Monthly Archives: June 2016

Ethiopian Airlines Receives First Africa’s Airbus A350XWB

Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing and the largest African airline, made history yesterday when it became the first Airline in Africa to take delivery of Airbus A350XWB on 28 June, 2016, in Toulouse, France.

Ethiopian is proud to be the first airline from Africa to take delivery of the A350 and excel in offering its passengers the ultimate travel experience on-board this aircraft ahead of other carriers. Ethiopian is also pleased to make all Africans proud by being the first airline in the world to fly this ultra-modern airplane in the African skies.

Ethiopian A350 XWB was built for passengers comfort and well-being. Wider seats in both Business and Economy classes, the lowest twin engine noise level, advanced air conditioning technology and full LED mood lighting enhance the comfort while reducing fatigue after a long flight.

“The fact that we are ushering in another first to Africa in a span of four years is an affirmation of our continuing pioneering role in African aviation. It is also a testimony of our commitment to give our passengers the very best travel experience, with the latest industry products and services.

On behalf of all my colleagues at the Ethiopian family, I am delighted to see Ethiopian to continue making Africa First in Aviation Technology,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian.

All seats are fitted with the latest high-definition touchscreen personal monitors and a higher selection of movies, television series and audio channels. Inflight Wi-Fi connection will be made available on this aircraft in the future. Passengers with smart devices can connect to the world while others can use the smart individual touch screens on their seats when the internet service goes operational.

The A350XWB’s innovative technology improves performance in operation. Its revolutionary airframe and simplified systems have optimized fuel burn, maintenance costs and reliability, and its engines have the lowest carbon dioxide CO2 emissions of any in the wide body category.

Ethiopian has ordered 14 Airbus A350XWB aircraft and will continue receiving the remaining 13 soon constantly raising number of Airbus aircraft in the fleet ensuring the extra comfort.

Source: www.ethiopianairlines.com

Togo: Hotelier Programme 1000 Rooms In Togo

Confortis International initiates Hotelier Programme 1000 rooms spread over 10 hotels throughout the Togolese territory referred WELLCITY Hotels & Resorts.

This Hotelier Program is pegged to the new infrastructure developed in the country Port, Airport, road transport, and anticipates the second generation of national investment in public /private partnership.

WellCity Hotels & Resorts is a Hotelier Program which consists of the construction and commissioning of a portfolio of 10 economy and midscale Hotels throughout the Togolese territory.

With a total capacity of 1,000 rooms, these green hotels will help improve the quality offer in hotel services and MICE [Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events] under management of international operators. It comes in five-year plan 2017-2021.

The program overall budget is estimated at one hundred billion franc CFA or one hundred fifty million euro.

Developed on two to five hectares of land, implementation of these hotels meets a national balance and take into account the potential of different economic areas : AIRPORT-LOME, LOME PORT, ADETICOPE, AGBODRAFO, NOEPE, KPALIME, ATAKPAME, KARA , SOKODE and DAPAONG.

The Hotelier Program aims to create 1,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs and replacing the Togo in the regional competition in business tourism and conferences contributing Lome to play as West African hub.

Zimbabwe: Radisson Blu To Open In Harare 2019

One of world’s largest hospitality groups, Carlson Rezidor will set up its first Radisson Blu Hotel in Zimbabwe. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel companies.

It has an expanding portfolio of 1 400 hotels in operation and under development, a global footprint covering 115 countries and territories. The hotel group boasts of global brands including Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns and Suites By Carlson.

The hotel group will set up a 245-room hotel in Zimbabwe, which will open in 2019.

“The group also signed a new Radisson Blu Hotel Harare in Zimbabwe with 245 rooms, a Radisson Blu Hotel in Durban Umhlanga with 207 rooms and a Park Inn by Radisson in Quatre Bornes.

“In the last 24 months, we have signed a new hotel deal in Africa every 37 days. And it’s not just about signing hotels; we are delivering our pipeline. We have opened a hotel in Africa every 60 days. In South Africa alone, we now have 14 hotels.

“In 2016 and beyond, we aim to maintain this great momentum by opening four more hotels in the second half of 2016,” said Carlson Rezidor executive vice president and chief development officer, Elie Younes in a statement yesterday.

