting team that the LOC had put all the necessary machinery in place such as securing venues for activities, hotels and printed some pre-convention materials, among other things for them to make input and carried out advocacy visits to Individuals and groups to sensitise them about the convention.

Amali, who lectures at the Federal University Lafia, Nasarawa State, along with the Vice Chairman of the LOC and former National President of ANA, Professor Jerry Agada conveyed the Committee’s appreciation to State Governor Samuel Ortom forapproving substantial funds for the hosting of the convention in the face of the tough economic situation.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and ICT, Mr. Tahav Agerzua was also on hand at the Secretariat to welcome the National Officials of ANA during which he reaffirmed Governor Ortom’s commitment to the Writers’ body, urging members to continue to develop the knowledge base of the State as the world ‘could partly survive through ideas.’

Thereafter, the National Officials proceeded to hold a meeting with members of the LOC at the Hotel Bobec Makurdi where the template for the event already developed was presented and considered with improvements made, corrections effected and approvals granted to some proposals.

On the second day, the National Officials embarked on a tour of facilities where hotels identified were visited. The team also visited the JS Tarka Foundation where the arrival cocktail and Convention Play is expected to hold on the first and second days of the convention, respectively.

The team equally visited the Auditorium of the College of Health Science, Benue State University, Makurdi to assess the venue for the Convention’s Grand Opening Ceremony.

The tour was rounded off with a visit to the Royal Choice Inn, the proposed venue for registration of delegates to the convention during which the 1000 capacity hall proposed for the dinner and award night was also visited.

Addressing members of the LOC at the Presidential Wing of the Royal Choice Inn, Makurdi, Mallam Abdullahi who expressed satisfaction with the facilities proposed for the convention, stated that ‘in view of the difficult times, it would be better to plan the convention within the means of available resources in order not incur over bloated expenses in the end that would cause the LOC sleepless nights.’

He further advised ANA members against late registration, pointing out that those in the habit of attending conventions and registering on the spot would be doing so this year ‘at their own peril.’

“This year is an election year, those coming for the convention must get registered on time as adequate preparations would be made for them, and those in the habit of coming for conventions to gatecrash, would suffer the consequences of their action,” Mallam Denja noted.

Denja equally expressed appreciation at the gesture of the Benue State Government for approving funds to support the Association to host the convention and expressed hope that the funds would be released early to enable the LOC put everything in place before the event.

“It is one thing to approve funds, it is another to ensure their earlier release, we have had situations whereby funds are released a day to our convention which adversely affected planning. But with the commitment shown by your State Governor, we are optimistic that he will release the funds on time so that the best convention ever would take place in Benue,” Denja maintained.

Chairman of the LOC, Professor Idris Amali had earlier while receiving the National Officials, assured them of a unique convention in Benue next Month, stating that the Committee under him cannot afford to fail in that regard, just as he thanked the Benue State Chapter of ANA for the confidence reposed in him.

The ANA National delegation was made up of the Legal Adviser, Isaac Ogezi, the Secretary Dr. Ofonime Iyang, Treasurer Mr. Ikhechi Owabie and the Public Relations Officer (South) Mr.Olatunbosun Taofeek.

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sheraton abuja hotels

The Sheraton Abuja Hotels

Marriott’s portfolios in Nigeria, the Sheraton Lagos Hotel and Sheraton Abuja Hotel have concluded elaborate plans to celebrate the country’s 57th Independence Anniversary, this October 1, as both have announced ‘special offers and events to celebrate the day. ‘

The offers include discounted room rates with full compliments, elaborate entertainment treats for guests and visitors alike as well as an amazing free meals offer for kid guests under the age of six.

“Our teams at the Sheraton Lagos and Abuja have carefully created room packages and offers that will guarantee an illuminating experience for our guests during the Independence celebrations.

“To start it off, we have compelling discounted room rates on offer which starts from N34, 999 at the Sheraton Abuja. This includes breakfast and access to the fitness facilities as well as internet from the 29th of September 2017 to the 2nd of October, 2017; in Lagos our special rate of N57, 600 will enable our loyal patrons to enjoy our world-class treatments in our newly renovated clubrooms, from the 29th of September till the 8th of Oct 2017.”

“On Independence Day, our customers and in-house guests can be sure to experience first-hand our   decorated lobbies with the Nigerian colours of green and white and a cake specially made for the occasion and set right in the middle of the area. All our guests and well-wishers are welcome to visit and take part of the cake free of charge” at both Lagos and Abuja.

