ImageA thousand kilometres from the nearest coast, a towering glass wave rolls over the plains of Sichuan, the roof of what Chinese officials say will be the world’s largest standalone structure.

The 100-metre-high New Century Global Centre is a symbol of the spread of China’s boom, 500m long and 400m wide, with 1.7 million square metres of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses, according to local authorities.

By comparison the Pentagon in Washington – still one of the world’s largest office buildings – is barely a third of the size with a mere 600,000 sq m of floor space.

The Global Centre is just a few kilometres from the United States consulate where the police chief of Chongqing fled to seek asylum, triggering the fall of his patron Bo Xilai and exposing the biggest scandal to rock China’s Communist Party for years.

But it represents a different side of China, where lower costs and government subsidies are still fuelling double-digit growth in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

The city of 14 million people plans to expand its subway from two lines to 10 by 2020, build a new airport and become a new Silicon Valley.

The Global Centre will house offices, conference rooms, a university complex, two commercial centres, two five star hotels, an IMAX cinema, a “Mediterranean village”, a skating rink and a pirate ship, among other attractions.

About 400,000 sq m will be devoted to shopping, most of the outlets high-end luxury brands.

Despite Chengdu being around 1000km from the sea the complex has a marine theme, with fountains, a huge water park and an artificial beach, accented by the undulating roof, meant to resemble a wave.

“This is an ocean city built by man,” said guide Liu Xun. “There will be 1000 rooms (in the hotel) and all will have seaside views.”

The thick smog that normally blankets Chengdu risks making it a sunless sea, but visitors will not need to worry about that, she said.

“We have borrowed a Japanese technique. There will be an artificial sun that will shine 24 hours a day and allow for a comfortable temperature,” Liu said. The system uses specialised lighting technology that heats as well as illuminates.

The centrepiece will be a 5000 sq m artificial beach, to include a rafting course and a “seafront” promenade, complete with parasols and seafood outlets that can accommodate 6000 people.

A giant screen 150m long and 40m high will form the horizon and offer sunrises and sunsets, accompanied by nautical breezes.

The exterior facade is near completion and an army of workers are rushing to finish the Chinese-designed building in time for a June 2013 international forum hosted by US magazine Fortune.

China’s incoming president Xi Jinping is expected to attend the event and meet the heads of some of the world’s biggest multinationals.

Another enormous building is planned across the road. Award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid’s Chengdu Contemporary Arts Centre is to include a theatre, an opera house and a museum.

In a video developers China Exhibition and Travel Group describe Chengdu as a “world class modern city of idyllic beauty”, and say the Global Centre – including restaurants serving “the rarest oceanic fish species” – will bring to mind “the fabulous heavens”.

It is, they say, “a landmark which commands the world and is looked upon by the world with respect”.

 Courtesy: AFP

ImageThe Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) campaign for security consciousness in hotels and other hospitality outfits nationwide has finally commenced in Abuja.

According to a statement issued by the corporation, a formal agreement on biometric registration of hotels and other hospitality outfits would be signed between the NTDC, stakeholders in the hotel industry and Orbit Technologies and Investment Limited at a ceremony scheduled to take place at the NTDC Headquarters in Abuja.

Described as first of its kind in the hospitality industry in West Africa, the Director General of the NTDC, Otunba Segun Runsewe said in a statement that security of hotel operations was a priority to the corporation.

He said when operational, biometric registration of workers would help in detecting fraudulent staff who may be changing jobs within the industry.

“It is also to protect the investment of hoteliers who could fall victim of dubious employees, Runsewe stressed.

It will be recalled that hoteliers nationwide have been sensitised about the biometric registration of their workers with all of them lending an over whelming support to its introduction.

It would be recalled that the biometric registration exercies is coming more than eigth months after the corporation first muted the plans in Abuja in April 2012.

Runsewe who gave the hint when addressing members of the Hotel Owners Forum Association (HOFA) in Abuja, said the technology when introduced is expected to outsmart fraudulent workers in the industry who have being having a field day operating to the detriment of genuine practitioners in the industry.