The group, which said it is strengthening its position in Africa and the Harare facility would be called the Radisson Blu Hotel Harare, and will be situated alongside Chapman Golf Club.

The group has opened five Radisson Blu hotels in first six months of 2016 and signed four new hotels including first Quorvus Collection in Africa.

The group is also entering its 28th country in Africa and taking the Park Inn by Radisson brand to the Indian Ocean Islands. The hotel group has over 1 400 hotels in 115 countries.

In 2016, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group opened five Radisson Blu properties — Radisson Blu Hotel Nairobi Upper Hill in Kenya [271 rooms], Radisson Blu Hotel, Marrakech Carré Eden in Morocco [198 rooms], Radisson Blu Residence with 187 luxury hotel apartments in Maputo, Mozambique [group’s first residence concept in Africa], Radisson Blu Hotel Abidjan Airport Ivory Coast [261 rooms] and West Africa’s tallest hotel and Radisson Blu Hotel 2 Février in Lomé [320 rooms].

The Rezidor Hotel Group president and chief executive Wolfgang Neumann said, “Africa is Rezidor’s biggest growth market.”

Carlson Rezidor’s total portfolio comprises 69 hotels in 28 countries, with over 15 000 rooms in operation or under development.

Source: Zimbabwe Herald

Sheraton Paired Relaunches At Sheraton Abuja Hotel

.PairedPerfectly At The Lobby Bar

It was fun tastings @SheratonAbujaHotel during the recent reactivation of #pairedperfectly: the new Sheraton Brand Food and Beverage programme which comprises of unexpected and eclectic pairings of small plates/ bar snacks served alongside premium wines.

To celebrate the relaunch at Sheraton Abuja Lobby Bar were key lifestyle bloggers and social influencers.

Emad Rizk, Deputy General Manager of the hotel was on hand to welcome the Starwood Preferred Guests and other VIP’s in attendance while Nanji Tyem, Area Communications Manager; Starwood Hotels in Nigeria, alongside Maya Mshelia took the influencers through the content of #PAIREDPERFECTLY thereby bringing the program to life.

According to Nanji “Paired is part of our Sheraton 2020 vision, a comprehensive 10-point plan revealed in June 2015 by our company, designed to put Sheraton Hotels and Resorts firmly back into the global spotlight”.

“Today, we have put together a delightful variety of small plates alongside premium wines which in essence is what is obtainable in our lobby bars when you order a premium glass of wine”. She explained.

We have given a nice twist to our paired event today and done a paired menu swap of some of our items with Sheraton Lagos Hotel as follows; Peppered Gizzard, Mini Meat Pies, Battered Fish in Tartar Sauces paired with Escudu Rojo red Wine while showcasing our own paired menu offerings which include items such as Buttered Prawns with Moringa salad [Zoggele sauce] and Vietnamese Spring Rolls served alongside premium Escudo Rojo of Chilean origin and the South African Culemborg Cape White wine”.

“Paired brings expertly matched small plates and our premium wines for those who are seeking ways to experience more things with less time and live life to the fullest.”

We are happy to set the pace as we offer this elevated Lobby Bar experiences at both Sheraton Lagos and Sheraton Abuja Hotels.

Team Work Is The Secret Of Our Successes – GM Hotel Presidential

Hotel Presidential is one of the oldest hospitality edifices in the country, and often referred to as the old lady of Niger Delta hospitality business; now privately managed for the River State Government. Joseph Rennie, General Manager and Rex Yakpogoro, Assistant General Manager respectively of the Port Harcourt based hotel, revealed in a chat with Lucky Onoriode George, African Travel Times Magazine Editor the secret of their successes.

This hotel has come of age, how are you able to keep it up and running?

The secret we can confirm to you is team work.

In achieving the team work, how much of a headache is it for management?

Being a government owned hotel, we perfected a strategy of relating and dealing with the uniqueness of this environment; especially government agencies as well as well nurtured community relations. With an extreme cordial relationship with staff too, we have been able to achieve the standard that we maintain till date.

Yelling at staff doesn’t help. Most times, myself and my assistant go around the hotel to see what the staff are doing and if need be we can grab a staff’s shoulder to correct a staff, ‘saying what we want’.

The aforementioned being said, skilled hospitality workers in Nigeria are scarce, how much of training do you do?