“For those of you who wish to take advantage of a lovely afternoon with family, at the Sheraton Lagos Hotel  we have organized a special Sunday brunch with our jazz band on hand to serenade all who come in to dine. A welcome drink will spark off your arrival, an ice cream station, special carving station with the kids eating half price are some of the activities sure to deliver an enriching experience,” said the Area General Manager of the Sheraton, Four Points and Le Meridien Hotels in Nigeria, Mr. Barry Curran.

According to Curran, ‘the Sheraton Lagos Hotel, in the evening,  will feature our special Wazobia night with our Jazz bands belting out tunes to get everyone dancing the evening away while recharging with our uniquely crafted drinks at the pool bar.’

Continuing, Curran said: “For those visiting Abuja, I encourage you to drop by at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel and enjoy our special Independence Day brunch with friends and family at the Papillion Restaurant alongside great music entertainment; a barbecue and juicing station with welcome Mocktails for all diners. For the little ones we will offer free meals for kids below 6 and 50 per cent off for kids between 7-12.

“Actions speak louder than words at the Sheraton Lagos and Sheraton Abuja Hotels. Our hotel teams are consistently innovating ways and activities to differentiate ourselves not just as a hotel for business travellers but also as destinations that create enriching experiences for our leisure seekers too”.

“With the both the Sheraton Lagos and Abuja’s proven success and exceptional reputation in culinary expertise, we look forward to celebrating with Nigerians on this special day.”

WTTC celebrates World Tourism Day 2017

Posted: September 27, 2017 in general
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wttcThe World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has joined the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in the celebration of this year’s World Tourism Day in Qatar as it chose to highlight the economic, social and environmental contribution of travel and Tourism to sustainable development around the world.

“Travel & Tourism is a remarkable sector, it brings people from different backgrounds, culture and beliefs closer together, driving peace, in addition to the significant socioeconomic benefits to a country’s welfare and local livelihoods.

“Travel & Tourism has a huge role to play in sustainable development, whilst on average global level the sector generates over 10% of the world’s GDP and supports 1 in 10 jobs, these figures can be, and often are, a lot higher and denser on local level. When done well, which means growing Travel & Tourism in a sustainable and inclusive fashion, tourism is a catalyst for job creation, community development, environmental protection and economic growth.”

“The strength and beauty of how Travel & Tourism can impact and change people’s lives in a positive way are encompassed in the stories in WTTC’s new campaign ‘Transforming our World’.

“Transforming our World provides an insight into the stories of people that operate in Travel & Tourism and show how the sector has transformed their world or how they use tourism to transform other people’s worlds,” remarked the recently-elected President & CEO, of the Council, Gloria Guevara, in a statement to commemorate the event.

Continuing, Guevara added: “I believe there is a real value in storytelling and as a sector this is something we can do better. Sharing a story is powerful, inspirational, and educational. Through our campaign I encourage other people and organisations within Travel & Tourism to share their story too.”

The current campaign stories, which come from WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow programme, cover the transformational stories of people in all corners of the world – including Botswana, China, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, and USA – and cut across education, community, nature, and wildlife.

wp-1490262309560.jpegMarriott International, Wednesday, announced the opening of Protea Hotel, the first of such brands in the South East and a development, which it said ‘further consolidates its presence in the country.’

Marriott operates two portfolios in the South South region of Akwa Ibom State; the Ibom Resort and the Four Points by Sheraton in Ikot Ekpene, but had yet to establish presence in the south east region of the country.

The 90-room hotel, developed by African Capital Alliance, a leading investment firm, and Kunoch Limited, is located in Owerri city, the capital of Imo State. ‎ Imo State is commonly referred to as the “Heartland” and is regarded as the entertainment capital of Eastern Nigeria. The state is also a producer of oil and natural gas and is home to a large number of regional oil and financial services offices.

Commenting on the opening of the hotel, Mr. Volker Heiden, Vice President Protea Hotels by Marriott, Marriott International said: “The opening of Protea Hotel by Marriott, Owerri Select, illustrates our confidence in the potential of Nigeria and is in line with our commitment to grow in strategic secondary cities across the continent. The recent expansion of the city’s airport, will give the city better accessibility, which we are confident will further drive business travel.”

