The bond between South Africa and West Africa is historic – South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Andre Hanekom

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission for Africa held its 61st Regional Tourism Conference in Abuja, capital of Nigeria between June 4 and 5, 2018. The South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Andre Hanekom, who was visiting Nigeria for the first time, was one of the more than 20 ministers and 500 delegates from 34 countries who attended the conference.

On the 6th of June 2018, the minister, on his way back to South Africa, stopped by in Lagos and hosted some members of the media, trade &and other stakeholders to an exclusive dinner at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

The South African Tourism Trade Relations Manager (West Africa), Mr. Mohammed Tanko Kwajaffa, who stood in for the Hub Head, Mr. Hloni Pitso, who was on study leave at the time, welcomed the guests and introduced the Minister and his wife as well the Consul General of South Africa in Lagos, Ambassador Darkey Africa, who accompanied the Minister to the dinner.

The honourable minister, underscoring the pivotal position that Nigeria occupies in South Africa’s tourism marketing plan as well as the historical bond between West Africa and South Africa, opened the discussions. He requested for an open and transparent dialogue on the tourism sector with focus on the flow of traffic between West Africa and South Africa.

Guests enjoyed a savoury South African inspired three-course dinner, though the Minister had insisted on a local Nigerian dish. Going by the pleasant experiences and stories shared across the table that night, it was unanimous that South Africa is a world-class tourism destination, rich in taste, culture and experiences.

However, the major trust of contributions made by the majority of the media and key trade travel partners at the dinner centered on the recurring challenges that applicants encounter when processing South African visa.

Responding, the minister assured all present that considering the importance of the West African market to South African Tourism, a lot was already being done to address the issue.

He said: “We are fully aware of the situation and have set several things in motion to ease the processing of South African Visa in Nigeria. We are working towards eventually having an e-visa regime.  We want to modernize the systems and ease the burdens. We are also working on a way of using the fact that someone has a valid visa of countries like USA, U.K. on his or her passport etc.  as a criteria to speed up the visa application process for such a person.”

In his contribution, Ambassador Darkey Africa, said as a consulate they were also aware of the visa situation and on their part, they are working determinedly with their colleagues in the Home Affairs Ministry in South Africa to ensure that Nigerians enjoy better and more seamless regime of processing South African visa at the shortest possible time.

He, however, advised that applicants should always submit their applications on time and with the appropriate supporting documents as this will make it easier for the process to be more seamless for everyone’s good. The need for more socio-cultural exchanges between South Africa and the countries in West Africa was suggested by Mr. Obinna Emelike of The Business Day Newspaper and it was generally agreed that such exchanges will go a long way to strengthen the historical bond between South Africa and West Africa.

One of the major highlights of the evening was the appreciation expressed by Nigeria travel agents to Ambassador Darkey Africa for the open-door policy that he had operated since his assumption of office and the very kind gestures that he has continued to express towards the travel agents in Nigeria. The Nigerian tour operators also presented Mr. Hanekom with a Nigerian artifact.

In closing, Minister Hanekom called for greater regional cooperation and for Africans to work together to ensure ease of travel and the continued growth of tourism across the continent.  He also promised that the short visa duration currently being given to frequent travellers will be looked into and reviewed. Mr. Mohammed Tanko Kwajaffa gave a vote of thanks and the dinner was brought to an end, after which group pictures were taken with the ever cheerful Mr. Derek Hanekom and his wife.

PHOTOS: New 100% Nigerian Event Solutions mobile app ‘BIZZYBODY’ Launches in Style

techA 100% Nigerian Event Solutions mobile app ‘BIZZYBODY’ launches in grand Style in Lagos over the weekend. The BizzyBody Mobile App is now available for download on App Store and Google Play.

With the app:

For Event Owners (Producers, Promoters, Organizers, Artistes, etc.):
– Publish and Promote your own event
– Sell Event Tickets and Monitor Sales
– Interact in new ways with your audience
– Get valuable feedback about your event

For Event Attendees (Average Nigerians):
– Find and attend events around you
– Chat in real time with other event attendees
– Get deals on event tickets

Check out exclusive photos from the launch event below:

NTDC Tour Nigeria brand gets international recognition

– South Africa Kaya FM visits

Recently, a delegation from South Africa’s Kaya 95.9 FM visited Nigeria in what CEO Greg Maloka described as “a bid to know our backyard a little better.” Maloka and his team spent the better part of a week in Lagos where among other activities, they were hosted to lunch at the Lagos Motorboat Club, Ikoyi, by the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation’s ‘Tour Nigeria’ brand.

