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Ado Ekiti: Udiroko Festival 2019 beckons the world

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Ado Ekiti: Udiroko Festival 2019 beckons the world

ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA who was at the world media event staged by the organisers of Udiroko Festival 2019 writes on the attempt by the people of Ado Ekiti, their monarch and Ekiti State government to put the yearly festival on the global tourism map

 

The occasion was the world press conference staged over the week at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos by the organisers of Udiroko Festival 2019, a yearly historical and cultural tourism festival celebrated by the people of Ado in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.

 

It was to intimate the world of the preparations for the hosting of the festival this year, with the theme: ‘Enforcing and sustaining the solidarity of our history, culture and tradition.’ It is scheduled to hold between August 12 and 20, in Ado Ekiti, with the grand finale billed for August 20. But more importantly, it was to let the world into the new spirit of the age – long festival, which is to blaze the global tourism trail and position it to propel the people and the city into a new economic era.

 

The banquet hall was colourfully decked and draped with the colours and cultural motifs of the people of Ado who left no one in doubt of the richness and colours of their cultural heritage. While the people waited for the event to get underway, the cultural troupe from Ado Ekiti gave a good account of the cultural propensity of Ado people as they enthralled the audience with energetic and entertaining performances ranging from songs to dance.

 

The audience was a mixed one, reflecting the importance and historic nature of the world press conference, with a number of Ado people resident in Lagos sharing the podium with their kin and kindred from Ado Ekiti who had come in their number to grace the occasion.

 

The home front was led to the event by no less an important personality than their royal father, Oba (Dr.) Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, with his olori, Bosede Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, the Eyesorun of Ado Ekiti, and the full complement of his council members, officials and palace attendants.

 

It was a graceful and majestic event, with the Ewi in his full traditional attire, adding colour, elegance and splendour to the event, which turned out to be a rich and colourful cultural display by the people of Ado Ekiti. For the audience that was thrilled by the rich display, it was like an added pep to plan to attend the festival for the full dose of the savouring cultural bouquet that the Ewi and his people are planning to serve the people.

 

A display of our cultural values – Adelusi – Adeluyi Speeches were given by various speakers at the event, including the monarch, in a bid by the organisers to win converts for the festival and explain the reason behind the festival. One of those that spoke was the chairman of the festival, Prince Julius Adelusi – Adeluyi, who is also the chairman of Juli Pharmacy. Besides being an astute businessman and administrator, he showed another side of his, which perhaps is not known to many.

 

The fact that he is well abreast with the tradition and culture of his people, Ado Ekiti, as he backed up his pitch for the festival with display of cultural nuances and lacing his presentation with songs and rally cry for ‘cultural solidarity’ from the people.

 

 

 

He started off by letting the audience know that Ado people are a proud race and cherish their tradition and cultural heritage, which they have laboured over the years to preserve and promote through celebration of all sorts. ‘‘We are proud of ourselves and we have a big city that has existed for centuries, therefore, we have our traditions but the most important of all our festivals is Udiroko,’’ he said, even as he stressed that ‘‘it is a national day for us in Ado Ekiti.’’ With this, he struck at the import of the festival and the reason why the people go all the way to celebrate it yearly, with the celebration of this year’s edition a notch higher than previous ones, as the emphasis is now on giving it a global audience and mainstreaming it into the economic development mix of the   people and town.

 

He emphasised the need for people to understand their culture, as he disclosed that: ‘‘A group of people without culture is a group that that can be written off.’’ Therefore, he implored the audience, particularly the youth, to not only study but to embrace their culture. An Ekiti man, he said is known for his culture and then called for support for the festival, as this will give impetus for the people to keep promoting the festival and their culture. ‘‘When you support Udiroko you are strengthening our traditional values.

 

Ado Ekiti people have content and our programme today will be the success of the future.’’ A celebration of our historical foundation – Akindele Professor Sunday Akindele is the chairman of the festival planning committee for this year. Although with a petit physique but he has a dashing and overwhelming nature, with a full grasp of the history and culture of his people. He treated the audience to a dose of this as he went down historical lane to present the essence of the festival to the people, stating that: ‘‘The essence of Udiroko is to annually remember the foundation of Ado Ekiti Kingdom,’’ adding that ‘‘it has nothing to do with fetish or idol, all our programmes are recorded and documented for all to see.’’

