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Tourism-Travel-Leisure-Immigration News Undiluted Vol. 2 Issue 19, December 2013 ISSN: 2276-8319

$4.00, N500.00

Africa: Commonwealth, World Bank, Launch Book On Tourism


publication that explores how tourism can facilitate growth, create jobs and improve livelihoods in small island developing states was launched in Washington DC on 12 October 2013. The launch took place during the Small States Forum at the World Bank headquarters. The book, 'Tourism and Inclusive Growth in Small Island Developing Countries' was produced jointly by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the World Bank. The book provides deep analysis of the direct and indirect ways through which gains from tourism are achieved, discusses the main challenges facing the industry, and proposes recommendations for policy action. It uses data from Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles and other small states. Speaking during the launch event, Dr Mark Hampton, one of the co-authors, said one of the main challenges they found during the study was lack of quality data on tourism activities in small states. "There is serious need to build credible statistical information about tourism resources, expenditure and benefits to allow for robust evidencebased policy decision making. That will help policymakers to look beyond headline figures of the number of tourists who visited the country in a given period, to a more specific examination of what the numbers mean to the economy," said Dr Hampton. He also said that the allinclusive cruise ship model of tourism common in most small island states is not creating enough jobs for local people and linkages with the national economies, as the cruise ships provide most of the services on board. "One way to address this is the need for a policy rethink on the strategy, and encourage innovation about other options for tourism development, including a proper audit of other tourist attractions beyond sun, sea and sand," Dr Hampton said. Seychelles Finance Minister Pierre Laporte, who also spoke at the launch, said it is important for tourism to create linkages with other sectors of the economy and local businesses if its full potential is to be realised.

L-R;-: Princess Miriam Onuoha, Board Member NTDC, Sally Mbanefo, Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Minister of Tourism, Ghana at the just concluded World Travel Market 2013 in London.

Nigeria Makes New Tourism Statement At WTM In London By Lucky Onoriode George [Who Was In London]


n a bold move seen as both timely and welcome by tourism stakeholders, Nigeria gave a new twist to her participation at the World Travel Market [WTM]. The country, for the first time, showed the world her true tourism potentials at the just concluded 2013 edition of the WTM in London, United Kingdom. This is a major departure from the old blind participation era marred with uncoordinated and poorly targeted marketing overtures of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corpo-

ration [NTDC]. For the first time, real and genuine tourism practitioners were on ground and making Nigeria a more responsible and serious upcoming tourism destination. In an exclusive interview with and African Travel Times magazine, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, Director General of NTDC said that “Our cultural tourism assets are our strength and therefore, must be promoted effectively to attract those that are interested in what we have to sell.” According to her, further research and study still needs to be done to determine those that are

interested in our cultural potentials, and their travel patterns to enable practitioners in Nigeria adequately prepare for such people. Meanwhile, Nigeria is negotiating regional partnership with other West African nations, just as it showcased its tourism products and potential to over 150 member-countries that participated at the 2013 WTM. Mbanefo said she has availed herself the opportunity to negotiate regional collaboration in tourism development. “It has been quite interesting; the traffic inflow has been very good. It is not just Nigerians that are coming in here; other Af-

rican countries have been coming in and are very interested in things we have to offer”, she said. “A lot of things; our tourism assets, our people are most important assets, our warm, friendly and hospitable people, our tourism sites, art, music and entertainment tourism, festivals and culture”, she added. In attendance were; Rivers State, represented by Sam Dede, Director General, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency, Cross River State by Gabe Onah, Chairman, Calabar Carnival, representative of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN].



December 2003



Publisher’s Note Lucky Onoriode George

Runsewe And The Burden Of Deceit


f there was anyone or public officer that was so much loved by the media in the last seven years, it must be Otunba Segun Runsewe, former Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] who was sacked as the boss of the tourism agency in May 2013. Without doubt, he was a man of the media...he sought attention [and] with his money; no newspaper front page was too expensive; neither were any prime time bulletins. Many newspaper editors were said to be on his pay roll, so also were series of media consultants. Whilst these were going on, those of us who could summon the courage approached him and

pointed to his excesses, providing overwhelming evidences that the media here are reckless and they are only after his handouts, but he never listened. During his time as the boss of the NTDC, he started several programmes which include, an Airport Car Hire project, Navigator, Airport Desk/offices for the agency and many that I cannot now recollect. R e g r e t t a b l y, t h e aforementioned projects only lasted for as long as the media were paid to report them. Today, Otunba who was so much loved and praised to the high heavens by several media, especially the tourism/travel sections of major newspapers in Nigeria, is now a forgotten

fellow. Apart from the failed projects which I believe he must be called and queried for, my dear friend is also said to be using the new board of the corporation to get a refund of the sum of N200 million he purportedly spent during his time as director general of the agency. He was also accused of holding back documents of the agency’s landed properties during his handover to Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, the new boss of the corporation. To many travel and tourism analysts, the events unfolding sound comical because as the boss of the NTDC, he never recognised and respected a constituted board of the agency. Just as he fought every minister that he

served under, he terrorised and chastised all board members with scorpion and chased them away with the help of the media. To hear that Otunba of all people is enlisting the services of board members and that some were even said to have been praising him for a successful tenure out of ignorance is even more insulting to the nascent industry. Without doubt too, Runsewe’s recklessness in office was full of intimidation and arrogance. In fact, he brags about his closeness to the government; as well as the inner caucus of the ruling party. Till date, the manner of his sack from office remains a puzzle to many tourism practitioners and some are praying not to have such a head for the tourism agency again.

