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Cruise Lines’ Crew Shortages Lead to Canceled Trips, Less Pizza - BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 13, 2022

BY  Carly WannaBloomberg News

A restaurant on the Celebrity Edge. Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

A restaurant on the Celebrity Edge. Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Cruise ships are filling up again, but passengers have been reporting back quicker than crew members.

Carnival Corp.’s Princess Cruises this week canceled 11 fall sailings on its Diamond Princess, saying it couldn’t provide the level of service customers expect amid ongoing labor shortages. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., another large operator, told investors it’s had to limit capacity on the Pride of America because of staffing. The ship, which sails the Hawaiian islands, is required to have a crew that’s mostly US citizens, a tall order in this tight labor market.

“We’re not immune to it,” Norwegian’s chief executive officer, Frank Del Rio, said of industrywide labor shortages.

Even though cruise lines have been relaxing requirements for Covid tests and reporting stronger bookings, it’s still been choppy sailing. Norwegian shares fell 11% on Aug. 9 after the company forecast a loss in the current quarter, as it continues to deal with challenges such as the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and “current macroeconomic conditions.” The stock has since rebounded. 

Princess’s cancellations comes after a rocky few months. P&O Cruises, another Carnival division, canceled seven voyages earlier this summer due to staffing shortages. But other adjustments have been more subtle. Carnival Cruise Line, the company’s namesake brand, scaled back some of its offerings this summer, including suspending some special events like its parties for loyal cruisers, and instead provided perks like onboard credit or cocktail vouchers. Now, those events have returned. 

Still missing, and likely gone for the foreseeable future, are the 24/7 pizzerias. 

“There will be pizza available for virtually the entire time most guests are awake,” Chris Chiames, a spokesman for Carnival Cruise Line, said in an email. The company also scaled back its complimentary birthday cakes and a chocolate extravaganza buffet, cuts made in part due to low staffing as well as general adjustments to match guest demand, according to Chiames. 

Carnival offered incentives, including bonuses and greater contract flexibility, to increase the number of staffers. Those have now been discontinued.

Jim Walker, a Miami, Florida-based maritime lawyer, estimates that fewer than 5% of cruise-ship employees are American citizens or residents. He says long hours and low pay make most crew positions unattractive to domestic workers. 

Most crew members hail from the Philippines, Indonesia, India, and throughout the Caribbean islands, according to Walker. Generally, non-US citizens require a visa to work on ships that travel in and out of American ports. 

The number of visas processed by the State Department declined as much as 90% during the pandemic, according to Jorge Loweree, managing director of programs at the American Immigration Council, an advocacy group. Around March, the department’s overall issuance of visas rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, but Loweree says the agency had to play catch up on two years of backlogs.

Long processing times have affected a range of industries, from health care to construction, and have cost immigrants their jobs as they await renewal. 

Nathaniel Derrenbacher, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the second-largest operator, said his company hasn’t canceled any voyages due to staffing.

“Like most businesses, we’ve faced challenges outside of our control while we bring our staffing back to full capacity,” Derrenbacher wrote in an email.

While cruise operators have tried to maintain their offerings, some passengers have complained of inadequate service. Linda Warhaftig said trash littered the decks of the Carnival Horizon and Conquest when she sailed on them in June. The 59-year-old, who has been on 65 cruises, said such a sight would have been unimaginable before the pandemic. 

“After what I witnessed in June, I canceled my Carnival cruises for the rest of this year,” Warhaftig said.

Carnival spokesman Chiames said the line had an extremely busy summer, with most ships sailing full. “We know our guests deserve a great vacation, and if there were times when we fell short, we certainly apologize,” he said.

Despite the setbacks, bookings remain high and consumer sentiment is robust, according to Jefferies Group analyst David Katz. 

“I think there’s some expectation that service levels are not going to be just yet what they had been,” he said.

Housing correction gaining pace, to continue through next year: report - THE CANADIAN PRESS

AUGUST 13, 2022

OTTAWA — Desjardins is forecasting the average home price in Canada will decline by nearly 25 per cent by the end of 2023 from the peak reached in February of this year.

In its latest residential real estate outlook published on Thursday, Desjardins says it's expecting a sharp correction in the housing market, adjusting its previous forecast that predicted a 15-per-cent drop in the average home price over that same period.

Desjardins says the worsened outlook stems from both weaker housing data and more aggressive monetary policy than previously anticipated.

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate by a full percentage point in July, pushing up the borrowing rates linked to mortgages, and further increases are expected this year.

The report also notes housing prices have dropped by more than four per cent in each of the three months that followed February, when the national average home price hit a record $816,720.

Despite the adjustment in the forecast, prices are still expected to be above the pre-pandemic level at the end of 2023.

Regionally, the report says the largest price corrections are most likely to occur in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, where prices skyrocketed during the pandemic.

"While we don’t want to diminish the difficulties some Canadians are facing, this adjustment is helping to bring some sanity back to Canadian real estate," the report said.

The authors also note that the upcoming economic slowdown will ease inflationary pressures enough for the Bank of Canada to begin reversing interest rate hikes. Desjardins expects the Canadian housing market to stabilize late next year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2022.

Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press

Europe in talks to replace Russian rockets with Elon Musk’s SpaceX - THE TELEGRAPH

AUGUST 13, 2022

BY  Matthew Field


The European Space Agency (ESA) is in talks with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to take on launches for Brussels after the West was blocked from using Russia’s Soyuz rockets.

The US rival to France’s Arianespace is in technical discussions with the bloc’s space authority to provide capacity for upcoming missions.

The EU had been planning to use French-built Ariane 6 rockets for future space flights, but these have been repeatedly delayed, prompting talks with rivals to provide a stopgap.

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Josef Aschbacher, ESA director general, told Reuters that SpaceX, India and Japan were in the frame to provide launch services.

He said: “One is SpaceX, that is clear, another one is possibly Japan. Japan is waiting for the inaugural flight of its next generation rocket. Another option could be India.”

Work for the space agency would add another key client for SpaceX, which was founded by Tesla billionaire, Mr Musk. The rocket company has repeatedly secured launch contracts from the US Department of Defence.

SpaceX also secured fresh business earlier this year with a launch contract for Britain’s OneWeb, despite its rivalry with the US company’s Starlink satellite network.

OneWeb, which is building a network of broadband satellites, was also cut off from using Russian rockets after the invasion of Ukraine. It has booked at least one launch with SpaceX and one with India’s space agency.

Europe had typically depended on Russia’s Roscosmos agency and its Soyuz rockets for launching medium payloads into orbit, but could instead turn to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets.

The invasion of Ukraine effectively ended years of space cooperation between the Kremlin and the West. Russia has since threatened to abandon the International Space Station from 2024.

Russia’s decision to cut Western nations off from its space programme has brought renewed focus onto British efforts to develop a “sovereign” rocket launch capacity.

In September, Virgin Orbit, the space company founded by Sir Richard Branson, is due to launch a rocket into orbit from British soil for the first time.

