Category Archives: Tourism

Nigeria Receives Less Than 3 Percent Of Arrivals Into Africa

The Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria [FTAN], says that less than three per cent of tourists visiting Africa annually choose Nigeria as their tourism destinations.

Karim Rabo, the FTAN president, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Sunday that the figure was low compared to other African countries that usually recorded huge patronage of international tourists.

Travel Press Cautions Lai Mohammed Over Frequent Changes At Tourism Agency

Umbrella body of travel and tourism journalists in the country, the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism [ANJET] has cautioned the Minster of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, over happenings at the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] that has seen the appointment of three acting director generals for the tourism body within five months.

The body described, in a statement issued Tuesday, described the trend as creating instability as well as tainting stakeholders’ confidence in Nigeria tourism in addition to dampening the enthusiasm of the agency’s workforce.

It would be recalled that a circular issued from the Office of the Head of Service, Friday, had announced the appointment of another Acting Director General, Dr Paul Adalikwu, for the tourism regulatory agency, barely two months after Mariel Rae – Omoh had assumed duties.

Adalikwu, a director in the Ministry of Water Resources, who served as aide to immediate past Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, was appointed in an acting capacity subject to confirmation of appointment.

It would also be recalled that Rae – Omoh in December last year had taken over from Boniface Eboka, a senior director at the NTDC, who was appointed in November as acting DG following the de-secondment of Sally Uwechue – Mbanefo as Executive Director.

The travel Press posited that the frequent change of leadership at the NTDC spells a negative indicator for the industry capable of further worsening the fortunes of tourism, still struggling to make any impact in the country’s struggling economy.

“We believe the minister may not have been informed about the true state of affairs at the NTDC before these appointments which has seen four different acting DGs all in a space of five months, in the same NTDC.

“We restate that we are not against the recent appointment of Dr. Paul Adalikwu. However, we frown at the spate of appointments and changes at the helm of affairs at the corporation, which we believe does not augur well for business in the tourism industry or even at the NTDC itself, especially the morale of the workforce.

“This position is also in view of the sack of up to 15 senior members of staff in the gale of terminations which swept through the corporation last Friday. These frequent appointments can only damage the confidence of stakeholders and other investors alike in the industry which is still struggling to find headway in a difficult economy like ours.

“We are of the opinion that wave of appointment of acting DGs under five months is not the panacea to solving the myriad of problems at the NTDC or in the tourism subsector of the country. The action of the minister, therefore, can only be a recipe for worsening the problems at the NTDC rather than solving it. This is aside the unwholesome prospects instability, disharmony and mistrust among the staff in the corporation which these changes portend.

“If Government insists on continuing with this present change, we believe that the desired purpose envisaged by the minister may not be achieved as it would rather divide the ranks of NTDC and that of the industry whose confidence and thrust would have been eroded by the action of the minister, which by implication means Adalikwu may not enjoy seamless support from the industry and his staff,”
Meanwhile, the Acting Director-General Dr. Paul Adalikwu, has described Tourism as the alternative to oil.

Adalikwu, who said this in his inaugural meeting with the staff at NTDC corporate headquarters in Abuja, gave the assurance of repositioning the industry and the Corporation as well as reviving the Presidential Council on Tourism.

He added: “We shall work with the National Assembly, all other stakeholders to restore NTDC’s lost grounds, to enable the corporation move tourism in the country to the next level.

“We shall engage and partner with state governors who are serious to develop Tourism in their states. While, I will ensure that all NTDC’s zonal offices are positioned to deliver on the Corporation’s mandate.

He further said that the Corporation should be renamed as the “Nigerian Tourism Authority” in line with global best practices, Adalikwu promised to engage relevant stakeholders for improved funding of the sector and the Corporation.
“Let’s join hands. Through team work, we would reposition this industry. I came here to work. Give me time, I’ll deliver. I am very focused on making positive changes in the Corporation and the Tourism Industry. If you have ideas on how to advance the Nigerian tourism, come to me,” Adalikwu told the staff.

While disclosing his intention to work on getting a befitting corporate office for the Corporation, the NTDC boss said he would establish more departments in the Corporation to enable the agency deliver on its core mandates.

Marriott International Opens First Hotel In West Africa With Sheraton Grand Conakry

[www.StarwoodHotels.com/sheraton], part of Marriott International, [www.Marriott.com], today announced the debut of Sheraton Grand in Africa with opening of Sheraton Grand Conakry [www.SheratonGrandConakry.com], welcoming it to the brand’s premier tier of hotels recognized for their exciting destinations, distinguished designs, and excellence in service and guest experiences.

The newly built hotel marks Marriott International’s entry into Guinea, West Africa and joins a portfolio of more than 35 Sheraton Grand properties worldwide, with destinations spanning Istanbul, Dubai, Bangalore, Beijing and beyond.

“Sheraton has a strong heritage in Africa that dates back to 1971,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.

“Over the last four decades, the brand has maintained its first mover advantage through strategic pipeline development and growth plans, giving global travelers access to more destinations in every corner of the globe. Sheraton Grand Conakry not only marks our entry into a new country, but will also create a halo effect for the brand and serve as a great example of our transformation efforts.”

Within easy reach from the international airport, Sheraton Grand Conakry is conveniently situated in Conakry’s up-and-coming trendy Kipe district. With an enviable ocean-front location, the hotel introduces modern, elegant design, signature brand programming and an elevated guest experience for business and leisure travelers in the heart of West Africa.

All 269 well-appointed guestrooms boast breathtaking ocean views, offering unmatched comfort and the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience. Contemporary design and local touches blend to create a distinct and vibrant aesthetic.

