Issuu on Google+

Tourism-Travel-Leisure News Undiluted

Vol.1 Issue 2 September 2011

www.traveltimesonline.com

N500

Ignatius Atigbi:Delta Fails To Honour World Tourism Day Initiator By Lucky Onoriode George

T

wo years after the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] and the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, celebrated Late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi as the man who initiated the most recognised day/event in global tourism calendar, the late tourism czar has yet to receive such recognition from his home state of Delta. The campaign for his recognition orchestrated by a Nigerian travel and tourism journalist, Lucky-Onoriode George who through his investigations found the document relating to the aforementioned, brought it to the attention of the UNWTO in Madrid, Spain. It was not until 2006 that he wrote a private memo to the UN agency, reminding it of its promise to honour the late Atigbi, who during his days as the head of the country’s tourism agency and chairman of Africa Travel Commission proposed the idea of marking September 27 as World Tourism Day. In this regards, the ministry in a similar letter dated August 11, 2009, noted, “I write to remind the authority of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO], under the leadership of Mr. Taleb Rifai of its earlier promise to honour the late Nigerian tourism czar”. The ministry noted that UNWTO in its earlier letter dated September 29th, 2006, by the former secretary general, Mr. Francesco Frangialli, stated, “I would like to commemorate the late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, former director general,

Alhaji-Sheidu Bello Ozigi, receiving the late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, recgnition award from Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] at the 2009 International World Tourism Day Celebration in Accra, Ghana. Nigeria Tourist Association [NTA], now Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and chairman African Travel Commission” for giving the world the most celebrated tourism single event. UNWTO explained that in 1971, in Ankara, Turkey, Mr. Atigbi proposed the creation of the World Tourism Day at the XXII General Assembly of the International Union of Official Travel Organisation [IUOTO], now United Nations World

Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] and, therefore, September 27 has become an internationally recognised annual event with the aim to celebrate worldwide the phenomenon that is tourism. The ministry also pointed out in its letter that the plan to honour Atigbi at the commemoration exhibition focused on the theme:“1946-2006-IUOTO-UNWTOSixty Years of Institutionalisation for World Tourism and Thirty Years Headquartered

in Madrid,” on Wednesday 13th of December 2006 was never fulfilled. However, the then minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Alhaji Bello Gada, wrote to the UNWTO, expressing his willingness to ensure that as Ghana hosts the 2009 international World Tourism Day commemoration on African soil, which incidentally was the Continues on page 9

MTN: A Kaleidoscope Of Yellow Festivals In Nigeria

O

ne telecom company has taken a trip across the length and breadth of this country, ensuring the widest coverage, and that is MTN, Nigeria’s leading telecom giant. But as it makes its journey, it is also noticing, learning and supporting the cultures of the multi ethic groups that make up Nigeria as seen in colourful annual festivals.

By Our Reporter MTN Nigeria has been a stalwart in preserving the culture of the people of Nigeria and in no other area is this more visible than in the support the telecom company gives to festivals across the country. Festivals are a mesh and pout pouri of the

totality of a people’s culture, but represented in artistic symbols, dance, folk songs, poetry and drama. Together, even unwritten, the history of a people comes to life; in dramatic and electrifying instants, the way of life a people’s ancestors are replayed, much to the edification of the new generation. Even most interesting are the claims that even spirits do their boogie in response to the chants of the celebrants – a subject of much contention.

Whatever the claims and contentions are, there is no denying that these festivals are a melting pot for people of all walks of life. They are a force for the unity of the country as it is of the preservation of the way of life of the people. They can also be money spinners in the context of tourism. Continues on page 9


2 Travel Times September 2011

ABA ROAD, G.R.A. PHASE II, P.M.B. 5141,PORT HARCOURT-RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA. TEL: (+234 84) 461 500, (+234 84) 901 306, 901 307,901 309,901 310. FAX: (+234 84) 461 525, (+234 84) 461 527 WWW.HOTEL-PRESIDENTIAL.COM

...truly presidential


3 Travel Times September 2011

From The Publisher’s Pen

T

he third quarter of 2011, which includes the months of July, August and September would no doubt remain the most active quarter in the history of tourism calendar in Nigeria. From the screening of High Chief Edem Duke, the first tourism practitioner to become tourism minister, to the reported suspension of Otunba Segun Runsewe, director general of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], the tourism sector has been quite active – interesting times indeed. The suspension of the NTDC director general in a letter dated August 11, and signed by Hon. Uche Anya, the board chairman, for failing to implement the board’s decisions and resolutions, was the major untoward event. The letter reads: “Following your willful refusal to implement decisions and resolutions made by the governing board of the NTDC at its duly constituted board meeting of August 4, 2010, the board hereby suspends you from office forthwith pending the completion of investigation by the appropriate authority over your several acts of indiscipline, gross misconduct and contemptuous disregard for resolutions duly endorsed to you; and flagrant violation of the law setting up NTDC.” But in a swift move by the boss of the NTDC, Runsewe raced to his friend who coincidentally is the spokesperson of the president, Dr. Ruben Abati, who also didn’t even cross check developments with the ministry of tourism. Abati unilaterally went into the legality of the suspension by pronouncing in his theatrical way that if a director general of any agency is to be suspended or removed, the minister in charge of such a parastatal would send a memo to the president for approval before such a step can be taken. “I have cross-checked from relevant desks. There is no such directive from the presidency for the suspension of the NTDC director general,” Abati said and concluded, according to media reports, that the suspension was “unusual.” While the likes of Abati and close friends of the suspended director general condemned the illegal suspension, none of them paused for a moment to look at the salient issues raised in the purported suspension letter. Apart from their silence on the fundamental issues raised, they also forgot

TEAM

CONTENTS News At Last, ECOWAS To Have Tourism Agenda

Lucky Onoriode George to remember that this is the second time that the same director general is being suspended. First, it was by his former boss and friend, Prince Kayode Adetokunbo, then Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, over similar allegations. In the recent past, the presidency had consistently undermined the leadership of the ministry because some of the past and recent NTDC director generals, for fear of being exposed and disgraced from office, had always built relationship with cronies in the presidency, a development that more often than not results in the undermining of the development, promotion and marketing of the country’s tourism potentials. These persons are reportedly paid just to protect non-performing chief executives of the tourism corporation. Away from the story of the failed public tourism sector in Nigeria, at least one cheery piece of news that recently emanated from the private sector was the successfully held annual general meeting of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN] on July 28, 2011, where new officers were elected to pilot its affairs for the next two years. Besides, come September 27th, 2011, the name of late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, the Nigerian who initiated the celebration of World Tourism Day will resonate around the country again.The late tourism czar is only remembered here in Nigeria on World Tourism Day when the usually boring speech of the government representative is made. As a mark of respect for his contribution to global tourism, however, we are dedicating the September edition of Travel Times to this wonderful legacy. For High Chief Edem Duke, there is so much work to be done and we can only wish him well.

Publisher/Editor Lucky Onoriode George Consulting Editor Kirk Leigh Researchers Richard Debrah`Rita Esiekpe Chidima Joan Ndudim Contributing Editors Kola Raji Bridget Obi Chike Osuagwu Sheikh Tejan Nyang Hilerus Edet Graphics Godwin Newton 08133780213

PAGE 7 Interview Hotel Presidential: Beating All Odds to Remain a Successful Brand

PAGE 10 Carnival Thousands Throng 2011 Notting Hill Carnival For Europe’s Biggest Festival

PAGE 14

Columnist Kente: The Pride of Ghana

PAGE 17 Executive Chat Apar t From Hosipalit y, Tourism Is Dead In Nigeria

PAGE 18

Travel Times Is A Publication Of Tourism Today Communications

Office Theodak Plaza, Opp National Hospital, Suite 307, Central Business Area, Abuja E-mail: info@travelafricanews.com www.travelafricanews.com

Contact: P. O. Box 6250, Festac Town, Lagos. Tel: +234-8033546608, 08057984769


Travel Times August Edition, 2011

4 Travel Times September 2011

Africa: Massaging the Truth - Sexual Tourism By Selay Marius Kouassi, Abidjan]

T

he Ivorian capital, Abidjan, and the neighbouring city of Grand-Bassam have beautiful seaside resorts where sun and sea lovers converge. These places also attract various traders and other individuals with skills looking to make a living. Among the latter category are the renowned “mobile masseuses”; girls offering services that could almost be assimilated with sexual tourism. On a partly cloudy day, visitors from Abidjan flood into the Grand-Bassam beach (43 km from the capital) to relax and enjoy some fresh air from the sea breeze. On this lively beach, the loud calls of coconut sellers are almost mixed with the sound of waves crashing against the shore, in a symphony of noise. Further away, beach attendants and swimmers recline in the shade of coconut trees all around the beach.Amongst them, many workers including European expatriates are enticed by young girls also known as the “mobile masseuses”; young girls aged between 14 and 28, with dreamy bodies and seductive voices.