We have a decent training manager and we lay so much emphasis on periodic training programme; unit by unit, departmental or general ones. We can confirm to you that training is taken seriously because it’s an essential part of any organisation that wants to succeed.

Like we said earlier, we don’t just sit in our offices, rather we move around the hotel to reception, bar, restaurants, pool and other public areas just to ensure nothing goes wrong.

What are those external forces that pose challenges to your operations?

When the federal government privatised the power sector, we were very excited because power supply improved to about 18 hours daily and recently when the new tariff was announced, our rate doubled from about 23 kobo per kilowatt to about 35 kobo now.

Succinctly put, our electricity bill has doubled which is not helpful to our operations; not just only our hotel, but all hotels in Rivers State.

You understand the nature of hospitality business; even when you have just one guest, electricity must remain because your food and food ingredients will still have to be properly preserved.

However, most disappointingly, was the statement credited to Raji Fashola, Minister of Energy, Power and Works that there is nothing he can do to halt incessant hike in electricity rate by the distribution companies, suggesting that there is no one in control.

What are hotel owners doing about the incessant electricity tariff hike?

We are planning to make a formal protest to government through the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN], umbrella body for the tourism private sector in Nigeria and we the Nigeria Hotel Association [NHA] Rivers State, and I can confirm to you that there are options available to us to exploit soon because paying the exploitative fixed rate whether there is power or not is unacceptable.

The security situation has remains fairly stable, how much has this impacted on your operations?

We have always been a very safe hotel. Again, most of our patrons do also come with their own security which only again helps boost our security layer.

Presently, we have about three ministers in-house and they all came with their own additional protections, with our ever water-tight security of both uniform and mufti personnel.

How hard has the impact of low crude oil price and production affected Hotel Presidential?

Low price of crude oil in the international market and low production occasioned by the militants’ activities in the Niger Delta, have really affected us. We are hoping for the speedy resolution of the crisis so that normalcy can return.

Despite the short falls in oil companies, or traditional market, we are currently making in-road into other markets, such as, the Non-governmental Organisations [NGO’s] Red Cross, British Council, banks, telecoms and airlines.

At the moment, we have two major international airlines staying with us. Again, the recent kick off of the pending cleaning exercise of the Ogoniland and other polluted Niger Delta areas will sure bring hundredths if not thousands of jobs that will increase hotel usage.
Leisure package, what are you doing to lure more here?

We do have our regular weekend rates to encourage locals and people who want to get away for the weekend to benefit from the low weekend rate. However, people do not still turn up as expected because most people do not still have cash to spare.

What do you think the government can do, should Rivers State want to emerge as a leisure destination for Nigerians?

Well, the state government recently said that it would build a major park that would be the best in Africa, and that it would be so attractive that people will chose to visit Rivers State instead of going abroad.

Has the hospitality sector grown in the last few years?

Not necessarily, because it’s still same names that are here for ages now that we still hear.
How do you think government can still stimulate the sector?

Government should as a matter of urgency considers intervention fund for the sector just as it’s been done in banking, aviation, and textile. The federal government cannot continue to overlook the tourism sector that has created and sustained millions of direct and indirect jobs nationwide.

Presently, there are several hotels that cannot afford to change their towels, bedding and even cutleries due to lack of money.

With intervention fund, operators and owners can access cheap loans at single digits that they can easily repay back without stress.

Majority of hotel workers in Nigeria are not trained, what do you think can be done to encourage your people taking up career in the sector?

There should be more catering and hotel schools that their students can be placed in hotel as part of their training progrmmes.

We are happy whenever we receive students from tourism, hotel or hotel training institutions across the state.From such schools, cooks, receptionists and chefs can be recruited directly.

The private sector must encourage and promote employers to always consider employing tourism graduates. The incident I witnessed in Abuja sometime was not a pleasant one where a tourism graduate complained of how she was rejected by the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] for her national service programme.

Africa Hotel Investment Forum [AHIF] is holding in West Africa for the very first time, what should be the focus of such gathering?

The gathering should focus on how to encourage local professionals and grow them. As usual, the industry as a whole should be thoroughly profiled.

What should we expect from the management of Hotel Presidential before the end of the year?

At the moment, there is nothing much to be done. However, if we are willing to do anything, the finance isn’t there this year.