air-peace

Air Peace

Umbrella body of airline owners in the country, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has called for the suspension of the automation of revenue remittance by airlines to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The operators said the process should be put on hold until the parameters which constitute the statutory five per cent Ticket and Cargo Sales Charge (TSC/CSC) are clearly and properly defined.

Chairman, AON, Capt. Nogie Meggison, who made the call while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Lagos, said the recent ultimatum issued to the domestic airlines to automate their payment systems was done in `bad faith’ because the issues surrounding it had yet to be resolved.

“AON has no problem with the NCAA going ahead to automate the collection and remittance of the said charges.

“However, the NCAA needs to give clarification on what constitutes the five per cent ticket and cargo sales charge.

“The five per cent TSC is only applicable on base fare, in compliance with industry practice and as currently applicable to international carriers operating out of Nigeria,’’ Meggisson said.

According to him, AON members are currently remitting the charges and it is on record that the NCAA introduced financial clearance process for services over the last few years.

He said despite the tax burden on airlines, the infrastructure and service level continue to deteriorate across all facets of the industry, under the same authority.

Meggisson also accused the NCAA of discriminating against the domestic airlines because foreign airlines were not mandated to join the same automation platform.

“It is apparent that NCAA is preying on domestic airlines, which they see as an easy target, a cash cow and for cheap publicity.

“They are over-regulating domestic operators and pushing domestic airlines to the edge of insolvency and bankruptcy.

“It is these kinds of policies that have reduced the lifespan of Nigerian airlines and consumed over 25 airlines in the last 30 years since deregulation in 1982,’’ he said.

The AON president appealed to the NCAA to focus its energy on being an enabler and to foster growth in the Nigerian aviation industry, in line with its mandate.

He added that while airlines in other West African countries operate 24 hours, Nigerian carriers are subjected to daylight operations only till 6:30 p.m. in most of our airports.

“Yet the West African charges are almost a fraction of Nigeria’s domestic billing.

“Sadly also, Nigerian airlines are the only mode of transport paying the Value Added Tax (VAT).

“Marine, road and rail transport don’t pay, and even the foreign airlines operating into Nigeria are exempted from paying VAT in Nigeria and their home base.

“It is interesting to note that Ghana, only on March 30, announced the cancellation of VAT on domestic and intentional air travel,’’ Meggisson added.

SavedPicture-20161218205728.jpgNigerians with new passports seeking to travel to Indonesia will need to present a certificate of recommendation from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, among other documents to process their visas.

Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, who stated this in Abuja, said that that the new visa policy was in line with global measures to promote safety for its citizens, adding that it was reviewed in October 2016.

He, however said that it was easier for those with frequently used their passports, to get visas.

He explained that applicants seeking to travel to Indonesia also need to be invited or have certain recommendations to visit that country.

The envoy added that the policy had made visa application process for Nigerians “quite tough” but added that it was for the safety of all.

“We (the embassy) could authorise the issuance of visas without having to get in touch with Jakarta but since October 2016, we have to send visa applications from here to Jakarta for approval. We here can make only recommendations on visa applications, especially if applicants have programmes to undertake in Indonesia, but it is at the discretion of authorities in Jakarta to approve the visas that will be issued.

He also said that about 2000 visas were issued to Nigerians in 2016 same as in the year before.

He further said that both countries were working on programmes that could enhance people-to-people relations adding that such relations would promote understanding between both cultures.

“We have about 50 Nigerian students in Indonesia, some under scholarship, and they serve as ambassadors for Nigeria there. The Nigerian community in the country is not so large that is why crimes committed by a few could tarnish the image of others.”

Purwanto, however, assured that both governments were working to change such bias.

SavedPicture-20161218205728.jpgMore advocacy have come for the Federal Government to look inward for the development of the country’s tourism as the Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo, Monday also called for massive investment in the existing cultural and tourism facilities to create job opportunities and curb crime among the youth.

Chairman of Ohanaeze in Anambra, Chief Damian Okeke, who made the call when he led the leadership of the organisation to inspect the cultural heritage and sports facilities at Rojenny Tourists and Sports centre, Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area, decried the dilapidation of the zoo, games and sports facilities in the centre built over 30 years ago.

According to him, investment in tourism and sports rather than purchasing and spending on arms and armoured vehicles would curb crime and youth restiveness in the country.

