Telecommunications firm Etisalat Nigeria has unveiled the list of 20 writers on the shortlist for the social media driven Flash Fiction Prize built into the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature, and slated for formal presentation in January 2014.

Director of Brands & Communication at Etisalat Nigeria, Enitan Denloye, while announcing this in Lagos, explained that Flash Fiction is important in the Etisalat Prize for Literature and in literary circles because “it represents the short form of storytelling, a common stepping stone for accomplished writers. Short stories are where a lot of writers discover and perfect their talent especially in the social media driven world today of digital communication where content is absorbed in 140 characters or less.”

It would be recalled that in pursuit of its vision of encouraging and inspiring creativity, the telecoms firm invited entries for the Flash Fiction Category in the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

According to Denloye, “Entries opened on September 2 and closed September 30, 2013. We received over a thousand entries after close of entries; the public started voting online in keeping with the guidelines of the competition. Voting lasted from the October 1 through 31 and the result of the voting are the top 20 now unveiled.”

The Flash Fiction category is designed to celebrate the short form of storytelling for the upcoming writer. Three prizes will be awarded to the top three writers in this category selected by a high profile judging panel for the Flash Fiction Prize.

The winning author will get a cash sum of £1,000, a digital tablet, and will be promoted online and via digital media platforms. The category will also produce two runners up, with each receiving a cash sum of £500 and Samsung Galaxy Note for their literary efforts. The top stories will be compiled into an e-book anthology of flash stories which will be promoted online.


Critical issues related to bridging air transport and tourism policies, including the current regulatory framework, taxation and the way forward in facilitating the all travel process were discussed in a panel debate that gathered Tourism Ministers and private sector representatives from around the world.

“It is clear that in spite of the interdependent relationship between aviation and tourism, greater efforts must be exerted by both sectors to achieve an integrated policy position to ensure a more sustainable and competitive growth,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

Speakers highlighted technology, public-public partnerships across government, regional cooperation and investment in soft infrastructure – technology and human resources – as keys to bridge the gap between tourism and air transport policies and promote travel facilitation.

Taxation and a regulatory framework still limited in most cases by reciprocity in air transport agreements were pointed as two of the main barriers to the sustained growth of tourism and air transport. The impact of increasingly high taxes on air transport was identified as a particular impediment to the development of destinations with a significant tourism sector and which are highly depended on air lift such as the Caribbean.

The panel, moderated by Charles Hodson, anchor of CNN International´s flagship business programme, “World Business Today”, brought together H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President & Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministers and Secretaries of State for Tourism of Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and Spain as well as the President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Vice President of Government Affairs of Amadeus, the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Vice President for Europe of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Director of the Air Transport Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The discussion was enriched by the participation of over 80 Ministers attending the event.

Currently, over half of the one billion tourists travelling the world arrive at their destination by air, and according to UNWTO´s long-term forecast, by 2030, air transport will be the principal means of travel by 52% of all international tourists.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and the World Travel & Tourism Council´s (WTTC), have officially announced partnership to support each other in spreading the word about how to operate companies more sustainably and how to travel more responsibly.

The agreement was formalized at the WTM World Responsible Tourism Day.

“I´m delighted about the opportunity to work together with WTTC and its prestigious Tourism for Tomorrow Awards as both companies are working towards the same goal, sustaining an industry through Responsible Tourism practices and management, including social and economic benefits for local people, fair treatment of employees, safeguarding cultural and natural heritage, while reducing negative impacts to the environment. I´m looking forward to a long-standing and fruitful cooperation,” GSTC, CEO, Mauro Marrocu.

Through the agreement, GSTC and WTTC will help in advancing their Sustainable Tourism strategies. Only a few days ago, GSTC disclosed its new Criteria for Destinations, a minimum standard a destination should achieve in order to be responsible towards its surrounding environment and people. The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards has also revised its awards in adding two new categories to reflect its broadening sustainability agenda.

(From Middle): Barrister Halima Alfa (representative of special guest and Wife of Vice President Nemadi Sambo) alongside the General Manager of Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Mr.Boris Bornman, the Resident Manager-Mr. Ayo Anjorin, the Public Relations Manager and UNICEF Ambassador, Ms. Nanji Tyem and son with other Executive Committee members of the Sheraton Abuja Hotel, dignitaries, invited children and other participants during the Sheraton Abuja Hotel/UNICEF Road to Awareness walk.

