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Hotels Are Actually Municipals On Their Own

Kevin Kamau – Radisson Hotel Group District Director Nigeria/ General Manager Radisson Blu, Anchorage Hotel.

IWA: Going by your pedigree in the hospitality industry, can you please tell us the position hotels occupy in the hospitality industry globally?

Kevin: Simply put, hotels the world over drive business activities as they serve as catalyst to making their location, commercial hubs. Let’s take the tourism industry as our first example,anLS THE WORLD OVER, GENERALLY there is no doubt that the development of the tourism industry in any society comes with so much opportunities, but it is also clear that the industry cannot thrive without the availability of good and affordable hotels. For instance, one of the primary factors anyone coming from a place like Abidjan or Congo Brazzaville into Lagos would first consider is accommodation, how good and how expensive the hotels he or she would be staying are. I am sure you will agree with me that to stay in a good hotel in Lagos is very expensive at least when compared to a place like London, Dubai or even South Africa. Unfortunately, this is a major disincentive to the growth of the tourism industry in Nigeria. Therefore, it must be clearly stated that for tourism to really flourish in Nigeria, the government must ensure that there are enough hotels and they must be very competitive in terms of their rates and quality.  

Moving away from tourism, lets us examine the impact of hotels on the corporate segment by way of meetings, incentive, convention and events, what is commonly known as MICE. The more hotels and the more rooms there are in a society, the easier it is to bid for huge MICE events. Lagos for example does not have enough capacity to bid to host African Union events; the number of rooms available now is simply not enough to cope with the demands of such events. In addition, Lagos lack convention facilities, as we speak there is almost no internationally acceptable convention facility in Lagos. Incidentally, hosting of these kinds of events have a massive positive spill over effect on the commercial activities of countries. One country that comes to mind that is reaping the gains of its government’s understanding of the tremendous opportunities inherent in having enough good and affordable hotels in their country is Rwanda.

Now, what naturally happens is that, the more hotels in a country, the more competitive they become. Customers are able to get very good hotels for cheaper rates and they are able to attract more visitors. I must say that the lack of competition breeds complacency. If we have a bit of more competition, Hoteliers will become more creative with their offerings. I guess it is safe to say that more hotels and other hospitality products have entered more into this market in the last 3 years when compared to the last 6 years when I came into the market.

IWA: So how would you describe the hospitality industry in Nigeria now?

Kevin: In general, I would say the industry is growing and beginning to boom. The crux of the matter in my opinion is that Nigeria, like most other African countries, was not traditionally a service oriented country; the focus in the early 80s and 90s for most African countries was more for commercial and manufacturing activities, there were little or no emphasis on hospitality. The truth is, it wasn’t until after 2010 that we sort of started seeing the opportunity in hospitality. However, it is gratifying that the youths are now going to school to study and say they want to develop a career working in a hotel and not the usual I want to be a doctor or banker. It may be slow, but we are moving in the right direction. Six years ago, there was probably only one school offering hospitality related courses in Lagos, now we have the likes of Lagos Business School (LBS), offering courses in hospitality. It is important to note that a hotel is not just about accommodation, what people fail to realize is that a hotel is like a municipal on its own; it must provide its own power, water, food, waste management, financial management, operations management and so on. All these perhaps go to show that there’s a lot more that goes into running an hotel. I am therefore glad that the hospitality industry is fast growing in Nigeria. I am particularly happy with the introduction of more schools, and we partnering with some of them to train and pull the right capacity of human capital from them.

IWA: What are the core competitive strengths of Radisson Blu and how have they worked for you as regards the brand in Nigeria?

Kevin: I would like to say that Radisson is a Nigerian brand, and I will explain why I said so, when Radisson as a brand came into Africa, one of the first two markets we opened in was Nigeria and South Africa. So this hotel is actually one of the first learning points for the brand in Africa. For me, the journey through these years is our biggest strength in this market. We may have originated from Switzerland, but we’re still very much African. At the 5 and 4 star levels, we got the Radisson, Radisson Park inn and the Radisson collection, and these 3 brands are growing at almost twice the rate of any other major brand in Africa.

The truth is, we understand Africa; we have an African headquarters’ situated in South Africa, so we say we run out of Africa. There is no other international brand that can boost of having a headquarters in Africa, this tells you how serious we are about Africa. The second strength that I can possibly flag is that the brands we have are very suited to this market, if you tell someone Radisson Blu, they can relate to what it means; It is a high end brand and they know that, if you tell someone Park inn, they know that is targeted at the middle class of the market. I must say that we have really done well in mastering our craft with these two initial brands that we introduced into this market.  