FTAN Elects New Executive, Meets Tourism Minister By Lucky Onoriode George

T

he Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN], the private sector umbrella body for tourism in Nigeria, has elected a new set of executives at a well attended annual general meeting [AGM], on Thursday 28, 2011. The AGM, which was held at NANET Suites, Abuja brought the federation into a new era, two months after the tenure of the former council led by Samuel Alabi ended on May 20th, 2011. At the Abuja AGM attended by 10 registered tourism associations, members of the board of trustees and government officials – representative of the honourable minister of tourism, culture and national orientation, that of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] and the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] tourism department who all praised FTAN resolve to chart a new course and called for the sustenance of the new momentum created by the successful AGM that would make the body a virile and developmental federation. In an election that saw many candidates returned unopposed, Chief Samuel Alabi was re-elected as National President alongside is former National Deputy President, Mr. Tomi Akingbogu, who was also the former president of the Hotels Owners Forum of Abuja [HOFA]. Others are Engr. Onofiok Ekong, treasurer, who is the current president of Hotels Owners Forum of Abuja [HOFA]; Dr. Mrs. Marian Alabi, a senior lecturer appointed as Internal Auditor, Arch. P Binga; vice president North East, Mr. Yakpogoro Rex Eeba; vice president South South; Chief Charles Okoroafor, vice president South East; Mr. Ganiyu Adebiyi, vice president South West and Ini Akpabio, vice president, Federal Capital Territory [FCT], Abuja. Also elected are Alh. Haruna Mohammed, vice president North West, Chief Edom Alexander, vice president, North Central and Mr. Lucky Onoriode George, Public Affairs completes the elective positions. Meanwhile, the new executive council

would also include two representatives each from all member associations as stipulated by the federation’s constitution. Speaking earlier, the chairman of FTAN 2011 Electoral Committee/AGM, Mr. Tar D. Orjime formally pronounced dissolved the former executive council and all elected officers of the federation as prescribed for by the federation constitution; including all zonal vice presidents among others. In his acceptance speech, the president sued for unity and collaboration for a new beginning and era of purposeful leadership for FTAN, positing that the federation must play its role as the tourism private sector in Nigeria by seeking to protect its member’s investments as well as ensuring favourable policies by the government and its agencies. Shortly after the election activities ended, the new executive, led by its president, paid a courtesy call on Edem Duke, Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation who also was a former president of the federation. In his speech to the minister, Samuel Alabi noted that this is indeed an interesting time for the tourism industry, particularly for the federation, saying that the federation is proud to say that tourism eventually have one of its own as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. According to Alabi, he noted, “As a hotelier, and former president of the federation, we believe that this is the time for the private sector tourism to get all the helps it needs and deserves” “If we are not helped under your watch, then the tourism and culture sectors can never get help again,” he said. Alabi also briefed the minister of the federation’s activities in the last two years, especially that the federation had written to the presidency and the ministry for a N500 billion intervention fund for the industry as it has been done for other sectors of the economy; such as textile, aviation, banking among others. He reminded the minister that as a hotelier himself and someone that is deeply involved in the travel and tourism sector, he understands the very many problems of the sector and therefore must do something fast to salvage the deteriorating fortunes’ of the industry.

The re-elected president of the federation reiterated that FTAN under his leadership is desirous of working towards sanitising the industry by way of professional certification; this according to him is to engendered professionalism as it is done in other sectors of the economy. He told the minister that this administration is a special one and as such, the federation charged the minister to put tourism in the forefront of the new quest for Nigeria’s economic revival by networking across sectors. Responding, the minister noted that God has a purpose for positioning him as the first tourism practitioner to head the ministry, and said this indeed is a new era of warmness, sincerity, commitment and compassion for the tourism and culture industry. Edem Duke noted that he has come with leadership that will bring about positive change in the way things are to be done henceforth, positing that leadership is not a popularity game, but rather to serve. Sounding very worried because of the enormity of work and repositioning to be done, the minister said that the tourism world has left Nigeria behind; according to him, because the country cannot aggregate tourism/culture sectors contributions to the national economy as he discovered at the last presidential retreat held recently. “Transformation of tourism/culture is now,” he said. “Time for bickering should belong to the past.” Challenging the federation, whose president he once was, the minister said FTAN must be strengthened, properly funded, as they do the talk and work the work henceforth. Fully aware of development and innovations in the travel and tourism industry around the world, Edem said tourism is global and as such, standards must be global and not local. “Our purpose must be to grow together and be mindful of those who are envious of us because we belong to this wonderful federation,” he told the federation executives. As for his mission, Edem noted, he would take tourism beyond the expectation of Nigerians.

Tariffs and services While many see the beach as an ideal leisure destination, for the mobile masseuses it is a workplace; a place where they offer their services. With a shoulder bag packed with lotions and creams and a towel around their necks,‘the masseuses’ approach their clients with a bright smile, usually people in search of relaxation, mostly Europeans. For a 2000 CFA francs note (about 3.04 euros), they would shave, treat and massage their clients. Sometimes, for an additional banknote and at the client’s request, they would ‘go further’. Seductive speech “Sir, can I massage you?You won’t regret it.You will be coming back for more. I have a touch that will take away all your stress.Try it!You will feel much better afterwards. It is quality massage”.Those are the words Sonia Toh, in her early 20s, uses to approach potential clients. Sonia has been a mobile masseuse for nearly four years. Between two massages Sonia agreed to reveal the secrets of this discreet profession. “The speech alone is often not enough entice clients, we have to be attractive.The dress and the enticing postures play a big part in this game of seduction”, admits Sonia, while adopting a lascivious posture.The slit on her purple loincloth shows her thighs.“Few people can resist that!”, says Sonia proudly.

Massage minus or massage plus There is the “massage minus” and the “massage plus”. The massage minus is limited to plain massage where the client is simply massaged. As for the “massage plus”, it can go beyond the simple massage, namely having sexual intercourse with the client. But Sonia insists on being from those who only offer “massage minus”. Joseph Aman goes to the Bassam beach every weekend, more for the massage than for the fresh air. “The massage has become an addiction.Those girls have enchanting fingers!”, says Joseph, who swears to have never received a “massage plus”. The “massage plus” is not done in the open, but rather in the bungalows all around the beach. And the beneficiaries are not only the masseuses and their clients. “The masseuses and their clients rent our bungalows for one or two hours for their activities.We do benefit sometimes,” admits the manager of a hotel complex. Lack of regulations Aristide Yebouah, President of TAS-CI, an NGO against sexual tourism and paedophilia, makes an alarming observation: “Mobile massage is a disguised type of prostitution and a potential tool for the propagation of HIV/AIDS. Our attempt to record the masseuses and sensitise them on the risks of HIV/AIDS was hampered by their refusal to admit that they were involved in another type of prostitution.What’s worse is that this activity often employs under aged girls. Something must be done and fast!” Source: www.rnw.nl/africa