“It is good that this facility was set up here when people were not settled around this area over 30 years ago but it is painful that it is not just being under utilised but allowed to decay.

“This place is not in line with the vision of Ezeonwuka, if it was positioned around Onitsha, Nnewi, Oba and Obosi, it could be used as a rediscovery ground for the jobless youths.

“We are calling on the Federal and state governments to as a matter of necessity come and see how they can upgrade this place and revamp the dilapidated facilities for effective utilisation.

“There is no need to try to build new amusement, wild life, sports facilities while the ones we have are collapsing,” he said.

Okeke said Ohanaeze would take the matter to Anambra government for effective action.

In his remark, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, the owner of the tourist/games facility lauded the leadership of Ohanaeze for being in the vanguard for equity and justice for all.

He said that Nigeria should take a cue from Jamaica where the talent and strength of the youth were channeled to sports.

Le Meridien Ibom ResortBy VICTOR NZE

Marriott International’s chain of hotels in Nigeria including the Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton Lagos, Le Meridien Ogeyi Place in Port Harcourt and Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort in Uyo, have concluded plans to deliver a variety of exciting packages this Easter holidays.

According to the Area General Manager for the Sheraton, Le Meridien and Fourpoints by Sheraton brands in Nigeria-Mr. Barry Curran, the celebration ‘promises to be grand as the hotels get set to exceed the expectations of its customers.’

“Whether you are looking to whisk the family away or take advantage of the long weekend with friends, the offers which are valid from the 12th till the 23rd of April 2017 include a line-up of various fun and engaging activities geared to thrill family and friends as they come together to mark the long awaited celebration.

“We welcome all our patrons to enjoy an enriching and tasteful experience with our lavish Easter buffet offerings at our Crockpot, Papillion, Ororo and Brazzerie Restaurants in Nigeria.

“Our room rate deals are exceptional as they start from NGN 31,999 per night and include free access to the internet, buffet breakfast for 2 adults and complimentary use of all hotel, recreational facilities including our fitness centers for that energizing workout,” said Curran, who also doubles as Lagos Sheraton General Manager.

In highlights some of the offers at the various hotels, Curran said: “Sheraton Lagos Hotel will organize an Easter Egg hunt to keep the kids busy; during our yummy, specially created Easter Sunday Brunch, Easter eggs and bears will be handed out to each kid that comes in to dine with their parents. Guests are also encouraged to indulge in our gym facilities and enjoy special classes by our trained instructor specially created for them.

“At the Sheraton Abuja Hotel activities will include an exciting Easter egg hunt for kids; (with lovely prizes to go away with) the child with the highest number of eggs wins a prize. In addition, we are organizing an inspiring play area/bouncy castle for children at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel Coconut Garden; a special Easter Sunday Brunch at the Papillon Restaurant and a yummy barbeque for our guests at the Poolside on Easter Monday Evening”.

“Customers will enjoy a special accommodation and spa package at our Four Points by Sheraton Lagos; feel free to indulge yourself with friends and family members at the Four Points Lagos Spa with two and half hours of invigorating and relaxing treatments steam/sauna, salt body scrubs, cocoa body wraps and body massages as well as a healthy spa cuisine takeaway”.

“Guests are encouraged to treat their friends and loved ones to a memorable time at our Brazzerie restaurant for an extended special Easter Sunday and Monday brunch savoring our mouth-watering dishes, which includes a glass of Sparkling Alcoholic/non-alcoholic wine, ice cream, Easter eggs as well as kiddies playground with bouncing castle and face painting”.

“We have tailored our special offers to our guests at Le Meridien Ogeyi Place; our Buffet will consist of French/Mediterranean and Nigerian cuisine with sparkling wine/champagne, soft sparkling drinks or sparkling cocktails. There will be an egg hunt for kids around the hotel lobby and free meals for 2 kids from zero till 12 years old per 2 paying adults. Activities will build-up with a lucky raffle draw and a chance to win a voucher for a weekend stay in the hotel for two”.

“An unforgettable weekend awaits you at  our amazing Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, activities will include an Easter Picnic; with picnic baskets offered at the marina garden, live music and a  renowned DJ to entertain you”; an Upgraded Lunch Buffet with live carving stations at the Vista Restaurant on Easter Sunday and Monday will equally feature”.