Eko Hotel Out With Signature Brand Page 4

Nollywood Stars to Own Calabar Carnival Band

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CarniRiv, Symbol Of Unity For Us – Dede Page 16

Publisher/Editor Lucky Onoriode George Winner, European Commission Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalists Reporting Development, Human Rights and Democracy Researchers Richard Debrah, Ike Uchechukwu, Adebukola Adewusi

Contributing Editors Kola Raji, Kirk Leigh, Bayo Adesina, Emeka Umejie

African Travel Times Is A Publication Of Tourism Today Communications Office 40 Mike Akhigbe Way, Jabi Federal Capital Territory [FCT], Abuja Contact: P. O. Box 6250, Festac Town, Lagos. Tel: +234-8033546608, 08057984769 E-mail: Website:


December 2013


ko Hotel & Suites Group, the prestigious hotel of international standard in Lagos, has announced the opening of Eko Signature with 171 rooms to its existing 654 rooms at Eko Hotel, Eko Suites and Eko Gardens respectively. The Director, Sales and Marketing, Eko Signature, Mrs. Iyadunni Gbadebo disclosed this at a press briefing in Lagos recently. "With a bold contemporary style and additional 171 exquisitely furnished 5-star suites, Eko Hotels Group now becomes the largest hotel in West Africa with 825 rooms", Gbadebo said. She said further, "Each room has an elegant modern setting, with a contemporary European touch. Eko Signature rooms are tastefully designed and furnished; from the rooms our guests can have the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, city activities and the Kuramo Lagoon". "As the name implies, Eko Signature is a hotel that can compete with any international hotels at all levels. It is pertinent to state that Nigeria is a big country, and there is need to meet up with the demand with the availability of hotels with high standard facilities like the ones in the hotel. "With the opening of this unique hotel, I can attest to the fact that with the facilities at Eko Signature, our customers are bound to taste and feel the friendly calm of unpretentious luxury", Gbadebo added. Eko Signature comprises of 146 Club Suites, 9 Premium Suites, 15 Signature Suites and one Presidential Suite. Aside from the new 171 rooms, the hotel had other facilities like a bar, six meeting rooms and one boardroom with state-ofthe-art presentation technology, butler service, room service, spa and library. Available in all the luxurious rooms are central air-conditioning with control unit; high speed WIFI Internet access; Cisco guest interface, NIMO enabled Televisions and Telephones. The Club Suites have 42" LCD Flat Screen Televisions, Premium and Signature Suites with 55" LED Flat Screen Televisions; all suites with White marbled bathrooms installed with both hand and fixed powered showers provided by the popular designer Pascal Morabito from Paris. Also all the suites have King size bed with soft bedding's; espresso coffee machines; Mini bar;

Presidential Suite

Eko Hotel Out With Signature Brand Eko Hotel Out With Signature Brand Safe box; the finest European linens, exquisite seating area that provides an ideal place to work, relax and entertain guests. "Our Presidential Suite covering 202.87 square metres have a provision for waiting area; kitchenette; dinning section; library; guest toilet; 84" inch LED television with Nemo application, two living areas overlooking the view of the lagoon and decorated furniture by Philippe Hurel", Gbadebo disclosed. The director of sales and marketing confirmed that for the smooth take off of the hotel, the management of Eko Signature has appointed qualified, experienced and welltrained personnel that understand the hospitality business environment to offer excellence services to all guests. Gbadebo said, "For efficient and satisfactory service delivery, all members of staff of Eko Signature, have undergone 3 months on ABC aspects of training; that cut across Altitude training, Business training and Customer service training". "Eko Signature customers are bound to meet our highly innovated and very friendly staff that will make their stay a pleasant experience, he concluded.

Eko Signature Lounge

Club Suite


December 2013


Marriott Signs Letter of Intent to Acquire Protea Hotel Group's Hotel Operations and Brands Liyel Imoke, Governor, Cross River State.

New Code Of Conduct, Ethics For Tourism In Cross River State

By Ike Uchechukwu


takeholders in Cross River tourism Sector have agreed to comply with the new regulation for Licensing of Operators of Tourism facilities by Tourism Standards Authority [TOSA] under the auspices of the Cross River State Tourism Bureau [CRSTB] In a forum held at Joranny Hotel Calabar Tuesday, stakeholders comprising of Hoteliers, Tour Operators, Fast Foods, Quick Service Restaurants, Travel Agencies, Night Clubs amongst others agreed to adhere to the new Licensing regulation bothering on certificate of incorporation from CAC, tax clearance certificates certificate of hygiene/fire safety among other requirements. Under the new regulations, TOSA under the auspices of CRSTB is saddled with the responsibility of licensing and regulating all operators of tourism facilities as well as give direction to their modus operandi in the industry. According to the Regulation; section1; 2;1 states that “upon declaration of the licensing day no person or persons shall operate a tourism facility in Cross River State, unless such facility has been inspected and licensed by the Cross River State Tourism Bureau. The bureau shall grant a license for operating tourism facility or service to a person or persons not disqualified under these regulations or any enactment from holding a license as it deems fit and proper” In a chat with newsmen, Barr Wilfred Usani, Special Adviser on Tourism Development, said the forum was convened to formally present to the stakeholders the “new regime” of license regulation adding that what they do not want is an industry that is not regulated as it would only be detrimental to the growth and development of the economy. “Licensing is the bond of partnership between the government and private sector investors, this

