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.

Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls – A Tourism Phoenix Set To Rise

The state-of-the-art Victoria Falls International Airport, built by a Chinese firm, is already proving its potential as a premier destination for airlines from various countries.

The airport was built by China Jiangsu International Economic and Technical Cooperation Group and commissioned by President Mugabe in November last year.

While it is important that the new-look airport is a symbol of the progress being made in Zimbabwe, it significantly represents the progressive relations between the country and China.

It is a sample of what can be achieved in other areas of Zimbabwe’s economic revival, as the Asian economic giant has since indicated its willingness to help the country in all aspects.

Well, the good economic and political relations between China and Zimbabwe cannot be in doubt, as they have been well rooted in mutual trust and win-win cooperation.

What is now critical is to take these relations forward and make them start benefiting people from both sides.

And there is no doubt that establishments such as the Victoria Falls International Airport will help bring the benefits to the grassroots.

A few months after its commissioning, international airlines are already stampeding to land at the airport.

The end result is that more tourists will eventually flock to Victoria Falls from all over the world, as the new airport can now accommodate planes of different sizes and shapes.

Ethiopian Airlines has already started flying directly to Victoria Falls from Addis Ababa en-route to Gaborone, Botswana, while South African Airways has unveiled a bigger plane, an Airbus A330-200, for the route.

Kenyan Airways, Emirates, Qatar and RwandAir have also announced they will be flying directly to Victoria Falls.

Etihad has a code share with British Airways to fly to the world acclaimed tourism destination, while Lufthansa has a similar arrangement with South African Airways.

This is in addition to other airlines that have been flying to the premier tourist destination like British Airways, South African Airways, ComAir, Air Namibia and Air Zimbabwe.

For many years, the Victoria Falls has been touted as critical to Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround, but its potential has been suppressed.

Now, the proverbial “phoenix” is set to rise, thanks to the Chinese firm for reconstructing the airport to international standards.

There is no doubt that China Jiangsu International did an exceptional job and managed to exhibit well the spirit that characterises China’s rise from poverty a few years ago to a moderately rich society.

The construction and refurbishment of the airport was made possible by a $150 million concessional loan facility provided to Zimbabwe by the China Export and Import Bank in 2012.

The civil engineering works began in 2013, resulting in the construction of a new four-kilometre long and 60 metres wide runway, an international terminal building, a fire station, control tower and installing of state-of-the-art specialist aviation equipment.

The old airport was also renovated and will now serve as the domestic terminal building.

President Mugabe was so impressed by the work done by China Jiangsu International, which he said would enhance cooperation between Zimbabwe and China.

“China Jiangsu International, the Chinese contractor engaged on this project, met our requirements,” he said while commissioning the new airport.

[By Lovemore Chikova, Zimbabwe Herald]

UNWTO: Almost 500 Million International Tourists visited EU In 2016

International tourist arrivals to the European Union increased by 4% in 2016, reaching almost 500 million or 40% of the world’s total. This preliminary result is included in the first release of the ‘European Union Short-Term Tourism Trends’, a regular monitoring of EU tourism by the World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] in the framework of the cooperation with the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs [DG GROWTH] of the European Commission [EC].

Despite many challenges facing Europe in 2016, tourism has once again shown extraordinary strength and resilience, reinforcing its contribution to economic growth, job creation and social wellbeing in the European Union (EU-28).

The 28 countries of the EU boasted a solid growth in international tourist arrivals of above 4% in 2016, exceeding the world’s average growth rate, and increasing by 21 million to 499 million.

2016 was the 7th consecutive year of sustained growth for the EU-28 following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis, with 107 million more tourists than the pre-crisis level of 2008.

“Tourism is today one of the key pillars of the EU strategy for jobs and inclusive growth. UNWTO is very pleased to be working alongside the European Commission in monitoring international tourism trends, advance product development and sustainable tourism in Europe”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.