5 Travel Times September 2011


6 Travel Times September 2011


7 Travel Times September 2011

At Last, ECOWAS To Have Tourism Agenda

T

he total tourism assets of West Africa region could deliver exceptional leisure value in terms of product quality, diversity and price under scored by a deep respect and desire to conserve this most precious legacy for generations yet unborn. The uniqueness of the experience is undisputable but how serious are governments of West Africa states and the private sector respectively can efficiently manage their tourism assets, balancing the needs of conservation with the necessity to extract maximum commercial value to support the region’s fragile and delicate economies? Events of the last few years are enough evidence that global tourism market has become intensely competitive as governments have realised the immense economic benefits of their respective tourism industries. The very many beach resorts of the Gambia do not just compete with comparative African tourism products, but also with the ones in the developed tourism destinations world over. Many of these destinations are the beneficiaries of huge marketing budgets, managed by marketing experts who excel in the production of finely honed, state-of-the art marketing plans and programmes. The return on investments is impressive and economic benefits realised become indispensable. World over, successful tourism industries do not happen by accident, but by design.The countries ofWest Africa must empower and resource their respective tourism boards/authorities to compete aggressively, and on more equal terms in the global tourism market. Regional Cooperation Globally, tourism has been engaged in the establishment of powerful networking blocks created by takeovers or strategic alliances. To suggest that individual countries of West Africa should compete on equal terms with sophisticated and better resourced competitors represents an awesome, if not unrealistic challenge. Regional cooperation and pooling of resources together would significantly enhance the ability of the region to compete not only in terms of marketing resources and reach, but also to blend the best elements of the region’s tourist assets into one homogeneous regional product. The aforementioned when properly articulated and executed would necessitate the free flow of tourists across borders and the realisation of visa-requirements and free from the most productive source markets. For a very long time, the tourism sector of the regions’ economy was robbed of its cash cow status.The sector is capable of delivering regular inflows of foreign exchange, tax revenue as well as the much needed employments to

thousands of our jobless youths across the region. The imposition of some punitive taxes on specific elements of the tourism industry needs urgent review. Tourism generates a vital contribution to its national economy and investment in tourist assets and marketing is contingent upon a profitable tourism industry. A system tax free regime for tourism investments would do much to re-invigorate the long neglected tourism industry to increase foreign exchange and tax revenue contributions. Connectivity World’s airline industry has consistently delivered long haul air travel at a cost that is affordable to hundreds of millions of existing and potential tourists and will continue to do so as air connectivity has become more available. In the travel and tourism business, air-lines provide the life blood of a thriving tourism industry. It is critical that tourism destinations provide profitable business environment in which airlines can flourish, building capacity and encouraging new entrants into the market. The countries ofWest Africa must be more pro-active in marketing the business benefits of their respective destinations to existing carriers and target national carriers whose home markets have tourism potentials. The pacific run generates half of the world’s wealth and home to half of the world’s population, yet represents less than one percent of total tourism volumes to West Africa because of the absence of a viable air network to facilitate convenient air travel.

Tourism in the sub region and tourism development is just beginning in some countries in the latter half of the 20th century to the credit of its tourism industries and governments. However, the ferocity of global competition and the economic dependence on successful tourism industries means that the sub region must now accelerate its marketing efforts to maintain its current market share let alone increase its infrastructural development, re-investment, government tax incentives, expansion of market basis by encouraging and developing new air networks and aggressive, well focussed and professionally executed global marketing campaigns are some of the fundamental strategies which will drive future success. The strategy clear recognition of the task and implementation of these core strategies is now of critical importance. Socio-economic development of the region and its related benefits so richly deserved by its people will be driven by successful tourism on an increasing scale. Meanwhile, there is the need to beam the a search light on the existing Economic Community of West Africa States [ECOWAS] tourism department which has been in existence since the body’s establishment in 1975 and was headed at various times by different persons, whose performances went largely unnoticed. It was on record that for almost ten years, the department of Tourism and Free Movement of persons only organised a two programmes. One was a seminar on security and Free Movement of Persons and Goods in the sub region that was held in Cotonou, Benin Republic in 1999 and another on uniform classification and grading of hospitality sector in Burkina Faso. While many have lost hope that tourism integration in the region will only be a mirage, succour came when suddenly the once comatose tourism department of the regional body came alive when news filtered in that ECOWAS was trying to reorganised tourism activities in the region. Apart from just talking, the body for once is actually working the work. From seminar and meeting to identifying key areas that needed to be reinforced, to actions that needed to be taken, the regional body has set up a Hotels, Motels, and Inns Classifications Task Force and Elaboration of ‘Tourist Guide’ with the view to updating the obsolete document. Also in the making is a novel initiative of an annual ECOWAS Tourism Fair that will be rotated among member nations that will bring them together to promote and market among themselves.

ABC Wins Best Transport Company of the Year Award By Tom Uduak

A

BC Transport has emerged the Best Transport Company for the year 2010 at the 5th Lagos Enterprise Award recently held in Lagos. “LEAD AWARD,” as the ceremony was tagged, took place on Friday, August 26, 2011 at City Mall, Lagos Island. The glamorous event attracted a host of high profile government functionaries, technocrats and industrialists. ABC Transport upstaged two other contenders in the road transport operator category to clinch the muchprized trophy. To ensure transparency in the selection process, the auditing and verification processes for the awards were carried out by seasoned personnel comprising brand and marketing professionals. Amongst the criteria used in assessing the nominees and selecting the eventual winner include, ABC Transport –safety, size of network, on time performance and product offerings ranked the most. The commercial manager, ABC Transport, Mr. Uduak Tom, received the award on behalf of the company. Commenting on the award, he enthused, “Our thanks also go to the organisers of the award for their unique contribution to the growth of the transport sector in Nigeria through the awards”. Mr. Uduak assured the organisers that:“ABC Transport takes this award as a strong vote of confidence from our customers who have remained ever loyal. We are very grateful to them and like to reassure them that we will intensify efforts to consistently surpass their myriad needs and strive to build a world class road transport company in the West African sub-region.” This award is coming in the wake of another award. Barely two months earlier, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Aba Area Office, conferred ABC Transport with an award for the Best Contributing Employer in Human Research Development in 2010. Meanwhile, after the 18th AGM held in Owerri, Imo State, the shareholders of ABC Transport approved the payment of dividends to the tune of N30.14 million to be distributed amongst all the shareholders. ABC Transport remains the only road transport operator quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A leading road transport operator and service provider of cargo and haulage services nationwide, ABC Transport also provides petty cash, charter and tours services; operates third party warehousing; runs a budget hotel, City Transit Inn, in Utako, Abuja and manages the haulage needs of United Cement, WAPCO-Lafarge, Nestle Water, GZ Industries and Beta Glass.

SADC UNIVISA – One Tourism Visa For Southern Africa By Chelna Maré

W

ith tourism having the potential to become the biggest industry in Southern Africa, I find it surprising that Southern Africa has only now realised the urgency of introducing a single tourist visa. Talks about the South African Development Community (SADC) UNIVISA concept started in 1998 and it is hoped that a resolution will be reached soon. This will allow visitors to only visit one embassy to gain access to all 15 member states of the SADC. It was suggested that it would be ready for implementation at the end of 2002, but alas, here we are, 9 years later. The benefits are obvious. It will encourage visitors to enjoy longer holidays and to visit more than one or two Southern African states without all the hassles involved. Nationals from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the USA can obtain visas (up to 90 days) from certain states on arrival, provided you have proof of return or onward flights and adequate funds in your bank account.

Unfortunately these requirements can change at any time, for any reason, without any warning and so a unified visa will simplify the whole process. South Africans are in the fortunate position of not needing visas to travel within the SADC, but again, this could change by tomorrow afternoon. Who is the SADC? The headquarters of the SADC is based in Gaberone, Botswana. The council was formed to promote relationships between the member states and to encourage economic growth and social upliftment. The fifteen member states, namely Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are on the verge of deciding whether a single tourist visa will be a viable option. The European Schengen Visa The Schengen visa system currently in use throughout the European Union is a great example of what can be done. Whilst the process involved is still rather time consuming, once you have your Schengen Visa, you are free to travel across Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy,

Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Schengen visas can be valid for up to 6 months, for 90 days, allowing for multiple entries and visits. Sure, you feel a bit like a criminal when applying (“Have you ever been involved in any terrorist activities?” hmm, let me think about that!) and I am amazed they haven’t started asking for blood samples, but all in all, it’s a good system that Southern Africa should adopt as soon as possible. From personal experience I can confirm that a single visa inspires travellers to see more than they had intended to. I found myself traipsing across Europe, hopping onto a flight from London to Italy http://www.mrcheapflights.com, just because I could. And with all the traipsing around, comes a lot of spending! I believe I was personally responsible for at least 0.01% of the net income generated from tourism in Europe during 2007 and 2008! With many of the nature reserves in Southern Africa spanning borders, this will surely encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more money. Red Tape Border controls all over the world are a constant source of frustration, indignation and

resentment. In stark contrast with the relative ease certain nationals (for example from the UK) can visit our country, the hoops to jump for South Africans visiting the UK are many and fiery. You are now required to apply for a visa up to 3 months before you intend to travel. It is recommended that you do not purchase your airline ticket before your visa has been approved. I tend to agree with this statement, however, you are required to show proof of your return or onward flight. So how do you categorically prove this without purchasing a flight ticket? The plot thickens with a request for 6 months’ worth of payslips and a letter from your bank. Surely it wouldn’t matter if you have enough money in your bank account? Idealistically speaking I dream of a world where you can come and go as you please, but teleporting is more likely to become a reality before this happens. Why restrict ourselves in this way, when we can improve relations, economies and extend helping hands where it is needed instantly, without all the red tape of border controls? Yes, Pangaea broke up millions of years ago, but that doesn’t mean we have to put up with these self-imposed restrictions for another million years!