meeting is principally to disclose to them the format of how the partnership we started in June this year will work for the good of the sector”, Usani said According to the Special Adviser, the forum is also to make sure that private sector investors are acquainted with the policy development directives of the state in which they have become leaders, fundamental key players in the development of tourism and they must recognize themselves as pivotal partners in driving the industry. He further explained that the forum became imperative to give credence and demonstrate the seriousness of the new regulation and also allay the fears and scepticism of stakeholders so that they can have an open mind towards the partnership because it is only by working together that they can build the economy of the state. “Our intention as government is to grow this sector and we cannot do it without the private sector investors who are the owners of the visible enterprise on ground” the Special Adviser stated. In his remark, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, Chairman, Nigeria Association of Tour Operators [NATOPS], urged stakeholders to take the new regulations seriously so as to ensure that the aim and objectives of the sector is realized in the state. On his part, Mr. Ernest Asuquo, Chairman, Association of Fast Food and Confectioneries of Nigeria [AFCON] Cross River/Akwa Ibom Chapter, said that said there was a lot fear and misconception at beginning because they had a notion that government will trick them into paying more revenue but contrary to that everyone seems satisfied because they understand the mission of the state government. We cannot do it on our own; neither can the governments do it alone, it has to be by way of partnership “he said

Protea Hotel, Asokoro


arriott International, Inc. recently signed a letter of intent with Protea Hospitality Holdings of Cape Town, South Africa to acquire Protea Hotels’ brands and its management business that operates or franchises 116 hotels across three brands with 10,184 rooms in South Africa and six other Sub-Saharan African countries. The transaction would nearly double Marriott’s distribution in Africa to more than 23,000 rooms, and would also provide Marriott with a proven operational platform and leadership team to accelerate Marriott’s expansion plans and solidify its leadership position in the dynamic and growing African hotel market. Protea Hotels, founded in 1984, manages, franchises and leases hotels across the Protea Hotels brand (104 hotels), comprising a full and diverse range of outstanding hotels and resorts; the award-winning lifestyle boutique Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! brand (2 hotels); and the superior deluxe African Pride Hotels collection (10 hotels). In addition to its industryleading 80 hotels in South Africa, Protea Hotels has a significant presence in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International, said, “Africa has significant untapped potential for travel and tourism, both as a destination and source of new global travelers. The continent’s GDP is anticipated to grow at over five percent annually over the next several years which we expect will raise more people into the emerging middle class. With the Pro-

tea Hotels acquisition, our expanded footprint should allow us to become the first choice of Africa’s rapidly growing population of young, sophisticated travelers, and drive loyalty to our Marriott Rewards program both within Africa and globally. Protea Hotels enjoys unparalleled brand recognition in Africa, and our combined portfolio of Protea Hotels and current Marriott International brands would create a platform for accelerated growth and new job growth in South Africa and across the continent.” Alex Kyriakidis, president of Marriott International for the Middle East and Africa, said, “The development cycle for opening new hotels in Africa is typically long due to the challenges posed by emerging infrastructure, so joining forces with Protea Hotels and their highly respected management team is the strongest way to jumpstart Marriott’s footprint in Africa. The Marriott Middle East and Africa management team can deliver value and greater growth for Protea’s hotel owners by leveraging these terrific brands, represented by 116 hotels and more than 10,000 rooms in seven countries, with Marriott’s global sales, marketing and development infrastructure. We believe this would also result in more job creation in South Africa and across the continent.” Arthur Gillis, chief executive officer of Protea Hospitality Group, said “Protea Hotels has grown organically to become the largest and leading hotel group in Sub-Saharan Africa. Aligning with a global giant such as Marriott ensures we can realise the Group’s full potential for all of our stakeholders. In Marriott we have found a perfect fit

across culture, values and commitment to industry leadership which will ensure that we remain at the forefront of African hospitality.” The otherwise nonbinding letter of intent includes provisions that the parties will negotiate exclusively with each other. The transaction is subject to completion of due diligence, negotiation and execution of definitive documents, receipt of customary third party and governmental consents and approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions for transactions of this kind that the parties expect will be included in the definitive transaction documents. The proposed terms of the transaction are not being disclosed at this time. The parties stated that they plan to sign definitive agreements by yearend 2013 and the transaction could close in the first three months of 2014. In any event, Marriott does not expect the transaction would have a material impact on its 2014 results. Marriott International, Inc. [NASDAQ: MAR] is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with nearly 3,900 properties in 72 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $12 billion in fiscal year 2012. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 18 brands. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at, and for the latest company news, visit


December 2013


Nigerian Aliu Emerges ICAO President By Joe Obi


istory was made today [Monday, November 18th, 2013] in Montreal, Canada as President Goodluck Jonathan's transformation of the aviation sector received the endorsement of the international community as the International Civil Aviation Organisation [ICAO] unanimously elected a Nigerian and the first African, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu as the President of the ICAO. The election, of Dr Aliu whose term commences on Januray 1, 2014 through December 31st 2016, took place at the ICAO Council Chambers. The Proposal of the Nigerian representative was made by his Singaporean counterpart, Ng Teachiou and seconded by the representative from Saudi Arabia. All the voting members of the council, were called Country after country to voice their position on the candidature of Aliu and they unanimously declared their support for the Nigerian candidate. This was swiftly followed by a unanimous vote and declaration of Dr Aliu as the new President of the Council by then outgoing President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez . His declaration as the new ICAO helmsman was greeted with a thunderous ovation and congratulations from fellow Council members. Gonzalez who presided over the election with the Secretary General Raymond Benjamin, expressed satisfaction with the conduct and called on all members to extend the same level of

cooperation given to him to the new President. He extolled the virtues of Aliu, expressing confidence that the Council and ICAO will grow from strength to strength under the new President. Meanwhile, Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah has congratulated President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the government and people of Nigeria as well as Dr Aliu on his election as the new President of ICAO. Oduah stated that Aliu”s election, the first African to head the international civil aviation body is a landmark event. She said the victory should be dedicated to the President who nominated and supported the country's candidature all the way from beginning to the end. '' The election of Dr Aliu is another historic moment for Nigeria's aviation sector, coming shortly after the historic signing of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with the State of Israel. I want to dedicate this victory to Mr President, who not only nominated Dr Aliu for the position, but also gave his full support for his candidature from beginning to the end. This victory would not have been possible without his full interest in Nigeria's aspiration to lead the global aviation body. My congratulations go to him, the government and people of Nigeria and Dr Aliu himself'', the Minister declared. Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Dr George Ossi who led the Nigerian delegation and witnessed the historic moment inside the Cham-

