Category Archives: News

Garbage On Streets Of Calabar Ruins The Experience Of Visitors – Netherland Diplomat

…no development aide to Nigeria from Netherlands

The first secretary of the kingdom of Netherlands to Nigeria, Tessel Kuijten visiting Calabar, Cross River’s capital for the first time from Lagos said the garbage on the street was capable of ruining the experience of every visitor to Nigeria.

The first secretary of the kingdom Netherlands’ economic affairs to Nigeria stated this in an interview with newsmen while attending Cuso International Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development [YouLead] programme in Calabar on Wednesday.

Georgia Zurab, Emerged New UNWTO Secretary General

Georgian Zurab Pololikashvili has emerged as the new United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO], Secretary General, following his victory at the 105th Executive Meeting/Election for a successor to Taleb Rafai whose tenure ends in December 2017 held between May 11 -12, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.

Before the election proper, the meeting focused on current trends and challenges facing the tourism sector and on the three priorities of the Organization – safe, secure and seamless travel; the impact of technology in the tourism sector and sustainability.

The Executive Council, attended by some 250 representatives from 59 countries, focused on these priorities as well as on the UNWTO programme of work for 2018-2019 and the agenda of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.

The 105th session of the UNWTO Executive Council also recommended Zurab Pololikashvili, from Georgia, as the nominee for the post of Secretary General for the four-year-period starting January 2018.

Zurab beat Zimbabwe’s Walter Mzambi who was African Union [AU] endorsed candidate in the second with just three votes and would be presented to the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly for ratification come September 11-16, 2017, Chengu, China.

“We predict that 1.8 billion international tourists will travel across borders by 2030. We must ensure that such growth goes hand-in-hand with sustainability. We must embrace the opportunities created by innovation and new technologies.

We must continue to make travel safer, but also more seamless and accessible for all. And we must ensure that our sector serves the planet as well as its people” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, opening the meeting.

“UNWTO is a privileged forum where all countries discuss the main challenges facing our sector, share experiences and build common solutions. Tourism is about building bridges” said the Secretary of State of Tourism of Spain, Matilde Asian.

The Chair of the Council, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, Abulfas Garayev, recalled the importance of the declaration by the United Nations General Assembly of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development “This is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change”, he said.

The 106th and 107th sessions of the UNWTO Executive Council will take place in September 2017 in Chengdu, China in the framework of the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly.

UNWTO Election, Vote Africa, Not Zimbabwe Mzembi For The Sake Of The Continent’s Tourism – Lucky

There was an atmosphere of excitement yesterday, when broke the news that Seychelles made last minutes endorsement of Zimbabwean Walter Mzembi as Africa’s sole candidates for the coming UNWTO Secretary General election and the immediate withdrawal of the candidacy of Seychelles former Minister of Tourism Alain St.Ange from the race.

It might have come late, but it was however welcomed and highly appreciated that Africa is working as team.

Whilst the gesture is being celebrated three days before the election, can report authoritatively that the chance of Africa clinching or winning becomes slimmer by the day.

Sources that contacted this publication asserted that a European backed candidate will win because the travel and tourism industry at this moment is too important and cannot be left in the hands people or candidate that will not get the supports of big players around the world when it comes to major global matters.

According to eturbonews, the Seychelles President, Danny Faure was reported to have chaired an Extra-Ordinary Cabinet meeting at which the Seychelles Cabinet considered a formal request from the African Union Commission for Seychelles to withdraw the candidature of Alain St Ange for the election to the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

“Having considered the stance taken by Seychelles at the Southern African Development Community [SADC] meeting in March 2016, and at the African Union [AU] meeting of July 2016, where member states, including Seychelles, had unanimously voted to support the Zimbabwean candidate, Cabinet members formally reviewed its decision to support the candidature of St Ange”.

The president was also quoted to have said, “This is in line with established practices governing the endorsement process for candidatures within the international system under the AU and SADC frameworks”.

“St Ange’s capacity to lead the UNWTO is unquestionable, as is his vast experience in the field of tourism. However, in light of our standing responsibilities and commitments within the context of the African Union, the Seychelles Government has decided to withdraw the candidature of St Ange for the position of Secretary General” he said.