Therefore, with the successes and strengths we have built over time in running the Radisson Blu and the Radisson Park inn brands in this market, we were able to open the Radisson which is our third brand this year. We are also ready to, within the next 6 to 12 months open the Radisson collections. That shows you the confidence we have in the market. This is good for both the owners and customers as well as the staff because it gives room for more development opportunities. The other big strength is diversity. I haven’t seen any other brand that focuses on diversity and development of local content as much as we do. For example, we train and develop Africans to take up the traditionally expatriate jobs. We are the only Nigerian brand with a female general manager and that just stands us out. I am an African and we hope that when I eventually leave, I will be replaced with a Nigerian general manager someday. We also move our people around for exposure, currently a Nigerian Sous Chef is serving in one of our hotels in Sierra Leone and our hope is that when he would be returning back to Nigeria he would have been ripe enough to return as the executive chef. So we look at everything holistically as work-in-progress for the brand. If we have the right people, then we are able to serve the customers right.

IWA: What is the Radisson Blu average occupancy rate and what are the factors responsible for it?

Kevin: We are doing well in the market, particularly in the Nigerian market. The economy seems stable, not minding the fact that the general election was held this year, everything seems to have gone quite peacefully. The government seem to be putting policies that help support and stabilise the economy in place and I must say that is good.  If I should speak a little more about the government policies, I am happy about their focus on encouraging a lot more locally produced products. This really helps our business to be able to sustain the rates. In addition to that, internally we also try to think outside the box. For instance, our chef, the house keeper and the head gardener, have said that we can’t keep importing some of the spices we use, and they went ahead to create a garden for such supplies. Such small things help us grow our capacity. You can see a lot of emphasis on the local farming and agriculture.

IWA: What would you describe as your most memorable moments in Radisson Blu since you became the general manager?

Kevin: There have been very many memorable moments for me, but probably the biggest ones are when I walk into other branches of Radisson and I see the different heads of department whom we first employed as cleaners or waiters, for me you can’t beat that, it makes you feel proud. There’s an excitement in the fact that I am able to be part of changing and transforming lives and that stirs up some good memories in me. Someone gave me a chance at some point, so I am happy that like them I am able to also give chances to other members of the team. So perhaps those are the memories that puts a smile on my face the most.

IWA: Are you comfortable working in Nigeria and what Nigerian Food do you love most and what are the parts of Nigerian culture that you like the most?

Kevin: Let me start with the people, Nigerians are very friendly. My wife says that each time she travels out of Nigeria the thing she misses the most is the warmth of Nigerians. The average Nigerian is constantly asking about your wellbeing; the truth is that they have a particular greeting for almost every situation. It is in Nigeria that people will ask you and say Sir, how was your weekend or how was yesterday? It is also here that find people saying, Sir, how has your day been or hope you are well? The truth is that it is possible to take that for granted here because it’s part of the people’s culture but you don’t find it everywhere, so for me this is one of the things I love the most about the Nigerian culture. I also love the weather, I know that there are challenges here like there are everywhere else in the world, but with those challenges come very many opportunities. It’s been very exciting for me living here, and I have actually been for 6 wonderful years. I have even had some of my children here; so, it’s truly been a fruitful experience for me.

IWA: You made a mention of opportunities, can you please specifically highlight these opportunities, particularly the ones that directly impact on your industry?

Kevin: One of those areas is Agriculture, there are massive opportunities in Agriculture for Nigeria to explore.     Recently, I had a chat with someone who is into the production of milk and he told been that the milk that is being currently produced in Nigeria cannot even cater to 10% of the local population. So investment can be made into rearing more dairy cattle. I am a strong believer in getting things done indigenously, so we are presently working with some communities in Nigeria for beef production; we want to rear the cattle in a way that we will not only get sufficient beef but we also get the right quality. Note that the cattle they have in Denmark, Nairobi, Durban or Cape Town are most likely to be same like the ones here in Nigeria, they only have different processes of feeding, and rearing.

However, I am glad that looking back at the way things were 6 years ago, there has been a lot of improvement regarding the level of imports into Nigeria, but I must say that we certainly can do a lot better than how we are now in terms of the level of imports into Nigeria. I can’t wait for when what Dangote group and Honeywell flour mills are doing with pasta or flour, will be replicated with rice and other essential produce in Nigeria.

IWA: What does one need to succeed in the tourism industry?