Stella Oduah, Aviation Minister

bers, thanked all member states and Council members for their support and election of Nigeria's candidate, Dr Aliu. ''On behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, the good people of Nigeria and indeed Africa, I wish to thank you all for the support and election of Dr Aliu as the new President of the Council'', he said. He called on the Coun-

cil to continue to support the new President, stressing that ''your cooperation and collaboration with him will ensure that the Council and indeed ICAO as an organisation continues to promote safe, secure, efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable civil aviation globally''. In his acceptance speech, Aliu thanked the President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for nominating him for the position as well as the ''Representatives on the Council and to all member states of the Council for

electing me to the exalted office of President of Council''. He said he felt honoured and humbled by the trust and confidence reposed in him and ''will do everything in my power to justify your confidence''. Aliu who has been Nigerias representative to the World body since 2006, said he was ready for the challenge and will not fail Nigerians and the global aviation Community in ensuring safer, more secure, efficient and sustainable civil aviation industry'' in the world.

Nigeria Approves Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates And Turkish Airlines Flights To Kano


he Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the designation of Emirates and Turkish Airlines to Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. They would join other airlines like Middle East Airlines, Egypt Air to airlift passengers from the city. Media coordinator and spokesman of aviation agencies, Yakubu Dati said Emirates would have to determine when it would start the service in accordance to its own logistics. He said, “There are issues which the airline must have to consider which include safety and security, profitability of the route and so on. On safety and security, we assure the airline and other airlines operating from Kano airport that the airport environment is safe and secure." He noted that the objec-

tive was to transform the air transport sector and make aviation a major revenue earner for airlines, other investors and government, so “it would do whatever is possible to enhance domestic and international airline operation in Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. “We want to boost air transport in Kano and that is why the federal government is investing huge resources to build the international terminal which has met the standards of any good airport facility in the world. Before now a new domestic facility had been built as well as the perishable cargo terminal.” He said that Kano, being major strategic business melting points for the northern region, especially in farm produce was key in the Aviation master plan being driven by the federal government.

He said the construction of the new international terminal would soon start at the Kano airport, adding that all other facilities and equipment needed for seamless air travel at the

newly remodelled international terminal were being installed to make the airport one of the best in Africa and in the world. “Government has lofty plans for the airport in

Kano which explains why apart from the remodelled terminal and world class facilities, work on the new, ultra-modern international terminal will soon commence,” he said.

Tourism, Nigeria’s Gold Mine For Development – Kanayo


ollywood actor, Kanayo O. Kanayo in Abuja has said that tourism was a goal mine for the country to tap in to boost the country’s economy. He said this during a familiarisation tour to the Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and Tourism [NIHOTOUR], that the sector was one of the non oil sectors, which the present administration was focusing attention. Kanayo, who was appointed, board Chairman of NIHOTOUR said that the institution needs to evolve programmes and ideals that would educate Nigerians on the importance of tourism. Commending Alhaji

Munzali Dantata, Director General of the institute, Kanayo promised a good work relation to achieve its core mandate. “From what I have seen on ground, it shows that Nigeria is workable. That we only need to give directions and we can achieve a lot with several departments of the institute,” he said. The Nollywood actor promised that NIHOTOUR would put a lot of programs in place that will help train skilled workers that would drive the tourism sector of the economy in Nigeria, saying that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is redirecting its attention to the non Kanayo O. Kanayo oil sector.

December 2013


Photographs Of Nigeria's Participation At The 2013 World Travel Market In London

L-R: Sally Mbanefo, Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], Dr. DalhatuTafida, Nigerian High Commissioner to UK and Edem Duke, Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation.

Staff of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] at the event

Sally Mbanefo, Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] trying her hands on a 'Talking Drum'.

L-R: Sam Dede, Managing Director, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency, Lucky Onoriode George, Publisher, African Travel Times, Charity Iriobe, MD, Odafane Travels & Tours Ltd and Gabe Onah, Chairman, Cross Rivers State Carnival Commission.

L-R: Chief Tomi Akingbogun, President, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN] with L-R: Sam Dede, Managing Director, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency, Sally Mbanefo, Director General, some tour operators. Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and Chief Tomi Akingbogun, President, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN]

Ayo Olumoko, CEO, Infogem, Lucky Onoriode George, Publisher, African Travel Times and Wole L-R: Alex Afari, Sales & Marketing Officer, Arik Air, London; Ola Wright, a Nigerian Tour Operator and Shadare, Guardian Newspaper. Alwaro Florez, Strategic Partnership Manager.

Sally Mbanefo, Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, Publisher/CEO,

Fibi Ikilama, Director of Marketing and Promotion, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] attending to a visitor at the Nigerian Stand.


December 2013

Photographs of Hotel Owners Forum of Abuja [HOFA] Dinner and Unveiling of it's Compendium held recently at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel & Towers

L-R: Ray Omoh, Representative of the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and the DG's Secretary at the event.

Engr & Mrs. Ekanem Ibok, MD, Ritman Hotels.