Folorunsho Coker and Makola
Folorunsho Coker and Makola

Kaya FM is the biggest independent radio station in Guateng, South Africa’s most populous province which includes Johannesburg, Pretoria and other cities, and reflects the experiences of the predominantly black, urban listener between the ages 25 to 49 living in the province.

David O'Sullivan
David O’Sullivan

The decades-long apartheid policy previously practiced by European minorities in South Africa meant the country was isolated from the comity of nations including neighboring African countries for years.

So despite over two decades of democratic rule, the process of assimilation for South Africa and its citizens into the international is still ongoing. Currently, many South Africans still say they are “going to Africa” whenever they step out of their borders and travel to neighboring countries.

Greg Makola
Greg Makola

According to Maloka, “To accept you’re part of a continent, you need to understand the continent not just by geography, but its heart.”

And rather than depend on Western media for news and happenings in Nigeria, the Kaya FM team decided to discover Nigeria by themselves and give first-hand information to their considerably large base of listeners.

With one million weekly views on Youtube, Kaya FM is in a great position to help advance South Africa’s integration with the rest of the continent.

“Our responsibility is to shape people’s opinions and where there is prejudice, to change people’s opinion as well. We are here in Nigeria to see things through our own eyes , I mean African eyes . We do not want to report from the colonial eyes which has been the order of the day and which is not only subjective, but only sees and magnifies the amenable negative occurrences in Nigeria.’’ Maloka revealed.

Already, there’s a healthy business relationship between Nigeria and South Africa, with many South African brands now household names in Nigeria. On the leisure front however, the trend has been for Nigerian travellers to explore the tourism attractions that the South African economy hugely benefits from. Our organisation was endeared to Nigeria by the professional approach adopted by the Director – General , NTDC , Mr Folarin Coker at selling Nigeria and placing her tourism potentialities on the international market with territorial finesse , African cosmopolitanism as regards identity appreciation and sincerity of purpose through its successful Tour Nigeria brand.

However, the visit of Kaya FM executives is an indication that South Africans are curious about – and willing to explore – Nigeria and its unique culture expressed through film, music, art, fashion, food and more. This coincides with a renewed drive by the Nigerian government to explore tourism as a vehicle for economic empowerment.
“We were able to venture out by ourselves. This is not such a structured visit,” Maloka explained against the backdrop of negative perceptions regarding security peddled by some sections of the Western media.

“A lot of South Africans are coming on a steady basis and are clued into the vibrancy of Lagos,” he explained going further to enunciate the team’s appreciation for Nigeria’s culinary offerings, including the sumptuous dishes on offer at the Boat Club.

There was a special mention for the Nok by Alara restaurant in Victoria. The team was so impressed, they had to go back for more.

Reflecting on the uniqueness of Africa’s most populous country, Maloka noted that “everything in Nigeria is Nigerian” and the citizens need to be proud of that. “If you ask a South African what is really South African, we struggle.”

Leading on from that, the team was asked to point out the uniquely Nigerian attributes that would attract a tourist from South Africa.

“I am no tourism expert but what I would say is that we have an opportunity to create a totally new way of selling Africa,” Maloka proffered.

“If we take the Western way which has always been in existence, we are not going to win because it isn’t our system and because it is infrastructure based, like selling a beach, selling a hotel, selling tangible things that people touch and feel.

Mr Maloka said that Kaya FM, South – Africa ‘Is creating an intra-continental business tourism unity and relationship which will be a win – win for the two countries
“It will be very difficult to sell infrastructure. What we have to sell is the soul of a place. How do you package the soul of a nation and present it? I don’t want to come to Nigeria to come and view the buildings, or drive on the highways but I want to come to Nigeria because I want to be Nigerian for a week.

“I want to leave with a new name like ‘Oga Chairman’. I want to leave with new clothes (I had these made here). I want to leave with new friends, new memories. If I meet anyone of you anywhere in the world, I need to be able to be Nigerian with you because I have lived with you, rather than visit your infrastructure.”

Brenda
Brenda

For him and the rest of the team, leaving with the conversations, with dance, with music, with culture, with artefacts, are the things that make memories indelible.