(From Middle): Barrister Halima Alfa (representative of special guest and Wife of Vice President Nemadi Sambo) alongside the General Manager of Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Mr.Boris Bornman, the Resident Manager-Mr. Ayo Anjorin, the Public Relations Manager and UNICEF Ambassador, Ms. Nanji Tyem and son with other Executive Committee members of the Sheraton Abuja Hotel, dignitaries, invited children and other participants during the Sheraton Abuja Hotel/UNICEF Road to Awareness walk.

Over a thousand Branded participants representing various organizations, government bodies, schools and orphanages recently converged on the foyer of the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre of the Hotel, weekend, as the Sheraton Hotels Abuja, organized its annual 5 kilometre walk for charity in conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria.

Themed; The annual UNICEF “Road to awareness walk” 2013, the event which had as Special Guest of Honour, Hajia Amina Mohammed Namadi Sambo- Wife of the Vice President, who was represented by Barrister Hajia Halima Alfa (A member of the PDP board of trustees and Committee member of Sure P) was also graced by other dignitaries and their family members.

Top Management officials drawn from national and multi-national corporations as well as government agencies including the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in persons and other related matters (NAPTIP), Capital Hotels plc.-Owners of Sheraton Abuja Hotel, True Expressions, NIPOST, Measure Evaluation Nigeria, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Total Health Care Trust, the Diplomatic community and the management staff of the Sheraton Abuja Hotel,  the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country Representative-Miss Jean Gough for Nigeria also ably represented by Mr. Samuel Momanyi were present to grace the event.

This year’s campaign focuses on education projects for less privileged children in Nigeria and Cameroon.

Remarking, General Manager of Sheraton Abuja Hotel-Mr. Boris Bornman said: “We have aligned our efforts with that of our sister hotels globally to raise over $500,000 to help 8,000 very poor and excluded children in Cameroon and Nigeria get a chance at enrolling in school and the right to an education.

“The projects funded will be supporting the minority Baka population in Cameroon and the Nomadic population in Nigeria. Both these groups suffer the effects of exclusion due to their culture”.

The General Manager further explained that UNICEF and Starwood are working together to make sure children from these groups get the same opportunities as other children.

The UNICEF Ambassador for the Hotel and Public Relations Manager, Ms. Nanji Tyem in her speech emphasized that “UNICEF Activities in 2013 will support 20 schools in Nigeria and 15 in Cameroon to develop a better learning environment for boys and girls, including renovation of schools water and sanitation facilities, school furniture and learning materials”.

Tyem added that “In Nigeria, 3,000 disadvantaged nomadic children from very poor families will be supported to enrol and stay in school. Training of 150 teachers in child centred teaching and Disaster Risk Reduction to help protect children during emergencies”.

Stressing further, Bornman stated “in this light we are proud to be a part of this effort to help our children by empowering them with one of the most important tools for success (Education) as they develop into worthwhile adults”. Our entire hotel team will consistently be committed to adding value to the lives of school children”.

The 5km Walk which normally takes an hour featured motivational music and dance from various bands.

The walk rounded off with a grand reception party in which speeches were read by sponsors.

The UNICEF representative delivered the keynote address on the objective of the initiative (part of Starwood’s Global CSR strategy -moving forward to focus on ‘Opening Doors to Opportunity’ through education).

Barrister Halima Alfa in her the parting thanked Starwood Hotels & Resorts World Wide and the Management of Sheraton Abuja Hotel for the initiative, just as she equally appreciated the efforts of all the corporate sponsors.

The Solid Base International Academy alongside Joseph Jorin International Schools, Comforter International, kick start academy, Blossom kids, Stella Maris, Day Spring school, FACADO Orphanage were on hand to thrill the audience with their dance/song presentations.

Highlight of the event was a raffle draw. The grand prize winner gladly went away with an AirFrance/KLM ticket to any destination in Europe while other prizes included Weekend stays at Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, Sheraton Abuja Hotel, lunches, dinners and free swimming and swimming lessons at Sheraton Abuja hotel.

