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.

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.

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.

Beverly and Derreck Joubert receing an award

Beverly and Dereck Joubert receive Melvin Jones Award for outstanding humanitarian work

Botswanan wildlife duo are bestowed with the highest achievable recognition from Lions Club International for their works with local communities.
Botswanan citizens Dereck and Beverly Joubert, both National Geographic explorers and founders of the Great Plains Foundation, a wildlife conservation organisation, have been presented with the Melvin Jones Award, the highest honour conferred by service organisation Lions Clubs International for outstanding humanitarian work.

Through their associated companies and the foundation, they have donated $2,000,000 (20 million Botswana Pula) in 2018, half of which went to assisting the poorest of the poor in Botswana, the landlocked southern African country best known for its wildlife.

Despite rapid growth and significant improvements in the country, half of Botswana’s population remains either poor or vulnerable, with 46.2% of them children under 15, according to the World Bank. The Jouberts have long been committed to the concept of shared prosperity, and have contributed much to job creation, education and community upliftment projects.

Every Melvin Jones Fellow is recorded for posterity at the Lions Clubs International headquarters in Oakbrook, Illinois, on a special board set aside for this purpose. Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton who were recognised for their contribution to the human rights, their fight for equality, and for giving to the people of Africa.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert, although better known for their work in wildlife conservation, perform outstanding behind-the-scenes work in local communities in Botswana. They have been giving steadily for decades through education grants and support, through children’s programmes, solar lantern projects and now in establishing an academy.

In a moving acceptance speech, Dereck said that with only 4% of the planet’s animal biomass being wildlife it the collective job of all humankind to protect them, and not to squabble over how to kill the last of them.

“To achieve that, we need humanity to join hands. In cooperating we achieve collaboration,” he said, “but we must first find ways to uplift the poor, to educate, to create jobs and to raise basic minimum wages across the board. Only when all people have the relative luxury of safety, food security and freedom to determine their own futures will we achieve the harmony with nature that we all seek. That is why we believe it is critically important to invest in the future we all want.”
Beverly said it was heart-breaking for her to witness people’s homes burn down because children doing their homework by candlelight had fallen asleep.

“The introduction of solar lanterns to hundreds of households has not only helped put an end to this tragic situation, but it’s also had an additional positive outcome,” she added.

One school principal reported that test scores had improved and pass rates were nearing 100% because children can now spend more hours after dark studying. It’s still a novelty so they really enjoy the lanterns, charging them in the sun and also learning about solar technology.

Lions Clubs International is an organisation with more than 1,7 million members worldwide (nearly the population of Botswana), across 200 countries, underscoring the significance and import of the Melvin Jones Award. The Jouberts say the doors to further collaboration with the Great Plains Foundation have been opened and the two organisations are in discussion about collaboration in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Kenya to help communities in the most need.
Lions Club International was founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones, in whose name the humanitarian award is given. It was established to transcend politics and religion, and to be a consistent in encouraging caring and giving globally, which it has been doing for more than 110 years now.

“It is a great honour to receive this award, but one we are shy about accepting because our policy has always been to give quietly and anonymously, but it seems we have been found out,” said Beverly.

However, we are thrilled to accept the award on behalf of our team, including one young man named Gobotswang Mokgathong, who gave up his life and career in tourism to go and care for others in a village, and those who dedicate their lives to working in nature, because they have their eye on the future.

The Vice President of Lions Club International, Brian Sheehan flew in from the USA for the week-long event. He pointed to the incredible ability of so many who lead by example and go out to raise money, giving of their time out of pure kindness and a desire to give to those that quite simply would not survive without a helping hand.

“When the goals of two organizations and people align like this, we should and will find ways to work together so we can make the lives of the less fortunate better,” he said. “As Lions, our actions and service inspire others. We provide courage and a unique sense of empowerment to our communities and to the world. To do this, we depend on great leadership. And that takes great leadership development from our members.”

Sheraton Abuja Hotel Marks The Holy Month Of Ramadan In True Style

Sheraton Abuja Hotel Marks The Holy Month Of Ramadan In True Style

Abuja, April 30, 2019 Sheraton Abuja Hotel will embrace the spirit of the Holy month of Ramadan with patrons, friends and families. The hotel will pay homage to a variety of Iftar culinary tastes and traditions at its renown Papillon Restaurant.

