Category Archives: News

Kenya Airways Receives Air Traffic Rights For Direct US Flights

Kenyan national carrier, Kenya Airways has been granted air traffic rights to the United States airspaces, taking it a step closer to direct flights to the US, reports

According to the report, Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told Capital FM Business the airline is now waiting for other crucial licenses to see it fly to the US by March 2018.

Reasons Behind African Countries Having A National Carrier

One of the hot topics that will be discussed at AviaDev Africa this October will be the “National Carrier conundrum”- a impediment to or catalyst for economic prosperity?

Ahead of the event, Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events spoke with a Director at Grant Thornton, Martin Jansen van Vuuren for his opinions.

Why do you think there is an obsession with having a national carrier in Africa?

I think it stems from a sense of national pride and shows a certain level of development. Every country aspires to be seen as more developed than its neighbours and there are certain items that are aspirational. A national airline is one, along with national assets such as a convention centre, parliament building and military force for example.

In 2016, African airlines made a combined loss of around $800 million, much of this coming from national carriers. What do you feel are the key issues that need to be addressed in order to change the fortunes of the continent? 

I feel that, ultimately, a national carrier is there to provide access to a region/country. However, in the past, there has not been enough thought given to the process of route development.

Put simply, routes were created according to political allegiances and not because they were commercially viable. The importance of strategic less viable routes, are recognised but this should be balanced with commercial viable routes to ensure the long-term sustainability of the national carrier.

Open skies is another huge issue. It has been talked about for almost 30 years and whilst the right noises are made during meetings to discuss the implementation, this commitment falls flat once everyone leaves the conference room. This is often because each country has to protect its national carrier as it is a state owned enterprise that is too big to be allowed to fail at the hands of competition.

One potential solution is to partner with an airline that has the expertise to run the airline profitably, but will in essence run the airline like a national carrier. A great example of this is ASKY from Togo, which is part owned by Ethiopian, but operates from a base in Lome and has seen success.

One national carrier that has bucked the trend is Ethiopian Airlines, what do you think are the secrets to their success? 

They have adopted a more intelligent approach to route development, understanding market forces and making commercial route planning decisions. There is also limited government interference in the day to day running of the airline. Undoubtedly, Addis’ geographic location on the African continent lends itself to being a hub for the rest of Africa.

It is my view that too many airlines want to get too big too quickly and Ethiopian have expanded, but always at a sustainable rate.

So, how do you feel about the hosts of AviaDev, RwandAir- will they succeed with their national carrier project? 

First of all, I think it is important to highlight the potential of Kigali and Rwanda as a regional hub for both business and tourism development. As other major cities in the region become more and more congested, Kigali will become more attractive as it has proved itself to be orderly, clean and efficient, provides connectivity and it also boasts a well-educated population.

Regarding the airline, the government have adopted a long-term vision. They have realised that they have to carry to capital cost of investing in new aircraft and the trade-off will be that aviation can be the economic enabler to stimulate the wider economy. A holistic strategy incorporating initiatives to invest in Rwanda will improve the utilisation and ultimately the viability of the airline.


Nigeria Tourism Private Sector Body Elects New Executive

The umbrella body for Nigeria’s private sector tourism business practitioners, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN] has elected new executives to pilot the affairs of the body for the next two years.

The event held in Abuja last week, saw Rabo Saleh Karim of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies [NANTA], emerge as the President. Other executive members elected include Nkereuwem Onung as the first  National Deputy President; Abiodun Odusanwo, second National Deputy President, Ayo Olumoko Vice President, South West; Nura Kangiwa, Vice President, North East; Ngozika Ngoka, Vice President South East; Badaki Aliyu, Vice President , FCT,  Eugene Nwanzi, Vice President South South and John A. Adzer, Vice President, North Central

Also elected are, Ime Udo, Membership Secretary [1]; John-Likita M. Best; [2]; Emeka Anokwuru, Membership Secretary(3); Okorie Uguru, First Publicity Secretary and Joseph Karim, Publicity Secretary [2].

In his goodwill message, the Chairman, FTAN’s Board of Trustee, Samuel Alabi said the era of the Federal Government agency controlling or co-ordinating tourism has gone for good.

He said, that excerpt there is a constitutional amendment to include tourism under the exclusive or concurrent list  of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it will difficult for a federal agency to fully control tourism in the whole country.

Alabi stated further: “The fact that the Federal Attorney General is yet to apply section 215 of the 1999 Constitution of the heavily mutilated NTDC Act is still a surprise to me.”

The Chairman Board of Trustees of FTAN also commented on controversial NIHOTOUR bill: “During my time as the President of FTAN, I approached NIHOTOUR to provide an enabling environment for private sector driven certification body like CITN, ICAN, IPMN, NIPRP.