Global Tourism and heritage experts have called for more effective visa systems to support tourism development at the UNESCO/UNWTO Silk Roads Heritage Corridors Tourism Strategy Workshop.

The workshop aimed to define a tourism management road map for two  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Silk Road Heritage Corridors crossing China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (October 7 to 8, in Almaty, Kazakhstan).

Countries must work towards a single Silk Road visa if the potential for tourism growth along the Silk Road Heritage Corridors is to be fully realized, concluded representatives of the five countries present at the workshop, noting that complicated visa systems, inefficient application processes and high fees hinder the development of the Silk Road as an internationally renowned network of tourism destinations.

Opening the workshop, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai said “UNWTO is delighted that this important meeting is taking place in Almaty, a hub for cultural exchange and trade right from the early days of the ancient Silk Road. The Silk Road Heritage Corridors project presents an excellent opportunity for Kazakhstan, and for other participating countries, to advance tourism development in a way that showcases and preserves its outstanding cultural and natural treasures.”

Asset Issekeshev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan said “Tourism is becoming an important sector for Kazakhstan, particularly in terms of growth for small and medium sized enterprises. Developing Silk Road tourism is a key priority and I am convinced the Silk Road Heritage Corridors project will be supported by all parties and together we will successfully tackle the challenges that lie ahead.”

This workshop follows years of research by UNESCO, ICOMOS and the University College London (UCL) on sites and routes of the Silk Road, as part of the transnational Silk Roads World Heritage Serial Nomination project. With an unprecedented level of collaboration between 15 countries, two World Heritage Nominations for the Silk Roads Heritage Corridors in Central Asia and China have been submitted to UNESCO with the final evaluation on the nominations set to take place over 2013/2014.

Anticipating an increase in interest and visitation following the possible nomination of these Heritage Corridors, UNWTO and UNESCO are working with experts to design and implement an effective tourism management strategy that maximizes the opportunities of tourism development while safeguarding the regions’ unique cultural heritage.

Visa facilitation will be the key topic at the upcoming 4th UNWTO Silk Road Ministers’ Meeting to be held at ITB Berlin on 5 March 2014, supported by ITB Berlin.

The UNESCO/UNWTO Silk Roads Heritage Corridors Tourism Strategy Workshop was organized by UNWTO, UNESCO, and the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, with the support of the UNESCO/Netherlands Funds-in-Trust.

satNational destination marketing agency, the South African Tourism (SAT), has promised the tourism industry an intensely business-focused INDABA 2014. He says next year’s INDABA has risen to the challenge to ensure that INDABA is revamped, relevant and future proof. Our commitment is to the industry; it’s our job to identify, attract and assemble the very best buyers and exhibitors who have a common purpose, to connect and to share. As an extension of this, the primary purpose of INDABA is to construct an unrivalled environment for people to do business.

Chief Executive Officer SAT, Mr. Thulani Nzima, Nzima, while speaking to delegates at the Travel and Tourism Summit in Johannesburg, Monday, explained that the South African Tourism had commenced a three-year journey to make INDABA the vortex that fuels the Southern African (and now rest of Africa) travel and tourism industry, ensuring it provides the best possible environment to facilitate quality meetings.

“The African continent is potentially the biggest travel and tourism opportunity in the world right now. Therefore INDABA 2014 is the paramount gateway to networking, planning and writing business. No other show has stood the test of time on our continent like INDABA, and we’re doing everything we possibly can to fundamentally take it to the next level. Join us as we modernize INDABA, for our country and industry,” said Nzima

INDABA, he continued, was on an irrevocable path to being a genuinely pan-African travel trade show that offers buyers the best and the widest diversity of African product under one roof. In response to demand, South African Tourism had invited all of Africa to INDABA 2014.

“INDABA is the only true travel and trade show that is owned within Africa. As the host country, South Africa is excited to unite with its fellow Africans, to join forces and actively raise the profile of our continent in the travel and tourism sector. International buyers don’t see boarders, so we are expecting to improve both the number and quality of INDABA buyers at INDABA as a result.”