He noted that certain taxes levied on hotel owners by government agencies has been stopped to encourage them just as royalties on music played in hospitality outfits as demanded by indigenous Musicians is superfluous.

nigeriaThough notions of the primitiveness of successive leadership of the National Gallery of Art, Nigeria, have been important to virtually every historical development culture of the parastatal, a special relation of power game pertains to such notions when they are linked to professional imperial domination. Core professionals in the visual arts subsector thought we have been librated at least for once from our “Art Colonial Era” at the coming on board of Joe Musa as the Director-General of the art parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

Since his ouster and the appointment of the incumbent Abdullahi Muku and his team, it is apparent and glaring judged by the activities of the art house in the last two years that there is no end in sight for “Art Colonial Imperialism” and significantly not an end to professional domination from our self acclaimed visual art administrators. This professional incompetence is brought to bear in the 2011 and 2012 Lagos International Art Expo.

The 2012 edition presented this year will possibly go down in history as the worst poorly planned and executed international Art Expo ever put together by the National Gallery of Art and the Art Gallery Association of Nigeria.

One thing is vividly clear in Nigeria’s political, administrative and professional landscape which if not checked will spell our doom. We have intentionally decided to remain primitive and passive in some areas of our professional life so as to satisfy some ‘cabals’ in our national life. The resultant effect is simple. In taking over a land to exploit the labour of its people and its natural resources, there is a clear economic and political advantage to viewing those people as savage, passive, simple, and inferior in a word, primitive – since it then seems justifiable not to share with them the products of their land and labour. Such assumptions are shared rather than cynically concocted; hence sincerity does not come to play and never be the issue, but rather how the colonizers construct the native within preconceived categories of human/subhuman and how this form of illegal occupation, and even “imperialism” continue to play a role in our contemporary ‘national arts landscape’.

Art exposition world over is simply public display of works of art which could be painting, crafts, textile works and so on by different galleries and artists brought together under one roof for a few days. It has the feature of bringing the whole component of the art – stakeholders, art patrons, buyers, dealers, critics, artists, students, representatives and art managers – all under one roof for a few days.

As a stakeholder, (professional artist, art scholar, and art teacher) I was filled with excitement when the news came that the National Gallery of Art (NGA) and the Association of Gallery Owners of Nigeria (AGAN) are presenting the 5th international art expo, Nigeria in Lagos. I went to the opening which was unprofessionally put on Monday morning, the 17thday of December, 2012 in company of an artist friend, Dr Nelson Edewor who just came back from a post doctoral research program from the school of Oriental Arts, United Kingdom. Therefore, from firsthand information I feel obliged to assess and re-assess the so called ‘international’ event so as to give a true picture of how our visual art administrators and the public servants ruin one of the country’s goldmines (visual arts sub-sector).

The opening and formal presentation of this year’s (5th edition) Art Expo was greeted with disappointment and poor display of professionalism which resulted into apathy and boycott from all the stakeholders (Galleries, artists, patrons, art dealers and the public). The opening and the other days of the ‘art expo’ did not only show poor planning of the annual event but illuminated outright professional incompetence by the planners and administrators of the art expo project. The publicity for the programme was below zero and little wonder the attendance to the annual event on all the days were very low.

Non-consideration of a good and conducive time for international exposition like this is a misnomer. Right timing is a veritable instrument in measuring the success of a show of this international magnitude. The team of organizers cannot absolve themselves of not knowing that December period and a Monday of all days of the week is a wrong time in the Gregorian calendar of putting up an international art exposition. The organizers (NGA) have shot themselves on the leg by exhibiting their naivety for putting up the opening of a show like this on Monday morning. They indeed exhibited their civil servant mannerism. It shows clearly that they lack the professional competence of organizing an art expo. The whole arrangement to the best of my knowledge is not only deceptive but a good way and opportunity in justifying reckless spending of public fund legally. The rush by public servants in spending tax payers’ money anyhow on badly managed projects such as the ‘international art expo’ in December of almost a gone year is an aberration and a misnomer.