Without doubt, Mzembi is the doyen of African tourism minister and is young.
He has done much to rekindle the spirit, visibility, and performance of Zimbabwe Tourism: as well as raising the profile and collaborative engagement of African nations through his longstanding chairmanship of the UNWTO Commission for Africa according to Geoffrey Lipman, a former Assistant Secretary General of the UNWTO.

Lipman stated forward that Mzembi’s plans for UNWTO are well thought through, bold, visionary, and yet at the same time soundly grounded in the organization’s structural reality.

Come Friday 12th of May 2017 in Madrid, Spain, Walter Mzembi will face the likes of Marcio Favilla, a committed Tourism leader, having served his country as Deputy Minister of Tourism and then as an Executive Director at UNWTO.

He has also been largely reported to be a good man who understands the opportunities and challenges facing the organization in increasingly uncertain times.

An insider but with significant outside experience and has been in the leadership of the organization for many years and he’s considered a safe pair of hands.

Another big obstacle for Mzembi is the the Dho/Vogeler ticket, something that is new for the organization – where two people have teamed up to complement their individual strength and challenges as candidates.

It is an anomaly. In the case of Carlos Vogeler he simply was unable to get the essential support of his government to run for the top job, and he covers the same region as Marcio Favilla. And the lead candidate Ambassador Young Shim Dho didn’t have the international political support needed to mount a powerful campaign.

The program they advocate is as expected preserving the good elements of the existing regime with a solid future focus – highly organized, designed and professionally presented.

“There are however, positive and negative issues in the concept of a ticket rather than an individual – moral and legal, the age, experience, compatibility, and balance of the candidates. Then there is the complex issue of the place of the flagship ST-EP program – now with a new Korean based International Organization to manage it”, noted Lipman.

Besides the aforementioned, Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili has run a formidable political leadership campaign using European solidarity and the proactive engagement of his Head of State to advance his candidature.

His program of reform and stability is on the surface the kind of change the organization expects and needs. He targets the right internal / external realities as the other candidates and his “global” focus is an important recognition of increasing community influence on tourism’s future.

Ambassador Jaime Alberto Cabal the Colombian Ambassador to Austria, who identifies his President and country as a driving force behind his candidacy and Latin America as the base.

Since 2008, Mzembi has been involved in the industry and not much sincerely has changed or much value added to the Africa’s travel and tourism industry according many strategists and analysts.

He has done well for his country Zimbabwe, but not the continent they argued.

This writer in particular consulted for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA], an agency under the Ministry of Hospitality and Tourism that Mzembi heads and I can say categorically that trust is a scarce commodity in dealing with tourism administrators from that part of Africa.

Even as we support and pray that he wins come Friday, his victory does not lies in the hands of the few African tourism ministers that will be participating.

From my experience as a travel and tourism journalist that knows the history of the UNWTO and has also written extensively about it, Mzembi chances remains slim and doubting.

Wait till Friday, less than 20 African countries will be represented and everything will come down to figure.

My prayer is that, the rest of the world’s tourism fraternity will understand that Africa was instrumental to gradual transformation of International Union of Official Travel Organisation [IUOTO] to World Tourism Organisation [WTO] and now to UNWTO.

No African has headed the organisation and I must confessed that UNWTO has not added any value to Africa and its presence has been limited to its leadership visiting and meeting presidents and minsters for photo opportunities alone.

Africa needs a UNWTO Secretary General that would recognise training of the continent’s tourism administrators, travel and tourism journalists and introduction of country representative to member nations like all other United Nations agencies because that is the only way UNWTO will be relevant and remain relevant for years to come.

SEC Sacks Ikeja Hotels Plc Board, Owners Of Lagos And Abuja Sheraton

After months of protracted ownership crisis that led to the recent resignation of Mr. Goodie Ibru, its longstanding chairman, the management of the Securities & Exchange Commission [SEC], on Thursday evening announced the dissolution of the board of Ikeja Hotels Plc.

Ikeja Hotels is the parent company of Sheraton Hotels, Abuja.

Announcing the dissolution and appointment of capital market lawyer, Chief Anthony Idigbe as interim chairman, the commission in a statement said the “measure has become necessary in order not to allow the warring parties take certain actions that would give them an advantage over one another.”