Guests are guaranteed an enriching dining experience, for those breaking the fast or friends joining in, you are sure to enjoy a traditional Iftar buffet served from live cooking stations and an inspiringly delicious Suhoor menu throughout the Holy month.

According to the General Manger of the hotel, Nouman Irshad “each year our hotel teams work passionately to curate an environment that reflects the mood and ambience of the fasting season. We have created great ambient spaces for relaxation and prayer where our guests will be able to view live proceedings from Mecca. We also have discounted Shisha on demand.

Our all day dining intercontinental restaurant- Papillon will feature traditional selections of Arabic and African Iftar favorites alongside a global variety to accompany the theme of the season. Our special buffet is priced at NGN9,500 Per Person. We look forward to marking each day with families and friends. Meals for children under 6 years of age are complimentary per paying adult while kids from 7 to 12 years old can dine at half price.

Throughout the month of Ramadan, our guests can relax, rest , unwind and reflect at Sheraton Abuja Hotel with room rates starting from just NGN49,999 inclusive of taxes and breakfast while Suhoor commences from the 5th of May till the 4th of June 2019.

We truly have “gone beyond” in our efforts to ensure that there is something for everyone this Holy season. We look forward to welcoming all our clients to share this special month with us and enrich the spirit” says the General Manager.

Mandela Youth Leadership Summit 2019 South Africa

Sun 16 June 2019 – YOUTH DAY – Mandela Capture Site Howick KwaZulu-Natal

 

The Concept: Invite YOUTH of the WORLD

  • to commemorate an incident 57 years ago that changed history : Sun 5 Aug 1962
  • to celebrate Mandela’s life and those legendary leaders that made a difference
  • to learn from Mandela’s teachings and life lessons
  • to set a tone by endorsing truth, humility and perfect self belief.
  • to globally join hands for peaceful co-existence of the nations.
  • to venture on the rocky obstacle ridden path to victory.
  • to motivate the Youth to become the next Legendary World Leader
  • to extend invitations to youth worldwide: USA, Canada, UK, Western Europe, Australia, Nordic Countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark), Middle East, Africa
  • to invite worldwide student leaders as guest speakers and facilitators at the summit from confirmed attendees
  • to present a world class global YOUTH Summit

 

The Partners

  • to partner with International organisations:
    • Mandela Foundation South Africa
  • to partner with South African organisations:
    • Gandhi Committee Pietermaritzburg
    • Umsunduzi Municipality (Pietermaritzburg)
    • Apartheid Museum Johannesburg
    • 100 Young Mandelas of the Future : A NEWS.24 initiative
    • South African Tourism
    • Nelson Mandela Capture Site
    • Nelson Mandela Foundation Johannesburg
Bobby J. Moroe - Acting High Commissioner; South African High Commission

Statement by the Acting High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa, to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr Bobby J. Moroe

The recent acts of criminality that resulted in the displacement of foreign nationals in the  KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Limpopo Provinces are regrettable. Our government believes that no amount of frustration or anger can ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops. The Justice, Crime Prevention, and Security Cluster (JCPS) is working tirelessly on the issue of attacks on foreign nationals. To this end, three people have been arrested for the recent incidents in KZN and Limpopo and law enforcement agencies remain steadfast to bring perpetrators responsible for these crimes to book.

The government of South Africa strongly condemns the violent acts in the strongest possible terms. These attacks violate all the values that South Africa embodies, especially the respect for human life, human rights, human dignity and Ubuntu. Our country stands firmly against all intolerances such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism. We wish the injured a speedy recovery, and appeal for calm, and end to violence and restraint.

It is our view that criminal elements should not be allowed to take advantage of the concerns of citizens to sow mayhem and destruction. Any problems or issues of concern to South African citizens must be resolved peacefully and through dialogue. The police have been directed to work round the clock to protect both foreign nationals and citizens, and to also arrest looters and those committing acts of violence. The government has urged communities to assist the police by providing information on the incidents that have taken place so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.