8 Travel Times September 2011


9 Travel Times September 2011

...Yellow Festivals in Nigeria Continues from page 1

Perhaps these are the positives MTN has its eyes on when it devotes millions in sponsorship funds annually to these festivals. From the North, East, South and Western Nigeria, festivals are being financially lifted by the company which clocked ten years in Nigeria last August. Ibi Fishing Festival in Taraba State and the Argungu Festival make up the ‘A’ list from North. Eastern Nigeria presented the triune of Iriji Mgbugbuzo and Ikeji from Imo State; Igbotonma Cultural Festival in Abia State, and there were the Ofala Festival of the Onitsha people and Igu Aro Festival in Anambra State. In Delta State, it is the Anioma Festival that got an uplift. While in Southern Nigeria, focus was on the Leboku festival of the Yakurr people of Cross River State. But in Western Nigeria, where the Yoruba hold sway, it is the Osun Osogbo, Ayangalu Talking Drum Festival and the Olojo Festival in Osun State; the Udiroko Festival in Ekiti State, and Oyemekun Festival in Ondo State. Others include Sagamu and Lisabi Festival in Ogun State, ,Epe and BadagryFestivals in Lagos State. But why is the company burrowing so deep into the sea of Nigerian festivals and thus enabling the preservation of the rich culture of the biggest country of blacks in the world. Perhaps what the company once said about the Argungu festival sums it all up: the festival “does not only provide an opportunity for the company to consolidate on its brand leadership, it also serves as a platform to reach out to its teeming customers.” It is instructive to note that during the celebrations, major streets and residences in Argungu are usually painted yellow in appreciation of the support the town has received from the company in the seven years of identifying with the festival. In the Eastern States, the focus is on the New Yam Festival, which is marked across states; the Mbaise people call it Iri ji while the Egbu people call it Mgbugbuzo. In Onitsha, it is known as Ofala. The Leboku festival of the Yakurr people in Cross River State interestingly also celebrate the new yam.As it is with the Eastern states, the celebrations are for bountiful harvests. It is also in furtherance of the Y’ello brand’s commitment to the revival and upholding of Nigeria’s cultural heritage that it has been sponsoring Festivals in the South such as the Osun Osogbo cultural fiesta. Every year, Osun Osogbo honours and celebrates Osun, the Yoruba goddess of fertility, good health and security. An age-old festival, it now attracts tourists from all over the world as well as devotees of Osun and indigenes of the town who take pride in their heritage. In recent years, devotees of Osun and other tourists from North Carolina in the United States of America, Brazil and Japan had travelled all the way to Osogbo to participate in the series of activities.The huge turnout during the celebration reinforced the pride of place the festival occupies in the minds of a people who value their culture and tradition. Every year, the grand finale of the week-long festival witnesses a mammoth crowd of the old and the young bearing their containers to fetch water from the Osun River. They troop to the Osun Osogbo groove, listed in July 2005 as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation [UNESCO], and seek the face of the goddess. To the Yakurr people of Cross River State,August is special.The community’s New Yam Festival (Leboku Festival) holds that month. It provides a vehicle for the people and the government to interact, breaking the barriers of officialdom.The festival showcases the rich culture of the people as they parade their traditional dances, maiden, traditional institution and rich history. In a recent edition of the festival, Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke paid glowing tributes to MTN for its commitment to the preservation of not only the rich cultural heritage of Yakurr people, but the entire country at large. “We believe that the involvement of MTN in the organisation of Leboku Festival over the years has opened a window of opportunity to invest not only in Leboku but also in other programmes of this administration aimed at improving the lot of the people. Let me commend MTN for the gesture,” the governor said.

from right, Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi with some friends Continues from page 1

Ignatius Atigbi:Delta Fails To Honour World Tourism Day Initiator 30th anniversary with a theme,“Celebrating Diversity,” be used by the UNWTO to fulfil its promise to late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi and Nigeria. So, on September 27, 2009, at the International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana, in a demonstration of respect and fair play, the UNWTO, led by the Secretary General Dr.Taleb Rifai, presented a plaque acknowledging Nigeria’s late Atigbi as the architect of World Tourism Day [WTD] celebrations. Receiving the award, Nigeria’s Minister

of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Senator Bello Gada who was represented by the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry,Alhaji Sheidu Ozigin, OON MNI, said that the recognition was the climax of Nigeria’s contributions to global tourism, promising that Nigeria will continue to celebrate the recognition for many years to come. All efforts made to ensure that Delta State government recognises this late tourism icon proved abortive.Apart from just recognising him, the state would have

used Atigbi’s success at the national and international levels to kick start tourism promotion and activism in the state. As the world gathers again for the second time in five years in Africa with the Egyptian city of Aswan hosting the official 2011 World Tourism Day [WTD], celebrations, which will include a HighLevel Think Tank on this year’s theme, ‘Tourism – Linking Cultures’, yet again, Atigbi remains forgotten by the government of Delta State.

Ignatius Atigbi’S Profile Ignatius Atigbi: Profile of Late Mr. World Tourism Day Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi was born on May 24, 1930 in Warri, Delta State of Nigeria. After his primary and post-primary education, he preceded to the then Ibadan Campus of the University of London, now University of Ibadan, where he graduated in Applied Mathematics and English Language in 1955. Shortly after graduation, his first formal job was teaching at Ibadan Grammar School from where he played his part in the formation of lives of distinguished Nigerians. It was from here that he later moved to become the pioneer head of Lagos Desk of Reuters and later transferred to London. While in England, he was quite a sight on Fleet Street, and it was once told of how the cream of English and international journalists, mostly white, would come to the bar, an afterhour’s tradition on Fleet Street, to listening to the worldly pontifications of this black African journalist who spoke English like the best from Oxford. He was a marvel. And he took himself seriously. He was to become the first African manager and editor at Reuters and the youngest all over the world at that time. In fact, Atigbi’s role as West African manager for Reuters enabled him to cover and report the constitutional conference in London in 1958 that led to Nigeria’s Independence Constitution. His role will only be left to historians. But just in one word, Atigbi participated in the making of history, and in the typical form of his career, was a magnificent chronicler of events of that moment. As a young intern with Reuters in 1958,

his unmistakably excellent streak manifested only weeks into his employment when he was quickly seconded to cover the then on-going constitutional talks on Nigeria in Lancaster House, London. From there, it was a quick rise at the Reuters organisation as by the end of the conference, the barely 29-year-old Atigbi had his responsibilities expanded to cover the entire West Africa. Success in journalism for the young Atigbi was not only with his Parisian bosses. He was also esteemed among his Nigerian colleagues during the formation of the Nigeria pioneer press organization, the precursor of today’s Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in 1960, when he was unanimously elected secretary general of that body. One final example of his resourcefulness and excellence came in a 1964 letter from the then president of Nigeria, late Dr Nnamdi Azikwe, to the Nigerian High Commission in Sierra Leone where he was then serving as head of the chancery. In an apparent reference to Atigbi’s brilliant effort at inviting the major players (government and opposition alike) to regular informal lunch sessions, as part of a strategy to foster good neighbourliness and international concord between both nations and people, the Great Zik of Africa had written a public commendation, praying that Nigeria would have more of the likes of “our own Mr. Atigbi.” His journey into tourism was also a legacy he left behind. At executive committee meeting of the International Union of Official Travel Organization [IUOTO] held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1971, Atigbi,

as head of the Nigerian and African delegation to the meeting as Secretary General of the Nigeria Tourist Association (NTA) and Chairman of African Travel Commission, stood to move a historic motion that the house endorses the yearly commemoration of September 27 as World Tourism Day. The motion was carried with unanimous votes and thus emerged the celebration of the annual World Tourism Day ceremony that has since been adopted by IUOTO’s replacement, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and now the United Nations World Tourism organization (UNWTO). Moving this motion was one of the sacred landmark contributions of Mr. Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi to the international tourism scene. A recipient of many distinguished awards and honours in national, continental and international tourism circuits, Mr. Atigbi’s many other caps in the tourism industry include his role in Ankara, Turkey in 1975 as member of the crucial special Harmonization Committee convened to resolve thorny issues in the draft status of the emergent World Tourism organization (WTO), now United nations World Tourism organization (UNWTO). He was listed in two editions of “Who is who” in the world and was director of tourism in the Caribbean Islands of Barbados, St.Kitts and St. Vincent under the Commonwealth Technical Corp. Atigbi died on December 22, 1998 and was buried in his home town, Koko, Delta State, a town that came into prominence 18 years ago, following the toxic waste that was dumped in the area.