 

According to Akindele, ‘‘it is about the historical development of the people and the town.’’

 

He then attempted to paint the history of the people and the festival, saying that it dates back to 12000 AD and that it is of great significance to the people as it defines their humanity, existence and authenticity as a people.

 

Therefore, he insisted that the festival is purely historical, cultural and traditional celebration and has no religious or political undertone. It is for this single reason that the people gather yearly under the guidance and leadership of the Ewi to celebrate the festival amidst colours and cultural pageantry as a national day event.

 

Having the monarch of the town grace the occasion, he said underlines the importance that the people and the palace attach to the celebration, especially given the new spirit of the festival, which is opening it to the world and using it as the bedrock for the socio-economic development of the people and town. Given this, no one else was fit and proper to unfold this new initiative to the people than the royal father, who according to Akindele, is not given to frivolities and not ordinary as well as not prone to travelling out of the palace commonly.

 

His visit to Lagos for the event, he said was very significant and historic as that would be the first time of his visiting Lagos since he assumed the stool of his ancestors in 1990 as the 28th Ewi of the town. We will create a new impetus for the festival to prosper – Gov Fayemi For the Ekiti State government, this year signifies a new dawn in the annals of the festival as the Governor John Kayode Fayemi – led administration is poised at rebrand the festival and put it on the global tourism map hence it is partnering with the palace to organise and promote the festival. This new commitment was disclosed by the governor who was represented at the event by the Director General of Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Wale Ojo – Lanre. The governor commended    the Ewi and his people for their tenacity in preserving and celebrating the historic and cultural festival yearly.

 

According to him: ‘‘The Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture has the full mandate of the government of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi to promote our culture as a well as our core values in order to evolve a state that manifest the vision of its founding fathers; this explains the passion and commitment of the council towards a collaboration with communities to transform their festivals into a prosperity instrument for the people.’’

 

He further stated that: ‘‘Since it is within the compass of our purview to inject critical innovations into the original manners of celebrating festivals in Ekiti, we initiated this world press conference in furtherance of the strategic marketing of some Ekiti festivals.’’

 

Therefore, the choice of Udiroko as one of the festivals to earn the partnership of the state government, is also informed by what he said to be the consistency, energy and tenacity of purpose displayed by the people of Ado Ekiti.

 

‘‘We have noticed the energy and vigour with which the Ewi and the people of Ado prepare and celebrate Udiroko annually hence our decision to partner with Ado Ekiti people to rebrand the festival, globalize its celebration, seek marketers for the festival so that it becomes self – sustaining and involve Ado – Ekiti indigenes in The Diaspora as a well as those outside the shores of Ekiti States.’’ Achieving this onerous goal is no mean task as it will take time and resources hence the state governor concluded by stating that: ‘‘This mandate is being delivered gradually.’’

 

A lift to our history, culture and tradition – Ewi of Ado Ekiti

 

For the elated Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba (Dr.) Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, the occasion for many reasons was an epoch making one for him and his people. Visiting Lagos formally to felicitate with his people after his first attempt was aborted 28 years ago was a thing of joy and a dream come through.

 

Besides visiting to launch a new initiative for the festival, which is meant to propel the festival to a new height and open a new vista for the economic development of the people and town, is a welcome development. It was for this reason that he elected to grace the   event with his presence to announce the beginning of this journey to the world and personally invite the world to his domain for the festival, which commences next week. He was more detailed in his presentation as he took the people on historical excursion of the kingdom and the festival, which according to him, is as old as the people and defines the existence and essence of the people.

 

‘‘The Udiroko Festival, which marks the first day in Ado Ekiti traditional calendar is yearly celebrated to continually give a pride of place to our history, culture and tradition as a people.,’’ said the Ewi, adding that: ‘‘The celebration   of this tripod of our collective existence as Ado people every year provides the ample opportunity to all Ado sons and daughters both at home and in Diaspora to come together to appreciate God and pray for continuous peace and progress in the coming year.’’

 

The word Udiroko, according to the monarch, means Idi igi iroko (Under the iroko tree). Therefore, Udiroko, he said became significance to the people of Ado Ekiti right from the creation of Ado Ekiti through conquest in the early 13000 AD. Following this, the people were said to meet under the tree to celebrate and commemorate the founding of the town and since then they have yearly celebrated the festival, which today is assuming a new dimension.