The motives of the National Gallery of Art by putting up these shows in the past two years is not in the genuine development of the visual arts sub-sector but a means to line the pockets of some people in the name of contractors and service providers with naira notes as the case may be. We should by now in the interest of our contemporary visual arts be above the level of spending public funds anyhow and knowing fully well we may not get the desired results other than to justify public funds thrown down the drain in the name of organizing a planned to fail activity. We should go above the mundane thought of the usual public servant in Nigeria that ‘after all there was an activity’. All these activities are part of the stealing from the “Project Nigeria”.

These attitudes have reversed us to a total atavistic, retrogression which continued to plague us. If the professional technocrats in NGA and AGAN cannot organize a successful Lagos Art Expo for 2 years running, the question that had to be asked is ‘What is the essence of their leadership and holding tight on the job and spending public fund recklessly in the first instance? Is there a process of planning and development they missed as originally conceived by the Joe Musa administration? Who presently in NGA and AGAN determines the context of the development of our Art Expo? We care less of the usual and pervasive view that paucity of fund caused their non performance. It is not tenable and cannot be taken as an excuse.

With the present situation and the crop of managers of the Nigeria’s art Expo, there is the likelihood that the future would continue to be bleak. If the vision of the art expo is not clear to the present executors in NGA and AGAN, they have a choice of either to pull it down completely or to re-invent it with professionals who have the knowledge and experience. Thank God, Nigeria never lacked these professional resource persons for one day. With this year’s (5th) Lagos Art Expo presentation, I opine that the present executors (NGA and AGAN) have tried and done their best which unfortunately is not good enough for a local government exposition talkless of a big giant of Africa, Nigeria.

The camel’s back of the Lagos International Art Expo was broken when it became clear that a seed of discontentment, insincerity, disagreement and crack has been sewn within the leadership and members of the Art Galleries Association of Nigeria (AGAN). The ‘sit-tight’ and undemocratic leadership style of AGAN has finally thorn the 5-year old body apart, and so ‘the centre can no longer hold’. It is shameful and unfortunate that the galleries that showed in this year’s art exposition are close to ten even at the height of the afterthought celebration of our own patriarch, Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya.

His 80th anniversary celebration to me is a Greek gift from the NGA to the Onobrakpeyas as well as the artist community. Bruce Onobrakpeya’s 80th  anniversary celebration is a laudable idea executed at a wrong time to a wrong audience. What the NGA did was to bulldoze its way to Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya’s heart and dammed the consequence and say ‘rubbish’ and ‘to hell’ with other Nigerian artists. I just understood that ‘a tree makes a forest’ to them at NGA. It became clear to me and I can fathom some truths from the grapevine ascribed to one of the current NGA ‘respected’ senior official that ‘we don’t need all the artists. We know how to get their masters. They cannot but fall in line afterwards. It is very unfortunate and only in Nigeria that the government established structure (parastatal) that is supposed to act as pivotal glue, and bind every artists, students, instructors, dealers, collectors, galleries, in fact all art stakeholders together is the one currently creating hic-ups in the visual art body, taking us back in the course of development through their crafted divide and rule system. To them, the psychology of the Nigerian artist is easily read. They (artists) are usually ‘hungry and disgruntled people’ who became ecstatic when selected few amongst them are sponsored or promoted in one deal, show or the other. In reasoning, Nigerian artists are so gullible to stupor, ‘just put a small fry in their pan, they will all be drunk’.

Attaching Bruce Onobrakpeya’s 80th anniversary celebration as an appendage in this year’s international Lagos Art Expo does not come as a surprise because it is just one of the intrigues put together by the NGA authorities. Unfortunately, after the ‘fake glamour’ of the opening ceremony with rented crowd and commandeered staffs of Lagos, Abeokuta and Abuja stations, our friends from the press, and some invited guests numbering about 40 people, the venue became a graveyard afterwards. What a ‘celebration and expo’. It would have been better and more honourable if our patriarch’s name (Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya) is not mentioned along with their deceptive, unstandardized and failed outing. With the standard NGA and AGAN exhibited in the last two years of International Lagos Art Expo, I, like so many other stakeholders are curious to know how Joe Musa and other founding fathers of the novel idea feel five years later, seeing it at a dead end and standstill where it is crashed today. I am very sure rain of curses and stones would be cast on those who have made our own visual arts stagnated and battered. Time will tell.