The space company uses rockets slung on the underside of a Boeing 747 to reach orbit. The rocket is dropped from the plane at 37,000ft, before blasting off to deliver its payload. The plane is due to take off from Spaceport Newquay at the end of September.

Easyjet pilots strike in Spain - AFP

AUGUST 13, 2022

Easyjet's Spanish pilots walked out on Friday, calling for the reinstatement of conditions they enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic, two weeks after a strike by the low-cost carrier's cabin crew had resulted in a deal.

Coming at the height of the summer tourist season, the new Easyjet stoppages will add to the problems facing the sector.

Cabin crew at budget rival Ryanair have been staging 24-hour walkouts since June, which are likely to continue until January 2023, unions said.

The Easyjet pilots, for their part, are staging a first three-day strike from Friday at the airports of Barcelona, Malaga and the Mediterranean islands of Palma de Majorca and Minorca, the SEPLA union said.

Two more three-day walkouts are planned later in August.

"This is the only possible alternative for the pilots' representatives, after more than six months of negotiations, at which the company has rejected all proposals made," the union said.

The airline cancelled eight flights on Friday, most of them from Barcelona, Spain's second-busiest airport.

"During the worst months of the pandemic, we agreed to lower our salaries to guarantee not only jobs, but the survival of the company itself in Spain," the union said.

Now, however, the company "refuses to recover the working conditions.

"We are not asking for anything that we did not have two years ago," said a union spokesman.

In late July, EasyJet said it took a sizeable financial hit from sector-wide disruptions, notably staff shortages, but still slashed quarterly losses as demand recovered.

Just days later, EasyJet cabin crews ended their strike, after reaching a deal with management to raise wages by 22 percent over three years.

48 Visa On Arrival, E-Visa And Visa Free Countries You Can Travel To As A Nigerian - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

AUGUST 14, 2022

By Eunice Olaleye 

This is the “Japa” season for many Nigerians. “Japa” means to escape in Yoruba language. In this context, the word means to “travel out of the country”. People are “japaing” daily for many reasons, the most important of which are the declining economic situation and insecurity. 

However, many are unable to leave the country because they’re not aware that there are countries you can travel to as a Nigeian without getting an embassy visa. Yes…you read that right. In fact, there are more than 45 Visa on arrival, e-Visa and Visa free countries that you can travel to as a Nigerian. 

This article lists 48 countries that you can travel to as a Nigerian without having your passport stamped before your trip. 

Brits: Get a Second Salary with Only £200 Investment in Amazon daily finance | sponsoredRead More  48 visa free countries and their TOP attractions 

1. Benin  You need to get a Benin tourist visa to travel over there as a visitor, but it is FREE for Nigerians. In other words, for Nigerians, Benin can be referred to as a visa free country. The country is economically underdeveloped and is one of Africa’s largest cotton producers.  

2. Burkina Faso 

Nigerians get visa for free in this country. According to bbc.com, Burkina Faso is commonly known for her recurring drought and military coups. It’s a relatively safe place for tourists to visit because it is a stable and peaceful country.  

According to World Bank, the economy is largely based on agriculture and there’s an increase in the exportation of gold. However, more than 40% of the population lives below the poverty line.  

The following are some top attractions in Burkina Faso, according to worldtravelguide.com: Karfiguéla Falls, Streets of Bobo Dioulasso, Sindou’s Rock Formations, Royal Court in Tiébele, International Arts and Crafts Fair in Ouagadougou, The Mossi Empire in Ouagadougou, Hippo Lake, Moro-Naba Ceremony at Moro-Naba Palace in Ouagadougou.  

3. Cote D’Ivoire   Cote D’Ivoire, for Nigerians, is a visa free country. In Africa, it is identified as the largest exporter of cocoa beans. According to kidadl.com, it is famous for its chocolates and palm oil.  

The following are the top attractions in this country – Grand-Bassam, Abidjan, Waterfall in Man, Tai National park, San-Pédro, Basilica of our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Mosquée de Korhogo, Bouake, Gomoe National Park, Mount Nimba Strict Nature reserve, Sassandra, Marahoué National Park. 

4. Dominica 

As a Nigerian, you can travel to the country without a visa, according to Visa List. The country, according to bbc.com, is known for its poor infrastructure, and has the potential to be a tourist centre. The economy is dependent on Agriculture, but once in a while, the crops are destroyed by hurricanes. And the main crops produced, according to britannia.com, are banana, citrus fruits, and coconuts.  

Top Attractions according to planetware.com are: Morne Trois Pitons National Port, Boiling lake, Victorica falls, Trafalgar Falls, Dominica’s beaches, Cabrits, National Park, Roseau, Papillote Tropical Gardens, Champagne Reef, Kalinago Territory, Dominica’s Festivals. 

5. The Gambia  If you are a citizen of Nigeria, you do NOT need a visa. However, you need a proof of your nationality. According to britannica.com, the country is known for stability for a long time since independence. World bank says that its economy is strongly dependent on agriculture.  

Top Attractions that can be found in this visa free country according to thecrazytourist.com are: Abuko Nature Reserve, Banjul capital, The Albert Market, Old Town, Bijilo Forest Park, Bufut Beach, Janjangbureh, Sanyang village and beach, National Museum of Gambia, Wassup Stone Circles, The Kachikally crocodile pool, Makasutu Culture Forest, The Gambia river, Serrekunda, Tanji Fish Market. 

6. Djibouti  This country is one of the smallest countries in Africa, and it’s accessible to Nigerians who live in Africa by issuing them an e-Visa. Djibouti is a relatively safe place you’d like to visit. Just like it is with every other place, there might be petty crimes. Regardless, it’s a safe place.  

The economy, according to World Bank, is vulnerable to market downturns, and because of its small size, the country cannot broaden its production capabilities. Their way of “escape” is to increase their dependence on foreign markets.  

According to tripadvisor.com and the crazy tourist.com, the following are the top attractions you could find in the country- Lake Assal (honey lake), Ali Sabieh, The Gulf of Tadjoura, Goba’ad Plain, Egyptian Goose , Black Crake, Doralé and Khor Ambado Beaches, Tropical Aquarium, Day forest national park.  

7. Ghana  To Nigerians, Ghana is a visa free country you can travel to and stay in for a period of 30 days. However, you should not stay beyond the speculated duration considering that you were not issued a visa before travelling over. Activities in Ghana are often well policed and peaceful. It’s safe to visit the country. What is there to know about the economy? The economy is dependent on income from the exportation of cocoa, gold and crude oil.  

You might just be interested in the top attractions in Ghana, according to thecrazytourist.com: National Museum in Accra, National Theatre in Accra, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Independence Square in Accra,  W.E.B Dubois Centre in Accra, Artists Alliance Gallery, Labadi Beach, Cape Coast, Kakum National Park, Elmina Castle, Busua beach, Mole National Park, Akwidaa, Kumasi – second largest city in Ghana, The Kejetia Market, Tamale, Lake Bosumtwe, Volta Region.  