 

The festival, which has not only become the national day of the people of Ado but a New Year Day for them, is celebrated by all the people from across the world with the Ewi and his council taking the lead in the celebration. According to him, it is a joyous celebration, which is coated in the mode of thanksgiving by the people to God for another year and that it is free from any form of ritual hence the entire community, regardless of the religious and socio – economic backgrounds, are involved in the festival. The festival is a weeklong celebration, with each day before the grand finale devoted to different activities, such as feasting, music, dance and performances of all sorts underlining each day’s celebration. The Ewi promised a colourful, exciting and fulfilling celebration as he beckoned the world to Ado Ekitit to witness the people at play for one week

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Abid Ali Balospura

    August 13, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Amazing

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Travel and Tourism

MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI-NGUBANE: I want to cover lost ground, have more Nigerians visit South Africa

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MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI-NGUBANE: I want to cover lost ground, have more Nigerians visit South Africa

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, is South Africa tourism minister, she spoke with ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA during her recent visit to Nigeria on her mandate, promotion of her country and relationships between her country and Nigeria among others.

 

 

Background

MmamolokoTryphosa ‘Nkhensani’ Kubayi – Ngubane, is a politician with a rich and enduring history and a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and the National Assembly.

Her life story is a study in human endurance and dedication to one’s belief as she rose from a lowly background to the top, breaking the glass ceiling. Born and bred in Soweto, one of the backwaters enclaves of South Africa, she holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of the Witwatersrand and also attended Harvard Business School.

Before being appointed in May this year as minister of tourism, she had earlier served as minister of Energy; Communication and Science and Technology.

Her task as the country’s tourism minister is well cut out and this she knows too well as she sees herself as her country’s lead sales person and brand ambassador. ‘‘I am the number sales person of South Africa,’’ was how she described her role to the admiration of a packed audience during her recent visit to Nigeria where she had series of stakeholders engagements with some of the trade partners of South Africa Tourism in Lagos.

Kubayi-Ngubane took time to pitch for her country’s tourism, describing Nigeria as among the three highly rated source markets for her country’s tourism even as she addressed some of the burning issues agitating the minds of Nigerians.

Top on the list were the twin issues of difficulties in accessing South Africa visa, security and safety of Nigerians in South Africa.

She pledged the commitment of her government resolving these issues as she revealed that the country will in 2020 introduced e-visa system, which will address the difficulties in accessing visa while a high powered panel headed by the former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, has been set up by her president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to find a lasting solution to the issue of xenophobic killings in the country.

What is your core mandate as the minister of tourism?

The core mandate for me from my president is to increase the number of tourist arrivals, international tourists, to 21 million by 2030. The second one is to be able to contribute towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country in terms of economic growth and also contribute towards job creation.

Because the sector has a capacity for mass jobs creation, indirect and direct jobs, are created by the sector. So, those are my core mandate and also the domestic market that I have to increase it by ensuring that South Africans tour South Africa again.

How do you intend to achieve this awesome mandate?

That is why I am visiting the different markets to be able to listen to the stakeholders to know what are the issues confronting them and to be able to unlock them because there are blockages that we have discovered?

One of the things that is a priority as the president has instructed us is easing access to South Africa. The visa process, making it transparent and we believe that the e-visa system is going to help us.

Today as I am seated here I have listened to quite a number of issues being raised and suggestions on easy access to visa, multiple visas that will help this market particularly. And those we will incorporate as part of our plans to be able to resolve the hurdles.

Another issue is to deal with the killings, as the challenges around the attempts on some nationalities do harm our brand. Therefore, my message as well not only to my government and South Africans, is to emphasise the importance of collaboration, the importance of sticking together when we have differences.

As our fore fathers have taught us, as Nelson Mandela has taught us, to find solutions through dialogue and not through attempts on each other’s lives. And that is also my message to my country.

What is key for you from the feelers that you are getting from Nigeria today through this stakeholders engagement?

The two clear messages that I got today is that, one, as a government we need to communicate more because there are some miss information coming into the market. The second one is to be able to make sure that we have a meaningful relationship with our stakeholders.

When we are able to recognise them because they are bringing people into South Africa we shouldn’t treat them like any other person. In other markets you find out that people like the travel agents, they get special treatment because they are bringing more numbers.