Kevin: The most important qualification for success in my opinion is passion, I don’t think you can be successful at anything without having passion for that thing. Everyone that I know that has succeeded in what they do, are people with genuine passion for what they do. Passion breeds a staying spirit that nothing else can give one. I usually tell departmental heads not to hire anyone only for that person’s experience, we will rather hire a person with passion but without experience since we can train him or her to become an expert on the job, but we can’t force that person to be passionate about the job, it’s something that comes from within.  

IWA: This is usually my last question, what is that thing that you would like to tell Africans?

Kevin: I think we haven’t realised yet that Africa is the next or new frontier, it is why all the Chinese, Americans and European firms are investing here. You are talking about a population of over 1.4 billion, the market is here, so the opportunity is not coming, it is already here. We should believe in Africa, rather than always wanting to go and seek for greener pastures out there, let’s look inward and contribute our own quota to making Africa better than it is now.

IWA: Do you have any other thing to say?

Kevin: The Radisson group is a growing brand, we’ve got 5 key brands that are really going to grow in this market; Radisson Collection – which is our luxury brand, Radisson Blu – we all know as our upscale brand, and the Radisson Park Inn – for the middle class. The latest in our collection is the Radisson Red, which is designed to be very engaging because it is targeted at the millennials.

Summer Holiday Experience with Toke Makinwa, Bonang Matheba, Mai Atafo, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Ameyaw Debra, Folu Storms, Sister Deborah In South Africa!

Our favourite influencers are having the time of their lives right now enjoying the amazing scenery, culture, adventures and thrills of the rainbow nation this Summer season in the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal province of South Africa. From Power Boat rides on the Knysna Lagoon to Lunch at the Vintage Cargo Hold Restaurant, the trip will be an activity-filled and memorable one.

Sensational South African media personality Bonang Matheba in collaboration with South Africa Tourism is hosting guests from Nigeria and Ghana to a fun-filled, eight-day summer experience focused on the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. The guests present on the trip are Radio Presenter and Media starlet Toke Makinwa, renowned fashion designer Mai Atafo, celebrity photographer Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Ghanian Writer and Blogger Ameyaw Debrah, Musician Sister Deborah, Chidera Mouka, Kola Oshalusi, Folu Storms and the MTV Base crew.

Sister Deborah and Toke Makinwa Quad biking
Group Quad biking at the Tsitsikanmi bay
Mai Atafo

Influencers arrived at Goerge Airport located in George, Western Cape South Africa after a 6 Hour flight from Nigeria and Ghana where they were transferred to the Ouibaai Hotel and Golf Resort known for its pristine beaches, indigenous forests and nature reserve, the Hotel is less than seven minutes drive from the George Airport Johannesburg. Our favourite influencers kicked off their summer holiday on day 2 with a powerboat cruise through the Knysna Lagoon enjoying wine and oysters on a relaxing boat cruise and taking in the magnificence of Knysna as the sun starts to set over the lagoon.

Shrimps and rice at the Fancourt hotel
Group quad Biking

It’s a week full of activities and adventure in South Africa, with the next stop being idyllic St. Francis Bay – touted as South Africa’s ‘Little Venice’ which is just 90 kilometres away from Port Elizabeth, and 1 hour 15 Mins from Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve where our Influencers will experience the adrenaline pumping adventures Quad Biking and Bungee Jumping of the cliff. An hour’s morning flight will bring them to Durban.

Group Photo at the Knysa Lagoon after the Boat ride

On arriving Durban the largest city in the Kwazulu-natal Province of South Africa, Bonang Matheba will play host to the West African guest at the famous shipwrecked Cargo Holds Restaurant for some ultimate nautical gourmet lunch experience. Lunch is a treat, ranging from Oysters and Seafood, and the finest wines – all affordable.

Power boat Ride at the Knysa Lagoon
Group Photo at the Knysa Lagoos after the Boat ride

The guests will also be attending the Durban July known as South Africa most prestigious horse race held at the Greyville Racecourse, Berea – South Africa with fashion, music, and horses as the main event for the full day ending itinerary with some Urban Jazz Experience.

Power Boat Ride at the Knysa lagoon

To book packages to South Africa this summer visit: www.southafrica.net.

For more on the trip Follow @travel2SA on Instagram

To book packages to South Africa this summer visit: www.southafrica.net.
For more on the trip Follow @travel2SA on Instagram

Mutual prosperity at the heart of the UK’s partnership with Africa

The United Kingdom continues to promote the merits of Nigeria and the broader African continent as an economic partner of choice ahead of the UK’s upcoming Africa Investment Summit taking place in London in January 2020. These comments were made by the UK High Commissioner for Nigeria, Catriona Lang at the 18th edition of the Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference in Abuja (NOG) on July 2nd, 2019.