His Royal Highness, Sir M.O. Kanu, Ochiriozuo of Arodizougu, Chairman HOFA Board of Trustees with HOFA e

More guests Bola Onigbogi, HOFA Vice President and Mrs Bose Okon, HOFA's Public Relations Officer

Bola Onigbogi, HOFA Vice President, presenting an award to Diamond Bank official

R-L: His Royal Highness, Sir M.O. Kanu, Ochiriozuo of Arodizougu, Chairman HOFA Doard of Trustees, Hig Osasuwa Emasueu, Vice Chairman, HOFA Doard of Trustees and owner of Havista Hotels with a guest

December 2013

Hon. Charles Odedo, Chairman of the occasion with Okany Rose, HOFA Admin Manager

Chief and Mrs. Frank Enekebe, HOFA Treasurer.

Hon. Ali Gwoza, Vice Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, [AMAC] speaking during the event.


gh Chief

Engr. Onofiok Ekong, HOFA President and Andu Afolabi, Visager PR.

L-R: Rose Dimgba, owner Roses Hotel with some guests. Sir Chika Chiejine, HOFA pioneer President and CEO of Savannah Suites, Tony Okoroji, Chairman, Copy Right Society of Nigeria and Engr. Onofiok Ekong, HOFA President.

Bola Onigbogi, HOFA Vice President, presenting an award to SSS Official

Princess Nnenna Nwachukwu, HOFA Financial Secretary and her husband.



December 2013

Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt newly renovated pool.

Okosin, Miss Hospitality With A Mission Globally, tourism is a big business. However in recent years, one of the ways of getting the young ones involved is the creation of programmes such as the various pageants for male and female as a way of spreading the gospel of travel and tourism. Recently, Okosin Blessing Bassey emerged Miss Hospitality and she spoke with Ike Uchechukwu in Calabar. Excerpts:


hat's your name and where are you from? My name is Okosin Blessing Bassey, and I am from Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State. What is the feeling like as a beauty queen? Nothing special, beauty Queens are born not made. What do you intend to achieve as a queen? My main project would be "EDUCATING THE GIRL CHILD". Have you participated in a pageant that you lost before? Yes, I participated in African Village Queen Pageant in 2012. You are also a model; can you tell me more about it?

My dream has always been to be in the limelight, so that I can be an inspiration to many others, most especially the young girls. If you are asked to change one thing in the industry what would that be? To be realistic, I will encourage things that can help ensure continuity in the good projects that are done by Queens during their reign. The system whereby beauty queens fade away after their reign is really disheartening. What are your challenges as a queen? It’s been great I must confess, but also been very challenging. One has to get people to understand the purpose of the port folio, especially when

one is new. Who is your role model? My role model is the first lady of my state Barr [Mrs] Obioma Liyel Imoke. In the next two years, what do you dream of becoming? In two years time, I will float my fashion label; establish a school to groom other young girls who want to be like me and even better. What stands you out from other queens? I comport myself with dignity, poise and elegance. And for one who has been described as a queen must be confident, intelligent, overpowering and all these aforementioned qualities by Gods grace I exhibit.

Okosin Blessing Bassey

December 2013

Some Nollywood Stars

Nollywood Stars To Own Calabar Carnival Band N igerian movie stars have indicated their interest in owning a band in the annual Calabar Carnival. Also, the 2013 edition of the Carnival will take on a more international flavour with more countries such as Brazil, France, Ghana, Rwanda and Egypt indicating that they will be sending bands to the Carnival. This was revealed at a pre-event press conference that took place at

the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort at the weekend. Speaking at the interactive session Governor Liyel Imoke, explained that Calabar Carnival is of tremendous value to Cross River State and Nigeria. “The truth about Nigeria is expressed in Carnival Calabar because it does not discriminate”, the governor explained. Continuing, he said: "This [Carnival Calabar] is the reflection of Nigeria,

the beauty of Nigeria, its uniqueness in design and presentation and like Nollywood, it can change the image of Nigeria. “There is opportunity for a partnership to grow the Carnival and the private sector especially finance houses need to understand and invest in the creative industry because of its potentials." According to him, “The partnership can boost the local economy and pro-


mote the Cross River brand”. On the charity content of Carnival Calabar, Imoke explained that the office of his wife, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke handles it through an array of activities, adding that a lot comes out of it and would want the press to understand it and project it collectively as a brand. He described Carnival Calabar as a perfect brand because of its value. Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, wife of the state governor explained that the 32 Day Calabar fiesta is preceded by a six kilometer HIV/AIDS International Day walk meant to create awareness as well as kick against stigmatization. According to her, there is a series of programmes packaged to raise money for abandoned children, young mothers while the Carnival Calabar Queen is picked as tourism ambassador for the young ones and her responsibility includes visiting schools to advice students’ against premarital sex. Mr. Nzan Ogbe, Special Adviser Governor’s Office, said the carnival has over the years become an iconic product which has attained a global acceptance because people all over the world participate. Ogbe explained that as a variety of activities, it includes charity show, sports, culture, dance, singing and a carnival which is reported to be The Biggest Street Party in Africa which is the icing on the cake. He promised that this year’s festival will be bigger and better than the previous events with participants from Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Cameroon, Rwanda and some West African Countries.