They get preference because of the numbers and people that they are bringing. So, the relationship that we have with our travel agents and tour operators, we need to increase it more and make sure that we listen to them more and give feedback and communicate with them more.

Solving the challenge of visa is another message that I got from the meeting and it is very strong, ‘minister, please pay attention to it.

What then is your expectation from the Nigerian market?

My expectation from the Nigerian market is to be able to recovery after the unfortunate incident and also see more Nigerians visiting because we do have quite a lot to offer them.

Therefore, the reassurance that we have given today gives confidence because the fact that myself as a political leader of this portfolio today has come to talk to them and listen to them and take their issues back home to share with my government and president so that we can find solutions to them.

So, I am expecting to see more Nigerians coming and returning home safely.

On the global scale, where do you want South Africa to be on the tourism map?

We think we have the potential to grow the more and if we can grow the numbers that we want, I am looking at increasing the numbers and at least in the next 10 years in the top 10.

Do you have the capacity for that projection?

We do have the capacity for it. We have a broad South Africa in terms of the field. Many people think that we have one national park but there are more than 10 national reserves that you can visit.

So you will be able to explore more and we are making sure that when people come they have diversity. People also think that South Africa is only two provinces; Johannesburg and Pretoria; but we have more than that. We have Durban in terms of tourism and it is very beautiful, we have Limpopo and in terms of tourism it is beautiful.

We have Kruger National Park, actually you can enter the park from two provinces and people don’t know that. There is so much to do in the country. South Africa is surrounded by different coastal regions.

Actually, we have five cities that are coastal cities, closer to the ocean and many people don’t know that.

What legacies would you want to leave behind as tourism minister?

At home, more around transformational issues, specifically to make sure that our sector is now more inclusive. Growing more women into the leadership position. For example, in hospitality sector, as chief executive officers.

Also, the disable community. In my last event for instance, I had a barrister who is blind as the speaker and who is able to explain to the people that he prepares coffee and know how to separate cuppachino from coffee.

So, you are killing the stereotype in the society that is one of my legacies.

Internationally, I want to see more people come into South Africa to enjoy the country. So, meeting the 21 million target will be mine legacy.

Is this your first time of visiting Nigeria?

It is my first visit to Nigeria. I have never visited the country before.

What is your impression of the country and Nigerians?

I have always had good views about the country because I have friends from Nigeria. Two of them have not been to South Africa but they know South Africa through me and I have not been to Nigeria before today but I know Nigeria through them.

The second thing is Nigerian foods, there are places in South Africa where Nigerian foods are available. But I only got to taste it here, and it is lovely and I enjoyed it and then I sent a message to one of my Nigerian friends in South Africa, saying, why didn’t you tell me about Nigerian foods?

I have known you for more than 10 years and you never told me that the vegetable soup is so nice and the pepper soup too, very lovely?

So, that is what I am talking about and your people are lovely as well.

How do you hope to translate this message when you get back home for us to begin to have cohesion among ourselves as one people and Africans?

The people need to follow what the leaders are saying. We are a team by example. President Muhammadu Buhari was in South Africa and very firm in terms of the relationship between the two countries.

And I am here and I met with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, this morning, and we reechoed the same sentiment that we can’t have another place. Africa is our home and we have to make it work.

But we can’t make it work alone, we have to partner with our citizens side by side and work together. We have this beautiful continent and we have everything else and we can only thrive if we put our heads together and hold our hands together.

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Travel and Tourism

Going to Africa? Include Zambia

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Going to Africa? Include Zambia

Elinor Garely

 

Tourism is becoming an important economic engine for Zambia, creating employment, stimulating infrastructure and increasing foreign earnings. In addition, it is a cash cow to the government and promotes local crafts.

On your radar?

Of the 53.3 million international tourists visiting Africa in 2014 only 1.7 per cent visited Zambia. The purpose of the visit was primarily business (54 per cent), with only 25 per cent booking for a holiday. While most visitors were from Africa, there were tourists from Europe (9.5 per cent), Asia (7.7 per cent), the Americas (5.3 per cent), and Australia (1.3 per cent). Zambia has a treasure-trove of ecotourism opportunities to see including 19 national parks, with Kafue. The largest and a major attraction is Victoria Falls. Visitors interested in seeing the Falls but reluctant to encounter political unrest on the Zimbabwe side, have opted to direct their attention to Zambia. According to the Acting Chief Executive of Zambia Tourism Board (ZNTB), Stein Liyanda, the relative lack of development in Zambia means the wildlife has remained diverse and plentiful. “We not only have game in abundance but over 700 varieties of bird species. A full third of the country is preserved as national parks and game management reserves (Institutional Investor- International Edition. May, 2003).