The three-day conference themed “Promoting Investment & Collaboration in Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Industry” is one the most well-attended industry events in the country and was meeting place for senior decision makers from government and energy industry organisations in Nigeria.

The guest of honour, UK High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Lang, in her goodwill speech at the opening ceremony of the conference, acknowledged that a key focus of discussions at the conference centred  around increasing foreign direct invest into Nigeria. The Commissioner added that Nigeria’s FDI strategy was very much in line with the UK government’s trade and investment strategy of increasing investment opportunities into Nigeria and across the broader African continent to meet the ambition of making the UK the number one G7 investor on the African continent by 2022.

High Commissioner Lang said: “The City of London has unparalleled expertise in the services that enable companies to access capital, along with a range of specialist legal and professional services. The London Stock Exchange is home to 7 of the largest 10 listed oil & gas companies globally, and proud to say, home to quite a few Nigerians ones as well like Seplat and Vivo Energy.”

A spokesperson of the UK Department for International Trade, Nigeria noted that bilateral trade and investment between the UK and Nigeria had increased by nearly 40% from 2017, and was on course to double by 2030. “The UK already benefits from our strong connections – between families, governments and businesses – with African nations”, he said, “ and the Africa Investment Summit is intended to celebrate and build on these common links and forge new bonds.”

On 20th January 2020, the UK government would be hosting the Africa Investment Summit in London with the aim of bringing together businesses, governments and international institutionsto showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa.

Delta to debut wholly reinvented international Main Cabin experience

First-of-its-kind service will launch for Main Cabin customers on international flights in November

Customers can expect to be impressed on board Delta’s international routes* starting this November when the airline debuts its industry-leading Main Cabin experience. Free “Welcome Aboard” cocktails featuring Bellinis to start, hot towel service and mix-and-match options for premium appetizers and larger entrees are just a few of the ways Delta is differentiating its international Main Cabin service.

“This is about investing in every single customer who chooses Delta, no matter where they sit on the plane,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s S.V.P. — In-Flight Service. “The thoughtful touches we’re investing in throughout the new Main Cabin experience were designed by flight attendants with one goal in mind: delivering an exceptional experience that our customers will rave about and one that our team, the best in the business, is proud to deliver.”

Designed to delight and create “wow” moments that feel like dining in your favorite splurge restaurant, Delta’s reinvented Main Cabin experience has been met with high marks – with increased customer satisfaction scores on the more than 700 flights it’s been tested on between Portland and Tokyo (NRT) over the past year.

A Main Cabin experience designed by flight attendants, endorsed by customers

The experience launching in November isn’t the same service Delta started testing more than a year ago. Rigorous reviews of the service through nearly 14,000 hours of flight time, information from over 1,800 customer surveys, robust crew feedback and input from a design team made up of 24 flight attendants resulted in a number of changes to perfect the innovative service for Delta’s international flights.

“With this service, at the end of the flight I know I’ve made a difference in the customer’s journey,” said Michael Miller, a New York-based flight attendant and member of the design team behind the new experience. “I know I’ve had the opportunity to not only offer an exceptional onboard experience, but also to engage with customers and create special moments for them.”

Creating magical moments in-flight

In addition to these enhancements, over the past several months, Delta has provided specialized training to its team of more than 3,000 Pursers – the lead flight attendants on international flights. Responsible for the customer experience from nose to tail, the Purser role at Delta has been elevated to include pre-flight introductions in the gate house and personal greetings at the boarding door – just a few examples of the important connections between crew and customers that lead to memorable moments and a delightful experience all around.

Also, in addition to recently upgraded amenity kits, more international onboard enhancements are coming soon — like refreshed ear buds and headsets — to further demonstrate the airline’s commitment to creating a best-in-class experience all customers can look forward to.

Delta’s new international Main Cabin service is part of the airline’s multi-billion dollar investment in the overall customer experience. In the past several years, the airline has made significant enhancements to the Main Cabin experience including free Main Cabin meals on select domestic coast-to-coast routes, free mobile messaging, free in-flight entertainment, upgraded Main Cabin snacks, the addition of sparkling wine, access to Wi-Fi on nearly all flights and refreshed Flight Fuel food-for-purchase options. Recent upgrades to the Delta One in-flight experience include the introduction of seasonally rotating, chef-designed Delta One menus with the option to pre-select first choice of entree, an Alessi-designed collection of serviceware and more.