Before now, the commission said it had held various meetings in company of some distinguished stakeholders, in a bid to forestall chaos in the company, with the members of the sacked board to resolve the thorny issues.

Instead of the envisaged improvements, it lamented however that the company continued “to be plagued with unhealthy Corporate Governance practices in disregard with the Code of Corporate Governance for public companies.

The commission noted for example, without giving specifics, “that as a public company, it is paramount that the activities of [Ikeja Hotels Plc] are conducted within the confines of existing corporate governance regulations in the Nigerian capital market, to ensure the protection of minority shareholders and other investors.”

The statement noted that following the failure of its various efforts to resolve the lingering crisis and restore peace to the company, “the Commission, in exercise of the powers conferred on it by the Investment and Securities Act, 2007 to protect investors and the integrity of the securities market, hereby approves the appointment of an interim Board for the company with Chief Anthony Idigbe, SAN as interim Chairman.”

The interim Board among others is mandated to oversee the conduct of a forensic investigation into the affairs of the company.

“It is the Commission’s expectation that the shareholders and key Management staff of the company will work with the new team to ensure that the fortunes of the company are restored in the shortest possible time” the statement added.

Ibru resigned in February in the overall interest of the company and the larger Ibru family, while ensuring that the Ikeja Hotels, which has been hampered by multiple law suits filed by shareholders in the contest for the management and control of the company, and the need to get Ikeja Hotels to perform optimally.

He stated that the decision of Justice Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on December 21, 2016, confirming him chairman vindicates his struggle for corporate governance in the company and provides right timing for him to retire as founding chairman after 32 years in office.

He urged the younger generation of Ibrus to work with other shareholders to continue to carry on the torch of excellence for which Ikeja Hotels has been known, lamenting that the Ibru family has gone through a tough phase in the recent past and as the only surviving son of the first generation of Ibrus, he is more committed to working with his sisters on keeping the family united.

Ibru, 75, founded Ikeja Hotels Plc in 1975 and opened its flagship property, the Lagos Sheraton Hotel and Towers, in 1985. The company acquired in 1992 the Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc, the holding company of the Federal Palace Hotel and Casino.

Also under Mr. Ibru’s leadership, the group acquired Capital Hotels Plc, the owner of the Abuja Sheraton Hotels and Towers.

Synagogue Church Confirms Relocation Story, Advance Team Departs Soon

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has urged Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, Founder/General Overseer, Synagogue Church of All Nations [SCOAN] not to relocate from the country as he urged the renowned prophet to come for dialogue with the government in a means of finding lasting solutions to the various challenges the Church is facing in recent times.

The Minister said this while fielding questions from the journalists during the on-going National Association of Nigeria Tour Operators [NATOP] Annual General Meeting and Conference 2017 holding at the Renaissance Hotel Ikeja, Lagos by today.

Prophet Joshua declared his intention to leave Nigeria and relocate his ministry to the nation of Israel during a church service on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Joshua disclosed that he had just returned from the ‘Holy Land’ after holding meetings with three prominent Israeli mayors of Jerusalem, Tiberias and the Jordan Valley.

He noted that Israel offered him both land and facilities in an area around the biblical site of the Sea of Galilee for him to organize meetings for international pilgrims.

“This is where my Father in Heaven came from – it’s non-negotiable,” Joshua explained, adding it was not a decision he undertook lightly.

“It’s the best place for you to meet Prophet T.B. Joshua. After your healing, blessing and deliverance, you can move around all the spiritual monuments which will establish your faith,” he clarified.

Joshua said his decision to leave was not connected to the “persecution” he endured during his ministry.

He said the move would help people to “appreciate” what his ministry had been contributing to both the local economy and Nigeria’s international image.

“This is the most persecuted ministry in the world. Who are the people persecuting the ministry? My people, Africa.

“That is why I choose to live a lonely life. If you want to see me, come to this church.

“Your life can preach a better sermon than your mouth,” he exhorted the congregation, stating that the Israeli officials had observed his ministry from afar before inviting him.

When visited the church this afternoon, sources there confirmed the story and that arrangement are in top gear as an advance team will depart Nigeria shortly.