Monthly Archives: January 2016

Travel Operators Call For Sustainable Policy On Tourism Sector

The Managing Director, Tropical International Ltd., a travel agency, Ms Stephanie Innocent, called on the Federal Government to initiate sustainable policy in tourism sector to boost its revenue profile.

Innocent, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, said that such policy would also boost tourism in the country.

“Such policy could generate much revenue for it and boost the operation of travel agencies in the country,’’ she said. She said that venturing into the travel agency business in Nigeria had its challenges, adding that the policy being envisaged would assist in smoothing the rough edges for the operators in the business.

“There is always the uncertainty of not being able to break even; this is so because the airline operators constantly make changes as regards the commission based on percentage given to their agents.
“It’s now so difficult to make a decent earning on these commissions without having to add service charge to the total ticket fare.

“It’s as if some airlines have passed the bulk of paying out commissions to the travel agents onto the passengers.

“Some airlines no longer pay commission to agents while others are planning to follow suit.
“The government should set up policies that will make it mandatory for the airlines to pay these commissions in as much to airline operators have their rights too.

“This will help create employment for individuals and pave way for others to come on board as policy will make it economically viable for travel operators to work in the sector,’’ she said.

“Furthermore, the stipulated fee paid by agents, either as insurance coverage or union membership fee, should be reduced so that agents will not be at a loss due to non- payment of commissions on tickets sold.’’

Mr Udom Etuk, a travel agent, who also spoke with NAN stressed the need for government to formulate policy that would make travel operators to continue in the business.

He said that the policy would create an environment conducive for employment of more hands in the travelling agent operations as it would enable the operators to break even among other advantages.

ABC Cargo Express To Open Outlets In Benin City, Kano; Acquires More Trucks

ABC Cargo Express, a division of ABC Transport Plc, has commenced another round of expansion. The expansion will see the opening of cargo outlets in Benin City and Kano City.

This is to satisfy the service demands from its teeming customers, private and industrial. Late last year, ABC Cargo Express opened an office in Kubwa, bringing the total number of cargo outlets to three in Abuja. Prior to that, an office was opened in Bodija, Ibadan, increasing the number of the cargo outlets to two in Oyo State, and one in Orlu, increasing the number to three cargo outlets in Imo State.

Meanwhile, ABC Cargo Express will be taking delivery of ten [10] trucks to boost its operations.
Barely three months earlier, it acquired SHACMAN trucks for rapid delivery of goods across the nation, and the company’s warehouse in Katampke Abuja has been re-outfitted to accommodate large-scale consignment and third party warehousing. In addition, customer relationship and information management technologies are being deployed to improve efficiency in transactions, waybill dispatch and collection.

Between February 10th and 13th, 2016, an intensive enhancement productivity training programme will be held for cargo heads and supervisors in Owerri, Imo state.

Professional resource persons, drawn from cargo, courier, and general logistics, have been engaged to handle the training. The training is aimed at repositioning ABC Cargo staff to handle more specialised duties for greater efficiencies, which of course would manifest in improved customer service and reduction of customer delays and cargo complications. Management of ABC Transport Plc is optimistic that this will result in delivering better services to customers and enhanced value to the stakeholders.

ABC Cargo Express transports consolidated items of various sizes and weight, and lightweight parcels and documents that require express handling and dispatch.

It offers line support for courier/logistics companies on next day priority basis, and terminal-to-terminal delivery of goods for small and medium-scale businessmen. It also offers corporate customers the alternative of door-to-door delivery on volumes, either by consolidated cargo or direct charter service.

ABC Transport Plc remains the only road transport company currently listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, providing haulage services for Lafarge group, Nestle Waters, DHL-Unilever, Transport Company of India, Impacto Nigeria, Viju Nigeria Plc, and Plus World Roofing Ltd, Camdel Nigeria Ltd.

Besides running cargo operations, ABC Transport also operates third party warehousing at Katamkpe, Abuja and the City Transit Inn, a budget hotel in Utako, Abuja.

Zimbabwe’s Annual Sanganai Tourism Fair Holds In June

Zimbabwe’s annual international tourism fair, “Sanganai Hlanganani,” will this year take place in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo, from June 16-18. The location will be the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre [ZIEC] which sits on 17 hectares of land and offers some 55,000 square meters of indoor and outdoor spaces spread across 6 major halls and dozens of pavilions.