The Art Expo in its present state has failed and may not meet the objectives with which it was established; some of which are:

1.      To help Nigerian artists and gallery owners maintain presence in both local and international market.

2.      To enable Nigerian artists and galleries sell their art and creative work to new and existing patrons, customers, agents, dealers and even occasional buyers

3.      To help re-invigorate the marketing and patronage aspect of visual arts to a level where it can continue to be a foreign exchange earner for the country.

4.      To create a platform that would help the Nigerian artists and galleries reinforce links with patrons, art buyers, art users and art speculators.

5.      The exposition is to help discover new and emerging talents, support local crafts, arts and artists market at private, governmental, local and international levels.

6.      The Expo is to help improve artist’s creative research and intellectualism.

7.      It is equally created to give room for critical knowledge, contemporary competition and intelligence gathering on how the arts can move forward.

8.      It is a forum for new discoveries and bringing artists and galleries together.

9.      It is sometimes an avenue for visual arts to fulfill its role of critical thinking and mirroring the society which could boost human existence and improve living standards. By so doing act as a forum for correcting societal ills or shortcomings.

10.  It is an educative forum to new people in other spheres of life and potential artists.

11.  It is to help the Nigerian artists to meet the press and people in the upper echelon of the society.

The 2011 and 2012 international Lagos Art Expo has failed in its bid to actualize any or all of these aforementioned objectives and so a total overhaul of the machinery is suggested as early planning would not be a bad idea. Sponsorship drive for the event to corporate organizations, other governmental bodies, foreign institutions and their cultural arms, agencies, etc. as the project itself needs to be marketed. It is regrettable that visionary leadership of the government Art house (NGA) is missing at this stage of our development. Is it not about time we transcended this hydra headed monster of unprofessional, non visionary leadership after over 19 years of the establishment of NGA as a parastatal.

The right staffs equipped with the right drive, acumen and resourcefulness should be drafted into the team. As opposed to the present constitution of ‘wait for budgetary allocation syndrome’.

A systematic round the year publicity should be employed so as to make the programme gather the much needed local and international awareness and value. At that, all stakeholders would look forward to a great yearly event that would affect their lives positively. Aside from the main art expo, other educative seminars, lectures, workshops (pre and post events) should be arranged as a drive to the main event.

Development in the Art Expo is a great opportunity for the arts. And there are so many possibilities that lie within. Our inability to fully exploit these opportunities carry the seeds of implosion. I propose that we artists should wake up from our slumber and shake ourselves from intellectual slothfulness for the perpetrators of these acts are not doing it to us alone but the coming generation of artists. Therefore we should create the will power to deal with the consequences of individual actions. We should stop living with or shying away from dealing with bad consequences. Finally, the present ‘public service opportunist theory’ of the National Gallery of Art cannot drive the international art expo of our dream.

Courtesy: Dr Kunle Adeyemi lectures art at the School of Art, Design & Printing, Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos.

unwtoA landmark resolution recognizing ecotourism as key in the fight against poverty, the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development has been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly recently on December 21.

Ecotourism creates significant opportunities for the conservation, protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and of natural areas by encouraging local and indigenous communities in host countries and tourists alike to preserve and respect the natural and cultural heritage.

In a significant acknowledgment of tourism as a tool for promoting sustainable development, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution stressing ecotourism’s role in the fight against poverty and the protection of the environment.

The resolution, entitled, “Promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environment protection”, calls on United Nations Member States to adopt policies that promote ecotourism highlighting its “positive impact on income generation, job creation and education, and thus on the fight against poverty and hunger”.

It further recognizes that “ecotourism creates significant opportunities for the conservation, protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and of natural areas by encouraging local and indigenous communities in host countries and tourists alike to preserve and respect the natural and cultural heritage”.

Reacting to this development, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General, Dr Talef Rifai, said his agency ‘welcomes the adoption of this resolution on the importance of ecotourism,” adding further that: “The remarkable support that the resolution has received, from all regions and across the development spectrum, is a clear testimony that sustainable tourism has a vital role to play in a fairer and sustainable future for all.”