8. Ethiopia

You get to choose between e-Visa or Visa on arrival , if you want to travel to Ethiopia. And while it is true that you get to choose, it is suggested by ethiopiaonlinevisa.com that you opt for e-Visa. According to travel.state.gov, “ The situation in Addis Ababa is stable. However, there is armed conflict and civil unrest in other areas of Ethiopia, and the security situation may deteriorate without warning.” 

 Top Attractions according to thecrazytourist.com are: Dankil Depression, Lalibela,Harar – holy and walled city, Babile Elephant Sanctuary also home to gazelles, lions, Leopard, cheetahs, and tons of exotic birds, The rift valley, The Blue Nile Falls, The Omo Valley, Gondar, Addis Ababa, Rift Valley Lakes, Simien Mountains, Lake Chamo, Aksum, Arba Minch, Bahar Dar. 

9. Guinea  Guinea is accessible to Nigerians as a visa free country. In other words, you do Not need a visa to enter Guinea as long as you are a citizen of Nigeria. According to travel safe abroad, it is an unsafe and lawless country.  Furthermore, it’s stated that the authority officials are not to be blindly trusted. The economy of Guinea, is solely dependent on agriculture and other rural activities. 

According to fortuneofafrica.com, the top attractions you’d find in Guinea are: Mount Nimba, Mount Nimba Strict nature reserve, Fouta Djallon, Cape Verga, Alcatraz Island Guinea, Badiar Transboundary National Park, Belle air Plage, Faisal Mosque, Bride veil, Carafir, Conakry, Mount resort, National Museum. 

10. Guinea-Bissau  A few countries including NIGERIA are exempted from getting a visa before gaining access to the country. To them, Guinea-Bissau is a visa free country. According to World Bank, the country has recorded stability since March 2020 when a new government was inaugurated. However, it is not a safe place for anyone to visit, and the country is not cut out for the ‘tourism lifestyle’. Well, this doesn’t mean that there are no safe regions in the country because there are. According to the crazytourist.com the following are the top attractions you’ll find – Orango Island – Salt-water creatures, sparkling white beaches, a single community-run hotel, Bubaque Island close to Orango, Dulombi -Boe National Park, João Vieira Island, Badara, Bissau, Logoas Cufada Natural Park, Cacheu, Bislama Island, Varela, Rubane Island, Gabú, Farim, Saltinho, Florestas dé Castanhez National Park. 

11. Haiti  Haiti is visa free for Nigerians that will love to visit. The country is a relatively safe place for foreigners. However, you should take precautions and play safe. The World Bank says that the country is easily prone to natural disaster that could affect about 90% of the population. In its economy today, more than half of the population are living below the poverty line. It is also said that the economy is solely dependent on revenue from external forces.  

According to traveltourxp.com, the top attractions are: Citadel Laferriere, Labadee, Bassin Bleu, Cathedral Notre Dame de cap Haitien , Sans – souci Palace, Kokoye Beach, Museum of Haitian Art, Gelee Beach, Saut – Mathurine, Amiga Island, Bay of Acul, Musee Dé Guahaba Museum, Fort Jacques. 

12. Zimbabwe  You need to apply for an e-visa if you want to travel to Zimbabwe. Even though there is a moderate level of crime in Zimbabwe, it is relatively safe. Also, the agricultural sector is seen as an important productive sector of the economy; amidst other sectors within the economy.  

According to tripsavvy.com, these are the top attractions you’ll find: Hwange National Park which is the oldest and largest game reserve, Victoria falls which is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, Lake Karina is the world’s largest man-made lake in terms of volume, Mana Pools National Park – a UNESCO world heritage site, Bulawayo, Great Zimbabwe National Monument- UNESCO’s world heritage site, Marabou National Park, Chinhoyi Caves. 

13. Kenya  To travel to Kenya, you need to apply for a visa. According to travel.state.gov, you should exercise increased caution if you ever find yourself in the country. This is due to crime terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping. The major industries in Kenya are agriculture, fishing, forestry, mining, manufacturing, tourism, energy, and financial services. 

Top attractions that you’ll find according to touropia.com are: Nairobi National Park, Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo National Park, Lamu Island, Hell’s Gate National Park, Samburu National Reserve, Mount Kenya, Malindi. 

14. Liberia  This country is another visa free country for Nigerians. 

According to Travel Safe Abroad, the risk of being in Liberia is high.  In its words, “In general, it isn’t the safest place to visit, as it has high rates of both petty and violent crimes. There have been reports of many thefts and robberies so, remain vigilant at all times.” 

Top attractions according to thecrazy tourist.com are: Monrovia city, Sapo National Park, Robertsport, Buchanan, Gbarnga, Harbel, Gola National Forest, Bushrod Island, Marshall, Zwedru, Kakata, Greenville, Harper, Voinjama, Sanniquellie. 

15. Lesotho  For Nigerians to get the opportunity to visit they need to apply for an e-Visa. It is a safe place to travel to. However, like it could happen in any other country, there could be reports of petty crimes and illnesses.  

Top attractions according to lesothoblanket-wrap are – Tse’hlanyane National Park, Katse Dam and Botanical Gardens, Sani Pass and the Highest pub in Africa, Maletsunyane / Semonkong Falls, Thaba-Bosiu, Kome Cave dwellings, Dinosaur footprints, Rock art, Major Bell’s Tower and fort, Sehlabathebe National Park. 

16. Mali  No Nigerian has to pay for a visa before entering the country. Mali is not safe for tourists as it is prone to crimes, terrorism, and kidnapping. According to World Bank, Mali has a low-income economy, and is vulnerable to commodity fluctuations.  

The top attractions in Mali according to thecrazytourist.com are: Timbuktu, Gao, Bamako, Grand mosque of Djenné, Mopti, Ségou, Mount Hombori, Sikasso Market, Kayes, Boucle du Baoulé National Park, Ansongo, Kidal, Douentza, Bandiagara, Taoudenni. 

17. Niger  Nigerians have a visa free access to this country. The economy of the republic of Niger is solely dependent on Agriculture. It’s true that it is a visa free country, but you may want to avoid travelling to Niger because of the prevalence of terrorism and kidnapping. However, it is said that Niamey, the capital is an exception. 

The following are top attractions according to thecrazytourist.com– Zinder, Niamey, Agadez, W National Park, Ayorou, Abaaba National Park, Nguigmi, Maradi, Tahoua, Timia, Kouré, Dosso, Balleyara, Arlit, Diffa. 

18. Micronesia  The tourist visa is free for Nigerian citizens who’d like to travel to the country. Micronesia is a safe place to stay as crime rate is not on the rise. The economy deals in fishing, exploitation of mineral deposits, and subsistence agriculture.  

According to map of the world.com, the following are top attractions that could be found in the country: Diving Chuuk Lagoon, Pohnpei Cultural Center, Mt. Finkol, Kosrae, Stone Money of Yap, Ruins of Nan Madol, Pohnpei, Nanpil River, Pohnpei, Nan Madol, Wiya Bird Cave, Utwa-Walung Marine Park. 

