Category Archives: Tourism

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.

Synagogue Church Agog for Joshua’s 53rd Birthday

Sunday June 12, 2016 was my second time at the Synagogue Church of All Nations [SCOAN] for service in 16 years, I had made several other visits that I cannot remember; for meetings, tourism information, articles as well as news materials.

I had arrive the church premises at about 9 am with lots of energy having had double cup of coffee before leaving, because I promised myself never to miss a single moment of the event and service.

After the necessary welcome protocol for me by two ladies that work with the church’s media unit, I was taken into the church and showed a seat where I would seat for the entire service and programme.

Shortly after I settled down, I quickly fixed my eyes on the testimonies been showed on Emmanuel TV, the church television network. The testimonies were from Saturday June 11, a day and special events for healing because prior to the date, the Founder/General Overseer had announced that his 53rd birthday would be with the sick and afflicted which the pre-birthday service on Sunday June 12, 2016 was meant for.

The testimonies featured among others Trevor Phillip, a young Australia man visiting with his young wife and child.

In his testimonies, he said he received his healing and motivation by mere watching Emmanuel TV back, and the preaching on the channel changed him and motivated him from a low self-esteemed person that he was, to someone who found his way back to school that he abandoned to someone emerging the best graduating student in the whole of Australia.

His amazing testimony sees the congregation breaking into intermittent applause and copies of his certificates as well as letters of commendations were also displayed.

Next was Stanley K. Amadi, a popular Nigerian [Nollywood] actor and movie director, who gave testimony of how his wife who had been suffering chronic pains was healed the previous day, and was giving praises in church to the admiration of many.

Several others who said they were introduced to Emmanuel TV by friends and families, also gave testimonies of how they received healing and they were only in Nigeria to give thanks to Prophet TB Joshua and God Almighty.

The service was conducted in English and interpreted in French and Spanish, while those who could not speak any of the three major international languages, spoke in the local or their country languages that are interpreted to the three international languages aforementioned.

Another Nigerian, Chief Mrs. Regina Illoh, who resides in Abuja, gave testimony of how she was miraculously healed by the Man of God, Prophet TB Joshua during the special healing service on Saturday of her chronic pains that she has been suffering from for years.

The testimonies were not just mere words, but were supported by video evidences of how the people giving testimonies looked like before, and to those that were brought to the church for healing of how they looked prior to the healing.

She narrated how she had gone abroad to find solutions which she could not get. After yet more testimonies, the congregation started rising from there seat, an indication that perhaps something was about to happen, which was true when the celebrant, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua walked into the church that was filled to capacity with everyone at about 3.05 pm.

After few minutes of sermon, a loud ‘happy birthday to you’ but a sax man brought everyone in unison to their feet singing, clapping and dancing with the celebrant.

Without mincing words, he reminded the congregation that the celebration is all about the sick and as such, the special healing will continue with breakthrough.

Sometimes, it looks comical when healing started and lasted till about 5.25 when he called for a 10 minutes break.

By 5.53 pm, the Prophet appeared again and sermon resumes till 6.53 pm when prayers started and by 7 pm, there was joyous chaos-when the Man of God asked for prayer to defeat and send out ‘demons’, with men and women starting to scream from every corner of the church shouting for them to be delivered.

Many heavily well-dressed men and women of both whites and blacks crying for help and from different parts of world confessing of the evils they had committed in the past. Whilst the ‘madness’ lasted, others screamed for them to be too.

However, during his sermon, Prophet TB Joshua lamented that his only limitation is that he cannot physically and personal attend to everyone that needs his attention for spiritual healing and ministration.

He called on viewers wherever they were around the world to believe through the telecast on Emmanuel TV, that whatever their problems are, that they should receive healing.

Like my minders told me, there were over 100 countries represented at the June 12, 2016 birthday celebration of the Founder/General Overseer. Before the final rounds of prayers at 7.32 pm, the groups from Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Paraguay, Greece and Russia requested for the prophet to come over to their countries for crusade.

For the several accommodation providers and vendors around Ikotun town, the headquarters of the SCOAN, it was always like this for several years until the unfortunate incident of building-collapse that killed many pilgrims and several injured, leading to the scaled back of spiritual and healing activities that is gradually returning.

By all accounts, close to 50,000 foreigners visited Nigeria in the last one week, with many of them travelling for 48 hours just to get into country for the celebration of the prophet’s birthday.

Without doubt, 90 per cent of all the visitors of Synagogue are guests with purchasing capacity of staying in 3 star to 5 star hotels, which suggests that such facilities are needed around the church that would ultimately generates revenue for the government and jobs for Nigerians.

Tourism And Culture Ministry Gives Support To Seychellois Artist

Seychellois artist Channel Alphonse has received a wide range of specialized equipment and arts materials which will enable him to create more works of art, a promise made and delivered by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Mr Alphonse made this request recently to the Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St.Ange a few months ago when the latter visited his workshop, located in the Port Glaud district.

Minister St.Ange presented the artist with this donation a few days before the New Year at his residence, where he also runs a small souvenir shop. Attending the short handing over ceremony was the principal secretary for culture Benjamine Rose, chief executive of the National Arts Council Jimmy Savy and family members of Mr Alphonse.
Though he has a speech impairment, Mr Alphonse has never let his disability affect his creativity. For a while now, he has been showing his creativity through the locally made handicrafts.

Minister St.Ange commended the artist for being able to create works of art ‘Made in Seychelles’ and for not selling those imported that have no feel of Seychelles whatsoever. He added that more Seychellois artists should be producing locally made art works.