The 49 Sheraton Club rooms and suites offer exclusive access to the Sheraton® Club Lounge, a private space where guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast, drinks and snacks during the day. Leisure facilities include an extensive 300 square meter fitness center with cutting edge equipment available 24 hours a day, a luxurious infinity pool and an invigorating Shine Spa.

The hotel’s distinctive dining venues create an eclectic culinary voyage. The all-day dining restaurant, Feast, features Mediterranean flavors, Asian influences as well as modern interpretations of traditional Guinean cuisine.

Guests can also indulge in homemade French pastries, freshly brewed coffee and juices at La Parisienne coffee shop and bakery. Overlooking the sea, Hot & Blue offers relaxed tapas and cocktails by the poolside. Sheraton’s inventive lobby bar menu concept, Paired, combines artisanal small plates with unexpected pairings served alongside suggested premium wines at the O2 Lounge.

With more than 1300 square meters of dedicated and unparalleled meeting space, Sheraton Grand Conakry features a lavishly appointed Grand Ballroom with state-of-the-art facilities and endless connectivity through high-speed Wi-Fi, along with 15 meeting rooms and a fully equipped business center.

The hotel provides both choice and flexibility, making it an exclusive option for large scale business meetings, social events, weddings or even smaller intimate gatherings.

“We are proud to be the first Sheraton Grand in Africa and Indian Ocean, and to join the existing roster of esteemed hotels and resorts worldwide,” said Helga Deboeck, General Manager of Sheraton Grand Conakry. “We have worked diligently to ensure the hotel goes above and beyond to deliver a fresh, modern and memorable experience to our guests setting a new benchmark of service within West Africa.”

Nigeria: Calabar Carnival – Cross River Assures Tourists of Adequate Security

The Cross River Government has assured residents in the state and tourists coming for the 2016 annual Calabar carnival of adequate security.

Ken Aklah, Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Event Management, gave the assurance on Thursday in Calabar, during an on-the-spot assessment of the carnival village.

Aklah, who is also the Chairman of the 2016 carnival committee, said Ayade had introduced a new security outfit known as ‘Homeland Security’, to boost the existing security network in the state.

He said that the 2015 carnival witnessed some security challenges, but the state government had taken bold steps to ensure that the 2016 carnival was celebrated peacefully.

“We had a few security challenges last year; but this year’s carnival will be celebrated peacefully because Operation Delta Safe has now been extended to Cross River by the Federal Government,” Aklah said.

The special adviser said that the carnival village was moved from the botanical garden in Calabar South to Calabar Municipal garden with a view to providing more funfair for tourists.

He said that the move was also in line with the 2016 carnival theme of “Climate Change,” as it would allow full regeneration to occur at the botanical garden.

According to him, it is also important to move the carnival village to the municipal garden because the garden is central and can host a large number of tourists during the festival.

“The projection is that many people can no longer afford the dollar to go abroad for the Christmas season funfair; hence Calabar is an easy but quality alternative for a good dose of fun.

“A lot of people have indicated interest to come to Calabar for the festival this year”, he said.

While inspecting the facilities, Aklah said that work at the Christmas village was near completion, as about 80 shops had been provided for freelance vendors, and enough space for various categories of sponsors.

The one month festival will commence on December1 and end on January1, 2017.

Gab Onah, Chairman of Calabar Carnival Commission, said that the commission had introduced innovations to the carnival, which include the modification of the Bikers festival, decentralisation of the carnival flag-off route and others.

According to Onah, this year’s carnival will witness increase in international participating countries.

“The city of Calabar and the entire world will feel the 2016 carnival because we are ever ready to maintain and sustain the largest street party in Africa,” he said.

Egypt Tourism Losses in 2015 And 2016, Worst in 15 Years – Finance Minister

Egypt’s finance minister expects tourism revenues in 2015 and 2016 to reach $4 – $4.5 billion, with losses in its last 10 months being “the worst in 15 years.”

In a press conference recently, Minister of Finance Amr al-Garhy said that tourism revenues in the fiscal year that ended in June would not exceed $5 billion compared to $6.1 billion in 2015.

According to the official statistics agency, Egypt lost over half of its tourists in May compared to the previous year. Approximately 431,800 tourists visited Egypt in May compared to 894,600 in May 2015.
Russian tourism decreased by 61.3 per cent in May, which was likely part of the consequences of the 2015 Russian plane crash that occurred above Egypt’s Sinai.

Last October, a charter flight operated by Russian airline Metrojet broke up midair 23 minutes after takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh Airport as it headed to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board.

The crash has been suspected to be due to a “terrorist attack,” but Egypt says that evidence is still lacking as to the cause of the crash.

Moscow suspended all flights to Egypt pending an investigation into the crash. The U.K. followed suit, halting all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.

Since the plane crash, Russia among other western countries have sent delegations to inspect security measures in Egyptian airports, which Egyptian officials continued to describe as in line with “international standards.”

In early July, the Russian Ambassador to Egypt Sergei Kirpichenko was reported to have said that Russian tourists would be able to travel to Egypt in “the foreseeable future”.

Moody’s Investors Services also reported last month that tourism revenues fell in the first quarter of 2016 to record its lowest level since 1998.

According to the Moody’s report published on Jul. 6, tourism revenues fell to $551 million in the first quarter of 2016, the lowest since March 1998 and much lower than the third-quarter 2010 peak of $3.6 billion.

In an attempt to promote internal tourism, EgyptAir launched “Your Vacation in Egypt” campaign in July that includes package deals and competitive prices for domestic flights.

Egypt has been scrambling to collect money as it faces a shortage in foreign currency due to pressures on its foreign reserves after years of political turmoil, triggered by the 2011 Uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, halved the country’s foreign reserves and scared away tourists and investors.