19. Madagascar  If you are planning to travel to Madagascar, it is important to know that you can get a visa on arrival.  Travel Safe once mentioned, “Madagascar is, for the most part, a safe country to visit. However, it does have a rather high crime rate, though it’s mainly ridden with petty crime due to vast unemployment and poverty. Tourists are advised to remain vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of getting stolen from.” 

According to touropia.com, these are the top attractions in this country- Masoala National Park, Ranomafana National Park, Andasibe-Mantadia, Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, Avenue of the Baobabs, Ifaty, Nosy Be, Tsingy de Bemaraha, Isalo National Park, Ile Sainte Marie. 

20. Montserrat  It is a visa free country for Nigerian citizens who would like to travel. There is the presence of petty crimes, water activities could get risky in the country amidst other things that could play out. In all, ensure that your belongings are safe, you adhere to instructions given by local authorities, and take precautions as much as you can. 

Report has it that the tourist industry caters for one quarter of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Some subsistence activities also go on there. 

However, these are the top attractions you will find there, according to planetware.com– Soufrière Hills Volcano, Rendezvous Bay, Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Little Bay Beach, Scuba Diving, Montserrat Hiking Trails, Centre Hills, Woodlands Bay, Montserrat National Trust, Runaway Ghaut. 

21. Senegal  To gain entrance into Senegal you do not need a visa. According to travel safe abroad, “Senegal is not the safest country to visit. It has extremely high crime rates, of both violent and petty crime. You should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of something wrong happening.” 

The economy is driven by mining, construction, tourism, fisheries and agriculture.  It also depends on donor assistance, remittances, and foreign direct investment. Also, top attractions according to thecrazytourist.com are: Dakar, Saint-Louis, Ziguinchor, Popenguine, Touba, Joal-Fadiouth, Kafountine, Tambacounda, Kaolack, Kedougou, Mboro, Palmarin, Fatick, Thies, Richard Toll. 

22. Mauritania  Mauritania issues visa on arrival to Nigerians that arrive in the country. According to travel safe abroad, the country is not a safe place for tourists as there have been reports of increase in violent crimes, Westerners being kidnapped and killed. So, this is not exactly a safe place to travel to. Regardless, if you find yourself here, don’t let your guard down and ensure that you are alert at all times. 

The following are top attractions in Mauritania according to thecrazytourist.com: Chinguetti, Nouakchott, Atar, Terjit, Banc d’Arguin, Ouadâne, Tichit, Oualâta, Nouadhibou, Kiffa, Néma, Kaédi, Sélibaby, Zouérat, Diawling National Park 

23. Sierra Leone  You can arrive at Sierra Leone without applying for a visa. According to travel safe broad, it is reported to be the friendliest country in Africa. However, while it is said to be unsafe because of the increase in violent crimes and other things in between, in all you do, ensure that you take precaution measures. 

According to cia.gov, the country is really poor and is dependent on subsistence agriculture. It was also said that the growth of the economy is mainly dependent on mining iron ore. 

The following are top tourist attractions you’ll find in this place, according to thecrazytourist.com – Freetown, Bunce Island, Banana Island, Tiwai Island, Turtle Islands, Tokeh, Gola Forest Reserve, Bo Town, Outamba Kilimi National Park, Kenema, Makeni, Lungi, Kabala, Sherbro Island, Kambui Hills Forest Reserve. 

24. Mauritius  If you are a Nigerian hoping to travel to Mauritius, you’ll be issued a visa on arrival. Travel Safe Abroad says that it is not safe for tourists to visit because there are reports of kidnapping, execution of the victims, and the prevalence of violent crimes. According to lawaspect.com, the economy is based on five pillars which are sugar, tourism, textile, financial services and ICT.   

The top attractions in this country according to the crazytourist.com are: Grand Bassin, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens, Pointe d’Esny and Blue Bay, Black River Gorges National Park, Mahébourg, Isle aux Aigrettes (Egret Island), Blue Penny Museum, Grand Baie, Chamarel Waterfall and Seven Coloured Earth, Le Souffleur, Eureka, Casela Nature & Leisure Park, Tamarin Beach, François Leguat Reserve, Domaine de L’Étoile. 

25. Togo  Togo is a visa free country for Nigerians that are hoping to travel. Togo is a relatively safe country and you just need to be careful or exercise caution, just like you would in any other country you find yourself. The economy of Togo is primarily dependent on subsistence agriculture. According to crazytourist.com, these are top attractions you’ll find- Kpalime, Koutammakou, Lome, Togoville, Agbodrafo, Aneho, Fazao Malfakassa National Park, Keran National Park, Fosse aux Lions National Park, Sokode, Kara, Bassar, Mango, Atakpame, Tsevie. 

26. Somalia  Nigerians that would like to travel to Somalia can obtain a visa on arrival. It is said to NOT be a safe place to visit, and also reported that there is a terrorist threat to foreigners in places they intend to visit. The main economic activity in this country is livestock raising. The economy is also largely dependent on Agriculture, and it is divided into three subsectors namely; nomadic pastoralism, subsistence agriculture, and market-oriented farming. The top attractions according to thecrazytourist.com are-Hargeisa, Laas Geel, Zeila, Sa’ad ad-Din Island, Aibat Island, Berbera, Iskushuban, Lag Badana-Bushbush National Park, Mogadishu, Lamadaya, Bosaso, Xaafuun, Galkayo, Garoowe, Bardera. 

27. Mozambique  Mozambique is not a visa free country like a few others that have been mentioned earlier. You get your visa on arrival if you travel to the country. Like other countries that have been mentioned, this visa free country is a relatively safe country. If you ever find yourself here, be vigilant and stay safe. 

The economy is dominated by agriculture. And according to thecrazytourist.com, these are the top attractions you’ll find – Bazaruto Archipelago, Maputo, Pemba, Gorongosa National Park, Tofo, Quirimbas National Park, Island of Mozambique, Inhaca Island, Ponta do Ouro, Vilankulo, Lake Cahora Bassa, Niassa Reserve, Lugela, Limpopo National Park, Inhambane. 

28. Uganda  Before you enter Uganda, you need to obtain an e-visa first. Uganda is a safe place to travel to even though there are petty crimes, shortage of clean water, and the presence of diseases. The economy of this country depends on exports of agricultural products, and the major source of income is agriculture for its citizens.  

According to thecrazytourist.com, the following are the top attractions you’ll find in the visa free country- Kampala, Kibale National Park, Ssese Islands, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Entebbe, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mount Elgon National Park, Mbale, Lake Mburo National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Jinja, Fort Portal, Lira. 

29. Seychelles   You can travel to Seychelles and get your visa on arrival. It is quite safe to visit Seychelles. Although a few places to avoid are highlighted here. The economy of Seychelles  is based on fishing, tourism, and manufacturing of agricultural products.  