Mr. Obiora Nwogugu, Principal and Head of Real Estate at African Capital Alliance added, “This new hotel is an important addition to the hotels we already own in the cities of Lagos and Benin in Nigeria, and Takoradi in Ghana. We are pleased to partner yet again with Protea Hotels by Marriott, which enjoys strong regional brand equity and awareness coupled with the global distribution of Marriott International.”

Described as ‘the continent of opportunity for the 21st century’, Africa continues to be an attractive investment proposition for many global corporates including the hotel industry. Marriott International, a leading hotel operator on the continent, currently operates over 140 hotels in 20 countries and is targeting a projected growth by 2022 of over 200 Hotels with more than 36,000 rooms across operating and pipeline hotels.

auThe African Union Commission (AUC) has welcomed removal of the travel ban on Sudan by the United States, just as the organization also expressed the hope for ‘the full normalization of relations between the two countries.’

In a statement issued, Wednesday, from its headquarters in Ethiopia, the AUC said it was earlier ‘perplexed by the imposition of a travel ban on some African countries as the free and legal movement of people is the foundation of a stronger and mutually enriching relationship between the African continent and the United States.’

“While sharing the same concerns with the United States on the threat of terrorism and violent extremism, the AUC is of the view that cooperation and meaningful engagement are vital in shaping a common response to this very demanding global challenge,” it said.

In a meeting, Wednesday, at the African Union Headquarters with the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against the Boko Haram insurgency, the leadership expressed bewilderment at the imposition of the unjust travel ban on the Republic of Chad, in particular, given its important role in the fight against terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin, Northern Mali, and the Sahel.

The AUC, therefore, called for meaningful dialogue between the government of the United States and Member States of the African Union on the travel ban affecting African countries as it looks forward to discussing the matter in the upcoming AU-US High Level Dialogue in November 2017.

four points by sheraton lekki lagos

Four Points by Sheraton Lagos Hotel has announced that its complimentary aerobic classes will commence for weekend guests from October 1, 2017.

According to the General Manager of the Hotel- Marc Wozniak, “this is another opportunity for our fitness conscious customers to stay healthier, fitter and have more fun with the support of our competent gym instructors every weekend.

“We are happy to offer more chances  for people who have been making resolutions of getting fitter, leaner, healthier, or livelier but never started the process to actualize this dream to keep fit, stay healthy and live exceedingly well during their stay in our hotel.

“In addition to this, guests will also enjoy the use of the hotel’s well equipped gym which is open for use from 6:30am up until 10pm, use the swimming pool and high speed internet while at the hotel”.

“Our patrons may equally visit the hotel’s Adrenaline and Office Bar during our happy hour which starts from 12 noon – 5pm daily. For those who wish to relax and de-stress from all the chaos; our Spa provides the ultimate in an energizing and transformative experience with our renewing treatments such as our Balinese massages, sport massages, honey cucumber facial treatments, St Barth treatments and lots more,” Wozniak explained.

sheraton abuja hotels

The Sheraton Abuja Hotels

By VICTOR NZE

Sheraton Abuja Hotel recently hosted guests and customers to an array of the hotel’s new paired food and beverage menu at the Lobby Bar and Ladi Kwali Conference Center.

According to the General Manager of the Hotel, Mr. Nouman Irshad, “We have re-activated “Paired”, Sheraton brand’s innovative hotel lobby bar experience which comprises of artisanal small plates and elevated bar snacks, served alongside premium wines and suggested beverages”. “Our guests were reintroduced to the concept which stretches the boundaries of traditional pairing principles by blending ingredients together in new and unexpected ways.”

“The event offered our invited guests a food lover’s haven through our unique sensory journey of activities”.

“Our compelling night had expertly matched small plates on display alongside premium wines and locally distilled beers”.

“We equally organized an array of entertaining activities along with great music which sparked off the dance tempo coupled with an engaging activity where our guest’s submitted ideas for our next new menu change in 3-6 months”.

“An inspiration board was made available for foodies and invited guests to write their thoughts on the new menu experience”.

Continuing, Nouman Irshad said: “We have created our Sheraton paired meeting breaks menu for the elevated pleasure of our conference customers, this will add an enriching experience to our event and meeting planners.

“Our goal is to introduce and adapt this inventive food culture we have for both in-house guests, customers and conference patrons alike. Eclectically paired lobby bar favorites such as Chinese and Vietnamese Spring rolls, Crispy fried vegetable spring rolls dipped in sweet spicy sauce or sweet vinegar dressing will be served with 2012 Vina Maipo Cabernet wine and 2012 Pinot or Grigio or even Chardonnay, Italy or Can “33” Export, pale lager.