The move is aimed to facilitate a larger number of stands since at the 2015 edition, though setting a new record number of 328 participating exhibitors, at least 10 foreign companies failed to secure space after both conference centre floors inside the Rainbow Towers and Conference Centre and the outdoor tents had sold out.

Information received earlier in the week suggests that already some 85 companies and organizations have booked their stand space at ZIEC, including the Kenya Tourism Board and exhibitors from South Africa, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, and Egypt. Going by the attendance of last year, many more companies and organizations will sign up to participate in this Southern African tourism exhibition, including from countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, and Ethiopia.

Officials from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA] are also expecting that the number of hosted buyers will rise again, after reaching 110 last year, which is crucially important as they are the ones generating business for Zimbabwe’s safari and tour operators and the safari lodges and hotels across the country.

ZTA officials have also confirmed that international travel and tourism media representatives will again be invited to showcase the country which continues to struggle with negative perception and selective boycotts, posing challenges for the local tourism industry.

In the face of such action, Zimbabwe has done the smart thing, making travel to the country even easier through targeted changes in their visa policy. Most Western nationals take the option to obtain a visa on arrival at one of the lowest fees on the continent at just US$30 for a single entry visa or US$50 for the combined Zimbabwe/Zambia “UniVisa” which allows visits to both countries and repeated border crossings between the two, as safari itineraries make it necessary.

The UN World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] in their latest data release, ranks Zimbabwe as the 29th country out of 54 selected for their progress made in facilitating international travel over the past 5 years, after changing a total of 117 regulations resulting in progressively rising visitor numbers again.

These changes are largely attributed to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Walter Mzembi, now the longest-serving African tourism minister, who has taken these initiatives not only to the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa, but has also managed to put it on the agenda of the African Union.

While AU member state Seychelles stands out for requiring no visa at all, from any nationality across the globe, efforts are now underway at the AU level to progressively lift visa requirements for citizens of African Union member states to finally tap into the rich continental travel market and promote travel across Africa.

Discussed in length during the ministerial round table at last year’s Sanganai Hlanganani Tourism Fair, when ministers from Congo, Mozambique, and South Africa joined Walter Mzembi on stage, a progress review and formulation of an action plan towards that end is no doubt going to be on the agenda for the 2016 fair in Bulawayo.

Bulawayo itself, also known as the City of the Kings, is within easy reach of the “Great Zimbabwe” monuments, the Matobo National Park, and Hwange National Park, and is only a half-hour flight from both Victoria Falls and the capital, Harare.

WTTC Tourism For Tomorrow Awards Announces 2016 Finalists

The World Travel & Tourism Council [WTTC] has announced the 15 Finalists for its 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in the five categories; Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation and People.

The 15 Finalists, which were chosen after a rigorous judging process, showcase the highest level of sustainability practices within the Travel & Tourism sector. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme celebrates business leadership that works towards a more sustainable future of our sector by educating and inspiring governments, travellers and other tourism businesses.

The 2016 Awards saw applications from 62 countries across all continents. Following the first phase of the three stage judging process all applications have now been carefully evaluated by a committee of independent expert judges against established sustainable tourism criteria, which include community development, preservation of cultural and natural heritage, and innovative solutions for sustainable practices.

The second phase will see on-site evaluation of each Finalist by international sustainable tourism experts, assessing the organisations and the business practices they have highlighted in their application. Following the evaluations the winners of each category will be chosen by a further panel of leading authorities in sustainability.

The Winners will be announced during the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Ceremony at the 16th WTTC Global Summit in Dallas, Texas on the 7th of April. Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Professor of Sustainability in Business and Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, The University of Surrey, said:”This year’s finalists reflect the importance of knowledge in creating a more sustainable tourism industry.

We have organisations who have created carbon calculators, methods of measuring impacts, developed new technology and really thought outside the traditional confines of the sector.

There is still no shortage of passion and determination to drive forward sustainability, but working smarter through networks, partnerships and high level thinking mark the future for sustainable tourism”.