According to touropia.com, the top attractions you’ll find are – Beau Vallon, Anse Volbert, Curieuse Island, Tempio Hindu, Anse Georgette, Copolia Trail, Anse Coco Beach, Moyenne Island, Grand Anse, Morne Blanc Trail, Anse Intendance, Victoria Market (Sir Selwyn Clarke Market), Vallee De Mai, Anse Lazio, Anse Source D’Argent. 

30. Barbados Barbados visa is free for Nigerians that are hoping to visit the country. The country is said to be a safe place to be. However, to avoid getting into trouble you should read this. Also, the economy  of Barbados rides on tourism, the international business sector, and foreign direct investment.  

The following are the top attractions you will find in Barbados, according to planetware.com– The Beaches of Carlisle Bay, Downtown Bridgetown, Bathsheba Bay, Animal Flower Cave, St. Nicholas Abbey, Crane Beach, Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Friday Fish Fry at Oistins, Farley Hill National Park, St. Lawrence Gap, Hunte’s Gardens, Harrison’s cave, Welchman Hall Gully, Bottom Bay Beach, Richard Haynes Boardwalk, Andromeda Botanic Gardens, Sunbury Plantation Great House, Flower Forest, Folkestone Marine Park & Museum. 

31. Niue  You do not have to pay for visa before travelling to this country. According to Niue Pocket Guide the country is safe and there’s hardly a report of crimes. However, you need to still be informed on how to navigate and be safe in the country. The country is dependent on financial aid from New Zealand, its agricultural sector is made up of subsistence gardening, and an important source of revenue for the country is the sale of postage stamps to foreign collectors.   

According to a niuepocketguide.com, the following are top attractions that you’ll find- Limu Pools, Talava Arches, Matapa Chasm, Togo Chasm, Avaiki Cave, Whales, Hio Beach, Scenic Matavai Resort, Alofi, Washaway Café. 

32. Rwanda As a Nigerian citizen, it is required that you apply for an e-visa to enter the country. Rwanda is relatively safe, but this does not mean you should let your guard down. Be alert and do all you can to be safe. The economy is solely based on subsistence agriculture. Tourism is also not left out. Also, Rwanda is commonly described as a budding tech hub for Africa considering how there’s an increase of start-up companies. 

According to thecrazytourist.com, the following are the top attractions in Rwanda- Kigali, Huye, Volcanos National Park, Kibuye, Akagera National Park, Gisenyi, Nyanza, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Lake Kivu, Gisuma, Nyagatare, Ruhengeri, Lake Muhazi, Kibungo, Gishwati Forest National Park. 

33. Cameroon  Cameroon is a visa free country for Nigerian citizens. According to travel safe abroad, Cameroon is not a safe country considering how there is the prevalence of terrorism, diseases, natural hazards, and street crimes. It is tagged as the largest producer of cocoa beans in the world.  

According to thecrazytourist.com, these are top attractions that you will find in the country- Yaounde, Maroua, Limbe, Douala, Waza National Park, Bamenda, Foumban, Bafoussam, Kribi, Korup National Park, Dja Faunal Reserve, Mefou National Park, Dschang, Garoua, Campo Ma’an National Park. 

34. Cape Verde You do not require a visa before you can visit as a Nigerian. Cape Verde is said to be a safe country without any terrorist organisation. Regardless, you shouldn’t let your guard down as a traveller because there could be petty crimes and occurrences like theft. 

The economy according to globalsecurity.org, is service-oriented with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services accounting for about three-fourths of GDP. Tourism is the backbone of the economy. The following are top attractions according to thecrazytourist.com– Fogo, Sal, Palmeira, Santa Maria, Praia, Sal Rei, Mindelo, Ribeira Grande, Porto Novo, Ribeira Brava, Tarrafal, Maio, Morro, Vila Nova Sintra, Sao Filipe. 

35. Chad  The tourist visa is free for Nigerians who would love to visit. Here’s what travel safe abroad has to say, “Due to the high risk of violent crime, kidnapping, unrest, and terrorism, Chad isn’t widely considered to be a safe country. Chad is generally believed to be quite dangerous, especially for foreigners. If you decide to visit this country, you’re strongly advised to seek professional advice regarding security to make sure you’re as safe as possible.”    

The economy is primarily based on agriculture and it depends on three commodities namely—cotton, cattle, and gum arabic (a gum from different African trees, used as an emulsifier in pills and candies)—for its export revenues. 

Top attractions in this country according to thecrazytourist.com are- N’Djamena, Sarh, Faya-Largeau, Zakouma National Park, Am Timan, Bol, Ennedi, The Lakes of Ouianga, Tibesti Mountains, Moundou, Douguia, Abeche, Aouk National Park, Goz Beida. 

36. Cook Islands  Cook Islands does not require you to obtain a visa because it is a visa free country to Nigerians. The country is known for low crime rates, no doubt. But tourists or individuals within the country are advised advised to take good care of themselves and their belongings. 

According to Wikipedia, “the economy is based mainly on tourism, with minor exports made up of tropical and citrus fruit. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit-processing, clothing and handicrafts.” 

The top attractions according to planetware.com are: Aitutaki Lagoon, Tapuaetai (One Foot Island) Tour, Muri Beach in Rarotonga, Titikaveka Beach in Rarotonga, Te Vara Nui Village Tour & Cultural Show in  Rarotonga, Cross-Island Hike to Te Rua Manga (The Needle) in Rarotonga, Aroa Marine Reserve, Rarotonga, Maire Nui Gardens in Rarotonga, Avarua in Rarotonga, Mount Maungapu, Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre in Rarotonga, Arutanga, Aitutaki, Arorangi in Rarotonga.  

37. Zambia  You can apply for a Zambian e-Visa before you travel as a citizen of Nigeria. Travel safe abroad once said, “Zambia is, for the most part, a safe country to visit. However, it does have a rather high crime rate, though it’s mainly ridden with a petty street crime because the population is desperately poor. You should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of getting stolen from.” 

The economy of Zambia is dependent on mining, agriculture, fisheries and livestock, tourism, energy, Copper and cobalt which are among Zambia’s main exports. According to thecrazytourist.com, these are the top attractions in this country- Siavonga, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Kasanka National Park, Kitwe, Livingstone, Nsumbu National Park, Lusaka, South Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, Ndola, Blue Lagoon National Park, Chingola, Sioma Ngwezi National park, Solwezi. 

38. São Tome and Principe  You need to apply for an e-Visa before you travel to this country, as a Nigerian. It is reported that the country is a safe place for travellers to visit, and even walk around at any time of the day. Like it is in any regular place, there are crimes so you should keep safe. 

According to thecrazytourist.com, these are the top attractions you’ll find- Sao Tome, Obo National Park, Santo António, Santana, Monte Café, Rolas Island, Trindade, Boca de Inferno, Jale Beach, Porto Alegre, Principe Ecological Zone, Santo Amaro, Neves, Sao Joao dos Angolares, Neves Ferreira. 

39. Fiji  You are permitted to travel to Fiji without applying for a visa. Fiji is said to be a relatively safe place for travellers, but this should NOT be an excuse to not keep safe. You should be alert at all times while aiming at having a swell time in Fiji.  