Our government would also like to caution that the spread of misinformation, fake pictures and videos on social media,  as well as fake websites may be fuelling tensions in the communities between South Africans and foreign nationals. Certain messages and images that appear on social media are old and unrelated to any of the reported incidents of alleged attacks on foreign nationals over the past few days. For instance, a message being circulated about foreign nationals burning South African owned trucks in Limpopo Province is not true.

Government has consistently condemned  fake news websites masquerading as authentic news websites.  We call for greater efforts of awareness in society about fake news and fake social media posts.

Government respects the right to freedom of press and freedom of expression, but fake news stories are a slanderous attempt against the brand of South Africa with no interest in respecting the Constitution of South Africa.

Accordingly,  we urge everyone to be vigilant and not spread fake information and images that may give   an impression that these are attacks on foreign nationals.

The engagement by the Minister of International Relations and Corporation, Hon. Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Police, Hon. Bheki Cele, Minister of Home Affairs, Hon, Siyabonga Cwele and the African Diplomatic Community in South Africa is a step in the right direction. This meeting has been convened twice already, on Monday, 01 April 2019 and Friday, 05 April 2019, to discuss the current spate of violence against foreign nations and their properties. Once a full report has been issued on the outcomes of these meetings , it will be shared accordingly.

Government calls on all community organisations to stand up and be counted among those who actively discourage attacks against foreign nationals or our citizens.

We call on organisations and individuals who have information regarding threats of violence to report to the police. South Africans and foreign nationals residing in the country are afforded the same protection under the Constitution.

The freedom Charter says there shall be peace and friendship. Our responsibility is to promote this legacy of peaceful coexistence and take it forward. To this end, the South African government reaffirms its responsibility to contribute to a better Africa.

Bobby J. Moroe
Acting High Commissioner.
South African High Commission.
Abuja, Nigeria.
Saturday, 06 April 2019.

AFRICANS HAVE THE POWER TO REHAUL AFRICA’S STORY

In a bid to boost tourism in Africa, it is time that we change our narrative from a continent that needs saving to one that is thriving. This was the key insight at Africa’s Travel Indaba Media Launch held at The Plant Venue Co., Durban on 3rd April 2019.

The media launch provided the opportunity for two of South African Tourism’s Hidden Gems, Jotham’s Place and Discover Durban Tours and Transfers, to tell their success stories. Other speakers included Acting Head of the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Siza Sibanda and Councillor at eThekwini Municipality, Sipho Kaunda.

Keynote speaker of the day, Chief Convention Bureau Officer of South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, elaborated on this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba theme, Africa’s stories, your success, saying Africans must own their narrative so that they can embark on the journey of changing the continent’s story. “We no longer look to the world for affirmation or inspiration, the world looks to us. We are real, vibrant and driven to succeed. So, we invite the world to journey with us and tell the new story of Africa.”

Kotze-Nhlapo added that the responsibility of safeguarding Africa’s narrative is not only up to its storytellers but all Africans. “In this post-truth world, it is up to each of us to be vigilant about the way Africa is depicted. We can be the watchdogs of misrepresented stories and best of all, we have the digital tools to keep the narrative truthful.”

She said social media gives everyone the power to engage with media, influencers and other prominent individuals so that “we can change the narrative together and basically set the story straight”.

Her insights were backed up by South African storyteller, Victor Kgomoeswana, whose presentation ignited what is the new African narrative.

“The greatest story for us to tell is our own; the most effective way to tell it is the African way – because the centre of the universe, literally and figuratively, is in Africa,” he said.

For the first time in Indaba’s history, it will host the Green Stand Awards.   These awards have been successful at Meetings Africa in recent years and is now making its way to Indaba. It recognises exhibitors who go that extra “green” mile to build and design stands that are environmentally and socially sustainable.

Key numbers for Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019

  • 1,110 – Number of local, regional and international buyers already confirmed.
  • 890 – Number of exhibitors already confirmed.
  • 104 – Number of African exhibitors from 19 countries already confirmed.