There is a thirst for more things Nigerian in South Africa, according to the delegation. So despite Nigerian music ruling the airwaves in South Africa, there’s room for more.

“We play a lot more Nigerian music now than we did before. We’ve played so much of it, we’ve started to want something else within the Nigerian space. For instance, I want the jazz scene of Nigeria. I don’t know it.

“If I represent a station like Kaya that has jazz as its essence, and someone from New York came to me and said, ‘tell me what the Nigerian jazz scene is like’, I would be lost. We would like to see other forms and other genres of music from Nigeria.”

The Kaya tour of Lagos could not have come at the better time, ahead of the Christmas celebrations which Lagos – the entertainment capital of Africa – is famous for. With conducive weather in December and a medley of concerts featuring Nigeria’s topmost entertainers (who also double as the continent’s leading lights), December is a great time for other African’s to feel the city’s pulse.

David O’Sullivian, a member of Kaya’s delegation to Nigeria said; “We are here on a voyage of discovery, a voyage of obtaining firsthand information for a better perspective. A voyage that will lead to perception modification and correction. We are committed to ensure a phenomenal rise, leap and increase in tourists’ traffic from South – Africa to Nigeria. We want to reverse the Nigeria – visit South – Africa without a corresponding positive story of South – Africans visit Nigeria . This is unbalanced cultural – economic scenario which cannot foster sustainable and lasting economic relationship and brotherhood hood between the two countries.’’

Brenda Modibane, the station’s Business Development and Marketing Manager, pointed out: “From my short stay in Nigeria, it is evident that South–Africans have a lot to see, to gain and to learn from Nigeria . Our incursion into this wonderful country is an eye opener to the vast opportunities open for South – Africans which we shall properly market to them.”

The Director General of the NTDC, Folorunso Folarin-Coker said “It takes a great mind to understand the socio-cultural international conspiracy against Africa which is being perpetrated through some intercontinental mega media. It is also a matter of great valour for another media giant to rise swiftly and embark on positive intra-continental perception reengineering that is of sustainable mutual benefit.

Folorunsho Coker presenting one of NTDC Coffee books on Nigeria tourism to Makola

“On this, I give a warm African kudos and salute to Kaya FM 95.9 for rising stoutly in a rare Pan African information balancing stride between two most distinguished African countries,’’ he said.

He revealed that ‘Tour Nigeria’ was as a result of a painstaking deliberation and deep thinking of how best to enhance and add value to domestic tourism and thankful that Tour Nigeria has not only been embraced by Nigerians, but has been acknowledged internationally. I assure you of our impregnable and profitable support by opening and oiling the corridor of tourism business network , collation of meetings , facilitation of constructive interaction with sectoral leaders of thought and means , movers of the creative industry , leaders of night factories and those whose business and concerns will be of interest to South–Africans.”

AmuwoGames – The Biggest Community Sports Festival in Amuwo Odofin Ends in Grand Style

The maiden edition of the AmuwoGames tagged AmuwOOOlimpics2017 is done and dusted with the best teams crowned for the year.

After 16 interesting games over a period of one month, we saw various athletes stand on top of the podium to claim the different AmuwoGames titles.

The host team Mile 2 Lions came from behind to win the the overall champions title, with 9 Gold medals, 6 silver medals and 8 Bronze medals, despite their exit from the football competition right from the first day of the games, while the Festac Sharks who beat them at the opening ended up as Champions of the football category after overcoming another strong Mile 2 team – Mile 2 Hawks in the football finals yesterday.

See the final medals table and also details of the winners below:

 

The closing ceremony was a colourful one that ran late into the evening with dignitaries and representatives from the Lagos State Sports COmmission and the Amuwo Odofin Local Government in attendance. Celebrities in attendance also included Lafup the comedian, Sheun Natural of KMR, Run Jozzy and so on.

In his closing remarks, the Chief Organizer of the AmuwoGames and Founder of BizzyBody NG – Mr. Oluwaseun Ayeni described the AmuwoGames as a trail blazing and historic event, being the first of its kind in Nigeria as a whole, and encouraged people all over Nigeria to take a cue and replicate this kind of grass-root community sports initiative through out their localities.

For us, we will be happy to consult with Local governments across Nigeria to replicate these sport festival. Our aim is to replcate this nobel initiative across Nigeria and see the aims of the vision come to life in these places – Communal unity, Talent discovery, sportsmanship and youth development. The AmuwoGames will be held annually, and more versions included in the road-map will be executed as time goes on – He said.

