Nigeria To Host UNWTO CAF African Tourism Ministers Meeting In 2018

Nigeria on Wednesday won the right to host, in 2018, the 61st meeting of African Ministers in charge of Tourism, tagged the UN World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] Commission for Africa [CAF].

Nigeria won the hosting right by acclamation following the presentation of a five-minute video, entitled ”Simply Nigeria”, to delegates at the on-going 59th edition of the UNWTO CAF Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

A said compelling video, which highlighted Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and tourism destinations, was greeted by a prolonged applause.

Responding, the Chairman of the UNWTO Commission for Africa and Zimbabwean Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr Walter Nzembi, said: ”Procedurally, when a member state offers its destination for the host of the next CAF, we all put that request to a test, do I take the applause of the Minister’s presentation to mean your approval of Nigeria as next destination call?”

The question was greeted by a more resounding applause, confirming Nigeria as the host of the 2018 meeting.

Making a case for Nigeria’s bid, which was launched at the 58th edition of the UNWTO CAF Meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in 2015, the Minister said it presents an opportunity for the country of almost 200 million people ”to showcase our rich cultural heritage and to promote Nigeria as a leisure and business destination”.

He described Nigeria as a ”fascinating country” which previously hosted the UNWTO CAF Meeting in 2003, 2008 and 2012, in addition to hosting the Second World Festival of Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in 1977.

Alhaji Mohammed said Nigeria is a country of peaceful and hospitable people, and that the 2018 UNWTO CAF Meeting will be a practical demonstration of the government’s commitment to developing the tourism sector as an alternative source of revenue.

Earlier in the day, he told the delegates that the Nigerian government has defeated the Boko Haram insurgency, noting that occasional attacks on soft targets by the insurgents who are now on the run do not amount to a resurgence of the group.

Just for the record, the meeting is not for buyers or travel brokers that can draw traffic to Nigeria, but a gathering of tourism administrators at the ministerial level.

By Segun Adeyemi [Addis Ababa, Ethiopia]

Flights Return To Abuja Airport After Runway Repairs

The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport has reopened six weeks after it was closed for urgent repairs on Tuesday and Ethiopian Airlines was to land a brand new Airbus A350-900 to mark the official reopening of the airport.

When Abuja Airport was closed on March 8 for repairs on its runway, flight operations were diverted to Kaduna International Airport; Ethiopian Airlines was the first to land its new Boeing 787 in Kaduna.

The airline, being the only international carrier that agreed to operate at Kaduna, had maintained consistent operation at the airport in the last six weeks.

Meanwhile, Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, had also requested that the airline maintained its Kaduna operation even after the reopening of Abuja airport.

The runway at Nnamdi Azikiwe airport was supposed to have been upgraded in 2002 – it was built in 1982 and was only meant to have a 20-year lifespan.

Runsewe Thumbs Up Ambode On Lagos Culture Board

The Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture [NCAC] Otunba Segun Runsewe has praised the foresight of Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode for inaugurating a new board for Arts and Culture in Lagos, noting that the effort is not only timely but the right way to revive culture and show example to other states.

Runsewe particularly commended the quality of membership of the Culture board and urged the members not to disappoint the Governor and Nigerians in general who believes that Lagos holds the soul and spirit of Culture and Creative Arts emancipation and direction in Nigeria.

The new Lagos Culture and Arts board inaugurated by Governor Ambode include, Polly Alakija as Chairman, Joke Silva, Film Maker Kunle Afolayan, Visual Artist Kolade Oshinowo, Nike Okundaye, High Chief Mobee of Badagry, Patrick Yodenu Mobee, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Adeshina Adeyemi and Director of Culture Lagos Council of Arts and Culture, Saidat Otulana.

In a chat with select media in Abuja, the NCAC DG disclosed that he would work with Lagos Governor and other Governors to change the face of Arts and Culture narratives in Nigeria, adding “We at NCAC note the Lagos Governor’s commitment, dedication and encouragement for the revival and sustenance of the Creative Arts and Culture which is without measure.