“LeMeridien family activities will include; a fitness circuit, Destination Walk, Aerobic Lessons, Painting ,drawing, cooking classes, Double-your-Hustle-Game, Cookies/Éclair decorating and lots more.

“We are ready and set to deliver remarkable experiences as we to cater to all the particular needs of our customers this Easter Holiday and our dedicated teams look forward to delivering great memories”, concluded Curran.

BES

Participants at the BES 2017

By VICTOR NZE

Tourism, maritime, oil and gas industry experts in the country have called on the Lagos State government to evolve 10-year comprehensive economic masterplan for the Badagry and Epe divisions of the state.

This is also as the State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, has assured of his administration’s commitment towards the full adoption of the recommendations of the Badagry Economic Summit, in addition to pledging to complete the ongoing 10-lane Lagos-Badagry expressway before the end of 2019.

A 15-point communiqué issued at the just-concluded Badagry Economic Summit (BES) further stressed that an economic masterplan for the Badagry and Epe had become imperative in view of the huge and aggressive developmental projects embarked upon by the state government in both areas, like the deep sea port, free trade zones, and others.

The two-day maiden economic summit held between March 23 and 24 at the Conference Hall of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Topo, Badagry under the theme; ‘Unleashing Investment Potential around the Coastline Zone of Epe and Badagry.’

The event organized by the Badagry Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVS) is the first strategic effort initiated by the private sector in conjunction with the Local Government Authorities to unveil the true and bankable potentials of Badagry and Epe ever since the creation of Lagos State 50 years ago.

“The summit advocates that for sustainable growth of Badagry and Epe economy in Tourism, Maritime, Oil and Gas therefore, there is need for Lagos State Government to develop a ten-year business development master plan for the two divisions.

“For a safe and peaceful communal integration of Badagry and Epe, there is urgent need for Government to increase the number of security personnel in the coastal zones to avoid a replica of the Niger Delta restiveness templates.

“That Badagry and Epe are viable economic hubs for the promotion and development of tourism, oil and gas and maritime economies.

Other recommendations of the summit include: “That there is urgent need for Government and the relevant stakeholders to institutionalize and establish vocational and skills empowerment schools to train youths of Badagry and Epe divisions to prepare and make them competitive in the labour market.

“That Lagos State Government should invest in strategic marketing and promotion of tourism potentials in Badagry and Epe in other to attract tourists and investors alike. Since water transportation is part of the intermodal transport system in Lagos, Lagos State Government should endeavour to build modern jetties and encourage public sector initiatives in boat building and construction to create jobs and drive water based tourism.

“That the Ministry of Science and Technology should partner with relevant organisations to impact on the use of ICT in Tourism, Oil and Gas among the youths of Badagry and Epe divisions.

“That Lagos State Government should liaise with traditional institutions to ensure cooperation on the use of land and sea to avoid restiveness.

“That Federal Government and Lagos State Government in particular should create enabling policies to ensure the immediate implementation of Badagry Sea Port blueprint to redirect traffic to Nigeria and Badagry Port in particular, in view of the thriving freight forwarding and maritime activities along neighbouring West Coast cities of Accra, Lome and Cotonou.

“That the Badagry Convention and Visitors Agency should stimulate the establishment of a local Chamber of Commerce in Badagry and Epe in conjunction with Lagos State Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.

Another highlight of the recommendations was the call on the Nigeria Custom ‘to improve their services and initiate business friendly strategies to make the Badagry Port when operational to be attractive to both local and international investors, importers and exporters.’

Earlier, state governor Ambode, had reiterated his administration’s resolve to completing the proposed 10-lane Badagry – Mile 2 expressway, saying it is geared towards positioning the region as a major tourism hub of West Africa.

Ambode who said this while declaring open the Summit said the project is also driven by his administration’s commitment to ensuring an all-inclusive government where all the component communities are fairly treated and given the opportunity to realise their economic potential.

The Governor, who was represented at the occasion by his Special Adviser on Community Affairs and Development, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, further explained that the expressway is to be complemented by the proposed deep sea project, which, according to him, aims to further grow capacity of the destination and people of Badagry.

“One of the cardinal policies of this administration remains the pursuit of an all-inclusive government. This policy drives the desire to complete the 10-lane Badagry expressway project so as to harness the already identified tourism and economic potential of the region. It also increases our resolve to realize the APM terminals project in the area.