10 Travel Times September 2011

Interview Hotel Presidential: Beating All Odds To Remain A Successful Brand

Challenges Apart from the traditional global and national view of militancy, the challenges we all face here in the Niger Delta in the last couples of years, include electricity as our major obstacle.This is the pipeline that has been draining what would have been profit or reward for running a successful business here. In March, we spent N25 million on diesel alone.This is aside the regular fixed tariff of about N6 million naira that we would still have to pay whether there is

electricity supply or not. Infrastructure There is generally no support infrastructure anywhere. Just like electricity, you provide water, security among others by yourself. Security In spite of the relative calm, I cannot still move around freely as I would have loved to do. If the indigenes of a particular environment cannot move freely because of fear of being snatched up on the street in the name of being tourist, no rightminded tour operator would sell such destination to visitors. As a result of the past experiences, not in our hotel though, we have to spend more on our security operations just in case someone wants to try something phony.

“

Staffing/training There is no doubt that staffing is a crucial aspect of the hospitality and tourism industry generally. Here at Hotel Presidential, we rely on our in-house system for regular training and sometimes we bring in people from our partners to handle such. However, all our departmental heads are experts who are core professionals that provide not just leadership and people with necessary technical skills to direct as well as guide to the local staffers. Across Nigeria, it’s not unusual to see a whole hotel being run by people that are not professionals, but they are occupying such position because he or she is a friend to the owner and, in turn, the person employs his or her friend maybe as executive house keeper, food and beverage manager, etc. In such scenarios, what knowledge can he or she impact on the staff? In most cases, the few Nigerians who attend trainRole of government agencies/ ing school cannot even prepare common institutions club sandwich. Every Nigerian that has In the tourism industry in places where been to catering school, the specialty is tourism is big business, monitoring is how to prepare pepper soup only. crucial. Here in Nigeria, there are train-

Today, Hotel Presidential, the very first lady of the hospitality sector in the SouthSouth or the Niger Delta area is still waxing strong in spite of the many problems militating against steady tourism activities in the region.

“

I

n the last one decade, the Niger Delta and most especially, Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, had been at the heart of militancy or youth restiveness as dissatisfied youths called for a greater attention from the federal government. To succinctly put it, apart from oil businesses, the hospitality sector also suffered considerable set back following the relocation of several businesses, not just oil, but also non oil related activities from the area. Being an oil city, a considerable number of workers/personnel are expatriates that were the main target of youth gangs for kidnapping in return for ransom. This development paralysed both commercial and social activities over a period of time. In view of the amnesty and non-stop negotiations with the federal and state governments, a degree of normalcy was entrenched. Thus the hospitality sector that was seriously hit in the previous years is seemingly bouncing back following a lull in militancy activities. Today, Hotel Presidential, the very first lady of the hospitality sector in the South-South or the Niger Delta area is still waxing strong in spite of the many problems militating against steady tourism activities in the region. Per Stafsen, general manager of Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, in this exclusive interview bares his mind on why he has stayed behind; and the struggle to remain in operations. Excerpts:

ing institutions without a kitchen. The only time most catering students have seen an average kitchen is during their industrial training; a period that they are only expected to observe and learn from


11 Travel Times September 2011

community and are done by people living among us here. Not just supplies alone, but sometimes construction projects. Majority of our workers are from the communities around us and they all understand us very well. Renovations Because good hotel rooms are in demand, we have no choice than to renovate/rebuild. To simply put, adding more facilities for clients to have more value for their money.To us, this is not just enough, as we will continue to maintain what we have achieved. As part of on-going renovation/building, we are turning a whole floor to an executive floor in the configuration of 7-suites and 11 rooms with lounge, ball rooms and Jacuzzi in all too. On the floor that renovation work has been completed, we have in place wooden floor, new flat screen TV sets, beds, among others. Our swimming pool is wearing a new look with a complete set of gents/changing rooms for both sexes, just as our new bush bar is amazing. Business Business has been very good since the beginning of the year, especially the month of March. However, during the election periods, we experienced a little lull in business.Again, we pray that it could even get better sooner when some of the companies that relocated during the peak of militancy activities start returning to Port Harcourt. Port Harcourt is a business destination, and as such, the government must provide support facilities to create more jobs, through which the government can also generates revenue too. Apart from the local tourists from other parts of the country that are not coming due to incessant security threat, residents of Port Harcourt cannot still enjoy the beautiful creeks because of oil pollutions. It’s a tragedy!

professionals at work, which regrettably is expatriate. During those moments, I was never enough to make them professionals. constantly under pressure from family back home. Grading/classification Then, it was difficult living a normal life. Because of the failure of relevant But tough as it was then, one has adjusted. government institutions in doing their Those of us who work in a hotel environjobs, there is a total lack of monitoring ment are relatively better, unlike those as I mentioned earlier. This is not just who work in the field. If you recall at a applicable to the training institutions, but time in Port Harcourt and most parts of operators themselves. the Niger Delta, social and night life were Across the entire tourism sector, there terribly poor. must be a minimum basic standard for all As you know, these are two main operators to abide by.Today, what we see avenues through which hotels like ours in Nigeria is just mere hotel or related generate extra revenues through patrontourism establishments that are only age of our several restaurants and club. registered but not graded and classified, especially the hotels/restaurants operaChieftaincy title tors. The Nigerian Tourism Development When I resumed here over three years Corporation [NTDC] must live up to its ago, I had a strong feeling that we are part responsibility. of the community, and as such, we must Across Nigeria too, it’s common to see be our brother’s keeper and we initiated hotels that cannot measure up, claiming several programmes as part of our comfranchise of international chains/brands, munity relations activities. making a mockery of the entire tourism Through that, we supply electricity to industry. Without mincing words, those the local market, scholarship to indigenes found to be corrupting the system should of our immediate communities as well as be forced to correct the wrong or be regular sponsorship of local events that forced out altogether. endeared the hotel and my person with the people. Living in Port Harcourt Just one day, the chairman of the comLiving here in Port Harcourt during munity said I had done well and that I dethe peak of militancy was not a pleasant served to be honoured with a chieftaincy experience for anybody, especially as an title. Shortly after that, I was invited to at-

tend an interview/screening session, which I passed and was subsequently decorated with the title. Supplies Good relationship with the community is a symbiotic one. I can gladly tell you that most of our supplies come from the

Action by government To further create jobs, the government of Rivers State must embrace diversification because oil will not last forever. The airline industry is in shambles. There is no timing; poor information system and wrong packaging are among the very many problems facing the tourism industry in Nigeria, and must be addressed. Continues on page 12

Per Stafsen, General Manager, Hotel Presidential and friends during his Chieftancy ceremony


12 Travel Times September 2011

Profile of Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt Continued from page 11

H

otel Presidential has a total of 251 rooms and 49 suites, situated in the two wings of the building: Wing I consists of 100 rooms and Wing II consists of 200 rooms. All rooms have air conditioning, television with satellite channels, fridge, telephone with IDD access, small coffee table with chairs, toilet desk with mirror, bathroom with shower over bath, washing basin, toilet, full size wardrobe in the entrance with full length mirror and balcony. Garden Rooms These 166 rooms are located on the 1st to the 8th Floor in Wing II, available either with twin beds or king size bed, including 1 bedroom portraying classic style in beige colours and a fully equipped bathroom with choice of poolside or city view.