The economy of Fiji relies big time on the agricultural sector. The visa free country also exports sugar cane, being its main cash crop. Other income sources are TOURISM and the exportation of clothes. 

According to planetware.com the following are the top attractions you’ll find in Fiji- Blue Lagoon Cruise, Cloudbreak in Mamanuca Islands, Bouma National Heritage Park, Denarau Island, Beqa Lagoon in Viti Levu, Pacific Harbour in Viti Levu, Navua River in Viti Levu, Garden of the Sleeping Giant and Sabeto Hot Springs in Viti Levu, Great Astrolabe Reef, Sawa-i-Lau Caves, Yasawa Islands, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, Viti Levu, Kula Wild Adventure Park, Viti Levu, Fiji Museum, Viti Levu, Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, Nadi. 

40. Iran  Visa on arrival is available for citizens of Nigeria. Iran has records of low crime rate, not to exempt the fact the southeast of the country has a dangerous side to it. 

According to tripadvisor.com these are the top things that could attract you in Iran- Golestan Palace, National Jewellery Treasury, Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Tabiat Bridge, Towers of silence. 

41. Kyrgyzstan  You need to apply for an e-Visa online before travelling. According to travel.gc.ca, amidst other things, the threat of terrorism in this location cannot be overlooked. And if you can avoid the area, you should, by all means due to the tendency for violent crimes and other things that could endanger you. The economy of the visa free country is dependent on the exportation of gold, agriculture and remittances from migrants.  

According to wildfrontierstravel.com, the following are the top attractions you will find in this place: Ala Archa Gorge, Arslanbob Village, Bishkek, Chon Kemin Valley, Jety-Oguz Canyon, Karakol, Khadjy Sai Village, Lake Issyk Kul, Mountains of Heaven, Naryn, Osh, Samsy Valley National Park, Son Kul Lake, Tamga, Tash Rabat. 

42. Maldives  If you are hoping to travel to Maldives, you would be given a visa on arrival to the country. Terrorism is quite rampant here. Therefore it is important to bring a high level of caution to play. For the most part, according to World Bank blog, the citizens are dependent on tourism and fisheries as their source of income.  

The following are the top attractions found in the country according to thecrazytourist.com: Hulhumale Island, Maafushi, Utheemu, Feydhoo, Maradhoo, Veligandu Island, Banana Reef, Thulusdhoo Island, Fuvahmulah, Alimatha Island, Hithadhoo, Kuredu, Gan, Kunfunadhoo Island. 

43. Vanuatu  This country is a visa free country if you are an intending traveller. Travel safe abroad explains that it is safe for tourists, but it’s important to keep safe and be wise when choosing your accommodation. The economy of Vanuatu is solely dependent on agriculture, especially subsistence farming. Tourism also caters for 40% of the economy.  

According to tourrom.com, the following are the top attractions you’ll find: Mt. Yasur Volcano, Port Villa, Luganville, Mt. Benbow and Mt. Marum, Malekula, Oyster Island, Champagne Beach, Tanna, Epi,Pentecost, Millennium Cave, National Museum of Vanuatu, Mele Cascades, Port Olry, Port Resolution, Hideaway Island, Efate, Erakor Island, Loru Conservation Area, Ekasup Cultural Village. 

44. Timor-Leste or East Timor  Visa on arrival is available for Nigerians on arrival. Like other countries that have been mentioned, East Timor is a relatively safe country. If you visit the country, you might not have any bad experience, BUT you must take precautions  and tread carefully in order to avoid unpleasant experiences.  

The country is mainly dependent on oil. However, the agricultural sector is employing over 50% of the population. And to ensure food security and reduce imports, it has given itself to improving production from agriculture and fishing. The country also sees culture and heritage tourism as critical to its economy’s development.  

The following are the top attractions in the country according to thecrazytourist.com: Dili, Atauro Island, Baucau, Suai, Lautem, Maubisse, Lake Ira Lalaro, Mt. Matebian, Jaco Island, Same, Betano, Mt. Ramelau, Marobo, Nino Konis National Park. 

45. Antigua and Barbuda  You will need to apply for an e-Visa to gain access to this country. Antigua and Barbuda is relatively safe. Although, this doesn’t imply that you should not a high degree of caution in order to keep safe. The main source of income is TOURISM.  

In Antigua and Barbuda, the top attractions according to thecrazytourist.com are: Nelson’s Dockyard, The stingrays at Stingray City, Shirley Heights Lookout, An historic plantation, The seas in a charter yacht, Devil’s Bridge, Rendezvous Bay, Sunset meal and drink at Bumpkins, The Carib sands on 17-mile Beach, The wildlife of the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, Valley Church Beach, The Zemi Art Gallery, The coastline at Fort Barrington, Redcliffe Quay, The Pillars of Hercules. 

46. Saint Kitts and Nevis  You do NOT need to apply for a visa to travel, the tourist visa is free for Nigerians. It’s quite safe to be in this country. However, you should be careful around animals in this place. According to Wikipedia, the main industries in this visa free country are tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages, light manufacturing, component assembly for export.  

According to thecrazytourist.com the following are the top attractions: The fortress on Brimstone Hill, The top of Mount Liamuiga, Oualie Beach, The Black Rocks, St. Kitts Scenic Railway, Arts and crafts galore at Romney Manor, The history at Old Road, Basseterre, Frigate Bay, The Fairview Great House, The Wingfield-Phillips Rain Forest Nature Trail, Pinney’s Beach, Cockleshell Bay, Cigars and Carib dining at Bananas. 

47. Suriname  You need to apply for an e-Visa before you travel. This country is relatively safe. If at all you’d like to travel to this place, you should take precautions  because of violent crime rates and other factors. The economy of Suriname depends on mineral resources like gold and mainly oil. It also generates income from agriculture and remittances.  

According to thecrazytourist.com, these are the top attractions: Paramaribo, Galibi Coppename Nature Reserve, Central Suriname Nature Reserve, Nieuw Nickerie, Commewijne River, Brownsberg Nature Park, Joden Savanne, Arya Dewaker, Suriname Mosque and Neveh Shalom Synagogue, St Peter and St Paul Cathedral, Onafhankelijkheidsplein, Central Market, , Mariënburg, Presidential Palace of Suriname and the Garden of Palms. 

48. Tuvalu  You can get a visa on arrival when you get to the country. Tuvalu is a relatively safe country as the crime rate is low. However, beyond the crimes, it is important to adhere to the rules in order to ensure your safety. This visa free country derives its income from traditional agriculture and fishing.  

The following are the top attractions according to tourrom.com: Funafuti, Fongafale, Vaiaku Stadium,  Funafuti Women’s Craft Center, Funafuti Marine Conservation Area, Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau, Nanumea, Vaitupu, Nui, Vaiaku, Fale Fatu, Niulakita, Nanumanga, Niutao, Tepuka, Tepuka Vili vili, Savave, Lakena, Amatuku. 