“We want to assure that the outcome of this economic summit will form the content of a comprehensive economic masterplan for the people of Badagry and the destination.

“We are committed to exploiting these potentials and in the same way as we seek to position Badagry as the biggest business hub on the sub region and by extension the continent.”

While commending the Badagry Conventions and Visitors Bureau (BCVB) for its choice of theme for the summit, Ambode noted that the summit had remarkably assembled experts as well as the community members to articulate ideas and proposals to grow Badagry destination.

On his part, chief executive officer of BCVB, Mr Ashamu Fadipe, assured investors in Badagry of the town’s readiness to providing a veritable platform for them to grow their investment.

A total of 13 papers were presented by speakers along with attendees’ reactions and observations.

In attendance key Private Sector Players, Local Government Administrators, traditional Rulers, Lagos State Ministries of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Nigeria Custom Service (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Navy, Air Force, State Security Services (SSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Also in attendance were the maritime industry players, travel & tourism journalists, ICT professional and business men/women, Flour Mills Plc., representatives and civil servants including some members of the defunct and current National Assembly.

W MarabellaW Hotels Worldwide, now part of Marriott International, Tuesday, announced the signing of W Marbella and The Residences at Marbella, Spain.

Scheduled to open in 2021 and developed in partnership with Sunrise Inversiones 2015 S.L (an affiliate of Platinum Estates Limited), W Marbella will be located on the pristine golden sands of Playa Real de Zaragoza, just a short drive from the energetic nightlife scene of downtown Marbella.

“Located on one of the most glamourous beaches in Southern Spain, W Marbella will infuse the brand’s signature style and innovative programming into this coveted destination,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide.

“Joining our portfolio of other coveted W Escapes around the world, W Marbella will provide insider access to this fun-seeker’s paradise, inviting guests to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat.”

W Marbella will offer 200 spacious guestrooms, including 26 suites and an Extreme Wow Suite – the brand’s extravagant take on the traditional Presidential Suite. The hotel will feature a vibrant bar and a signature restaurant; an AWAY spa complete with a beauty salon and juice bar; FIT state-of-the-art workout facility; and two WET pool decks.

For those looking for an extraordinary venue for their next meeting, W Marbella will provide five ultra-modern meeting rooms along with a covered terrace, measuring more than 10,000 square feet, ideal for outdoor parties and events.

A perfect complement to Marbella’s social scene, W Marbella will boast its very own Beach Club with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. The Beach Club at W Marbella will open in advance of the hotel in time for the Summer 2018 season.

The Residences at W Marbella will boast 100 low-rise, condominium apartments and villas available for purchase. The W-branded beachfront Residences will offer owners access to all of the hotel’s amenities and services, including preferred reservations at the hotel’s restaurants, bars and lounges; in-residence dining and STYLE housekeeping services, as well as a private pool and the brand’s signature Whatever/Whenever service promise.

“We believe that the W brand is the perfect fit for this landmark location and look forward to seeing W Marbella emerge as the most sought after and admired resort in Spain,” said Roshni Mohinani, Chairwoman, Platinum Estates.

“We are delighted to be working with our esteemed partners at Platinum Estates Limited to bring the iconic W brand to Marbella,” said Carlton Ervin, Chief Development Officer, Europe, Marriott International. “The signing of the third W Hotel in Spain underlines the continued demand for this iconic luxury lifestyle brand in key European travel destinations.  This is also our third hotel project with Platinum Estates Limited and follows the signings of W Madrid and Aloft Madrid Gran Via, which will both open in 2019.”

With the opening of W Marbella in 2021, Spain will be the only country in Europe to boast three W Hotels, joining the acclaimed W Barcelona, which redefined Spain’s hospitality scene since it opened in 2009, as well as the forthcoming W Madrid, slated to open in 2019.  W Marbella will be the fourth W Escape in Europe, a newly created portfolio of W Hotels located in ski, sand and entertainment destinations around the world, that make the traditional ‘resort’ a last resort.

W Marbella will join the brand’s robust portfolio of 50 hotels around the globe, including the recently opened W Las Vegas, W Goa and W Punta de Mita, as well as the soon-to-open W Shanghai, W Tel Aviv, W Madrid, W Panama and W Dubai – The Palm. W Hotels is on track to reach 75 hotels by 2020.