Bolanle Austen Peter’s “The Bling Lagosians” depicts the life of the 1% of the 1%

Lagos! The city that will make or mar you. The city of unrivalled splendor and lofty ambition! Where dreams come true one day and nightmares can become your reality overnight. In this town, your network is truly your net worth because who you know is often just as important as what you know. There’s been a lot of talk recently about the one percent of the one percent. Who they are, what they do, how they live and what make them so revered. I hear many of you asking, “Who are the 1%?” but if you even have to ask then you certainly don’t belong to the club. You see, there’s a belief that Nigeria’s wealth is controlled by 1% of the population but the social scene is run by yet an even smaller fraction of that. Everything about them is news. What they wear, who they date, where they holiday, who they marry, what she got as a push gift, what her ring looked like, who made her wedding dress…we are obsessed with their lives and thanks to social media platforms like Instagram, everyone gets a front row seat to witness it all.

I was born in Lagos and have lived in this city all my life save a six year stint at boarding school. I’ve travelled across Nigeria and visited over 15 states but I know in my heart that I will always call this city home. One of my earliest recollections of the Bling Lagosian lifestyle was in the early 90s on a visit to an aunt’s house with my mum and sister. Aunty Mimi was one of the Lagos elite married to a handsome playboy and had a gorgeous home. Everything was white, gold and resplendent, the house temperature was a controlled coolness. Everywhere was immaculate and quiet, a real ajebutter residence. Lunchtime was announced with a bell and we proceeded to the dining room where the table was set. We took our seats and I wondered why there was no food in our plates because you see in our own house, you went into the kitchen, picked up your plate of food and filed out to eat whatever had been dished. No mede-mede variety, no selection or complaints otherwise you were automatically forfeiting your food till the next mealtime. My thoughts were cut short by my aunt’s voice “Chef, you may commence with the serving of the okro’. Hey God! I turned my neck to see what was happening… an army of stewards were upon us, offering different types of swallow, soups, meats and other delicacies with the precision of an elite fighting squad. I’d never seen anything like it but I had the good sense to keep my mouth shut and wait till I got home to ask my mum why aunty Chidinma our nanny could not dress up in such a fine white uniform and bring out our food from the kitchen when it was ready. I’m sure any 80s kid here would know exactly how that conversation turned out, a beating galore (Why mummy, why?). I would grow up to understand that there is nothing wrong in enjoy slivers of the good life when it is presented before you but comparison of one’s life to point of resentment and ingratitude would lead to self-destruction eventually. By all means, want more for yourself but be ready to work hard and make even harder sacrifices but most of all accept responsibility for your actions on your way to the top. Oh, I would also later discover that Aunt Mimi’s husband was a reckless man who did drugs, beat her, put his whole family at risk and eventually went broke. How’s that for the rich also cry?

You see there’s something about the pecking order in Lagos that forces you to level up and reach for more. Back in university of Lagos there were two sets of guys, those in the exclusive clubs (fraternities) RHO, FOADS, EXCEL and ABC and the rest of them. These club boys were the toast of campus…handsome, stylish, cool, bad, bougie, influential, popular and connected. They dated the prettiest girls and drove the nicest cars in school too and they threw legendary parties. I remember someone telling me one day how she pitied one particular classmate of hers because he was broke and need to buy fuel in his Honda Skirach because he needed to have his windows up when driving up school, apparently if he was caught by a club official or senior member with his window down, he would be fined and 3 infractions would land him a suspension thereby demoting him from a godlike campus status to mere mortal. His club’s unspoken motto was beg, borrow or steal plus he had already driven around campus twice without the AC on and the window up but it was hot and he was beginning to feel lightheaded. My friend told me she was sick of lending him money because he was in heavy debt to her and the possibility of getting her money back was nonexistent! I howled with laughter because in that moment I totally understood my mother’s words about self-destruction.

The Bling Lagosian culture calls for faking it till you make it, keeping up with the Joneses (and the Kardashians), incurring debts to fund holidays, weddings and international births, rolling out in Range Rovers and an empty fuel tank while clad in white native, Cartier rimless glasses, Rolex watches and assaulting our senses with the strongest Arabian Oud. Why? Because it’s what the people want! It’s far more fascinating to watch the flash and be dazzled by the razzmatazz than accept a mundane life devoid of excitement. Because you see, we are all guilty- the 1 and the 99 percent in this Eko. You may not be into the fake life but you’ll sure as heck accept an invitation from one and show up too, dressed to the nines because on some level these things are important, after all if you cannot wow them, let them at least not see us finish. These days, going by Instagram it would seem we are all successful, happy, fabulous, living our best lives without a single hair out of place and just winning! And it is indeed okay to project all that positivity but like all things in life, moderation is necessary to steer us to reality and away from fantasyland. I’m reminded of the Instafamous blogger who recently went as far as posing in front of a new completed building, claiming it was hers and coming up with the standard faux deep captions that we’ve come to accept when these fantastical posts are made. We watched with twisted fascination how the whole story crumbled away like a packet of expired shortbreads and the disgrace that ensued as the true owner of the house flew back from China to claim his property and set the record straight. The depths to which this debacle sunk needed just two more feet before it would have struck crude. Last month in New York, a 28 year old lady by the name Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin) was convicted for fraud and sentenced to 4-12 years. For years, she had pretended to be a German heiress with a trust fund, lived in expensive hotels, partied with the rich and famous of Manhattan and even dated sons of the elite class! Truth is she was a Russian immigrant who had conned a bank out of a $100,000 loan which she never paid back and was first arrested in July 2017 for absconding from two luxury hotels, leaving behind bills in thousands of dollars as well as a lunch bill of under $200 dollars at a fancy restaurant.