 

Where to Stay

The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa; is located on the Zambezi River, inside the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Park, opposite Siloka Island, upstream from Victoria Falls and near the town of Livingstone. The property includes 72 standard rooms and five executive suites with air conditioning. Each room has a private balcony with wonderful views of the Zambezi River.

 

Handicap rooms are available.

The grounds surrounding the lodge make the setting incredibly beautiful and the public spaces appear designed as part of a movie set. The Lodge offers event space and is a conference center as well as wedding venue. The Kala Restaurant features Afro- Arabian fusion cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hotel features an outdoor pool and fitness space, a spa, and a golf course is available nearby. Kayaking and rafting adventures can be arranged.

 

 

On The Road

Zambia road conditions are unique to the destination. The vehicles drive on the left-side of the road and cars in traffic circles travel clockwise. It is illegal to turn left on a red light. Many roads do not have shoulders or sidewalks forcing pedestrians and livestock to use the roadways during the day and night. It is a traffic violation to splash a pedestrian when driving through water. Third party insurance is compulsory, and it must be purchased in the country. When stopped, you must show proof of purchase. The main roads are relatively wellmaintained; however, many secondary roads need repair. Four-wheel drive vehicles are suggested during the rainy season (end of October to mid-March). There are no emergency services for injured or stranded drivers. Car accident victims are vulnerable to theft by people pretending to be helpful. While a cell phone is recommended (actually a necessity), some parts of the country do not have cell phone service; however, using a phone without a hands-free kit while driving is illegal and if you are caught, you will be fined. If you are stopped by police while driving and asked to pay a fine, ask for an official receipt or directions to the nearest police station where you can make a payment. Driving “under the influence?” Drivers are tested at Lusaka’s University Teaching Hospital and then taken to court.

 

Border Crossing – Heads Up

When visitors’ cross borders from one Afri-can country to another, government protocols must be followed. If you have a tour guide escort, he/she is likely to personally handle the transactions, which include a review of your passport, visas and cash payment. The best way to expedite the process is to follow the instructions presented by the guide. Do not look for reasons or rationale. Just follow the directions. It is important to have cash in the local currency as well as American dollars as some border control officers will not accept the currency of other countries and they are unlikely to accept credit or debit cards. There appears to be no fixed rules or regulations at border crossing. So, the best motto is the cliché, “Prepare for the worst and pray for the best.” Be prepared for long lines of trucks, cars and bicycles waiting to cross the border. A border crossing for Zambia is via water ferry. A bridge is under construction but has been in development stage for many years. Because the ferry crossing barge is very old, it can be very slow, and may not look very safe. Once again, follow the directions of the tour guide, and accept their instructions: move when they tell you to move, sit where they tell you to sit. They have been doing their jobs for many years and are knowledgeable about the methods that work to expedite the process.

Patience and a snack

Sometimes, if luck is on your side and you have a really good guide, travelling from one country to the other will be easy-peasy. However, it is best to prepare mentally for a long and hot passage, and then be delightfully surprised when the anguish was for naught. *Have snacks and water: The process could be quick and easy, or not; *Watch your things and keep your eye on your car and/or your tour guide; *Have your paperwork available (i.e., Passports, visas, currency); *Be pleasant and smile. Hostility, anger, frustrations – hide all the emotions until the paperwork is stamped and you are out of passport control and driving in your destination country.

 

*Culled: Eturbonews; Dr. Elinor Garely

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Nassarawa partners NATOP on cultural festival

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Nassarawa partners NATOP on cultural festival

It may just be a new dawn for tourism in Nassarawa State, as the state governor, Abdullahi Sule, as indicated interest in developing the sector by breathing a new lease of life into especially in the hosting and promotion of its cultural festival. To this end, the governor recently held a meeting with the President of the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Hajia Bilksu Abdul, where he formally disclosure his intention to partner with the association in the development and promotion of the state tourism sector.