The resolution, facilitated by Morocco and sponsored by a record 105 delegations, draws on the recommendations contained in a report prepared by UNWTO on the basis of responses from 48 Member States which, in a notable departure from its normal practice, was welcomed by the UN General Assembly.

In line with the recommendations of the UNWTO report, the resolution underscores the need for national tourism plans to account for market demand and local competitive advantages. It also encourages Member States to promote investment in ecotourism, in accordance with their national legislation, including creating small and medium-sized enterprises, promoting cooperatives and facilitating access to finance through inclusive financial services such as microcredit initiatives for the poor, local and indigenous communities, in areas of ecotourism potential and rural areas.

The resolution builds on a UN resolution of 2010 on the same subject, and reflects developments since then, namely the inclusion for the first time of tourism in the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20) and the results of the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity.

The resolution keeps ecotourism clearly on the agenda of the United Nations as it requires UNWTO to submit a follow up report to the sixty-ninth session of the UN General Assembly in 2014.

sheraton abuja hotelsIn line with the parent firm, Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ decision to remove certain species of fish and other seafood from its menu starting next year, the hospitality chain’s brand in Nigeria, the Sheraton Abuja Hotels, has also announced plans lead the way in seafood sustainability by re-ordering its own cuisine structure.

According to General Manager Sheraton Abuja Hotel Mr. Boris Bornman, the Global Hotel group is collectively committed to being a change leader ‘ensuring that customers make the right choice in order to preserve our ocean’s ability to continue feeding billions of people today and for generations to come.’

“Starwood Hotels and Resorts World Wide maintains that many species are either endangered, being fished to extinction or virtually extinct already. At this pace there will be no viable commercial fisheries remaining by 2050 unless we act,” said Bornman.

Continuing, the GM said: “Consumer awareness is a crucial step in preventing overfishing; by choosing to buy sustainable fish only, we can lower the demand for threatened species. The key words are choose wisely, be informed and tell those around you about the decline in our fish stocks”.

The General Manager equally added: “We understand that there is a fine balance between protecting the ocean’s health while respecting the economic activity of the communities that depend on seafood harvesting. We also understand that sustainability is a journey and we will continue to work in a collaborative manner with industry, government and other organizations who are taking steps to better sustainability; we will also edit our policy when and if new information becomes available and warrants changes”.

It would be recalled that the Starwood Hotels & Resorts sustainable seafood and fish commitments for Europe, Africa and the Middle East Starwood (EAME) committed that starting as of January 1, 2013, the following threatened fish/seafood species and products will no longer be served at any owned and managed Starwood Hotel in Europe, Africa and the Middle East: Shark, Blue fin tuna, Sea turtle and the whale.

Starwood EAME’s also promised to work towards sourcing fish and seafood in its owned and managed hotels from only sustainable and certified resources beginning in 2013, when it will work on developing internal guidelines for its property and regional teams regarding sustainable fisheries and certification organizations.

“Starwood EAME maintains that by January 1, 2013, no threatened species of fish mentioned above will be offered in any of the restaurants, banquet/catering facilities, in-room dining, and associate dining rooms managed by Starwood EAME. We believe that our efforts to support a healthier ocean and environment serve the interests of both current and future generations and constitute the foundation for enduring success,” the hotel chain’s management said.

Taking a Starwood’s global perspective further, there are two main reasons for the decline in marine stocks. The first is over-harvesting. Fishing takes such a large percentage of the fish population over a short amount of time that particular stocks are unable to regenerate.

Such overfishing is not limited only to the larger fish commonly consumed by the seafood market, but also includes smaller fish farther down the food chain, the food sources that larger fish rely upon for sustenance. The second reason is degradation of the marine environment as a whole. Some of the methods used to harvest fish, such as trawling, destroy marine environments where fish live.

In order to reduce the impact of the use of seafood and fish on the environment, individuals and organizations not only could and should, but must decide to use (only) sustainable seafood/fish which is not ‘at risk’ and source it from sustainable (and certified) resources.