Were there lessons to be learned here? Definitely. Were those lessons learned though? Highly unlikely because you see the true 1% of the one the 1% are unrepentant in their pursuits and undaunted in the face of disaster or disgrace. Don’t believe me? Then you will want to watch the Bling Lagosians, Bolanle Austen Peters’ directing debut that chronicles the lives ofThe Holloways, one of Lagos’ most prestigious families. They holiday in Europe, dress like royalty, hobnob with the political class and own the city’s most luxurious high-rise, St. Ives Towers. Their family name is a synonym for class and poise. When MOPELOLA HOLLOWAY (50), the sophisticated matriarch of the family, announces that she’s throwing a flamboyant party for her fifty-first birthday – to top the headline-making shindig she threw the year before for her fiftieth – she unwittingly sets a series of events into motion that will have repercussions far from pleasant for the Holloway household. The movie stars Elvina Ibru, Gbenga Titiloye, Osas Ighodaro Ajibade, Sharon Ooja, Alex Ekubo, Monalisa Chinda, Toyin Abraham, Denola Grey and many more. It starts showing in cinemas nationwide on June 28th. Avoid the “Sold Out” news and book ahead.

The Star Studded Bling Lagosians Premiere

And the Winners Are……..Here Are Your Best Dressed At The Star Studded Bling Lagosians Premiere.

The grand premier of the highly anticipated movie “The Bling Lagosians” was held Sunday, 16th of June 2019 at the Film House Cinema, Lekki, Lagos.

The red carpet had stars glammed up to the nines, with a variety of looks; as anticipated, the premiere was littered with show stoppers. Talk about making an entrance, this red carpet would definitely go down as legendary in the fashion circles.

Guests trouped the red carpet with a variety of fiery looks as well as exaggerated and fun fashion pieces.  The dress code for the glamorous night was “Eko for Show”, and as we know if it’s not over the top, its not EKO! With a total prize money of N1 Million naira, for the most quintessential red carpet look.

The individuals who took the prize money went home with N500, 000 ( Daala Oruwari and Teni Oluwo)  while the first and second runner up will get N350, 000 and N150, 000 respectively. Designer

The movie was met with raving reviews, the general consensus was that this is the best Nollywood movie released of (2019), with intricacies that run deep and with a well-paced out story line filled with lessons.  The Director, Bolanle Austen Peters’  generosity to the cast was boundless. Although laced with humour, and some exceptionally funny moments, the movie deals with serious subject matters that will leave viewers thinking twice about Lagos party lifestyle as well as giving a deeper insight into the Lagos elite’s lifestyle.

Director Bolanle Austen Peters Said about the movie

“In telling this story, it was important that we learnt lessons. In doing the Bling Lagosians, I observed certain things in our society and I decided to tell the story, a relatable story, that people would see and recognise this is the real us. This story is like a mirror, so we can look at ourselves in a mirror and see the flaws. This is a story of deceit, lust, love, greed, passion, it’s a story of excess’ but with reedeming qualities”

Celebrities that made striking statements on the red carpet included honourable mentions are Osas Ighodaro Ajibade in Toju Foyeh, Anto Lecky in Bibi Lawrence and Sharon Ooja in a show-stopping look from Somo by Somo  Alex Ekubo, Idia Aisien, Linda Ejiofor, Linda Osifo, Ini Idia Okojie, Taje Prest, Gbenga Titiloye Bam Bam and more.

Delta, Air France and KLM mark tenth anniversary of their trans-Atlantic partnership

Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM are celebrating 10 years of their successful trans-Atlantic cooperation, a partnership that has continued to lead the industry and set a trend for others to follow.

Over the past decade, together the airlines have soared to new heights as they opened up new routes between Europe and North America and improved customer service. Built around a network of seven hubs – five in the United States and two in Europe – the partnership covers routes between Canada, United States, Mexico and Europe.