While extending an invitation to the members to visit the state and hold discussion with the state tourism commissioners and others so as to fashion a way forward for the state tourism, governor Sule said he is impressed with the strides that the association has made over the years and his readiness to work with the president and her members.

‘‘I want to join NATOP so I can drive tourism in my state,’’, declared the governor to Hajia Abdul, and therefore, extended invitation to the board of trustee and members of her executive team to tour the state. Delighted by the governor’s move, the NATOP president, in accepting the invitation of the governor, pledged the commitment of NATOP in partnering with the governor in the development and promotion of the state tourism sector. While promising to return with a powerful team, she assured the governor of a bumper harvest ahead.

NATOP. ‘‘Engaging NATOP to help promote Nassarawa State will yield great result sir. We shall not disappoint you. My members are capable,’’ assured Hajia Abdul. NATOP recently had engagement with the National Park Services, which played host to its members while it has also met with the chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Rochas Okorocha.

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Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO named Airline Executive of the year

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Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO named Airline Executive of the year

Ethiopian Airlines has continued to win global acclaim, with its group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, named as ‘Airline Executive of the Year’ at the yealry Global Aviation Awards for Excellence organised by the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) in Malta. GebreMariam won the title for his commendable individual influence on the aviation industry, demonstrating outstanding strategic thinking and innovative direction for the growth of Ethiopian Airlines and the aviation industry at large. The elated CEO said: “I am honoured to have received the award and I sincerely thank CAPA for the recognition. We at Ethiopian have achieved greater milestones as one family.

‘‘I want to dedicate this award to my colleagues, more than 16,000 brave men and women around the world, who always challenge themselves to soar higher with the mind-set that every step they take can become new history and milestone in today’s 21st century aviation business.” While CAPA Chairman, Emeritus Peter Harbison, remarked that: “Tewolde GebreMariam has become a giant in African aviation over the past decades.

He has guided a marginal airline into becoming a major global force, with a modern fleet and a world class operation. ‘‘This past year he has been most strenuously challenged following the MAX accident, and emerges with an even stronger reputation. We are proud to present him with this award and look forward to him continuing to lead the airline to even greater heights.” GebreMariam,rose through the ranks to become the CEO of the group in January 2011. He has received a number of prestigious awards in the aviation industry for his outstanding leadership, which had propelled Ethiopian to the top of Africa’s aviation.

Regarded as the pre-eminent awards for strategic excellence in aviation, CAPA first established the awards in 2003 to recognise successful airlines and airports based in the Asia Pacific region. The awards later expanded to the global stage in 2012 to acknowledge aviation excellence worldwide. GebreMariam has also been listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in 2019 by New African Magazine this week.

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Royal Mansour Hotel Marrakech Best in Africa, 6th in the World

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Royal Mansour Hotel Marrakech Best in Africa, 6th in the World

Royal Mansour Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco, has earned double stripes as the best hotel in Africa and the sixth best in the world. This, according to a report by atq.com, emerged from the latest publication by world acclaimed luxury and lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller from its ‘Reader’Choice Awards.’ The annual awards, which has been celebrated in the last 32 years listed the best 50 hotels, resorts, cities, islands, and cruise lines around the world. The magazine bases its rankings on the votes of more than 600,000 travellers. Conde Nast Traveller in it review described the hotel as “a swoon-worthy showpiece of Moroccan decorative art.”

The hotel features 53 individual riads, each with a courtyard, a living room, a bedroom, and a private rooftop terrace. Other facilities provided by the hotel include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spas, and two restaurants: La Grande Table Marocaine and La Grande Table Française.

The hotel also operates an underground tunnel system, which the staff, dressed as “genie-like butlers,” use to travel around the hotel unseen. Royal Mansour has won many awards in recent years, marking it as the best hotel in Morocco and Africa, and one of the best hotels worldwide.

In 2017, Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Travel Award selected the Moroc-can hotel as the best hotel spa in the world. Royal Mansour was not the only Moroccan hotel on this year’s list. La Mamounia Hotel, also in Marrakech, ranked 28th best hotel in the world. Marrakech is known as the tourist capital of Morocco, receiving more than two million tourists every year. Celebrities regularly visit the ochre city to celebrate their birthdays, most recently the American rapper, Ludacris, and the pop, singer Madonna.