Nigeria

Nigeria Tourism

Nigeria has officially launched an online system aimed at enabling business executives to apply for a visa online and collect it on arrival 48 hours later. The development comes two weeks after unveiling a new immigration policy for the country.

The move to ease visa rules in the country follows complaints from foreign executives that obstructive embassy officials made it difficult to enter the country.

Under the new Visa on Arrival (VOA) system, travellers must register with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and provide details including travel document information, after which a letter of approval may be issued and the visa collected on arrival.

Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Mohammed Babandede, explained that the facility was in line with the government’s “policy on creation of a conducive environment to attract foreign high net worth investors and professionals into the economy”.

“‎As a critical member of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the NIS has automated its visa application and processing services at all entry points.

“This is to ensure that all genuine requests for Visa on Arrival facility from any part of the world are processed and issued within 48 hours (two working days).”

According to Babandede, the new process was‎ designed to eliminate all unnecessary bureaucratic visa processing procedures in Nigerian Missions abroad, adding further that it was also to serve the interests of would-be visitors from countries where Nigeria does not have a Mission.‎

He said that‎ ‎a dedicated e-mail address oa@nigeriaimmigration.gov.ng had been deployed where visa applicants, their representatives or companies could forward their requests and details.

“Applicants are, however, to note that successful payment online is not an approval and should not proceed to Nigeria until you have received ‘Visa on Arrival Approval letter’ duly issued by the NIS Headquarters, Abuja.”‎

Overseas investors have mainly stayed away from Africa’s largest economy after being put off by a gap of around 30 percent between the official rate of the naira currency, controlled by the central bank, and rates on the parallel market.

Zambia Tourism takes Roadshow to UK

Posted: March 27, 2017 in general

SavedPicture-20172217318.jpgThe Zambia Tourism Agency in partnership with KAMAGEO a hugely dynamic and vibrant tourism Public Relations and Marketing Company dedicated to increasing tourism to Africa, recently coordinated one of the most successful trade roadshow in the United Kingdom.

The roadshow was borne out of the fact that there is a recognition that it is important to provide detailed product information to travel consultants and their product managers to enable them effectively sell the various Zambian tourism products, while on the other hand generic information to the consumer is also important as this assists in generation interest to the tour operators.

The event was the biggest ever gathering of Zambian tour operators in the United Kingdom in recent times. It is expected that this will have far reaching and positive effect on the perceptions and positive knowledge of Zambia amongst tour operators in the United Kingdom.

Despite financial limitations the Zambia Tourism Agency and the London office was successful in playing an active role in the successful delivery of the Zambia roadshow in the United Kingdom.

The road shows in the United Kingdom were held in Manchester, Cirencester, London West and Kensington London.

The Kensington London event was hosted at the High Commission in Kensington, London and was graced by His Excellency the High Commissioner for the Republic of Zambia to the United Kingdom, Mr. Muyeba Chikonde.

In his remarks the High Commissioner welcomed the exhibitors and buyers to Zambia House in true Zambian hospitality and acknowledged the work done by the KAMAGEO team led by Tim Henshall in partnership with the Tourism office in London.

He paid gratitude to the team from Zambia who responded to the initiative to come to the UK for this series of events which he hoped would be the first in a series of similar events in the near future.

“As Zambians we pride ourselves in the tourism product that we believe standout proud as the one of the best in the region. I can assure of the Government’s and High Commission’ utmost support in ensuring that it is made easier to sell Zambia,” he said.

The High Commissioner encouraged that similar initiatives be undertaken in partnership with the private sector to ensure that Zambia was consistently in the minds of the travel traders and the consumers.

The High Commissioner was also presented with a book ’50 Years of Aviation in Zambia’ by Ms Keira Langford – Jonson, Commercial and Ground Operations Director at Pro-flight.

The exhibitors at the event were Norman Carr Safaris, Bushcamp Company, Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro, Waterberry Lodge and River Farmhouse, Kafunta Safaris, The River Club, Flatdogs Camp, Remote Africa Safaris, Wilderness Safaris, Chongwe Safaris, Zambia Groundhandlers, Sausage tree and Potato Bush camp, Robin Pope Safaris, Ila Safari Lodge, Jeffrey and McKieth Safaris, Konkamoya Lodge and Proflight Zambia. The exhibitors had travelled specifically from Zambia for the roadshow and others proceeded on from the ITB in Berlin while a few were represented by their UK agencies.