The Finalists of the 2016 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which is Headline sponsored by AIG Travel, are: Community Award Finalists, whose organisations are committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage •

Expediciones Sierra Norte, Pueblos Mancomunados, Mexico

• Sapa O’Chau, Vietnam
• Yayasan Ekowisata Indonesia, Indonesia

Destination Award Finalists, who show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations:

• Parkstad Limburg, Netherlands • Swiss Parks Network, Switzerland
• V&A Waterfront, South Africa Environment Award Finalists, whose organisations and companies achieved environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change, and green operations:
• Alcatraz Cruises, US
• Lindblad Expeditions, US and worldwide
• Wilderness Safaris, South Africa / Botswana

Innovation Award Finalists, who provided innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced by Travel & Tourism in implementing sustainability in practice:

• ANVR, the Netherlands
• Northsailing, Iceland
• PWC, Travel Foundation & TUI Group, United Kingdom

People Award Finalists, who are dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future:

• Jus’ Sail, Saint Lucia
• Kinyei International, Cambodia
• Youth Career Initiative [YCI], United Kingdom

The Winner Selection Committee is chaired by Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and [also] includes:

• Darrell Wade, Co-Founder and CEO, Intrepid Group, Australia
• Hugh Riley, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Barbados
• Stephanie Draper, Deputy Chief Executive, Forum for the Future, United Kingdom

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Chair said: It is great to see the depth and range of achievement the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are attracting. Greater innovation and longer term sustainable practises from right across the globe.

We look to stretch the boundaries as an Awards Programme recognising and applauding true business leadership. It’s so encouraging to see such inspiring work being exemplified in this way as it helps our industry improve and ensure it brings better business practises to a wider community.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said: “Tourism is a force for good and it is by sharing best practices and educating our peers about sustainability that we can ensure the growth of our sector is managed responsibly.

The Awards, which are now in their 12th year, again will demonstrate how tourism businesses can bring positive change to communities by protecting livelihoods and the environment.

The Awards Ceremony will again be broadcast online, allowing not only the delegates at the Summit but everyone around the world to hear the remarkable stories of the Finalists.”

Togo To Host 2016 Africa Investment Forum

Togo has been named as the host country for this year’s additional Africa Investment Forum [AHIF] following expected economic boom in the country.

AHIF conferences bring together major international investors, business leaders, government ministers and top officials from across Africa.

The plans to host an AHIF conference in Togo’s capital, Lomé in April is due to two major development initiatives designed to enhance the country’s standing as a strategic investment destination for business and tourism by the country’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Private Sector Promotion and Tourism.

Lomé’s new airport terminal is expected to increase passenger capacity from 400,000 to two million, and triple the international airport’s passenger and cargo potential. It will accommodate direct flights from Cairo, Turkey and Dubai. Within the next decade the expansion of the capital’s sea port will triple its capacity, to 1.2 million containers a year.

According to the Managing Director of Bench Events, Matthew Weihs, organizers of AHIF, “our decision to host an additional AHIF conference in Lomé comes at a pivotal time for Togo. Business and tourism is growing and we’re confident this will fuel increased demand for hotel capacity.

We believe the airport and port expansion will trigger other infrastructure projects, presenting significant opportunities for business and tourism. Togo is increasingly becoming an important investment destination.”

AHIF conference is scheduled for April 5 – 6 at the newly opened Radisson Blu 2 Fevrier Hotel. It will give delegates the chance to discuss the challenges and opportunities of investing and developing in the country.

The country’s tourism minister, Bernadette Essossimna Legzim-Balouki, is upbeat about the conference, as she said that: “Our government is keen to see sustainable economic growth, and travel and tourism is a major contributor to that effort. Of course we face a number of challenges, and discussion between government and business, such as at AHIF, will help us find the best way forward.”

Togo attracts a variety of tourist visitors keen to explore its beautiful scenery and enjoy its tropical climate. Latest figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council show that travel and tourism directly accounted for 3.1% of total Gross Domestic Product [GDP] in 2014 and is forecast to rise by 6% in 2015, and by a further 2.2% each year from 2015 to 2025.

On a wider analysis, the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was 6.7% in 2014 and is forecast to rise by 5.4% by the end of 2015.