AmuwoGames enjoyed diversity in the participation, as athletes included all genders, many tribes from Nigeria, young and old with age range from 7 to 45 years, and people from different works of life.

The Biggest Sports Festival in Amuwo Odofin – AmuwoGames berths in Grand Style

AmuwoGames was flagged off by the Local Government Chairman of Amuwo Odofin ably represented by the Vice Chairman – His Excellency, Mr. Segun Idris by lifting the Games torch at about 11:00am yesterday, November 05, 2017.

The torch relay which featured prominent personalities and celebrities in Amuwo Odofin including, Faze, African China, K Peace of Nigerian Idol fame, the Chairman of the Oriade LCDA, Ward councillors, the Festival Town Residents Association President – Mr Sola Fakorede, and other resident association chairmen ended with the final entry into the venue of the opening ceremony with the initiator of the AmuwoGames concept and founder of the BizzyBody NG – Mr. Oluwaseun Ayeni, lifting the torch into the venue at 1:30pm.

Already present at the venue were athletes from different parts of the local government in their colours and the representatives of the sponsor companies which includes Eva Water, Alat, Fero Mobile, Play TV etc. waiting to receive the dignitaries.

 

The ceremony was officially opened by Seun Ayeni with a brilliant speech, highlighting the dreams, challenges and eventual victory of an athlete and comparing it with the conceptualising, planning and eventual success of the AmuwoGames dream, he urged everyone to follow their dreams as see it through to fruition just has he has done with his on this laudable concept.

Seun Ayeni Declares AmwuoGames Open in 2017
Seun Ayeni Declares AmwuoGames Open in 2017

Further remarks were made by the Chairman of the Amuwo Odofin Lcoal Government, and the House of Assembly Representative Member of the Amuwo Odofin Constituency – Honourable Dipo Olorunrinu at the ceremony.

Highlights of the ceremony included ceremonial kickoff of the football match by Honourable Dipo Olorunrinu, and music performance by K Peace, to cheer people of his home zone who are also the hosts of the festival.

The first football match was played between the Festal Sharks and the host team Mile 2 Lions, and this saw the Festal Sharks proceed into the semi finals as they defeated the home team 2 – 1.

Live feeds were broadcasted over social media handles of the AmuwoGames – @AmuwoGames in response to the popular demand of people in diaspora who are really interested in participating in the festive fun.

AmuwoGames will be a uniting factor in our community and it will also serve as a source of talent discovery, as we hope to discover fresh talents from the competition says co-organizer of the AmuwoGames – Mr. Kunle Keshinro. We are sure that people of Amuwo-Odofin will have a nice time this November, as the games run through, and we hope other communities emulate us in the future to build grassroot sports and the youths in general, he said, as he anchored the ceremony.

The AmuwoGames festival is endorsed and supported by the Lagos State Sports Commission, and will run through all the weekends in November – from November 4 -26. The festival highlights and live feeds can be followed @AmuwoGames on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on the official website of the games – AmuwoGames.com.

East-West Road collapse threatens $50b investment

The collapse of a section of the East-West Road in Eleme in Rivers State has paralysed investments estimated at more than $50 billion in the Eleme-Onne axis of the industrial hub of the state. That section of the road had been virtually impassable for about two years but it became a real logistic nightmare last week following the collapse of the bridge that allows access to the two petroleum refineries in Eleme, the Onne Port complex, including Onne Free Zone; the Indorama/Eleme Petro-chemical Plant, Notore Petro-Chemical Industries and many businesses within the corridor.

 

Head of Operations and Technical Services at the Oil and Gas Free Zones (OGFZA), which is the regulator of the Onne Free Zone, Mr Adekunle Ajayi said businesses cut off by the collapse of the East-West Road in Eleme are collectively worth more than $50 billion. Those businesses include Intels, which is the Onne Free Zone developer, the West African Container Terminal (WACT), Brawal Shipping Company, all the IOCs represented in the free zone.

Among government establishments that are equally cut off by the collapsed road are OGFZA, the NPA, Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Naval College, and the Nigeria Immigration Service.

Besides these investments, there are lots of sundry businesses and government establishments along the corridor up to Ogoni that are also no longer accessible from Port Harcourt because of the failure of the road.