ABC Delights Customers, Opens Cargo Outlet In Aspamda


BC Transport has delighted customers with its refleeting program in coaches and midi-buses. The combined major improvements in road condition nationwide have seen a great number of its loyal customers enjoying shorter travel times: timely departures and early arrivals almost on a daily basis. One striking feature of ABC Transport’s re-fleeting program is the deployment of Super Sleeper coaches for late travellers. Each of the coaches is configured to suit the peculiar needs of late travels, and is equipped with fully-reclinabale seats, comfortable footrests, and toilet facility, spacious seating arrangement, security surveillance cameras onboard, GPRS tracking technology, as well as speed limiters. The Super Sleeper coaches depart Abuja at 4p.m., Gwagwalada at 5p.m, Lokoja at 7p.m., Ibadan at 7.30p.m., Amuwo at 4.30p.m. and Jibowu at 5.30p.m., both in Lagos. The company has also opened another Cargo Express office in Aspamda,

at Block A11, Shop 13, Aspamda South, Balogun, inside Trade Fair, Ojo, Lagos, as part of its cargo expansion plan. This new outlet will support the neighboring cargo outlet at Anambra Plaza, Shop C23, Aspamda North Lagos. In striving to satisfy service demands within Benin City, ABC Transport has opened a more convenient terminal at INE Oil Limited, off Km 8 Benin-Lagos Expressway, Euboumore Village, Edo State, while ABC customers resident within the Lekki-Epe axis can now book for their tickets and send parcels and goods at ABC Cargo, opened outlet at Shop A13, Elegushi Shopping Centre, Opposite Jakande 1st gate, beside International Women Society Centre, Km 15 Lekki-Epe expressway, Lagos.. ABC Cargo Express transports consolidated items of various sizes and weight, and lightweight parcels and documents that require express handling and dispatch. It offers line support for courier/logistics companies on next day priority basis, and terminal-to-terminal

Andrew Okungbowa from Nigeria, Monique Swat from South Africa, with members of the African Travel Award Committee - Sheik Tejan from The Gambia, Dr. Onyeani from USA, Denis Gathanju from Kenya and Gordon Adobe from Ghana

delivery of goods for small and medium-scale businessmen. It also offers corporate customers the alternative of door-to-door delivery on volumes, either by consolidated cargo or direct charter service.

In addition to cargo services, ABC Transport Plc provides tours across the West Coast of Africa, charters, petty cash services, as well as runs a luxurious budget hotel, City Transit Inn, in Utako, Abuja. A

major haulage transporter with Lafarge-WAPCO, Nestle, and United Cement Company, ABC Transport Plc remains the only publicly-quoted road transport company in the Nigerian Stock Exchange.


December 2013

CarniRiv, Symbol Of Unity For Us – Dede

Sam Dede is an academic and one of the top actors that Nigeria has ever produced. He is now the Managing Director of Rivers State Tourism Development Agency. In this interview with Lucky Onoriode George, he articulates his plans with regards to moving the sector to the highest level in the state. Excerpts:


f am right, this is a new terrain for you; what do you envisage would be your major challenges? Definitely, there would be challenges in every new endeavour. The first thing that I noticed when I resumed was that, there was nothing to fall back on. To succinctly put, there was no materials anywhere to work or to enable us perform our primary duties. Having discovered the aforementioned, I had to sit back and draw up a strategic development plan for tourism in Rivers State. Sincerely, at that moment, tourism in the state was nonexistent, because it has completely faded off in the minds of our people unlike in places like Cross River State where tourism is already becoming a daily routine for the people there. To start with, we began a programme of creating awareness of what the sector is all about all over again; not just as a mere visiting exercise, but as a means of livelihood for those that are willing to engaged in any of the subsectors of the tourism industry. Not that we have huge amount to take off, but most importantly, we got the cabinet or the state executive council to approve the new strategic development plan, which we have been trying to implement gradually now. It’s been tough and rough because, coming into a terrain that is not easy flowing as you have in the private sector, where issues can be dealt with much quicker and in expeditious manner. However, in this case you will have to go through a process of bureaucracy and you will also discover that your pen as a director general does not really get every approval for you. Again, it’s been tough but we will be working very hard to ensure that we delivered at the end of the day. How has the practitioners been

responding to your new campaign? We have been meeting and discussing with them, especially close to the CarniRiv season, and it’s been wonderful. I have no doubt that with the way the various players have been responding to my agency meetings and calls, ... if we had an agency that was deliberately created and doing what we are just doing now in the past, we would have moved much more forward. Whenever they come to our meetings, the interaction has been very passionate and their preparedness wanting to get involved and do whatever that is necessary to move the tourism industry forward. To rightly put, the carnival is the flagship tourism product of the state. So, were are using the opportunity to work out strong and robust relationship with the hoteliers, travel agents, tour operators, souvenirs, car hire service operators among others. In fact, we are also relating with the National Union of Road Transport Workers [NURTW], by visiting the various motor parks for them to also be part of the new tourism development plan. I can confirm to you that the campaign is working, because we tested it last year and by the time we called on them this year, the responses have been very good. In fact, some are even suggesting that we can possibly have the carnival twice in a year, which we all know is impossible. By the way, we are planning in creating other events that would help beef up our tourism calendar all year round, as we implement the strategic development plan, programmes that would come as a prelude to the carnival yearly and the response has been very terrific. Apart from CarniRiv, what other attractions do you have in Rivers State at the moment?