This year, buyers came to INDABA from 77 countries around the world, and in 2014 this number is expected to grow. INDABA 2014 will give the world’s travel and tourism buyers an unequalled opportunity to do business with more than 1 600 African exhibitors, at a show that prides itself on being the biggest and broadest, must attend, mass-market travel trade show on the continent.

“The African continent,” he said, “is undergoing unprecedented growth in tourist arrivals and global market interest. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s “International Tourism in 2012 – Key Trends and Outlook” report, average growth to the African continent  in 2012 was 6%, second only to growth in the Asia Pacific region (7 per cent).

INDABA 2013, Nzima said, was attended by 2 341 local and international buyers, 249 of who were top international buyers hosted by South African Tourism. “INDABA hosted buyers are carefully selected against specified criteria. South African Tourism sources the best buyers from around the world, ensures they qualify, and invites them to INDABA to work with the industry, with the intention of benefiting everyone’s bottom-line.

INDABA 2014 will attract more than 6 400 leading professionals and companies to meet and do business in Durban over the three days. Already, more than 200 exhibitors have reserved their space at INDABA 2014. South African Tourism expects 3 000 influential global buyers to come to INDABA 2014. No less than 800 journalists from all over the world are expected to attend, affording exciting media coverage to many exhibitors.

To illustrate the commitment to re-energize and reposition INDABA as the must-attend travel and tourism exhibition, a number of exciting changes are planned for 2014. They include a brand new match-making system that will ensure the most appropriate meetings for both exhibitors and buyers to make optimal use of their time; a new Travel Technology zone that will showcase all the latest travel tech trends that impact the industry; and most importantly a designated Business Hub zone with back-to-back table-top meetings, simulating more business than ever before as exhibitors are guaranteed access to top quality hosted buyers.

“INDABA is justifiably known as Africa’s top travel show. We are working hard, and smart, to make sure it maintains its status as the continent’s premier trade show and one of the three most important travel events on the global calendar,” he said.

“We thank all INDABA exhibitors for their incredible support over the decades and we assure all delegates of our commitment to delivering an event every year that sets new standards in facilitating business,, promoting eco-friendliness, ensuring a sense of community and personal interaction, all to make sure we deliver a hard-working, twenty-first-century and business-focused travel trade show,” concluded Nzima.

Senior executives from the African travel industry have expressed the belief that the World Travel Market’s international experience and reputation will guarantee the success of the inaugural World Travel Market Africa, taking place in May 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.

WTM Africa will be held at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 May 2014. It will be the leading B2B exhibition for Africa’s travel industry, bringing the world to Africa and promoting Africa to the world’s leading source markets.

With more than six months to go, exhibitors have started to sign up already, with confirmations ahead of target.

Dreams4Africa Director Mark Collins explained:  “WTM has the experience and recognition worldwide as good travel show organisers.  There are so many new emerging markets that we are hoping WTM will attract a larger number of buyers from across the globe. Holding WTM Africa in Cape Town will attract interest locally and internationally.”

White Shark Projects Sales & Marketing Manager Charmaine Beukes added: “With WTM’s excellent reputation for hosting successful trade shows, I am hoping that the same quality visitors that normally visit its exhibitions will be attracted to WTM Africa.”

Elsewhere, Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris’ Marketing Manager, Sarah Bauling also referred to “good quality international buyers and visitors” while Cook’s Air Tours and Safaris Director Bill Cook was anticipating “making new contacts with people who are serious about the tourism industry.”

Finally, Collins said: “Existing trade shows have felt tired recently. WTM Africa will bring that fresh new energy the industry needs.”

WTM Africa will be one of three co-located travel industry events at the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC) that form Africa Travel Week 2014.  The others will include IBTM Africa (Incentive, Business Travel  & Meetings) and ILTM Africa (International Luxury Travel Market) which will take place from 28 – 30 April.

unwtoWhile many industries around the world practically struggled to stay afloat amid economic uncertainty, global tourism continued its rapid growth over the first eight months of 2013, when a whopping 747 million people crossed an international border and proved all UNWTO forecast wrong.

That is 38 million more people than last year over the same time period, and well above the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s initial forecast of 3.5 per cent growth.

“Despite a sluggish world economy, international tourism continues to surprise by producing average results in most world regions, offering vital opportunities for employment and local economies,” UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said at the opening of the European Tourism Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania.