 Above all, follow the rules and don’t act on impulse. Be well informed about the country you are travelling to before you take a step. Remember, it’s a foreign country, and you are not TOO familiar with how things run over there.    https://tribuneonlineng.com/48...

Nigerian hospital cautions against ‘outbreak of Marburg disease’ - PREMIUM TIMES

AUGUST 14, 2022

In a leaked internal memo on Friday, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, notified the hospital community of the outbreak of the virus, and called for caution.

By Mariam Ileyemi


Almost a month after the World Health Organisation confirmed an outbreak of Marburg virus in neighbouring Ghana, a Nigerian hospital has notified the hospital community ‘of an outbreak’ of the virus.

Marburg is a highly infectious disease that is said to be in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola.

In a leaked internal memo on Friday, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, notified the hospital community of the outbreak of the virus and called for caution.

The memo, which was signed by the Deputy Director in charge of the hospital’s information unit, Sani Suleiman, was addressed to the staff and heads of various departments in the health facility.

Mr Suleiman confirmed the authenticity of the memo in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday but said there was no cause for alarm.

The memo, which was titled; “Outbreak of Marburg Disease and COVID-19 Infections,” reads in part; “The Management of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital wishes to notify the entire hospital community of an outbreak of Marbug (sic) disease and upsurge in COVID-19 infection.

“Consequently, the attention of all Head of Departments and members of staff is hereby drawn to ensure adequate surveillance and hygiene by observing all protocols of prevention.”

The memo also warned of increasing cases of coronavirus infections and advised the workers against letting down the guards.

It added; “More details will be sent on our various social media platforms on the outbreak in due course…”

Hospital clarifies memo

Speaking with our reporter on Sunday, Mr Suleiman advised Nigerians not to panic, insisting that the cases are still being investigated.

The spokesman said the memo was a cautionary one addressed to the hospital’s workers and not for public consumption.

He urged the media to report responsibly to avert unnecessary panic by Nigerians.

“This is supposed to be an internal memo meant only for the management and staff but released to the public. It was simply meant to caution the workers against abandoning the protocols.

“I wrote that memo from one committee’s report to sensitise the people in the hospital but I think by Monday, we will probably take measures to explain further for people to understand. So it is not like there is an outbreak in Nigeria or in the FCT.”

Marburg Outbreak

In July, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) confirmed the first two cases of the Marburg virus disease.

The development came after a preliminary finding of the cases from the Ashanti Region earlier in July by the country’s Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

The results were reportedly sent to the Institut Pasteur in Dakar (IPD), Senegal, with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) where they were confirmed to be the Marburg virus.

“The two patients from the southern Ashanti region – both deceased and unrelated – showed symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting. They had been taken to a district hospital in Ashanti region,” the WHO had disclosed in the preliminary report.

The GHS head, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said 98 people identified as contact cases were then placed under quarantine, adding that “this is the first time Ghana has confirmed Marburg virus disease.”

Confirming the development, the WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said health authorities responded swiftly, “getting a headstart preparing for a possible outbreak.”

Nigeria’s guidelines

Though the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is yet to react to the latest development, it earlier in July issued guidelines aimed at guiding the public on preventive measures.

NCDC said it was on a high alert following the Ghanaian experience.

The NCDC director-general, Ifedayo Adetifa, said in the statement that no case of Marburg virus has been reported in Nigeria but that several measures were being put in place to prevent its outbreak

The outbreak in Ghana was the second time the virus would be detected in West Africa, after the 2021 experience in Guinea.

Mr Adetifa said following the proximity of Ghana to Nigeria as well as the WHO alert, the NCDC-led multisectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Working Group (EVHDWG) has conducted a rapid risk assessment to guide in-country preparedness activities.

The NCDC boss also noted that Nigeria has the capacity to test for the virus presently at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital Laboratory Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology.

“Diagnostic capacity can be scaled up to other laboratories if required. Nigeria has the resources (human, technical and laboratory) for prompt identification and management in the event of a single imported case,” he added.

Mr Adetifa assured that the risk of importation may be further reduced as the current situation in Ghana is under control and active case finding is ongoing while there is heightened surveillance in Togo and Benin.

He also disclosed that “many of the contacts under follow-up in Ghana will soon exit the 21-day quarantine period and so far, there have been no secondary cases reported.”

Preventive measures

To prevent the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria, the NCDC highlighted measures that Nigerians should adhere to.

It urged Nigerians to avoid non-essential travel to locations where the outbreak is reported, and avoid direct contact with blood, saliva, vomit, urine, and other bodily fluids of people suspected or confirmed to have the virus.

Other measures announced by the NCDC include:

“Ensure all persons with the symptoms described above are promptly taken to healthcare facilities for diagnosis and initiation of supportive treatment.

“In suspected and/or confirmed MVD cases, direct physical contact should be avoided by ensuring strict isolation, the use of protective gowns, masks, gloves and safe disposal of needles, bedding, and other contaminated materials.

“Strict practice of infection prevention control in the healthcare setting for all suspected patients.”

About Marburg Virus Disease (MVD)

The Marburg virus causes a rare, highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever and is in the same family as Ebola, both members of the Filoviridae family (filovirus).

Marburg is transmitted to people from fruit bats as a result of prolonged exposure to mines and caves that have Rousettus bat colonies. It is not an airborne disease.

The virus spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids.

NCDC said; “The initial symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of high fever, chills, headache, body aches which may be accompanied by a rash, most prominent on the chest, back and stomach, nausea/vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain by the fifth day of illness.

“Increase in severity of the illness can be heralded by the appearance of severe watery diarrhoea, jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas, severe weight loss, bleeding from multiple areas, delirium, shock, liver failure, massive haemorrhaging, and multi-organ dysfunction and/or failure.

“In fatal cases, death occurs often between 8 and 9 days after symptom onset. The case fatality rate for MVD is estimated to be 24 to 88 per cent.”

It added that the Marburg virus is known to persist in the body – placenta, amniotic fluid, the fetus of infected pregnant women, breast milk of women who were infected while breastfeeding and semen – of persons who have recovered from MVD.

Foreign Carriers’ Trapped Funds In Nigeria Increase From $450m To $600m, May Rise To $1bn By December - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

AUGUST 14, 2022

As Nigeria becomes most indebted to foreign airlines globally

By SHOLA ADEKOLA, Lagos

The ongoing controversy raging over the foreign airlines’ trapped funds in Nigeria may soon explode on the face of the federal government as the trapped funds have now increased from $450 million to a whopping $600million.

Nigerian Tribune reports that as at March 2022, the trapped funds was $285 million.

Information reaching the Nigerian Tribune has indicated that the debts which rose to $450 million as at June has again skyrocketed to $600 million with the believe that the amount can further increase to almost $1billion by the end of the year if the federal government fails to intervene.

The amount which consists of the accumulated funds generated by the over 27 foreign carriers operating into Nigeria through the air transport services rendered to the Nigerian traveling public, but got trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) due to forex scarcity, has continued to generate backlash both from within and outside Nigeria.