“In 10 years, our North-Atlantic JV has become the most advanced example of what an airline partnership can be and what it can bring to the customers,” said Patrick Alexandre, Air France-KLM Group Executive Vice President Commercial, Sales & Alliances. “The success of our JV with Delta comes from our combined and multiple offer which is adapted to all customers, from B2C to trade and corporate. Together with our integrated commercial teams, we aim at delivering the best service to our clients all along their journey. We are very proud of our achievements and look forward to further expanding our JV.”

Some highlights include:

  • Customers have benefited as the partnership has 38 more peak day North America to Europe flights today than 10 years ago bringing the number to more than 270 daily trans-Atlantic flights. 
  • It’s now easier to connect to destinations across North America and Europe thanks to more hub-to-hub flying, such as Detroit-Paris and Atlanta-Amsterdam that offer a wealth of onward flights. The partnership has also opened up new U.S.-Europe city pairs that would not be possible for them to do alone, including service from non-hub cities, including Indianapolis, Raleigh/Durham and Dallas-Fort-Worth, to Paris and Tampa-Amsterdam.
  • Eligible customers can use the largest airport lounge network across North America and Europe.
  • There are opportunities to earn miles and redeem them on a number of benefits, including flight upgrades through each airlines’ frequent flyer programmes.
  • The partners carry 20% more customers today compared to 10 years ago.

“We have a lot to be proud of from the past 10 years. The key to our success has been continuing to innovate and a commitment to constantly improve our customer experience,” said Steve Sear, Delta’s President & Executive Vice President Global Sales. “Customers have benefitted from our award-winning service, and close integration of our systems and teams in the airport, sales, call centres and back office. Most recently, we have expanded our cooperation to include Africa, improving the travel options for new and existing customers.”

The Delta, Air France and KLM partnership has its foundations in a previous agreement between KLM and Northwest Airlines. Following the U.S. and European Union Open Skies agreement in 2007and the merger between Delta and Northwest, the Air France-KLM Group and Delta announced their long-term joint venture on May 20, 2009. Just over one year later, Alitalia joined the partnership, offering new flying opportunities between North America and Italy. Last year, Delta invested €375 million to acquire 10 percent equity in the Air France-KLM Group.

Sheraton Lagos Hotel has A Packed June Planned

Sheraton Lagos Hotel is happy to announce that the month of June will be a packed one that will delight every type of guest that the hotel has.

The General Manager Mr. Barry has said ‘June will be exciting with the variety of things on offer. From food to drinks and even sunglasses.’

Kicking things off, on the 7th of June, we will be celebrating world doughnut day. Throughout the day, a doughnut wall will be set up at the pumpkin leaf with a variety of yummy eclectic doughnuts straight from Chef Helen’s oven. Guests are welcome to try them for free and also take creative pictures that they can upload unto social media with the hashtag #sheratonlagosdoughnutday for a chance to win a Sheraton branded mug.

On the 8th of June, the hotel will be bringing innovation to their cocktails while celebrating world ogogoro (gin) day. There will be a set menu of ogogoro (gin) infused cocktails at the lobby bar, goodies pub and pool bar for N2,000 only. The menu will comprise of recipes suggested by our social media followers and the bar men. It promises to be a fun session with ogororo (gin) lovers enjoying their favorite drink with a unique spin. Guests are welcome to share their cocktails on social media with the hashtag #sheratonlagosginday

The 10th of June is for lovers of iced tea. Everyone’s favorite beverage is coming to Sheraton and it’s going to be delightful to guest’s taste buds. Iced tea will be served on the breakfast buffet for free where guests can try the various iced tea options. There will also be a cocktail menu curated specially for that day at all outlets for N2,000 only.

For music lovers, the 21st of June is just for them. World music day is celebrated on that day and to mark it, we will be giving guests a chance to sing with the band during wazobia night. This will allow guests showcase their musical talent. It will also give them a chance to create memories with their family and friends that will last forever.   

Last but definitely not the least, on the 27th of June, the hotel will be celebrating sunglasses day. Free branded sunglasses will be given to guests who come to the pool side to wear and protect their eyes while they enjoy their tan in the sun.

At Sheraton Lagos, we go beyond and by doing this, the hotel believes that it will be cementing its place as a hotel not just business travelers but also a property that creates experiences leisure seekers too.

With the hotel’s proven success and exceptional reputation in culinary expertise, The Sheraton Lagos Hotel looks forward to celebrating a fun month of June this year.