In fact, a draft bill was prepared but thereafter nothing was heard from NIHOTOUR end. I was shocked when I saw that the certification bill has been incorporated into the heavily castigated NIHOTOUR bill. I urge FTAN to play a leading role in this regard.”

On his part, the immediate past President of FTAN, Tomi Akingbogun, in his valedictory speech, said the association has expanded its membership base, and also noted some associations that had left the body before, like National Association of Tour Operators [NATOP], have returned to the fold.

Tomi said FTAN during his tenure, worked closely with the public sector and has also created programme to promote investment in tourism; the annual NTIFE.

Rabo Saleh Karim, in his acceptance speech, called for peace and greater unity among member associations.

He said: “Going forward, we plead to every one of us to bury the hatchet and pro-actively lend your supporting hands, even as you constructively criticize us”.

“We are not under any illusion of the enormous responsibilities you reposed on us here.

Membership of FTAN exco is by no means a ‘time for tea break’ or ‘a walk in the park’.  We shall relentlessly work to ensure that government agencies and the broader private industries in Nigeria become actively aware of FTAN’s activities and programmes.

More so, we would engage the present government’s ‘ease of doing business in Nigeria’ drive to fully integrate templates that facilitate domestic and inbound tourism sectors in Nigeria.”

AHIF, Africa’s Must-Attend Hotel Conference, Reveals Agenda

The influential Africa Hotel Investment Forum [AHIF] has unveiled the agenda for its 2017 conference, packed with contributions from industry leaders, that confirms its reputation as the leading event of its kind for investors and developers.

The seventh edition of AHIF takes place in Kigali, October 10 – 12, and, like last year, runs alongside AviaDev, bringing together some of the leading executives from the world of aviation and hotels, with top government officials and politicians.

Why Building A Sustainable Tourism Value For Synagogue Church Is Key

From the very beginning of human and religious history, many of the people or persons that propagated them are remembered for the touristic physical value they created while alive.

Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Han Buddhism, Taoism and Buddhism where they were practised; and thousands of years after those who promoted them have gone, their ideology and teaching spread across continents with many of their followers bonding fully when eventually they visit or tour some structures left behind by them.

These tourism values range from where such great prophets and individuals were born, the homes they grew up and temple built by them.

For Christianity, Israel with many places that are associated with Jesus Christ is popular among Christians while modern day Saudi Arabia which was the homeland of Prophet Mohammed is noted for Mecca and Medina, two of the holiest sites in Islam because of their tourism values.

For Nigeria, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, Founder/General Overseer of Synagogue Church of All Nations [SCOAN], is a Christian that has taken Christianity to another level.

Since he began his prophetic journey, he has drawn a large crowd from far and near. His following breaks barriers of colour and race with the sick looking for solutions to their problems and enthusiasts looking up to him for inspiration.

However, his recent announcement that he could relocate from Nigeria to possibly Israel, is nothing but troubling for the tourism industry in Nigeria.

Many travel and tourism analysts; most especially religious tourism writers are worried of what will become the legacy of Synagogue Church and Prophet TB Joshua eventually?

Over the years, history taught us that despite the general acceptability of teachings of past prophets and great men, what makes them popular today and famous are sites and structures that are associated with them which also have tourism value.

However today, countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan and several countries in Asia that were notable for some brands of religions are now even more considered and made famous for the economic value, rather than their original intent.

These places associated with them now draw visitors from around the world.

Across cities that are associated with religions, hotels of various sizes and shopping malls, souvenir shops and other businesses are built to provide services which boost the local economies.

Communities like, Ikotun, Ejigbo, Igando, Isheri in Lagos state have been transformed into small business enclaves because of Synagogue Church of All Nations.

Needless to say, the recent announcement of his purported relocation will not only rob Lagos State and Nigeria of economic benefits through tourism. T.B Joshua, the founder may also need to cement his name among great prophets that had lived when he is no more.

Though the current church building is massive, it still lacks the kind of spectacles that are characteristic of great places of worship of time past.

Israel is already saturated with many great prophets and T.B Joshua being a recent addition will reduce his acclaim.

For Prophet Joshua, he has earned his place in history and when he is no more, his prophetic prowess will continue to echo around the globe; what is left for TB Joshua to do is create touristic value for the church so that it will not be like some other churches that collapsed within few years after the demise of their founders.

Another clear example is the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s Spiritual leader who fled to India in 1959, his movement is now controlled and can receive only a limited number of visitors at the discretion of the Indian government.

The Dalai Lama’s Spiritual influence has waned and Tibet is denied the opportunity of growing its economy through tourism from visits by followers and enthusiasts from across the globe.

TB Joshua story will not be different should he relocate to Israel. His activities and movement will be curtailed knowing fully the security situation in that country.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said in response to news to Synagogue relocation, “government will do whatever it can, to ensure Synagogue remains in the country”.

There is no place like home because TB Joshua and his church will remain a big influence and relevant in Nigeria.