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Bukka Hut berths at Surulere

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Bukka Hut berths at Surulere

Bukka Hut has opened a new outlet in Surulere area of Lagos as it seeks to entrench it presence in the hospitality business. Operated by Bukkha Hospitality Limited, it is one of the leading operators in quick service restaurant. It operates in a uniquely, artistic and attractive setting with an alluring ambience. It offers a range of tasty and sumptuous Nigerian delicacies in a hygienic, conducive and customer-friendly environment. According to the Founder/Managing Director of the company, Mr. Rasheed Jaiyeola, the opening of the Bukka Hut Restaurant on Bode Thomas Street, a major commercial and residential area of Surulere, was necessary to meet the needs of its numerous customers who live and work in the area. In addition to providing service to walk-in customers, he stated that the restaurant also engages in home and office delivery services as well as outdoor.

“The success we have achieved over the years has not only been by providing quality Nigerian meals at unbeatable prices, but also in ensuring that our numerous customers experience prompt and excellent service delivery,’’ said Jaiyeola, adding that: ‘‘We have grown a brand that Nigerians reckon with when it comes to providing premium food, hence the need to continue to expand to meet the cravings of our customers and lovers of good food.’’

He added that the outlet would also have the Bukka Hut Lounge, which will serve as a hangout spot for those seeking to have a feel of the real Lagos night life. Existing outfits owned by the firm are located in such areas as: Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1; Circle Mall, Jakande; Festival Mall, Festac Town; Gbagada;

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The Quadrangle, Nana Hotel Otta, to host Rafiu Ladipo

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The Quadrangle, Nana Hotel Otta, to host Rafiu Ladipo

The stage is set for the hosting of the President General of Nigerian Football and Other Sports Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, to a grand and colourful reception by management of Nana Hotel Otta, Ogun State at its popular The Quadrangle. The date is Sunday December 22 and The Quadrangle, which has become popularly for its hosting of important personalities from across board, is expected to wear white and green colours on the day, the symbol of the Nigeria football supporters club.

‘‘It will be a great day for sports and tourism in Nigeria as The Quadrangle Nana Hotel Otta will be hosting the number one cheer leader of sports in the world, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, President General, Nigerian Football and Other Sports Supporters Club,’’ said the general manager of the hotel, Seriki Olawale.

‘‘The celebration of distinction will be at a grand reception and banquet organised in his honour, for his contribution to the development of world sports,’’ stressed Olawale even as he add that: ‘‘The occasion, whose theme is the green and white carnival will have a lot of entertainment. It will start by 4pm.’’ Guests are expected to turn out in personalised Super Eagles designer football jersey.

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Travel and Tourism

Caribbean tourism earns record performance in 2019

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Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) was on song at the recently held World Travel Market (WTM), London, where it revealed a record performance this year, with tourist arrivals to the Caribbean said to have increased by 9.7 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. According to a report by Eturbonews.com, CTO’s Chairman, Dominic Fedee, said this performance was more than double the global average of 4.4 per cent. Between January and June this year, there were 17.1 million tourist trips to the Caribbean, 1.5 million more than the corresponding period in 2018.

The foundation of this performance was a strong United States market, which grew by 20.2 per cent, totalling a first half record of 8.9 million overnight international tourists. During the same period, some 2.1 million Canadian tourists stayed in the region, a 2.4 per cent rise when compared to the same period last year. However, the European market was flat, registering a marginal 0.4 per cent increase to 2.9 million trips, with the UK market down by 1.7 per cent, mainly due to significant declines in Cuba, which fell by 22 per cent, and the Dominican Republic, down by 15.3%.

The strong results recorded in the first half reflect the resilience of individual destinations and demonstrate their ability to skillfully navigate global political and economic concerns, including Brexit and the ongoing trade wars which threaten the stability of the global economy. Several factors supported the gains made so far including increased air capacity between the region and major sources, expansions in the accommodation sector and the positive positioning of the destinations’ brands in the various source markets. As it relates to cruise, the demand for the Caribbean was so strong in the first six months of 2019, that there was a record 16.7 million cruise visits, 1.3 million more than in the same period of 2018.

The present rate of growth estimated to be 8.1 per cent eclipsed that for similar periods in the last four years. Looking forward to the remainder of this year, based on current trends, and considering the various global issues including Brexit and trade wars, the CTO forecast an increase of between five and seven per cent in stayover arrivals and four to five per cent rise in cruise passenger visits.