“The above numbers clearly demonstrate that Indaba continues to grow and be the sought after platform for African tourism products,” concluded Kotze-Nhlapo.

 

Tourism in Africa – facts

According to 2018 reports from the United Nations World Tourism Organization and World Travel and Tourism Council:

  • The continent’s total foreign receipts in 2017 amounted to US$ 177,6 billion, contributing 8,1% of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • In 2017, Africa’s share of investment in travel and tourism was US$ 28,2 billion, or 5,7% of total investment in the continent.
  • In 2017, direct travel and tourism employment in Africa rose to 9,3 million, the equivalent of 1 in 11 jobs. This is an 11,2% increase from 2016.

 

South Africa at a glance

  • South Africa saw 10.5-million international tourist arrivals in 2018.
  • It translates to a growth of 1.8% compared to the previous year.
  • The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) had recently announced that South Africa has the largest tourism economy in Africa having contributed 1.5 million jobs (9.2% of South Africa’s employment)
  • Tourism contributes 8.6% to the South African GDP.
  • 44% of the tourism spend came from international travellers, amounting to R128-billion.

56% of spend came from domestic travel, which translates to R163-billion.

AN EXCITING EASTER AT SHERATON HOTELS IN NIGERIA

Special offers for an Egg-citing Easter celebration

Abuja, April 1, 2019 With Easter fast approaching, The Sheraton Hotels in Lagos and Abuja will spark off with an array of Eclectic and classic Easter treats and offerings making it the ideal place for families and friends to dine together.

The Area General Manager for Marriott Hotels in Nigeria, Barry Curran says “Our aim is to create truly exciting experiences for everyone this Easter Holiday.

For those Visiting Sheraton Lagos Hotel, we have put together a compelling package on our rooms starting from N63, 600. Those who book these rates are entitled to 20% off brunch on Easter Monday. Kids under 12 will eat breakfast free (max 1 with a paying parent).

On Easter Sunday, we are offering a special brunch for just N16,500 per person, inclusive of non-alcoholic beverages and kids 12yrs and below will be entitled to eat for half the price (With paying adult).

Our Guests will enjoy an enriching experience during brunch with a live band which will create the perfect ambiance for a relaxing day. We have also put together a special Voucher for 20% off at our Italian Restaurant to be given to every family and couple that brunches with us on that day.  A set menu will also be available at the Italian Restaurant for lovers of fine dining at N16, 000 only per person.

We look forward to having families and friends engage with kids over an “egg-citing Easter egg hunt with exciting prices to be won.

While on Easter Monday, we will prepare a delightful barbecue where guests can arrive, sit back and listen to feel-good music while they enjoy everything on the menu for the day for just N11,000 per person.

From the 8th of April, sales of Easter cakes and Easter eggs will commence at discounted rates for all to savor with the family.

At Sheraton Abuja Hotel  our teams have created inspiring packages with a range of activities and offerings to keep the whole family connected this Easter.

Our Food & Beverage teams at our Hotel’s Papillon Restaurant will be happy to welcome you to a delicious Easter Buffet spread with family centered offerings for just N10, 000 Per Person on Easter Sunday. Kids are not left out as 0-6yr olds will eat for free while 7-12 year olds will eat for only half the price (per paying Adult).

The Hotel has additionally planned an exciting and engaging egg hunt with an Easter Bunny where two kids (per paying adult) get free Gift Bags alongside Cotton Candy treats.

If you are looking for a short break over the Easter holiday our unbeatable Easter Room Package starts at just NGN49, 999 Per Night, valid from 18th – 23rd of April 2019. The Rooms package is all inclusive of complimentary Breakfast, access to our Sheraton Fitness Facilities, Complimentary Wi-Fi, Fruit Basket and a Box of Chocolate Cupcakes for you to indulge in.

We are very eager to celebrate this Easter season with all our friends and families and we assure all our customers that our carefully thought out activities and offerings will provide an elevated experience which will linger in memories for a long time.

 

For more information on our Sheraton Lagos Hotel please visit www.sheratonlagos.com stay connected to the Sheraton Lagos on Twitter and Instagram @sheratonlagos and like our Facebook page Sheraton Lagos Hotel                                                                                   

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