Buyers were invited from UK tour operators that were currently selling Southern Africa and Zambia and comprised senior staff and Product Managers.

These include: Embarque Travel, Mirus Journeys, African Pride, Gane and Marshall, Wildfoot Travel, Africa and Beyond, Carrier, La Concordia, Safari Club, Real Africa, Destinology, Safari and Beach, Audley Travel, Frontiers Travel, Steppes Travel, Explorations Company, Abercrombie and Kent, Natural Travel Collection, Wildlife and Wilderness, Luxury Safari Company.

Others are: The Big 5 Safari Company, Red Savannah, Simply Safaris, Africa Travel, Bushbaby, Native Escapes, Discover the World, Wild Frontiers, Natural World Safaris, Original Travel, The Ultimate Travel Company, African Sky, Africa Travel Resource, Goodacre and Townsend, Theobald Barber, Africa Exclusive, Tribes Travel, Rainbow Tours, World Discovery, Africa Collection, Expert Africa, Wildest Dream Travel and Cox and Kings.

Former Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, making his presentation at the just-concluded Badagry Economic Summit at the Conference Hall of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Topo, Badagry, LagosVICTOR NZE
Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has reiterated his administration’s resolve to completing the proposed 10-lane Badagry –  Mile 2 expressway, saying  it is geared towards positioning the region as a major tourism hub of West Africa.

Making the disclosure, Thursday, while declaring open the two-day Badagry Economic Summit (BES), Governor Ambode said the project is also driven by his administration’s commitment to ensuring an all-inclusive government where all the component communities are fairly treated and given the opportunity to realise their economic potential.

The summit is organized under the theme: Unleashing investment potential around Historic and Coastal Zones of Badagry and Epe.

The Governor, who was represented at the occasion by his Special Adviser on Community Affairs and Development , Mr. Kehinde Bamgbetan, further explained that the expressway is to be complemented by the proposed deep sea project, which, according to him, aims to further grow capacity of the destination and people of Badagry.

“One of the cardinal policies of this administration remains the pursuit of an all-inclusive government. This policy drives the desire to complete the 10-lane Badagry expressway project so as to harness the already identified tourism and economic potential of the region. It also increases our resolve to realize the APM terminals project in the area .

“We want to assure that the outcome of this economic summit will form the content of a comprehensive  economic masterplan for the people of Badagry and the destination.

“We are committed to exploiting these potentials and in the same way as we seek to position Badagry as the biggest  business hub on the sub region and by extension the continent.”

While commending the Badagry Conventions and Visitors Bureau (BCVB) for its choice of theme for the summit which he noted has remarkably assembled experts as well as the community members to articulate ideas and proposals  to grow Badagry destination.

Governor Ambode also used the platform of the occasion to assure  indigenes and residents alike of oil producing communities in Aje of equity and fairness in the construction and compensation procedures.

“I commend the Badagry Convention and Visitors Bureau for the choice of theme as this has brought together experts whose ideas and recommendations will not be swept under the carpet as they will be adopted by this administration in its quest to grow the Badagry.

“We assure residents and indigenes of oil producing communities of their fairness, equity and protection of their rights on our quest to explore other sources of revenue in the state as a whole.”

Former chairman, Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, Aare Olarenwaju Hakeen, in his paper presentation, titled; Capacity as catalyst for oil and gas exploration, seaports and logistics development in Badagry, urged the state government to establish  a maritime academy so as to prepare the youths for the challenges ahead.

Hakeem who decried the lack of professionalism in the sector, which he blamed for the high cost of processing freight, said the problem explains why importers prefer Cotonou, Teme and Lome ports on the West African axis rather than patronize the country’s Apapa and Tin Can ports.

“We have a problem of lack of professionalism aside the one of corruption which is why importers prefer Lome, Tema and, Cotonou for imports and they then just go the border and pay the custom duties.

“Our youths need to know about the industry to be trained in the processes. They need to be empowered in terms of capacity in order to compete in the industry.

“The country needs also to get its act right. In the United States, you cannot practice as a clearing agent if you are not a citizen. But here anybody is allowed to do the business. There is a security implication to that. Imagine the other time when an agent cleared arms in containers. These are why we need to clean up the sector, train our youth so that they are  not seen as smugglers anymore.”