Meanwhile, NCAC will soon roll out programmes that will not only compliment the desire of state governors in Nigeria to revive the arts and culture sector. but will also show practically how Arts and Culture can generate jobs and revenue”.

The NCAC DG challenged the Arts and Culture professionals to live up the billings by using the window offered by Governor Ambode to tell a new story about Nigeria’s Creative arts and Culture evolution, history and also transform same to huge benefits to Nigerians, noting that “Joke Silva, Kunle Afolayan, Nike Okundaye and others on that board are tested hands and therefore cannot fail us”.

Zimbabwe Postpones Sanganai Travel Expo To September

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA], has announced preparations for this year’s edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo to be held in September after getting funding from government.

Karikoga Kaseke, ZTA Chief Executive told journalists that government had committed to fund the premier tourism event and also pay all the debts that were accrued during the previous edition of the event.

“Officials from the ministry of Finance did not only commit to fund Sanganai 2017 but they have already disbursed funds for us to pay all the service providers who supplied goods and services to Sanganai last year but were still owed by the ZTA”, he said.

Kaseke pointed out that the shifting of dates to September was necessitated by the need for adequate preparations.

“More than one third of the exhibition space has already been taken by both local and international exhibitors, a good sign that the business world continue to see value in the fair. A number of foreign exhibitors have already registered, notably those representing South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique,” he said.

This comes as the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism [ZCT] president Tich Hwingwiri said the expo was an essential component of the country’s overall marketing strategy and the possibility of its cancellation had been a major concern for all travel and tourism operators in the country.

“Over the years, the entire sector has rallied behind the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA] at this event and it is essential for this year’s expo to take place as scheduled, and for maximum effort to be made to bring in valuable and worthwhile tourism buyers from across the world,” he said.

“Operators from across the entire sector will support through participation and through assisting in making the expo as representative and informative as possible for the buyers and also for members of the public who visit on the open days,” Hwingwiri added.

This was after Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality on Monday said the country will be hosting the annual Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel Expo as initially planned, despite an earlier announcement by the ZTA that the premier event had been cancelled due to a serious funding crisis.

“The government is very aware that Sanganai/Hlanganani travel expo has grown to become the second most popular tourism fair on the continent, after Indaba Travel Expo in South Africa and that the expo has transformed into the biggest national tourism fair since 1980, becoming the greatest and most effective marketing and promotional tool for the tourism and travel related industry,” Mzembi said.

Launched in 1982, the fair is the successor of Shanyai/Vakatshani, the Zimbabwe International Travel Expo that was held annually at the Harare International Conference Centre.

United Airlines Boss, “We Are Sorry, But We Stand By Our Staff “

The Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, cannot seem to make up his mind over an incident where a passenger was dragged off a flight in a bloody mess.

The airline boss issued an apology to all of its passengers over how this whole fiasco played out, but then he also said he “emphatically” stands behind his employees. So which is it, Oscar?

As Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was preparing for take-off, cabin crew asked if four passengers would voluntarily give up their seats, because there were United Airlines employees that had to be at work the next day.

Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was preparing for take-off at O’Hare International Airport when cabin crew informed the passengers that the flight was overbooked. Nobody volunteered and so four passengers were picked at random.

When they approached an older passenger to ask if he’d give up his seat, he said he could not, saying he was a doctor and had to be in Louisville in the morning to see patients. The agent said if he refused to leave, she would call security, but he refused to disembark from his paid seat.

This caused a verbal exchange which lead to one of the officers unbuckling his seat belt and yanking him from his seat and then throwing him to the floor. The passenger was dragged by his arms down the aisle.

His eyeglasses were sliding down his face, his shirt was up over his midriff, and he hit his head as he was being dragged down the aisle.

According to United Airlines’ CEO, the passenger was being “defiant,” so he had to be forcibly removed.

A witness said all the passengers on the flight were quite disturbed.

The man somehow got back on the plane, saying that he had to get home. He had to be placed on a stretcher to be removed.

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, one of the officers did not follow protocol and has been placed on leave while a review is underway.

After the man was taken away, the four United employees boarded the flight.