Hotel Presidential aerial view at night

Premier Executive These 85 rooms are located in Wing I on the 1st to 7th Floor, newly refurbished in the latest styles, furnished in dark tones with a view overlooking the city; include 1 bedroom with king-size bed and a fully equipped bathroom. Rivers Restaurant The flagship Restaurant serves a wide variety of continental dishes prepared by some of the best professional chef anywhere in Nigeria. The Restaurant is well known for its Nigerian/Rivers State specialties. Besides one of the best Breakfast in town, Rivers Restaurant serves a popular Sunday Buffet Brunch with a weekly changing wide range of Nigerian and continental dishes. Asian Restaurant 4-5-6 Restaurant is known as the best Asian Restaurant in Rivers State. Specialties from China,Thailand, Malaysia, Japan,Vietnam, Philippine, etc, are prepared by Chef Adriano and his team. On request, we can prepare special menus for any size of groups. ‘Why Not’ Restaurant This recently refurbished restaurant serving the best Lebanese dishes in Nigeria is prepared by Chef Chady Hawach and his team with emphasis on its wide selection of Mezze, a numerous selection of small bite dishes from the Middle Eastern region. In addition, Why Not Restaurant also serves continental dishes ranging from traditional curries to filet of beef with béarnaise sauce. Bamboo Bush Bar Bring your family and friends and come enjoy a relaxing atmosphere at the newly constructed Bush bar of Hotel Presidential where you can watch your favourite football game while having a chilled drink and savouring our wide selection of international and local dishes like Ishiewu, Suya, pizzas, steaks, sandwiches.

One of the newly renovated rooms

The Garden Bar Wide range of drinks with high level of comfort and service provided in our bar, offering guest guaranteed privacy in conversation and relaxation ideal for entertaining friends or meeting with business associates. Conferences/Banquets Welcome to Hotel Presidential C&B, our unrivalled service for all meeting planners. Whether you book meetings professionally or simply wish to arrange a one-off event you’re in the right place. At Hotel Presidential, there are perfect venues for any kind of meeting, from an informal conference to large social functions, business incentives or product launches.We also have the experience and expertise to ensure that your event is hosted smoothly and stylishly and we can offer the participants a wonderful palette of guest rooms to choose from, each with its own individual flair. Health/ Recreation The hotel parades a nice tennis court, a standard swimming pool and gym for the comfort of guests.

The swimming pool and Bamboo Bush Bar


13 Travel Times September 2011


20 Travel Times September 2011

Thousands Throng 201 Hill Carnival For Europ Biggest Festival By Our Reporter

T

hey came in their thousands to dance and have a good time, Rio de Janeirostyle. At the 2011 edition held from August 28-29, revellers let their hair down in style at the Notting Hill Carnival in West London, with drumming groups, floats and sound systems all taking centre stage. More than 6,500 police officers patrolled the streets for the second day of the event as Scotland Yard mounted its unprecedented security operation just weeks after the recent riots in the city of London. Record numbers of police officers were on duty, with London’s reputation at stake in the wake of widespread violence and looting earlier last month. The festivities got off to a peaceful start on Sunday, with more than 5,500 officers on the streets, as revellers descended on the capital for Europe’s biggest street festival. By Monday morning, police had made 88 arrests for a variety of offences, including drugs possession, public order, theft, criminal damage, robbery and assault, the Metropolitan Police said. At the end, police confirmed that an additional 126 arrests had been made during the course of yesterday, bringing the total number of arrests made during the two-day party to 214. That compares favourably to last year when 243 people were arrested. Police chiefs targeted troublemakers by making more than 40 pre-emptive arrests last week and agreeing an earlier finish time of 7pm for both days. A Scotland Yard spokesman said Notting Hill’s streets emptied quickly after 7pm on the last day of the carnival, adding that a visible police presence would remain until the early hours of this morning to disperse any groups that are

London Mayor Boris Johnson posing for a photograph to promote the carnival with gathered. The police noted that despite the very peaceful nature of the 2011 edition, there were, however, a small number of isolated incidents that police responded to and resolved quickly. The police stressed that they believed the early finish has had a positive effect on how the

event went. Almost 600 revellers needed medical treatment over the two days and 59 of those were hospitalised, police said. Last year, 706 people received medical treatment with 117 taken to hospital. Officers from the dog support unit also seized three Pit-

Bull type dogs under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act but no-one was arrested, the force added. Commander Steve Rodhouse had earlier announced there would be a larger police operation in place during yesterday’s celebrations, with the 5,500 officers on duty on Sunday in-

creased to 6,500. Commander Rodhouse said: “Traditionally, Sunday is children’s day, thousands of people came out in Notting Hill to take part in this vibrant event which is so important in the capital’s calendar. “Through effective stopand-search, we believe we have


21 Travel Times September 2011

11 Notting pe’s Fun and Games Colourfully-clad participants - one wearing a headpiece decorated with the Olympic rings - walk along the parade route..

Dancing in the street The crowds were able to get up close with carnival dancers.

dancers wearing colourful costumes. deterred and prevented trouble from taking place. “We’ve worked closely with event stewards and have seen huge support from all carnival participants to meet that really important earlier closedown. “Our intelligence picture has not changed and we will make sure that our officers are out

stopping the right people so everyone else can take part and join in the fun.” Police have put in place a Section 60 order, which allows them to search individuals to prevent serious violence, and a Section 60 AA order, giving officers the power to require any person to remove items that

Tickertape parade Dancers scream with delight as they take part in the 2011 Notting Hill Carnival.

conceal their identity. Elsewhere in London there were more than 4,000 additional officers “as well as the thousands who are normally on duty,” Mr Rodhouse said. Mr Rodhouse previously said troublemakers were plotting disruption via social networking technology. He said the ‘degree of chat-

ter’ surrounding troublemakers were consistent with previous years - despite thousands of arrests after the wave of looting and violence that gripped England a few weeks ago. London Mayor Boris Johnson issued a rallying call before the festivities began to ‘let the true spirit of London shine through’, hoping the carnival will help heal wounds left by

the riots. ‘It’s right that the carnival goes ahead so we can show the world that the overwhelming majority of London’s people are decent, law-abiding citizens who respect the law, love their city and want to celebrate our vibrant, diverse and historical culture,’ he said. Pictures by: www.dailymail.co.uk


16 Travel Times September 2011


22 Travel Times September 2011


18 Travel Times September 2011

Executive Chat

Apart From Hosipality, Tourism Is Dead In Nigeria Mr. Ini Akpabio, chief executive of Nanet Suites, is no doubt the “fine boy” of Nigeria’s organised private sector participation in tourism and boss of a local leading hotel management company. In this interview with Lucky-Onoriode George, he bares his mind on the several challenges confronting Nigeria’s tourism industry.

E

dem Duke, the new Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation is an industry practitioner. Now, what do you expect from him as a professional? What is expected of a practitioner/professional in any terrain that has been managed and piloted for several years by greenhorns, is to start with a total overhauling of the wrong foundation and fragile structure that has been in the existence, otherwise he cannot effect any change and modernization that should be done as a practitioner/ professional. In doing the aforementioned, many issues are involved: from legislation/policy change to identifying attractions, products development, and marketing as well as funding for the sector. Seriously speaking, the products are almost absent because they are basically not developed at all.Where efforts have been made, they are generally not accessible due to bad roads, dirty environment, lack of electricity and poor planning which complicates and makes very difficult all attempts to sincerely develop market and promote the tourism sector nationwide. For the benefit of clearer understanding, there are two types of attractions that can be grouped into natural and manmade. Natural attractions are the likes of Obudu Mountain Resorts, beaches, waterfalls among others, while the man-made attractions are the likes of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, cathedrals, towers, unique structures such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC]. In fact, the only landmark in the whole of Abuja is Transcorp Hilton; and regrettably it’s a hotel. What am basically saying is that conscious efforts should be made to develop landmark facilities. What must the new minister give policy priority? Some of the issues can be embarked upon simultaneously. Issues of legislation or policy finetuning are crucial at this level and stage. I must also advise here that it must not be tourism related issues that must be tackled, but others that without them, our tourism efforts will come to naught. The unending discussion on Tourism Development Fund, which the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN] have been talking about and has proposed a N500 billion intervention fund from which the sector can tap cheap funding at a preferential interest rate must be fully pursued.