“This is particularly important for Europe, where the economy has significantly much weaker than other parts of the world, unemployment is a major concern in many destinations, and where the tourism sector has been a source of job growth during the last decade.

“Through its value chain, tourism creates businesses and jobs in many other sectors and produces significant export revenues which contribute favourably to the balance of payments in many countries,” Rifai added.

The latest edition of the UN World Tourism Barometer showed that Europe had benefitted the most from tourism and its allied services in all regions over the first eight months of 2013, with an estimated 20 million more arrivals than in 2012.

Though its increase of 5 percent put it in line with the global average, such a high figure in such a large and mature region is very positive, UNWTO said. By sub-regions, Central and Eastern Europe saw even bigger gains at 7 per cent, while tourism in economically depressed Southern and Mediterranean Europe grew by 6 per cent.

The IPK trend surveys carried out in 20 of the world’s most important source markets, and which were presented at the recently-concluded World Travel Monitor Forum, in Italy, last Tuesday, showed that last year tourism grew by 4 per cent, making 2013 one of the most successful years to date.

However, in terms of international travel volume market shifts are taking place. Whereas countries with a minor population and small GDP previously generated a low volume of international travel, and countries with a large population and high GDP a correspondingly large volume, this balance continues to change.

Speaking at the opening of the 21st World Travel Monitor Forum, Rolf Freitag, president of the tourism consultancy IPK International, said: “Without a doubt travelling continues to be a global mega trend. Already today, one-third of the human race is travelling.”

“Post 2013, figures are pointing to a very successful world travel year 2014. There has been a global increase in Meeting, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) travel, a decline in conventional business travel, and culturally-motivated travel and sun and beach holidays continue a popular trend.

“Financial crises, recessions, political turmoil and civil unrest, even wars – none of these things could not stop people from travelling. After 2013, people will again be travelling more often than ever before also in 2014. The driving forces behind this growth are first-time travellers from China, Russia and Brazil.

Established international travel markets such as Germany, the USA and the UK registered only moderate single-digit growth (+2 per cent, +1per cent and +3 per cemt respectively) and the Japanese market even reported a 2 percent decline. By contrast, the markets in China and Russia registered double-digit increases (+26 per cent and +12 per cent respectively) and Brazil reported high single-digit growth (+6 per cent).

guinness launchIt was an exciting experience for thousands of music lovers who thronged the expansive Expo Centre, Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos for the much-hyped ‘The Colourful World of More Concert’ put together by Guinness Nigeria, Sunday night as top Nigerian artistes Flavour, KCee and P-square dazzled the crowd with brilliant performances.

Other acts on the night included soul and R& B singer Tiwa Savage, Chidinma and Waje.

As guests at the concert consented that the gig is the biggest and most entertaining event so far this year, it was also a night of high class grooving for celebrities, industry top shots and consumers of the alcoholic beverage.

The exclusive concert was to mark the rebirth of the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout beverage as the iconic brand now steps out in a new, stylish and confident label that depicts a brand truly Made of More. Guests were left asking for more as the artistes churn out interesting lyrics that got them grooving.

At an earlier meeting with members of the media to announce the launch of the new label, Mr. Seni Adetu, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Guinness Nigeria Plc, said the rebirth of the label for Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is in line with the company’s tradition of continuously delivering quality.

“At Guinness Nigeria, we are widely known for our consistency in delivering great brands with ground-breaking innovations and unique experiences to our consumers. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is definitely a brand that has redefined the experience in our market from time past with dynamic innovations leading to this moment. The concert has been a wonderful experience with the array of talents paraded tonight and we believe it is going to be the beginning of a new dawn in terms of satisfaction for our consumers” Adetu said.

Also in his comment, Mr. Austin Ufomba, Marketing and Innovation Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc said the new style label of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout was fittingly launched with a spectacular concert to demonstrate how the new design reveals a new level of connection for consumers of the brand.

Appreciating the guests that honoured the event, Mr. Obinna Anyalebechi, Marketing Manager, Guinness, said “We have put together the biggest concert of the year for existing and new consumers and to reveal to them that they can enjoy a colourful world of more, a world made of more style, more fun and more adventure.”