“We need to support you because you are doing a great job which in return is a plus for our island’s tourism industry. Today, I commend you for your work and your devotion towards it,” said Minister St.Ange.
He added that his ministry not only focuses on tourism establishments and our ‘Seychelles Brand’ but also on the culture side of the industry.
During one of his door to door visits to stay connected with the industry at large, Minister St.Ange stopped at Mr Alphonse’s workshop, saw his art works and appreciated his efforts in creating local products for the tourism market.

Since the artist was requesting for help from the ministry, we decided to support him in continuing to create more quality locally made products of greater quality, Minister St.Ange added.

He said Seychelles has unique style handicrafts which we must encourage our artists to create ‘Made in Seychelles’ items as these are what visitors to our shores are looking for.

Also speaking Mr Savy said the National Arts Council is happy to have been of assistance to Mr Alphonse and will continue to support all artists.



Sixth Carnaval International De Victoria Set For April 22-24

Seychelles Tourism Board has confirmed the dates of the 2016 edition of the island’s Carnaval International de Victoria, the event set to continue to bring together the different cultures and people from around the world to one place.

Dubbed as the ‘carnival of carnivals’, Carnaval International de Victoria, now going in its sixth year will be held from April 22 to 24.

“Nothing is more uniting, and nothing promotes social cohesion more than ‘festivals’ to which all people contribute” said Minister Alain St.Ange, the island’s Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture following discussions with Claire Holder of the Notting Hill Carnival of the UK on their participation once again. Minister St.Ange announced that the Celebration of “National Unity” will be the theme of Carnival 2016 in Seychelles.

This spectacular event held over three days in the heart of the Seychelles capital Victoria was baptised under the theme ‘the melting pot of cultures’.

The carnival has since 2011 received great visibility with the representatives from top media houses coming from Europe, Middle East, Americas, Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Over the past five years, the carnival has been known to be the biggest cultural manifestation in Seychelles, bringing together the best carnivals of the world to its shores such as the Brazilian group, the Notting Hill Carnival Roadshow Company of the UK , Düsseldorf carnival of Germany, the Italy Carnival, the Indonesian Carnival to name but a few. Cultural Troupes from the Community of Nations have also descended on the islands to parade alongside with delegations of the best carnivals of the world.

The carnival celebrated its fifth anniversary last year where again top international dignitaries graced the three-day event with their presence.

In discussions with the Seychelles Tourism Board prior to confirming the dates for the 2016 edition of the carnival Minister Alain St.Ange said that many nations have jumped on the tourism ‘bandwagon’ and tourism represents an integral and important element of broader economic and social development policy. But what differentiates one nation from another is, among other things, the quality and value derived from the attractions, both natural and man-made.

The Seychelles International Carnival should therefore be designed to aim at the ‘spectacularisation’ of the culture and heritage of the Seychelles Islands because tourists often demand ‘authentic’ exhibitions of culture and lifestyles which are considerably different from their own. The Carnival should also aim to express and showcase the modernity of the Seychelles without any loss of the charm of its traditional values and history.

“Every year we spend time searching for the Soul of Seychelles through the Eyes of Carnival. We know carnivals of festivals remain a motivation of economic activity through the cultural and artistic creations and the general impact on infrastructure provisions.

We also know that during carnival time our country benefits of the visitor expenditure multiplier effect in the fields of food production, catering, hospitality, hotels, crafts and souvenir production” Minister St.Ange said adding that cultural contacts are seen to be strong drive and magnet for world peace and the perceived roles of the Seychelles in that process is set to be more appreciated as the more and more countries use the Seychelles cultural event to showcase their own culture and develop relationships with other nations from the Community of Nations.

The Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria continues to establish a close correlation between carnival attractions that bring together the arts, culture, history and heritage of Seychelles as it works in tandem with other countries who are proud of their own culture to showcase to the world media the unity through diversity and this immaterial of the colour of the skin, religious beliefs and political affiliation.

“Today we know that the Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria has carved itself a unique place in the culture of Carnival, in that our carnaval invites the world to participate. There is no doubt that the Carnival has become an important feature in the calendrical cycle of tourism in Seychelles. However we also know that our carnaval needs to be more grounded in the history and culture of Seychelles, which Seychelles invites the world to experience. This we shall be working on for the coming edition in April” said Minister St.Ange as he went on to explain that tourists today want a more inter-active experience in which they are also immersed in the culture and history of the destination and are able to experience the story of the Seychellois.

“This can be done through Carnaval and is consistent with the underlying concept of “Searching for the Soul of Seychelles through the Eyes of Carnival” which simply means that the Carnaval must be used to tell the story of Seychelles and its people through arts, design and performance of themes that are uniquely Seychellois. We are a melting pot culture in so many different ways and meaning can be given to this through the “Eyes of Carnival”.

Through the carnaval the celebration of our very own diversity would resonate with the rest of the world where there are so many conflicts and ethnic tensions, the resolution of which has defeated most politicians, campaigners, institutions etc. The reality is that globalisation has turned the world into such a melting pot, that no assumptions can be made about ethnicity – everyone has a touch of somebody else in their DNA” Minister Alain St.Ange said.

The Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria remains a simple celebration of diversity and is a very important catalyst for conflict resolution and togetherness, and an instrument for telling the history of globalisation as it impacts on tourism destinations.

“You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one…this is why we are inviting our partner countries, International Carnivals, Cultural Troupes from the Community of Nations and also from the Seychelles itself all government ministries, non-government organisations, the business community and tourism trade partners to take part in the upcoming sixth Carnaval International de Victoria” Minister Alain St.Ange said.