19 Travel Times September 2011

Funding and tourism tax With proper legislation and what I will refer to as total funding through tourism tax or ‘broom tax’, just the way most serious destinations are doing or raising funding for their development, marketing and promotion can be done. I recall during Omotayo Omotosho’s tenure as the director general of the NTDC, such were in existence: hotels pay for registration and some taxes based on the number of rooms annually. But because of the failure of that system and poor coordination, some states embark on their registration and what have you. Participations of states and local councils The minister should do more. The recent visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Obudu Mountain Resort was good, but that is not enough to elicit domestic tourism. If it is possible, airlines and transport companies should be supported as well. The Presidential Committee on Tourism [PCT], was a platform for discussing tourism at the national level, but I am of the opinion that it was too high up there, though that has been abandoned too.The minister must ensure that PCT is resuscitated; states and local council should be encouraged to do same too. For instance, if there is a major attraction in Damaturu, such should be made national. The role of the airlines The role of airlines is crucial to the making of any destinations, not just for international visitors alone, but for domestic tourism development too. The new minister must initiate interministerial working committees because tourism touches every

Funding is very important. Every ministry and minister needs funding; therefore, legislation can go a long way in achieving that. The ministry, its agencies and the private sector must also make concerted efforts in identifying priority projects-such that align with some natural environment for tourism purposes. Most countries endowed with natural environment have genuinely integrated all that into their tourism products, yet Nigeria cannot borrow them. Come to think of it, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], the country’s apex tourism agency participates in several travel and tourism fairs around the world, but what are they marketing? Through proper restructuring of the ministry, the agencies in collaboration with tourism’s private sector can better articulate scientifically our strength, weakness, opportunities and threats [SWOT].

For instance, having ministers, heads of parastatals and directors as members, or an all public sector carnival committee, as we have now, would never grow the sector because there would be no additional vision.

working on the harmonisation of the various tourism components that will be certificated.

Abuja Carnival It’s the same problem facing the public sector that the carnival is suffering from. I think what needed to be done is to gradually reduce government’s complete running of the carnival. Carnivals like the Notting Hill Carnival in the United Kingdom still have some elements of government involvement such as policing among others. For instance, having ministers, sector of Nigeria’s existence. In Nigeria today, road trans- Public Private Partnership [PPP], heads of parastatals and direcAs it stands, going abroad for portation fare is going up virtually which is not working.Apart from tors as members, or an all public holiday is cheaper than travelling every other day and it’s becoming this dispensation, anybody can be sector carnival committee, as we within the country. For instance, more problematic due to bad a tourism minister, but the sector have now, would never grow the going to Senegal or Gambia that roads. Today, 80 per cent of local must prop itself up to operate sector because there would be are thousands of kilometres away fuel consumption is still being fully. no additional vision. from us are cheaper than visit- imported. We have to actually For instance, nothing stops As it stands, Abuja Carnival is ing Obudu Mountain Resorts in look at these problems holistically. Hotel Owners Forum of Abuja a nuisance because of the incesCross River State. [HOFA], Nigeria Hotel Associasant poor marketing, promotion, I recently visited Lagos from Private sector’s role tion [NHA] and even FTAN itself wrong timing, poor organisation, Abuja and the cost of staying in Permit me to say government can be involved in the collection a comfortable hotel for a family again must be seen to be doing its of certain taxes from members, lack of proper publicity among of just seven [7] stood at almost bit.We cannot do much or deliver, which they can in turn benefits others year in year out without carrying along the private sector. N190, 000.00 per night. if people occupying key govern- from. ment positions are the ones that Tour operators Why expensive hotels cannot deliver as the private secCertification/charter in There are no tour operators Hotels are generally expensive tor can’t do much. the tourism sector. in Nigeria. The few in operations in Nigeria because there are no Yes, I am an executive of the There are lots of confusions at are weak simply because Nigeria support facilities in the country. Federation of Tourism Associa- the moment concerning the ceris not yet an inbound destination, Provide hoteliers with regular tions of Nigeria [FTAN], but what tification/charter in the tourism while the few that are struggling power supply, single digit loan, and has been the cooperation and sector. As the president of Hosare just like the travel agents that subsidized aviation fuel; without cohesion between the public and pitality and Tourism Management sell airlines’ tickets. that, you cannot ask operators to the private sector body? Association of Nigeria [HATLocally, most of our tourism reduce rates. FTAN in the real sense is MAN], we have taken a position. products are not developed and That was why I sympathise supposed to be like the Nige- FTAN cannot be chartered; it’s the few ones that can be managed with Bi-Courtney, the manage- rian Association of Chambers of the member associations under are poorly promoted. ment company that invested Commerce, Industry, Mines and FTAN that should be chartered. I think every state in Nigeria heavily on MM2, Lagos. It was Agriculture; the Pharmaceutical As you may have noticed, the has to learn from Donald Duke’s directed recently by the aviation Council of Nigeria among others. National Institute for Hospitality experiments in Cross River State. minister to stop collecting pas- Regrettably, FTAN has not woken and Tourism Study [NIHOTOUR] That is the minimum standard sengers processing fee without up to the reality. involvement is to assist in actualisthat can move our tourism deactually first finding out what their FTAN must work with govern- ing the chartered status. I am also velopment forward. challenges are. ment institutions on the basis of aware that a committee is already


20 Travel Times September 2011

2011 Federation Of Tourism Associations Of Nigeria [FTAN], AGM/ Election Photographs

Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Edem Duke and the Elected Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN], Executive.

L-R: Alh. Haruna Mohammed, Lucky Onoriode George, Samuel Alabi and Ini Akpabio. FTAN New Executives with Chairman, Board of Trustees, Charles Odunukwe [m] shortly after the election.

The newly elected Executives.

Arch. P Binga; vice president North East, Chief Edom Alexander, vice president, North Central Mr.Yakpogoro Rex Eeba; vice president South South, Charles Odunukwe, Trustee Chairman.


21 Travel Times September 2011

Mr. Bola Jaiyeola

Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Edem Duke receiving a copy of Travel Times magazine from Mr. Samuel Alabi, FTAN President.

Mr. Samuel Albi, waiting patiently before his re-election.

The Electoral Committee and Observers Desk before the Election.

Mrs. Alu-Dim, Mr. Kola Raji, FTAN Executive Secretary and Mr. Tar-Orjiemie, Chairman, Electoral Committee. Jinjinwin Akpoborie, Executive Secretary of Nigeria Hotel Association, kaduna Branch.


22 Travel Times September 2011

Kente: The Pride Of Ghana

Kwame Debrah debraconsulting@gmail.com

K

ente is the most popular and celebrated cloth in Ghana and l dare say the whole of Africa. The strip-woven cloth called Kente, made by the Asante peoples of Ghana and the Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo, is the best known of all African textiles. Its renown has spread internationally, so that it is now one of the most admired of all fabrics in many parts of the world. Its colorfulness makes it stand out wherever. Our brand of soccer is affectionately called Kente Soccer due to its complex system and flamboyant display of skills. Kente has its origin in the former Gold Coast of West Africa as a festive dress for special occasions – traditionally worn by men as a kind of toga and by women as an upper and lower wrapper. Its existence as spectacular apparel, however, has obscured its many other roles in Asante and Ewe culture, especially in royal regalia. Over the past forty years the cloth has been transformed into hats, ties, bags, shoes, and many other accessories, including jewelry, worn and used on both sides of the Atlantic. Individual Kente strips have found a permanent home in the United States and are

especially worn as a ‘stole’ or applied to academic and liturgical robes. Kente patterns have also developed a life of their own and have been appropriated as surface designs for everything from Band-Aids and balloons to greeting cards and book covers.Appearing in contexts both sacred and profane, Kente has come to evoke and to celebrate a shared cultural heritage, bridging two continents.( America and Africa) – Doran Ross. Kente has recently made more significant gains in the world of haute couture; Kente remains the textile of choice for African Americans on many occasions that foreground issues of heritage and achievement. Kente, with its vivid colours enmeshed in a visually compelling geometry, has occupied a prominent role in the worlds of design, fashion, and politics during the second half of the twentieth century. Moreover, it has been a potent symbol in the context of many of the most important African American ideologies of the period. The rather frequent wearing of Kente at special ceremonies by the first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah placed Kente right in the eyes of the World, also Kente’s adornment of the walls of the United Nations general assembly auditorium has added to its strong stature in international circles. Kente, with all its glory, is not exempt from controversy in several interrelated arenas. At the forefront are debates concerning the primacy of Asante versus Ewe weaving, though. These involve issues of ethnic and cultural pride and reflect as well as still-lucrative indigenous markets. While certain clues as to its origin reside in the cloth itself, the fact is that the most of the arguments exist in the easily manipulated realm of oral tradition, rendering it impossible to determine definitely who influenced whom. Despite Kente’s obscure past, the fact remains that the similarities between Asante and Ewe Kente, especially in central and northern Ewe areas, are much greater than any discernible differences. The Homes of Kente in Asante, Bonwire continue to be regarded as home and center of Kente weaving, even though a place like Adanwomase is prominent when it comes to Kente weaving and in fact recognized as a seat for royal weavers. In Eweland, the most noticeable centers are Ag-

