Category Archives: News

Hundreds Of UK Tourists Set To Be Flown Out Of The Gambia

Nearly 1,000 UK holidaymakers are set to be flown home from The Gambia due to growing political unrest.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now warning against “all but essential travel” to the west African nation due to potential military intervention following the Presidential elections on 1 December.

The holiday company will lay on additional flights from the capital Banjul on Wednesday to bring 985 package holiday customers home.
An additional 2,500 “flight-only” customers will then be contacted and offered the earliest possible flights back to the UK.

The reaction comes after Gambian President Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency after refusing to hand power to opposition leader Adama Barrow, who won last month’s election.

State television said the emergency would prevent a power vacuum while the supreme court rules on Mr Jammeh’s petition challenging the election result.

Regional leaders have threatened to intervene militarily if Mr Jammeh does not step down and a senior Nigerian army source said it and other West African states were preparing a military force.

NTDC, FTAN To Chart Way Forward On Tourism Development In Nigeria

Again, hope has risen for the development and promotion of the Nigerian tourism industry, as the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN], collaborating efforts to overhaul the industry and make the country benefit the goodies of the money-spinning industry.

The Acting NTDC Director-General, Mariel Rae-Omoh, while addressing the FTAN delegates, led by the association’s president, Tomi Akingbogun, underscored the importance of tourism to developing a nation, creating wealth and uniting the people.

Rae-Omoh noted that the Nigerian tourism can only be well developed and promoted through the Public Private Partnership, hence encouraged the private sector to be more committed to the development of the industry.

While commending the efforts and contributions of FTAN towards moving the industry forward, the acting NTDC boss assured FTAN and other tourism associations by expressing willingness of her administration to work with them to ensure Nigeria takes her respected position in the comity of tourism nations.

Akingbogun in his reaction assured the Rae-Omoh led-administration of the support of the association, saying, “FTAN is always willing and ready to contribute to the development of the Nigeria’s tourism industry, to improve the lots of the nation and her great people.”

The FTAN President, who said the association represented the voice of all the private sector investors and practitioners in Nigeria, then made a case for the inclusion of two members of the association in the composition of the NTDC board.

He also disclosed that the association has discussed ways to stimulate tourism development through Public-Private Partnership [PPP] with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed.

“In the letter, we asked for Public-Private Partnership concession on three tourism projects in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory: Abuja Children Park and Zoo, Asokoro, Wild Life Park and Zoological Gardens, Garki, and Jabi Lake Water Recreational Activities.

“When granted, the PPP will improve and expand domestic tourism sites already in the country, open up new domestic tourism destinations to private investors in line with Nigerian Tourism Master Plan, and promote domestic tourism to the large population in Nigeria, among other things,” Akingbogun said.

He noted that there are a good number of private investors who are interested in the Nigerian tourism industry.

Akingbogun then charged the NTDC management to find a way to enlighten the policy makers to make favourable policies for the Nigerian tourism industry, and spend in the industry, “because if government spends rightly it still comes back to government.”

Though, no meaning and successful collaborations has worked in previous exercises apart from the fact that the leadership use such relationship/closeness to position themselves and for mere relevance which is why the acting director general must work with individual associations, if meaningful progress is to be made.

UNWTO Secretary General Post Power Play Moves To Madrid

The race is on for the next UNWTO Secretary General. Candidates are heading to Madrid during the upcoming FITUR to introduce themselves. Specifically in Africa, the fight for Africa is becoming unpredictable.

The current Secretary General, Taleb Rifai – a Jordanian national – has held the post for the past seven years and is due to step down at the end of 2017. Elections for the post are due to take place during the UNWTO Executive Council meeting scheduled to be held in Madrid in mid-May, 2017. Widely respected for his leadership of the Organisation, Rifai is seen as a unifying figure whose legacy rests on the slow but steady rise in the profile and indeed the impact of tourism as a vehicle for the promotion of understanding between peoples and cultures.

SADC member states – including Seychelles – unanimously endorsed Mzembi’s [Zimbabwe] candidature in March 2016. African Heads of State and Government, meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2016, added their own unanimous endorsement of Mzembi, who thus became Africa’s candidate for UNWTO.

Mzembi last week got unexpected competition. Entering the race for the second time is the former minister of tourism for the Republic of Seychelles, Alain St. Ange. St.Ange resigned as the minister of his country on December 28 to concentrate on his UNWTO campaign.

Ange was one of the first voicing interest in the UNWTO position.

After initially announcing his candidacy the former Seychelles minister backed out several months ago. His political party lost the election in the Seychelles, but the popular and outspoken St.Ange was able to maintain his minister post and even expanded to include aviation and marines.