Sustainable seafood is seafood from either fished or farmed sources that can maintain or increase production in the future without jeopardizing the eco-systems from which it was acquired.

bivnze’s space 2012 in review

Posted: December 31, 2012 in general

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

golden tulipIn a bid to adequately reposition and become the arts and culture hub of the state and by extension lift the festive season for Nigerians, the Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac, Lagos, has concluded plans to host the first-ever meeting of Arabian and African cultural fiesta, in an event tagged; 1001 Arabia Arabian Nights with Nigerian Culture.

Featuring top notch entertainers from Egypt performing alongside some of the best in the country, the event slated for two nights, Friday, December 28 and Sunday, December 30, is lined up to add thrill for the Christmas and New year celebrations, according to the hotel, which was formerly known as the Festac ’77 Hotel.

Briefing newsmen ahead of the event at the hotel’s premises, General Manager, Mr. Shousha Mohsen, in company of the hotel’s management staff, said the event draws on the strength of the cultures of both regions of the continent to showcase holiday entertainment and also change the seeming negative perception that the Festac area of Lagos had endured over time.

In what he termed, a trend changing event, Mohsen said the 1001 Arabian Nights event plans to leverage on culture and arts to reposition the hotel, as he further revealed that the forthcoming event for the Christmas and New Year holidays signalled more of such aimed in that direction in coming months.

Acts like Tanoura, the Egyptian belly dancer, folklore dancers also from Egypt, will perform alongside Nigerian culture exponent Muma Gee, GT, and others in what he termed the first of its kind by any hospitality establishment in the country.

“The unforgettable nights are seen as a confluence of cultures as every single detail from food to settings will reflect Arabian, African and Indian cultures,” said Mohsen, adding: “With 471 rooms, the idea is to maximize Golden Tulip Festac’s position as the cultural hub of the state knowing that the hotel itself was built as a celebration of Festac. So we said to ourselves, let’s use music and art of Nigeria and Egypt together to begin this repositioning.”

“This area has suffered a lot in terms of bad and negative perception and publicity and we are using the music of the two cultures to change all that. It’s time to change all that with this event,” said the Egyptian-born hotelier.

“Our plan is to be the centre of arts and culture in the state. This is our strategy for the coming year. And we will begin by hosting a major music event every two months. But it is not just music as there also other genres ofart. When you come into this hotel you see art and crafts at strategic corners, these are owned by their creators and we do not charge them any money. We encourage free display and showcase of crafts and artworks here at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac

On his part, Marketing and Sales Manager of the hotel, Mr Emmanuel Ele, said the planned event represented the first of its kind in the country in any hotel as the Golden Tulip features Egyptian traditional music and dance performers on the same stage with some Nigerian acts.

The concept of a 1001 nights, according to Mohsen, is taking from the Arabian folklore as the story surrounding the ‘ nights’ is the initial frame story of the king and his wife and the framing device incorporated throughout the tales themselves.

“Guests will be able to experience evenings of genuine Arabian nights where they will be part of an Arabian fairytale, through delicacies offered from the Middle east at the buffet as well an oriental show from Egypt with a belly dancer named Tanoura and much more,” Mohsen stressed.

In addition to the Arabian entertainment, the hotels has also lined up a raffle draw which will see winners take home prizes such return tickets to Paris, Amsterdam, London, Dubai, and Weekend Vouchers for 2 at Golden Tulip establishments in Accra, Kumasi, Festac, including Dinner, Lunch at the hotel.

As hotels in the country now wear new looks to corner guests for the holiday season in response to what observers and experts believe is in response to changing needs by guests in the country and also serving the domestic tourism demands in the country.

To this end therefore, two of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts brands in Nigeria, the Four Points by Sheraton, Oniru, Lekki, Lagos, and the Sheraton Abuja Hotels, have stepped up their products packaging aimed at boosting domestic tourism and the dynamics of hotel guests’ demand in Nigeria.

According to Moyo Aina, of the Four Points by Sheraton Lagos, the newest Starwood brand in the country, the hotel plans to celebrate the festive season in style this year as it has been beautifully decorated with several eye-popping, unique pieces that show the creative and innovative personality of the hotel’s brand.