L-R: Former Ghanian President JJ Rawlings and Bill Clinton, decked in Kente. bozume and Kpetoe.The institution of two festivals to celebrate and to market it to the World has enhanced the glory and the quest to celebrate Kente. In 1996, the Ewe town of Kpetoe created the first Kente festival (AGBEMEVOZA) to be fol-

lowed by the creation of another one in 1998 in Asante weaving center Bonwire. BONWIRE KENTE FESTIVAL: Isn’t it interesting and ironic that the most popular song composition to glorify Kente weaving, composed by Ghana’s greatest musicologist, Dr. Ephraim Amu [a very proud Ewe] was about the stunning weaving skills of Bonwire weavers. And what is most amazing is that one of the most prolific, legendary and skilful Kente weavers of Bonwire, a man called Samuel Cofie, is an Ewe man born in Anyako, another Kente weaving town in Eweland. Cofie has been weaving Kente since 1961. Kente, like any prominent has suffered the creation of fake ones on the market. Anyway, my parents did well to train me to discern the differences between Ewe and Asante Kente and, of course, l have the capacity to also discern fake, replicas or imitations of Kente when l encountered one.. Kente has been researched by many including Rattray in 1927. The Asantehene is reported to have over

300,000 Kente cloths with a whole King “Abenasehene” in charge of storing and maintenance. Even the most brilliantly display of Ghanaian Soccer [all attacking game] is christened Kente Soccer.The type we mesmerized the world with at the 2006 FIFA soccer world cup in Germany. The most skilfully woven and most colourful of Kente is called “ADWENE ASA to wit, all colours and weaving skills having been exhausted into creating one cloth. If you visit Ghana and wish to experience a galaxy of Kente, just go to a nearby church on Sunday morning, or be at one of our festivals, or marriage ceremonies, or state functions. But the best place to see Kente is during our festivals. A return from Ghana without a stripe or full piece Kente will leave a big vacuum in your memory of Ghana. Visit the Arts Centre in Accra on the High

Street or African Market on Abebresem Street in Osu, or Joyce Ababio Fashion House on the AccraLa Road for spectacular collections. You may also email me for additional information on this spectacular aspect of brand Ghana. Have a colourful day. I’m indebted to the many researchers whose works l have used to enrich this write up.

UNWTO Media/Tourism Conference, How Relevant To Africa?

T

he first international conference dedicated exclusively to the relationship between tourism and the media is to be held between the 12th and 13th September, 2011, in Zagreb, Croatia by UNWTO and Croatia under the title,“Tourism in the Headlines”. My friend and industry associate, Mr. Lucky George, invited me over for a coffee. I could not wait to jump at the offer of being at such a world gathering where media visionaries, lateral thinkers and futurologists will attempt to integrate tourism reporting as a panacea for world economic transformation. I could not but accept his invitation to be at the event as tourism reporting has always been the life blood of any economy.Whether it is the movement of our kind of food through the mails, transport of the human voice of our tradition, reporting with flickering pictures of our cultural heritage, or even when highest accomplishment of tourism still have the single aim of bringing people together; in all of this, tourism reporting plays a fundamental role. History has a way of repeating itself, I quickly concluded, as this topic rather took me aback. During the lifetime of the great French visionary and renowned journalist Jules Verne, when the usual modes of travel in our land were camels, horses, donkeys and elephants, he saw that destination marketing will be a failure without the art and science of reporting. Jules Verne was an amazing tourism writer who predicted the scientific future. Some of the inventions he imagined were created later in his lifetime, but some are still to be invented. He was popular with all kinds of readers, rich, poor, young, old, scientist, artist and even rulers. For me and most tourism writers, he is an interesting study because most of his fantasies where yet to come to fruition. But by the time he died in 1905, his words had fired the imagination of avid readers and potential travellers around the globe. Today, while even more people go on holiday or travel to do business, play sports or attend meetings, visit friends and family members or simply in search of excitement, we have come to expect as far as tourism

reporting is concern that the standard of efficiency, comfort and safety of any destination to a large extent determines the quality of final experience a traveller stands to get. Since tourism evolution has now become a normal part of everyday life, tourism reporting is now a critical factor in that discovery, development or it expansion. The rapid growth of the industry in recent years shows the incredible leap forward in tourism information that is available in the west. We are today bombarded with information exploits from both traditional and electronic sources. Exploits that were once no more than the brainchild of science fiction writers such as Jules Verne’s are growing ever nearer reality with the advances in tourism discoveries that have and will continue to be made. But what lies ahead for the African market? The Pioneer newspaper, among other delegates, has been a great ambassador of our continent, selling rural African destinations; one of nature’s scenic gifts to the world to travel enthusiasts.Yet, real victories are far from the reach of the real consumers.Africa needs help from the world.We need our course to be championed by a collective commitment from strategic partners to carry the story across borders. The story of how the African Travel Association in 1971 proposed what is now the World Tourism day should be re-echoed.The story of our unending struggle a destination that seems like haven with inexhaustible sights to behold, a kaleidoscope of a beautiful world with exciting landscapes and traditional master piece of historical relevance should be celebrated. Africa expects this conference to foment the understanding of the importance of tourism reporting and its social, cultural, political and economic values among international communities. Most African destinations, eager to sell products from their rural markets have always been there at world expos like the WTM, ITB and FITUR to display their abundance and make their mark.We need the global media to recognize our collective values and support them as part of its projects for a sustainable development

in a global context. Promoting tourism has become the vehicle for true social and economic phenomenon of the new century to many destinations of the world.Africa and its centuries –old traditions, artefacts, national colours, dialects, folk songs, rich cultural heritage and hospitality have strong tourism potentials to attract visitors daily. These are products for the international market place. It is critical that we promote our domestic tourism and local markets on the need to make travel a pleasurable and safe activity to foster mutual understanding, identity, tolerance and discovery among the people of the world. Conferences like this does not only help us to better understand each other’s agenda, but to learn and grow from the experience we gain.The wonder of experiencing African natural environment is not just complete with the awe-inspiring beauty of our great land, but more importantly what the exposure and interaction with other media markets does for the soul and spirit, for the culture and wealth of the earth and for the accessibility of the fruits of tourism. Through the UNWTO, the dream of tourism without borders is being realized and could contribute to creating a better future for mankind.This is today’s tourism we must collectively pursue at and beyond the Zagreb conference. Tourism reporting is where new and unprecedented opportunities are learned and ethical demands related to the industry are kept. People who have responsibilities in this field – politicians, legislators, policy regulatory agencies, the academia, members of the government and those involved in financing it through one platform undertake to promote peace encounters among people, guaranteeing safety and facilitating good reporting. This conference is therefore a platform for promoters, organizers and those who work in the tourism sector to build media structures to make the industry healthy, popular and financially sustainable. Writers and promoters of tourism will continue to be appreciated when energies and synergies in the sector are well articulated, organized and harnessed to contribute to

Hilerus Edet the GDP of our continent reflecting on the NEPAD initiative. We are pace setters in the business of the sector product development, image enhancement, private sector involvement, standard setting and job creation as well as capacity building.That is why we are relevant in the Zagreb meet. As the sector watch dogs, we are glad today that the UNWTO has recognized tourism as one of its key drivers of growth and diversification. Kudos to our host for seeing tourism reporting as an imperative in addressing sustainable development issues as well as building socio cultural and economic links within the international market. “Tourism in Headlines”, our call to duty and that of all tourism writers is to highlight this new era of light as well as be a nexus between real victories by government and non governmental bodies to the real consumers within our local and foreign market. If we are determined to accelerate tourism sales and revenue, then such meet like this will give it the much needed push to the frontline of global tourism competition where the world meets.


23 Travel Times September 2011


24 Travel Times September 2011


September 2011