“Customers can equally spark off taste buds with indigenous favorites such as Puff Puff and Suya served with 2012 Casillero Del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon Chile which will feature in our menu this quarter as unexpected pairings.

“For our Patrons this gives the opportunity to simply try new things. Our new-paired menu will cater to the tastes of both our international and Indigenous customers via offering some locally sourced and inspired food pairings. This delivers an elevated lobby bar experience where you can relax and have fun as you share with friends”.

auThousands of lives in the Union of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles remain at risk due to the region’s increasing vulnerability to natural disasters, including cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis.

This, combined with the fact that global humanitarian funding is dwindling, is further evidence of the need to invest in preparedness and in local humanitarian capacity, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC),

“The devastating humanitarian and economic impact of natural disasters in the Indian Ocean countries will only worsen with time, unless we double down on investments in resilience and preparedness,” said Mr Tadateru Konoé, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), during a visit to Comoros, during which he also met leaders of the National Red Cross Societies of Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar.

“More efforts should be made to boost domestic resource mobilization, building community resilience, and country-level policy dialogue between governments and local actors such Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.”

Recurrent disasters in the island states make it harder for communities to build wealth and prosperity, and can cripple national economies. In 2013, about 15 natural disasters in the Union of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar cased over US $250 million in damages. The region’s largest nation, Madagascar, is one of the most economically and geographically affected countries in the world from natural disasters, according to the World Bank.

In March 2017, over 80 people were killed and tens of thousands displaced in Madagascar when Cyclone Enawo battered the island. The Malagasy Red Cross Society and the Indian Ocean Regional Intervention Platform (PIROI), responded to the cyclone by mobilizing 24 disaster response teams as well as nearly 900 volunteers, many of whom had already been dispatched to communities ahead of the cyclone to provide early warning messages and safety tips. After the cyclone, the volunteers provided first aid, medical consultations, psychosocial support and tons of relief items to displaced families in evacuation centres.

Their response is evidence of the value of local humanitarian capacity, and of the need to increase investment in such capacity.

“Local actors like the Red Cross and Red Crescent are there before, during and after crises,” added Mr Konoé. “They are the perfect vehicle for providing effective humanitarian response, and for helping communities to become more resilient and less reliant on external support.”

NTM 2

NTW team at the media unveiling event (L-R): COO, NTW, Toni Ukachukwu, CEO, NTM, Efetobo Awhana, Head, Partnerships, NTM, Folakemi Idowu, Legal Adviser, NTM, Opeyemi Orioye and Head, Creatives, NTM, Muyiwa Ojo

By VICTOR NZE

Three firms; the Avantgarde Tours Limited, Afro Tourism West Africa Limited and Rewards Travels and Tours Limited, have concluded plans to lift Nigeria travel and tourism sector as they unveil a novel initiative, tagged: , the Nigeria Travel Week (NTW), a platform for promoting domestic market set to hold at end of the year.

Speaking during a media forum to unveil the project, at the NANTA House, Lagos, Managing Director of Avantgarde Tours Limited, Efetobo Awhana, who is also the CEO of NTW and arrowhead of the project, said the initiative is designed to lift the country’s waning domestic tourism by helping Nigerians see the need to patronise Nigeria’s numerous  domestic tourism products s even as the event targets 20 per cent of consumers in the next five years with over 20 million direct and indirect jobs set to be created.

NTW  will be is a multi – day tourism event platform that aims to drive the Nigeria tourism sector by bringing together buyers, consumers, travel technologies, tourism/travel service providers and the media to network, review and discuss the development of tourism in Nigeria,” Awhana said.

The over one-week event, billed to hold between November 20 and 29, including pre and post event hosted buyers familiarisation tours, according to him, is further aimed at achieving the following: To help nurture healthy leisure lifestyles and change the ‘Nigerian’ perception that travel is luxury; To promote domestic tourism in Nigeria and thus ensure a proper balance in the ‘Africans travelling Africa’ campaign on the continent; and To change the media and general narrative of Nigeria as a “Boko Haram and Corruption Country” to a Rich Ecotourism and Cultural Tourism Destination.