At the same time, the Hon. Walter Mzembi went full steam traveling the globe successfully campaigning for Africa.

With three or four other expected candidates from Europe and Latin America, there is no unity in that part of the world either. Therefore if anyone from Europe or Latin America wants to win, splitting up African votes would definitely help.

The importance of Africa and the ambitions at that time by South Korea to treat Africans well was very much a factor when Taleb Rifai was elected.

Although there is no officially recognised system of regional rotation when it comes to filling the post of UNWTO Secretary-General, there has emerged a general sense of understanding that, given the right candidate, Africa – which has never held the top post before- could be well-placed to assume leadership of the Organisation and to take it to new heights of consequence and recognition within the broad United Nations family.

Both Latin America and Europeans already served as the UNWTO Secretary General.

Name Years of Tenure
France Robert Lonati 1975–1985
Austria Willibald Pahr 1986–1989
Mexico Antonio Enriquez Savignac 1990–1996
France Francesco Frangialli 1997–2009
Jordan Taleb Rifai 2010–Present

An article just published in the London Evening News commented on the surprise move of former minister of tourism for the Seychelles to enter the race. In so doing, and should he receive the official endorsement of his government, he and his government will be openly breaking ranks with the 15-member Southern African Development Community [SADC] and 54-member African Union [AU], both of which have long ago endorsed a single candidate to carry Africa’s bid to win this coveted post.

Indications by several sources may paint a different picture of other political forces outside Africa to encourage both African candidates to run for the UNWTO post. Both men are highly motivated and qualified to bring a breeze of fresh air into the UNWTO establishment. Unless any of the two enjoy an enormous support outside Africa against the 3 or 4 already in the race from outside the black continent, it would be a tough fight.

Front Line Event Company Births Golden Face Of Niger Delta Pageant

Troubled by the utter neglect of the Niger Delta people and the restiveness that follows in their continuous bid to agitate for adequate fiscal inclusion, Lymdatex Ventures, Nigeria’s front line event management company is to launch ‘Golden Face of Niger Delta’ [GFND].

Lymdatex Ventures is an event company founded by Lydia Nelson, a seasoned event planner who is known to be one of the major brains behind annual prestigious Face of Independence Nigeria beauty pageant who herself is from Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.

In a statement to the media via Cross River Studios, the company responsible for publicizing the event, Nelson said she had initiated the idea as her own contribution to the propagation to the development of the Niger Delta region.

The pageant expects to draw contestants from across nine states constituting the Niger Delta, namely Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Abia, Imo, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Ondo State.

Massive in its plans, the event plans to hold as Nigeria’s first top rated pageant reality TV show expected to hit the airwaves as major cable networks have already begun bidding for rights to air the event. And bargains are already getting tough.

During a well thought out week camping contestants shall be exposed to a lineup of activities including lectures, hands on skills level capacity building workshop. At the grand finale a queen of standard will be borne.

GFND aims, among other things to crown a queen to champion the message for the propagation of peace and growth in the nine oil rich regions in question.

In addition, Golden Face of Niger Delta plans to provide a platform for the showcase seemingly moribund cultures, fashion and cuisines of this region.

NTDC: Ag. DG Highlights Moves To Develop Nigeria’s Tourism

The Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], Mariel Rae-Omoh, has promised to professionalize the Corporation, placing staff in positions where their professional strength and abilities will maximally be utilized to achieve the Corporation’s mandate.

Rae-Omoh, speaking at her maiden interaction with the staff, since her appointment as Acting Director General promised to unite the stakeholders as well as develop a template for the organization

Her words: “I am very familiar with the terrain. I know where the shoe pinches the Nigerian tourism industry and the Corporation. By the grace of God and with the cooperation of the staff, and stakeholders in the industry, I will explore my expertise in the industry to propel the expected development in the industry, and move the Corporation from where it is to where it ought to be.

Drawing from her citing as membership of the Institute for Tourism Professionals, she said ”I appreciate the importance of periodic meetings with the stakeholders in the industry in developing the industry; hence I will ensure synergy between my administration and the stakeholders, through constant dialogue.”

She also disclosed that her administration will build projects for the Corporation.

The NTDC boss, commended the immediate past administration of Boniface Eboka, for the remarkable achievements in the short period he served. She called for unity among the staff, explaining that “we can only record greater achievements and move the corporation forward, if we are united in the pursuit of our goals.”

The union chairman of the Corporation chapter of AUPCTRE, [The Almagamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees] Mr Martins Ohiemi in his brief remarks, commended the Ag DG who is a very versatile lady, a professional, and a seasoned administrator to bring her wealth of experience to bear.

He further pledged the support of the union for the new administration.