“In the spirit of giving our guests a memorable experience, the hotel is geared up with several exciting offers and freebies this season. The Four Points Lagos is also offering more than 50 per cent off its room rates as a special discount for the Christmas period. Guests are welcome to stay with their family from December 17 till January 13, 2013 at this special rate. These Christmas rates are special in that the longer you stay, the better the rates,” she said.

According to Aina, there are also other reasons to visit the Four Points by Sheraton Lagos this season, as throughout the holidays there would be delicious dishes in the hotel’s beautiful restaurant.

“Members of the public are enjoined to treat their friends and families to an unforgettable time savouring tasty dishes, the best of wines in a warm and inviting atmosphere,” she added.

On her part, Nanji Tyem, Public Relations Manager of Sheraton Abuja Hotel, assured of a steady flow of fun events this festive season with the theme, stressing: “Christmas is better when shared.”

Also remarking, General Manager of the Hotel, Mr. Boris Bornman, said that the special packages by the Sheraton Abuja running from the December 20 to January 11, 2013, are largely targeted at Abuja patrons, “in the sense that people can stay here and experience a great Christmas and New Year with memories that will last a long time”

“Our special Christmas eve/New Year dinner offering is divided into four packages ranging from N4000 to N15, 000 with the choice of partaking in a buffet style extravaganza. It is basically tailored to your budget,” said Bornman, further adding that each package offers savoury dishes from the international to the indigenous.

“Every Saturday will feature Jamaican barbecues at the Coconut Beach with Social Hour on Fridays at the Lobby Bar. The Hotel will usher in the New Year with a special festival sponsored by Heineken featuring a celebrity band.  The Special New Year Eve’s dinner with Heineken will have give away, free gifts; raffles, cultural displays, music, dance all counting down to 2013,”the General Manager said.

South African-born Bornman gave credit to the fact that the hospitality industry in the Capital City has evolved and become more dynamic.

“We understand the needs of the client; much more people are willing to spend Christmas and New Year here instead of flying out or going somewhere else. Sheraton Abuja Hotel is not powering down and everyone is going to have such a great time, that’s a promise.”

mi at snapp launch 2If there is a collection of Nigeria’s top artistes in hot demand this time of the year, that list would definitely include the likes of MI, Burna Boy, son of ace broadcaster Benson Idonijie, Waconzy and Chidinma.

Just ask Port Harcourt music fans, for instance, about the reception Burna Boy got penultimate Monday night while on stage at the Liberation Stadium, venue of the opening ceremony of the just ended Rivers State Carnival, Cariniriv, and they will concur on the hype.

Recently, following the successful launch of SNAPP, the iconic female alcoholic drink in Lagos, its makers took the fete to its consumers across four cities as it unveiled the drink in Benin, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Calabar. And this assemblage of Nigerian contemporary music stars again mounted the stage and received an impressive round of cheers and applause from fans.

The unique event took place at eight venues, in two weekends across the four cities. Guests at the event had a feel of SNAPP hospitality as they had opportunities of tasting SNAPP while they danced to great tunes unleashed by MI, et al, complemented by the guest DJs on hand.

In the Garden City of Port Harcourt, Mr. Incredible himself, M.I turned guests into Oliver Twist, asking for more as he literarily raised the roof with its incredible performance. The man fondly called ‘African Rapper no 1’ did not in any way disappoint the divas as he well connected with their yearning for his indelible rap.

mi at snapp launch 1In Abuja, young soulful singer, Chidinma enchanted the crowd as she performed her Kedike hit song. Looking so fresh and relax, there was no doubt the Jankoliko crooner enjoyed herself as she engaged the guests who were just contented with her display.

Also in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital city, it was time to shout Iwori wo as fast growing hip hop artiste Waconzy left no one in doubt about of his stride to the top. Singing with his sidekick, Chimanga, Waconzy was a delight to watch.

Aside the live performances, guests also danced to music from the vast disc jockey experience of DJ Neptune, DJ Sose and DJ Nana who simply got the crowd thrilled.

According to the Marketing & Innovation Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc. Mr. Austin Ufomba, SNAPP has come to stay as the first mainstream alcoholic beverage for today’s woman with an assurance of the drink made available across Nigeria.