Sam Dede

Apart from being the energy capital of West Africa, Rivers State can also boast of fascinating cultural heritage. This is the point we need to underscore and premises we are hinging our tourism promotion on; the rich cultural heritage of our people. Sincerely, I would not be exaggerating if I say that Rivers is one of the two most culturally diversified states in Nigeria. Rivers State has 23 local government areas, and in each of these local government areas, sometimes you have between 3 to 5 different ethnic groups and languages spoken by the people. Imagine that! Each of the many ethnic groups has its own cultural identity; all add up to make Rivers a home of diversified culture. You need to be on the carnival routes parade to see a mini Nigeria in Rivers in display. As agreed, each local government is allowed to turn up with a contingent of at least 300 people. And within one local council area, you discovered that, one local area could also be as diverse as the state itself. Again, in one contingent, you may also find almost 100 different masquerades, and this is our competitive advantage over any other cultural carnival in

Nigeria. For you to also understand our rich cultural heritage and the plethora of masquerades we have in the state, we even say to the participating local council areas, not to even repeat same every year. You can only bring same masquerade every other year and that also enables them to go back, work harder, become more creative and dust/revive some of most difficult ones that are not often or can easily be performed. Sometimes, we receive complaints that most of the people who have the know-how, have all migrated to the cities and hence reviving them becomes more difficult. However, the carnival has brought about the revival of such cultures with the local government areas actually paying people to return and recreate those passive difficult ones that are now unconsciously being preserved. Sometimes, the Port Harcourt Local Government Council comes with the Hausa Community, and increasingly we have decided to call it international heritage parade, and we hope with time, we would have a group from a place like China to participate and without mincing words, what we hope to do here is to use our cultural

'We want people to take positive advantage of our hospitality by visiting Port Harcourt and they will never regret it.

December 2013 Like you know, business people are seeing reasons to invest more in the hospitality sector of the tourism industry, and more and more of the hoteliers are coming to register with us so that we can front their properties for patronage. With many of them coming forward to register with us, we are also intensifying our monitoring efforts to ensure that when we refer any member of the public to such, they get value for their money ... ensuring that the basic facilities in the hotels, motels or even inns are in top shape. By December 2013, the new arts and culture complex will be commissioned and we need to take advantage of that. Everywhere, the youth are integral part of any carnival, with regards to especially Miss and Mr. Carnival, what role do you have for the youths here? We have 10 free style bands with a membership of at least 500 people. Take note, one of the desires of the government is that, we engage as many youth as we can, possibly during the carnival season because we do pay them. With that alone, it keeps most of them busy and happy. Each band is expected to produce a carnival queen and king and at the end, we will have 10 carnival queens and kings respectively. There is a competition and the winners go home with fabulous prizes. The whole essence is to get as many as possible, youth involved and as anticipated by the government, the bands are to be converted to community empowerment centres because each free style band has its geographical location within the city. Invariable, we are looking at the possibility of using the headquarters of the bands as vocational centre for skills acquisition, where they can learn costume designs, choreography, learn how to play musical instruments among others.

heritage to boost our tourism industry, and we intend to take that extremely seriously. What exactly does the Rivers State Government want out of the revived annual CarniRiv? CarniRiv is the oldest carnival in Nigeria. It started in 1988 and after some years, the name was changed to RIVIFEST and there was a lull during the military. You can excuse the military because they never think that culture is a serious business until the present governor came and revived it five years ago. Since then, it been kept stronger and better each year. Basically, after several years of bad publicity occasioned by some Niger Delta youth, the government felt there was the need to try something different, and the carnival was handy in creating atmosphere of calm and tranquillity that would enable some of the restive youth to be engaged socially and even job wise, that can usher in a new opportunity for interaction among the people. Our carnival more than anything else, is a symbol of unity for us. Also of important to note, is that there was never a time that a local government area was absent from the event. We have at all times, all the 23 local government councils participating with at least 250 contingents. For us, it’s a carnival of unity, a carnival of peace and that of organic links that bounds us here as a people. That is one major reason that the government wants to achieve with the carnival, despite the many unique culture that we want to share with the rest of the country and the world at large. We both served in 2010 Abuja carnival committee and we witnessed the challenges the carnival is still facing, especially accommodation, how would you lodge the contingents? We have enough hotels or accommodation in Port Harcourt. Aside from what we are doing to encourage more visitors to come, the state and the city is well visited by business people and traders. We have the big, medium and small ones for all categories of visitors. I would love to quote what the governor said during the closing ceremony of the 2012 CarniRiv edition, that even his guests had no place to stay because the hotels were all fully booked.

There is relative calm in the state now, how does this help your job, because you are not fighting bad publicity? The bad publicity is still there. If I drive around town, you feel that atmosphere of safety because it’s not part of our people. I tell people that Port Harcourt and the state at large, is made up of friendly people. People don’t need to know you to associate with you. If you meet our people where they are enjoying themselves, the handshake is energetic and the laughter is boisterous. We want people to take positive advantage of our hospitality by visiting Port Harcourt and they will never regret it. I remember the senate president telling journalists sometime ago, that he’s a Port Harcourt boy; same goes for the Vice president. We love our city and we celebrate it. How much of a difference is your personality making since you assume office, knowing fully that many Nigerians and beyond admire you? I think that has really worked for me. Because what I am selling are two brands. I am selling


my brand attached to destination Rivers and the carnival. Without doubt, my feelings are that, it is possible to get the mileage with my personality behind the carnival and I have no doubt is a good public relations for us. I am doing that, and there is no prefix attached to it, it’s about Sam Dede and tourism in Rivers State, because I grew up in this town and there is no part of the city that I do not know or that is new to me; including the real down town areas. I can take you to waterside areas where you can have the best of pepper soup in town and you will discover how friendly the people are, and maybe when next you are in town we will take a tour of some of those areas together. Can you give me five places or tips of how best to enjoy the city? That is an advert for them and I think they should pay for it. On a serious note and for the purpose of what we are doing, there are wonderful places where one can indulge oneself once in the city. For good meals, you can ask Charcoal & Spice Restaurant, Ménage and as for the night clubs, we have them in abundance. In fact, we have an average of one night club or lounge opening every other month in Port Harcourt. Places like Liquid, Grand Zero, Wine Bar, Champagne Lounge and Lamborghini Lounge, you cannot have a dull moment in this city. As for live band, I will take you to Bongo Bongo and others...and if you are the one that loves to seat out under several lights, Casablanca area will do. Around there, you can have a taste of one of best local recipe. Boli and fish, or pork or even with snail ... If you indulge yourself in all that, you would have an unforgettable trip to Port Harcourt. The state has a local and international airport, how is this helping the state’s tourism push? It’s good for us. We have two airports and we also now have three major international airlines flying directly here, and every-time they depart or arrive, they are usually full. People are coming either on business, leisure or family visit, we are happy to receive them, and that is why we are going to be working closely with the hoteliers to ensure that the travellers get value for their money. We are partnering with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and we intend to do better this year. What is your final word for the travellers coming to Rivers State? My message is that we are blessed with everything, and all we need to do is to get conscious, and once we know we can earn a living from the sector, it would help reduce our total reliance on the hydro carbon sector. We can create an alternative sector that can sustain us because we have the culture, the mangrove and energetic people that can help the sector to grow. The current tourism minister is an amiable person that has brought so much color and swags to the industry and he is giving it a breath of fresh air.