“We want to corner 20 per cent of the Nigerian market involving the travelling category in five years and to create 2,000,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2022 as we seek to  impresses it on the Nigerians that travel increases creativity, boosts health, improves satisfaction and happiness; Nigeria as a destination should be the first consideration for leisure and short breaks and that travelling across Nigeria and Africa helps fight poverty in Nigeria and on the African continent even as it shows the international community that Nigeria as a destination is endowed with unique tourism attractions and an array of tourism investment opportunities,” he added.

Continuing, Awhana stated that ‘the project, is expected to attract about 5, 000 people over the duration with youths and adult as the target audience, will among others generate buzz and discussions on domestic tourism; get Nigeria trending for the right reasons over 10 days; publicise destinations around Nigeria; help in data collation of travellers and tourism statistics in Nigeria and create awareness of the benefits of travel in-country and on the continent.’

He also disclosed that activities slated for the platform, which include media tours integrating both radio and television, familiarisation tours, a travel roundtable, a Tourism competition (Golf), village square, travel hangout and Nigeria Tourism Awards, would all hold at different locations, such as the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Freedom Park, Lagos, Ikoyi Club, Lekki Leisure Lake as well as the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

He, therefore, urged corporate bodies and Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs) to take advantage of this historic platform to expose their products and services to the international market, besides Nigerians as over 50 international delegates from 24 countries have already signed up as hosted buyers.

According to him, some of the countries are: Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Israel, Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States.

Thereafter, Awhana and his team expressed confidence that the forthcoming NTW ‘has the ability to transform Nigeria and its tourism landscape. Everything possible would be done to ensure that this first outing sets the tone and pace for the platform and would form part of the country’s tourism calendar.’

Nigeria

Nigeria Tourism

By VICTOR NZE

Umbrella body for travel and tourism practitioners in the country, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has formally approved eight National Working Councils to facilitate its tourism initiatives and development agendas across the six geo-political zones as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The councils were approved following the conclusion of the association’s bi-annual Council Meeting, where the new FTAN executive members presented a Working Plan for the years 2017 to 2019, an event which took place, Thursday, at the Eko Hotels, Victoria Island Lagos.

Over the years, FTAN Council Meetings have been the decision-making event of the Federation.

The just-concluded Council Meeting provided the platform far-reaching decisions, and ended with a two-year rolling plan built around some newly created FTAN National Working Councils.

Newly-elected FTAN President, Alhaji Saleh Rabo, who chaired the Council Meeting – in his opening speech charged the Council Members to “join the New Order of friendship and camaraderie in FTAN that began since the election of the new FTAN Executive Members in June 2017,” further restating that: “I believe that FTAN Council meetings are moments ‘to put our heads together’, and our differences apart, to come up with action plans towards a robust and sustainable tourism economy in Nigeria.”

Rabo further called on FTAN members, and Nigeria tourism stakeholders, not to be lethargic and to ‘rise up to the needs of the moment, and give our best to both sanitize and grow the business environments of tourism in Nigeria.’

FTAN Council accepted the Working Plan for years 2017 to 2019 and, immediately also, setup eight National Working Councils, whose membership include Associations’ Presidents, Associations’ Secretaries and other capable members within the Associations.

This is the first time FTAN is activating the Federation’s constitutional provision to establish some National Working Councils, also known as ‘Working Committees’, to oversee the implementation of FTAN’s strategic decisions towards a sustainable tourism industry in Nigeria, and professionalism in hospitality enterprise management. More so, FTAN constitution stipulates the establishment of such standing national working councils to serve as operations, services and business agencies.

The new FTAN National Working Councils are:  Hospitality, Resort and Leisure Services; Transportation, Tours and Travel Services; Tourism fairs, Marketing and Investment Services; Manpower Development, Legislation and Standards; Tourism Facilities, Support and Allied Services.

Others include: Intergovernmental Relations; Finance and Investment Services; and Public Communications.

The Council Meeting also approved, the short, medium and long term development plans as proposed by FTAN Executives, which includes among other things, securing technical supports and assistance from UNWTO to set up local structures for tourism and hospitality peer review, standardization of tourist services, enrichment of tourism assets, improve destinations services and provide value for tourists. This aims to increase the number of arrivals and increase the length of stay of inbound tourists.

There is also the target to liaise with Bank of Industry (BOI), and any newly created Development Bank, to source for Tourism Intervention Funds for FTAN members to secure and invest in tourism projects in Nigeria. As well as, to collaborate with Nigeria’s Economic Management Team to implement tourism policies as alternative for national poverty reduction in the rural areas and to jumpstart regional economic development.