Commenting on the condition of the road, the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, said apart from its adverse impact on existing businesses in the axis, the logistic crisis caused by the failed section of the road constitutes a serious deterrence to foreign direct investment which the Federal Government has been campaigning for. “No foreign investor wants to stake his money where he cannot have access to,” Umana said.

The OGFZA chief said he has drawn the attention of the Minister of the Niger Delta and the managing director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the condition of the road, commending the NDDC for its intervention. Umana however added that what is needed is a holistic and permanent solution to the bad state of the road.

The terrible condition of the road attracted the attention of the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike in 2016, who met with investors and government establishments within the axis. On the prompting of the state governor, the investors and the Rivers State Government contributed N3 billion to assist in the repair of the failed section of the road, which measures about seven kilometres. A member of the committee that was set up to implement the intervention on the road from the N3 billion collections said the money was disbursed to RCC to carry out repairs of the road.

However, less than two years after, the road has become impassable again. The East-West Road is a Federal Government trunk ‘A’ road, intended to link the South-South, Southeast and Western parts of the country together

By: Tolulope Lawani
Culled from: The Nation Online
Image Source: Nairaland

CNN Stephanie Busari Is Moderator At Luxury Lifestyle Summit

CNN Stephanie Busari Is Moderator At Luxury Lifestyle Summit

TOPCOMM PR and The Luxury Reporter, organisers of The Luxury Lifestyle Summit have confirmed CNN Africa Editor, Stephanie Busari as the moderator of the panel discussions at the inaugural Summit billed to take place on September 06 and 07 2017 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

Stephanie Busari is coming with her wealth of experience working for CNN, the most viewed international news network in Africa. She will be engaging panelists on various issues on the Nigerian and generally African luxury sector.

According to Busari: “The luxury sector in Nigeria is fast growing and it is important to have a conversation about how the industry can scale and grow. I think the Luxury Lifestyle Summit will have some very interesting talking points and I am looking forward to engaging the panelists at the Summit.”

With the theme of the summit, Digital Inside – Get Wired to Deliver the Ultimate Luxury Experience, panellists from different sectors of the luxury market will discuss relevant topics aimed at creating important discourse to improve the luxury brands and promote consumption of the Nigeria luxury market.

Earlier, Paul Andrew, Founder and Chief Responsibility Officer, African Wealth Report, a research and intelligence publication of Blackpace Africa has been confirmed to spearhead the array of other notable speakers to discuss key issues affecting the growth and development of the Nigerian luxury industry.

With over two decades of global investments and wealth advisory experiences, Andrew who is based in Geneva, Switzerland, brings an exceptional knowledge of African and global luxury practice to The Luxury Lifestyle Summit in Lagos.

Also, Daniel Weihrauch, CEO of Lions&Gazelles and RAIN’s group consulting partner for Middle East and Africa, will be speaking at the summit. The German born global traveller, will bring his wealth of experience in the luxury hospitality industry to the summit.

Other speakers confirmed for the summit include: Oliver Williams, CEO, Firebreak Group and a founding member of Wealth Insight, a leading wealth consultancy advising clients in over 15 countries; and Funmi Onajide, Founder, Regalo African Luxury Store, a concept store which stocks high end leather goods, tea range among others sourced from Africa will also be speaking at the Luxury Lifestyle Summit in Lagos.

The summit will provide a veritable platform for diverse retailers of jewellery, beauty, motor, watches, private equity, investment Banking, private banking, investment / asset management, architecture, travel companies, luxury Hotels, luxury Event Management companies, luxury service providers, airlines and others to showcase their products and discuss how to maximise the online market.

Other discussants at the summit include: Mr. Abiona Babarinde, Group General Manager, Marketing and Communications, Coscharis, Mrs. Kavita Chellarams, CEO, Arthouse Contemporary, Mr. Ejiro Onobrakpeya, expert in African art, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, KPMG, Mr. Kayode Kasunmu, the Executive Director, Beauty Bar and Essenza who has been a player in the Luxury Industry in Nigeria for over 30 years.

The summit is the brainchild of The Luxury Reporter, publisher of the e-magazine, TLR in partnership with TOPCOMM PR Concept & Events, an integrated marketing communication and events management company with sponsorships from Balmoral, African Wealth Report, BlackPace, Lions&Gazelles, Regalo African Luxury, FireBreak Group, Access Bank, Sun International, Delta Air Lines, South African Airways, GHI Assets.

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