SNAPP has been introduced into the ready to drink category in response to the increasing demand for an alcoholic drink that appeals to women who want to show their individuality and unique style when out socializing with friends. This is very much in line with Guinness Nigeria’s vision of celebrating life, everyday, everywhere”

Mr. Sola Oke, Head, Innovation, Guinness Nigeria Plc said: “We know that women are rapidly gaining economic power and becoming more independent. Women everywhere are increasingly celebrating their successes in their various fields of endeavor, be it family or at work. In recognition of this, it is only fitting that we provide an equally contemporary and exciting ready to drink brand that suits every taste and occasion – this was the driving force behind the introduction of SNAPP into the Nigerian drinks market.

world travel awardsWorld Travel Awards (WTA) has capped its year-long search for the most popular travel and tourism brands in the world with its glittering Grand Final Gala Ceremony in New Delhi, India, on December 12, 2012.

Organizations including Jumeirah, Starwood Hotels, Lufthansa, Korean Air, Royal Caribbean International, and Kuoni walked off with top honors for their roles spearheading the global travel and tourism recovery.

The most important decision-makers in the industry attended the VIP ceremony, which was officially supported by Ministry of Tourism, government of India, and hosted at The Oberoi, Gurgaon, New Delhi Capital Region, the new business and commercial district of Delhi NCR.

Etihad Airways continued its meteoric rise by being voted “World’s Leading Airline” and “World’s Leading Airline First Class,” following a milestone year that saw the UAE flag-carrier continue its journey as the fastest-growing airline in history. Singapore Airlines won “World’s Leading Airline Business Class” and Lufthansa was named “World’s Leading Airline Economy Class.”

Hospitality categories included Dubai’s Burj al Arab (“World’s Leading Hotel”), Italy’s Forte Village Resort (“World’s Leading Resort”), InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (“World’s Leading Hotel Brand”), St. Regis Doha (“World’s Leading New Hotel”), and Atlantis The Palm, Dubai (“World’s Leading Landmark Resort”).

It was also an evening of celebration in India, with the nation seeing off the likes of Dubai, London, Cape Town, and Rio de Janeiro to win the blue riband “World’s Leading Destination” award. Incredible India was voted “World’s Leading Tourist Board” in recognition of its part in raising international tourist arrivals.

The pivotal role of the luxury hospitality sector in spearheading India’s tourism revolution was acknowledged with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts voted “World’s Leading Luxury Hotel Brand.”

Meanwhile, The Oberoi, Gurgaon consolidated its stature by being voted “World’s Leading Luxury Hotel” for the second consecutive year.

Destination winners included the Maldives (“World’s Leading Island Destination”), Mauritius (“World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination”), and Jamaica (“World’s Leading Cruise Destination”).

Other top awards included Europcar (“World’s Leading Car Hire”), Grosvenor House Dubai (“World’s Leading Business Hotel & Apartments”), and Dnata (World’s Leading Air Travel Service Provider”).

Hailed as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry” by the Wall Street Journal, WTA is recognized worldwide as the ultimate travel accolade. Its 2012 Grand Tour featured regional heats in Dubai (UAE), Turks & Caicos Islands, The Algarve (Portugal), and Singapore, with the winners from these competing head-to-head at the Grand Final.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards, said: “The past year has continued to challenge every area of travel, tourism, and hospitality. However, our Grand Final winners have all demonstrated their world-class pedigree over this period and are currently spearheading the global recovery of travel and tourism. In doing so, they are also reinforcing our industry’s role as one of the mainstays of the global economy.”

“India in particular is playing a decisive role in generating new opportunities in travel and tourism, hence the decision to host our Grand Final in New Delhi. In less than a decade, the number of international tourists here has more than doubled, reflecting how travel and tourism is linked inextricably with the economic evolution of this new superpower,” he added.

Dr. K. Chiranjeevi, Minister of State for Tourism, India, said: “It has been a tremendous honour for our nation to host the Grand Final of World Travel Awards, the highest accolade in travel and tourism. Tourists from the world over can find their destination or product of desire in India. We can proudly say that India is an incredible destination with range of products like nowhere else.”

Established 19 years ago, World Travel Awards is committed to raising the standards of customer service and overall business performance throughout the international tourism industry.