On his part, former commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, advised government to downplay the potential of oil and gas, as according to him, the future of the state lies with tourism.

The is just as the former senator who represented Lagos West district, urged for the involvement of all critical stakeholders towards the attainment of the goal of positioning Badagry as the preferred destination on sub region.
“We must all begin to work and increase our contribution towards the growth of Badagry just like Dubai. The people are the owner change. Produce souvenirs, keep your environment clean, create sustainable brands. You don’t need government to do these little things.

“Government will do its own, no doubt, but the bigger impact can be spearheaded by the people. Badagry has its challenges, in terms of infrastructure. But when you look at neighbouring destinations like Lome, Cotonou and Accra in terms of organization, you know we have to change our orientation,” said Afikuyomi.

CEO of the Whispering Palms resort, Professor D. Femi-Pearce in his paper titled; Business opportunities for youths in Badagry, challenged the youths to exploit the natural resources of the town like the coconut with a view to harnessing the produce’s cosmetic potential as a way of viably engaging the youthful workforce.

Earlier in his welcome address, chief executive officer of BCVB, Mr Ashamu Fadipe, assured investors in Badagry of the town’s readiness to providing a veritable platform for them to grow their investment.

Other speakers on the opening day of the economic summit include; Mr Gani Tarzan Balogun, the CEO of Tarzan Marine Enterprise, who spoke on ‘Aquatic tourism and water transportation.’

Also, CEO of La Campagne Tropicana, Dr Wanle Akinboboye delivered a paper on ‘The essence of tourism development and impact on the local communities.’

The Badagry Economic Summit, which held at the Conference Hall of the Administration Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), gathered industry players from the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), tourism and maritime experts, as well as traditional rulers in the communities and members of the academia.

SavedPicture-2017130164354.pngMarriott International, Inc., Thursday, announced plans to launch its cutting-edge Aloft brand in the capital city of Mauritius with the signing of Aloft Mauritius Port Louis.

Slated to open in early 2019, the hotel will be the brand’s first adaptive reuse project in Africa. Located in the central business district area of Port Louis, the existing 9 floor office building will transform into the city’s newest destination sensation complete with 150 spacious, loft-like rooms, accessible technology and a hip, social atmosphere.

“The signing of Aloft Mauritius Port Louis underscores the unstoppable momentum the brand has been garnering and our strategic commitment to grow the Aloft brand in key destinations around the world,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.

“With its urban design aesthetic and appeal to savvy travelers, the Aloft brand is particularly suited for adaptive reuse and in today’s challenging economic environment, projects like this one can offer developers significant advantages. We are delighted to see the Aloft brand debut in Mauritius and see many opportunities to use this approach as an important growth channel allowing us to enter even more markets, more quickly.”

Owned by Green East Master Limited, Aloft Mauritius Port Louis is ideally located in close proximity to Le Caudan Waterfront district, the dynamic city center pulsating with activity including leisure, shopping, entertainment and a marina.

Designed for today’s always on the go and in the know traveler, Aloft Mauritius Port Louis will introduce stylish and affordable accommodation and amp up the island’s hotel scene with tech-forward features, distinctive design and buzzing social spaces. Delivering urban-influenced design and an energetic guest experience, all rooms will offer spectacular harbor or mountain views and feature ultra-comfortable plush platform beds, large walk-in showers and complimentary Bliss® amenities.

Guests can also expect the brand’s signature WXYZ® bar, a buzzy public space where they can catch up on emails, read the papers, play a game of pool or grab a drink with friends, as well as a Re:mixSM lounge – Aloft’s twist on the traditional lobby experience.

Designed with the needs of the savvy next-generation traveler in mind, the hotel will offer SPG Keyless—the hospitality industry’s first truly keyless entry system that enables guests to use their smartphone or Apple watch as a room key. Other features will include a Re:chargeSM fitness centre; a happening rooftop destination bar and pool with stunning views, Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24- hour deli option for those on the go; as well as two modern meeting spaces supported by an ‘In-Touch’ business area. Fast and free Wi-Fi will be available throughout the property.

Aloft Mauritius Port Louis will complement Marriott International’s existing portfolio in Mauritius, comprising of three operating hotels under the St. Regis, Le Meridien and Westin brands and one hotel currently under development under the Sheraton brand.