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Travel and Tourism

China expects tourism shift from US, Australia to Asia for Lunar New Year

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China expects tourism shift from US, Australia to Asia for Lunar New Year

China’s aviation regulator said on Thursday it expected a decline in airline capacity and bookings to the United States and Australia over the Lunar New Year period for the first time in nearly four years due to a shift in tourist destinations.

Japan, Thailand and South Korea will rank among the most popular destinations for Chinese travelers for the holiday period early next year, Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) official Yu Biao told reporters at a monthly briefing.

Reuters last month reported that Chinese airlines were adding seats on short- and mid-range Asian flights in a strategic shift away from prestigious but loss-making North American routes to a market that promises better returns and growth.

The nation’s international aviation industry has been in the red for at least three years, with losses reaching 21.9 billion yuan ($3.11 billion) in 2018, according to recent China Air Transport Association data.

After a decade of double-digit growth, Chinese visitors to the United States fell last year, and the U.S. National Travel and Tourism office forecasts another 5% decline this year as a combination of a stronger dollar, China’s cooling economy and trade tensions between Beijing and Washington take their toll.

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Travel and Tourism

Calabar Festival 2019: Nigerian Culture to take centre stage

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Calabar Festival 2019: Nigerian Culture to take centre stage

As this year’s edition of Calabar Festival opened to the public, the showcase of Nigerian culture will take centre stage as the Cross River State government, host of the yearly event, looks to attract inbound tourists to Destination Cross River and Nigeria in general through the festival.

 

The festival, which is a 30 day celebration commenced early this week and is expected to climax on December 28 with the celebration of Carnival Calabar. Not less than 20 states from across the country are expected to showcase their cultural wealth at the festival while about 35 countries from across the world would participant as well at the event. This was disclosed recently by the Chairman of the Calabar Carnival Commission, Gabe Onah while speaking on this year’s festival.

 

He further revealed that in line with the focus this year that the display of Nigeria’s cultural tourism offerings will take centre stage with the intent of using the platform to promote inbound tourists. “We will have over 20 states within the country showcasing their culture in various ways in a street procession by December 26,’’ he said, adding that: “More of Nigeria’s cultural and tourism content will be showcased to these international delegates at the carnival, because we want to encourage in-bound tourism.

 

To this, he said more culture based activities will be unfolded at designated centres across the city for the benefits of the visitors. “In order to create more excitement during the carnival, the governor has established 10-performance centres to engage a good number of the audience, this has always been his wish,” he said. The theme for the carnival this year, according to him is, Humanity as he explained that the theme was meant to reflect on, and address the problem of man’s inhumanity to his man.

 

“Man has become so mean that the animals are doing better than us. There is the need for us to be one another’s brothers’ keeper, and positively change our society for the benefit of all. “Man has become insecure; man has become unfair to fellow man that for a pot of porridge, we can sell our own brothers. This cruel behaviour must not be encouraged. This is the most challenging theme we will experience since the inception of the carnival as it touches everyone,” he said.

 

He urged Nigerians and foreign visitors to take advantage of the unique offerings that will be on offer at the Cultural Village, particularly during the Christmas period to celebrate the Yuletide. He said that the Christmas Village was set up to enable the youths set up stands stocked with Cross River products that would be of interest to tourists.

 

On the Carnival Calabar, Onah said that: “The carnival is actually drama on the move, all the elements of theatre are found in it. On December 26th, we will hold the cultural carnival while December 27 is the bikers’ parade. December 28 is the main carnival.’’

 

Besides, he also disclosed that the Diaspora will this year have a special place in the festival, with a day dedicated to it. “On December 30, the Black African music festival will hold to introduce the Blacks who have become successful in the Diaspora in arts and music.

 

“The carnival is also being used to woo Nigerians in the Diaspora back to their roots,” he said. Onah also assured tourists to the state of the safety of lives and property during the festival, adding that adequate security system was already on ground.

 

He said that crime rate in the state in the month of December is at its lowest as a result of the festival, which engages the interest of everyone. “It is a platform for the youths to engage themselves. So, they are often too busy to engage in frivolous ventures. “In providing security, we work closely with the Navy, Army, Police and other para-military bodies, even the state security services,” he said.

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