Africa’s Travel Indaba, Changing the African Narrative through Tourism

The noteworthiness of tourism to Africa and its economy was again established at the just concluded Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019, held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu Natal Province of South Africa from the 2nd May to the 4th May 2019. Africa’s Travel Indaba is considered one of the largest events in the African tourism calendar, bringing together over 7,000 exhibitors; including local and international buyers; tourism and business media; industry stakeholders; members of tourism associations and captains of industry from over 80 countries.

 

This year, we embraced the theme for Indaba 2019, which was: “Africa’s stories, your success”, this re-emphasizes the importance of telling our own stories and showcasing our successes to help boost tourism in Africa, and also change the world narrative of Africa as a continent that needs saving to one that is flourishing.

 

The Minister of Tourism in South Africa, Derek Hanekom, opened Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 with great optimism about the future of tourism in Africa, he started by asking the audience if by 2030 the continent will be ready to invite 21 million international tourists. His own response to the question was a resounding ‘yes’. The minister stated that “Too often the real stories of Africa are not told and not heard,” in his statement compelling collaboration among African countries the Minister added that “We need to work together to replace the sometimes negative narrative of Africa with the real story of so many nations on the move, of people innovating and moving confidently into the future”.

 

South Africa president, Cyril Ramaphosa, during his speech at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 implied that “We are global citizens physically separated by borders. We are however united by our affinity and our love for this great continent Africa, the cradle of humankind”. He explained further that  “We must reduce the onerous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists who want to visit our country face. This requires us to streamline our tourist visa regime. We are in the process of radically overhauling our visa dispensation for the rest of the world and introducing a world-class e-visa system.” This statement revealed that the continent is working towards overhauling visa systems for travelers looking to visit various African tourism hotspot.

South African Tourism West Africa hosted trade and media delegates and stakeholders from Nigeria and Ghana at on a pre tour across the Gauteng and Limpopo provinces in South Africa. The hosting was aimed at strengthening existing partnership and collaboration in the continent, as delegates had an exhilarating experience exploring the beautiful city of Pretoria by getting their adrenaline pumped at the Adventure Zone in Cullinan for a day of fun activities such as Ziplining, Bike Riding and Archery. Entabeni Game Reserve in Limpopo where they got to see some of the ‘Big 5 animals’ and connect with nature. And Durban as they went shopping at the famous Victoria Street Market dubbed as Durban’s Oldest market.

SOP Initiative NGO offers Amuwo Odofin residents free WiFi

Symphony of Praise Initiative (SOP) through her Christian humanitarian movement, ‘Connect Charity ‘ have, offered 24 hours Wi-Fi to Amuwo residents.

The Wi-Fi was presented to the Amuwo -Odofin Public Library recently in Lagos in commemoration of the ‘World Internet Day’.

According to President of the foundation, Seun Ayeni, the idea was initially conceived at their end of the year community carol programme of 2018.

“For us, it was about academics .We thought about the fact that children don’t read again, you know the popular saying: ‘Readers become leaders’.

  

“We thought that may be people don’t like to read books that much. So we concluded that people like to read via the internet and the only way to do it will be to make young people in Amuwo- Odofin have access to the internet for free.     “That was why we offered a free internet Wi-Fi. We thought that the best place to locate the Wi-Fi would be at the public library. Now, we have a library that is filled with books and also has internet access”

On how they were able to get the support of the residents, Ayeni noted that they have built trust with them over the years.

“We have built trust over the years, people know us now. We have embarked on a lot of community projects and have delivered. We called for funds, people donated money and we were able to raise a little around #100,000. What we had was #250,000 so we had to put in our own funds to make sure it’s a success”

Ayeni also gave clear details on how the project will be sustained.

“The Wi-Fi is opened to anybody that comes close to 50metres circumference around the library.

We thought about sustainability from the scratch, it was part of the project. That was why we made it powered by Solar. Solar as you know is sustainable on its own. So without light or with light, it works. Our internet is powered by solar. Swift has partnered with us by giving us internet free of charge. There is no recurrent payment on this , which is sustainable for us. No recurrent problem of electricity, it is powered by Solar.

I will advise Amuwo Odofin residents not just to use it as a play tool. This is just giving it to you for free so that you are not incapacitated. Explore the possibilities of what you can do with it”.

One of the members of the SOP Initiative’s Board of Trustees and a resident, Peter Adewumi who spoke to the press, said he was filled with joy because of the installation of the free Wi-Fi which will go a long way in empowering the youths in Amuwo Odofin.

The public presentation had in attendance representative of the Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Director, Lagos State Library Board – Mr. A. A. Oyadipe, amongst others.