Sam Dede, Managing Director, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency


December 2013

The Sheraton Abuja road to awareness walk for child education in Nigeria in progress.

Sheraton Abuja Hotel Walks for Nigerian Child

Education S heraton Abuja Hotel has announces the successful hosting of its annual UNICEF “Road to awareness walk” 2013. The event saw over 1,000 Branded participants representing various organizations, government bodies, schools and orphanages recently converged at the foyer of the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre of the Hotel. A team of well-trained children from invited schools eagerly received the Special Guests of Honour-of Her Excellency: Hajia Amina Mohammed Namadi Sambo- Wife of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ably represented by Barrister Hajia Halima Alfa, [A member of the PDP board of trustees and Committee member of Sure-P], alongside other dignitaries and family members. Top Management officials from Airfrance KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Dufil Prima foods, makers of Indomie noodles, Nigerian Bottling Company Plc. [Coca Cola], National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matters [NAPTIP], Capital Hotels plc.-Owners of Sheraton Abuja Hotel, True Expressions, NIPOST, Measure Evaluation Nigeria, Federal Road Safety Corps [FRSC], Total Health Care Trust, Globacom Nigeria, Diplomatic envoys and other Private Organiza-

tions, sponsors/supporters as well as the entire management of Sheraton Abuja Hotel, the UNICEF country Representative-Miss Jean Gough for Nigeria, also ably represented by Mr. Samuel Momanyi were present to grace the event. The heart of everyone was devotedly set to achieve the UNICEF Road to awareness target for 2013. This year’s campaign focused on education projects for less privileged children in Nigeria and Cameroon. General Manager of Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Mr. Boris Bornman elaborated in his speech, “we have aligned our efforts with that of our sister hotels globally, to

raise over $500,000 to help 8,000 very poor and excluded children in Cameroon and Nigeria get a chance at enrolling in school and the right to an education. “The projects funded will be supporting the minority Baka population in Cameroon and the Nomadic population in Nigeria. Both these groups suffer the effects of exclusion due to their culture”. The General Manager further explained that UNICEF and Starwood are working together, to make sure children from these groups get the same opportunities as other children. The UNICEF Ambassador for the Hotel and Public Re-

lations Manager, Ms. Nanji Tyem in her speech to the invited guests, emphasized that “UNICEF Activities in 2013 will support 20 schools in Nigeria and 15 in Cameroon, to develop a better learning environment for boys and girls, including renovation of schools water and sanitation facilities, school furniture and learning materials”. Nanji added that “In Nigeria, 3,000 disadvantaged nomadic children from very poor families, will be supported to enrol and stay in school. Training of 150 teachers in child cantered teaching and Disaster Risk Reduction to help pro-

Middle: Barrister Halima Alfa [representative of the Wife of the Vice President] alongside Boris Bornman, General Manager of Sheraton Abuja Hotel & Towers.

tect children during emergencies”. Bornman finally stated “in this light, we are proud to be a part of this effort to help our children, by empowering them with one of the most important tools for success (Education), as they develop into worthwhile adults”. Our entire hotel team will consistently be committed to adding value to the lives of school children”. The 5km Walk, which normally takes an hour featured motivational music and dance from various bands. The walk rounded off with a grand reception party in which speeches were read by sponsors. The UNICEF representative delivered the key note address on the objective of the initiative (part of Starwood’s Global CSR strategy -moving forward to focus on ‘Opening Doors to Opportunity’ through education). Barrister Halima Alfa gave the parting remarks as she thanked Starwood Hotels & Resorts World Wide and the Management of Sheraton Abuja Hotel for the initiative; she equally appreciated the efforts of all the sponsors. Solid Base International Academy alongside Joseph Jorin International Schools, Comforter International, Kick Start Academy, Blossom Kids, Stella Maris, Day Spring School, and FACADO Orphanage were on hand to thrill the audience with their dance/ song presentations. The spotlight of the event unravelled with an exciting raffle draw. The grand prize winner gladly went away with an Airfrance KLM ticket to any destination in Europe, while other prizes included weekend stays at Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, Sheraton Abuja Hotel, lunches, dinners and free swimming and swimming lessons at Sheraton Abuja hotel. Branded items from Coca Cola and Dufil Prima foods (Indomie Noodles) made up the other prizes. Finger favorites were served to the after-Walk Ravenous crowd courtesy of Sheraton Abuja Hotel and Dufil Prima Foods-Indomie Noodles. The UNICEF Ambassador for the Hotel and main organizer of the event, Nanji Tyem organized a fare well photo session with the Special Guest of Honor-Her Excellency, while the Resident Manager of the Hotel Mr. Ayo Anjorin gave the vote of thanks and ended the lovely event.

December edition 2013