According to information gathered by the Nigerian Tribune at the weekend, the latest $600 million trapped funds represents nearly half of the whole $1.620 billion owed the foreign carriers globally showing Nigeria as the biggest indebted to the foreign airlines.

Prior to now, several efforts made by the foreign airlines to get the trapped funds repatriated back to their home countries failed to yield any positive response from the government and the CBN.

The peak of the controversy which took a center stage at the recent Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Doha, United Arab Emirates (UAE) had the director general of the global clearing house for over 300 airlines across the globe, Willie Walsh expressing his displeasure at the the trapped funds in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

The latest information that the trapped funds has increased to $600 million has however elicited reactions from stakeholders across the sector with many warning that if the trapped funds continue to pile up that is may pitch the federal government against the home countries of the foreign airlines.

Though some have argued that the circumstances surrounding the trapped funds is beyond the government in view of the global scarcity of forex, others have accused the government of failing to comply with the international trade agreements existing in the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) policy between Nigeria and the countries of the foreign airlines which agreed that such funds should be allowed to be repatriated to the countries of the airlines that generate such funds.

While some key players have claimed that the continuous trapping of the said funds in Nigeria may boomerang, Director at Zenith Travels and a member of Aviation Round Table, Mr Olumide Ohunayo in his reaction said a great consequence awaits the country as the funds continue to increase.

His words: “As at June, 2022, it was $450 million, that amount has moved to $600million that Nigeria is owing foreign airlines that they could not repatriate which is their statutory responsibility based on the bilateral agreement.

“The whole world is now owing the foreign airlines $1.620billion, but out of this, Nigeria alone is owing $600 million. The amount is increasing. It was $285million as at March but increased to $450 million in June and has now moved to $600 million and the consequences are there for us to live with. Some of the airlines are no longer selling their cheap fares in Nigeria and now they have stopped selling their tickets in Naira. So these are some of the effects.”

Speaking in the same vein, president of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs Suzan Akporiaye concurred with the notion that failure of government to urgently address the crisis may have its negative effect on the generality of the Nigerian traveling public and the travel agencies.

Responding to the likely effects of holding on to the trapped funds of the international airlines, Akporiaye declared: “As regards the increase of foreign airlines trapped funds, as long as we keep selling, the amount will keep increasing there is no doubt about that. Definitely it’s a situation that will explode on our face if nothing drastic is done very soon. And once it gets to that stage nobody can blame the foreign carriers anymore.

“So the amount will keep going up as long as we keep on issuing tickets and that’s why there has been restrictions that have been placed by the foreign carriers, all forms of restrictions just to make sure the cost does not rise above something that they can afford. For instance, we cannot issue ticket that does not originate in Nigeria in Naira again, you have to go to the airline website and use your dollar card and issue it. What do I mean by ticket that does not originate from Nigeria, like somebody is coming from London into Nigeria and back to London, such ticket has been restricted for sale, the only way such ticket can be sold is that such ticket has to be sold from the UK market or through the website of the airline. So those are the things the airlines have put in place to make sure this does not rise above what they can manage.”

Lamenting how the actions taken by the airlines to cushion the effects of the trapped funds have affected the business of travel agents in the country, Akporiaye said: “Of course with all these airlines’ restrictions, our are members are not just feeling the heat, but we are being cooked in heat, the heat is becoming unbearable, we have been feeling the heat long before now, right now the heat that the travel agencies in Nigeria are feeling as a result of these blocked funds of the foreign airlines has become unbearable.

“Just as the foreign carriers have put some restrictions, we as travel agents, have also made some adjustments in our operations just to survive this process. So I use this opportunity again to call on the government that they should please remember the crisis that came up as a result of the COVID, my members are still trying to manage those crisis, we are still trying to manage the debts that my members incurred through that period, we are trying to pay.

“So all that going on and we are having this crisis again, the way I feel about this is that government has to put on its priority list the funds of the airlines, it cannot be in a non priority list, I believe the reason why it’s like this and it’s been piling up is because it has not been on the government’s priority list.”

Corroborating the positions of many stakeholders, another well respected travel expert who said he was not authorized to speak on the issue had declared: “The amount of trapped foreign airlines’ funds is in excess of $600 million. Unfortunately, repatriation of this huge amount is not the priority of the finance minister nor that of the CBN Governor, politics is on their minds. It is therefore up to the airlines to take whatever measures to reduce their risk and exposure in this market or lose a substantial part of the funds as a result of erosion of value.

“They will reduce flights, they will issue tickets only point to point and travelers will only have to purchase tickets for onward destinations when they arrive at the airlines hubs or make arrangements to purchase tickets in dollars or euros.”

When Nigerian Tribune contacted the head of Corporate Department in CBN, he only said the foreign airlines’ funds was not trapped at the apex bank in the country just as he hung up his phone abruptly. https://tribuneonlineng.com/fo...

Passengers ran through security without being screened at Las Vegas airport after a 'loud noise' caused chaos that led to delays and cancellations - BUSINESS INSIDER

AUGUST 15, 2022

  • Passengers ran through security without being screened at Las Vegas airport after hearing a loud noise.

  • This caused delays and cancellations on Sunday as concourses had to be cleared and passengers re-screened.

  • Police said reports of a shooting were "unfounded," blaming the noise on an "unruly subject."

Passengers ran through security without being screened at Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport on Sunday morning after hearing a "loud noise," causing chaos including flight delays.

Social media posts suggested that panic began when passengers and staff heard what they thought was a gunshot. Las Vegas police said that reports of a shooting in terminal one of the airport were "unfounded."

"The noise is believed to have been caused by an unruly subject," the police department said in a statement posted to Twitter.

"That person is currently in custody," it added. The person's status as of Monday morning is unknown.

The noise "caused a panic among travelers, subsequently creating a security incident when some people rushed through security checkpoints," the airport said.

"As a result, passengers from multiple concourses needed to return to checkpoints to be re-screened before boarding aircraft."

One person shared a video to Twitter of people shouting and running through security, including what appeared to be staff in Transportation Security Administration uniforms.

In another video, a passenger at the airport said: "No one knows what's happening ... Everyone's just running, we have no idea why."

The passenger, who was only wearing one shoe, said that people had pushed down the gates at security.

Another passenger said that he heard someone scream "gun" and hid in a stairwell with other passengers until they got the all-clear from security.

"People rushed the TSA checkpoint knocking things over and trampling other folks," he tweeted. "I've heard of injuries like a broken foot."

Soon after the incident, the airport said that delays would likely continue throughout Sunday as concourses were cleared and passengers were screened.

It also warned that cancellations were possible. Photos and videos posted on social media showed huge lines at the airport, including one line so long that people had to queue outside the terminal building.

Around 30% of flights to and from the airport were delayed on Sunday while 32 flights, or around 3%, were canceled, according to data from flight-tracking site FlightAware.

 The incident at Las Vegas Airport comes amid a summer already beset by travel chaos.

Passenger numbers are almost back to prepandemic levels, but airports and airlines don't have as many workers because of layoffs, strikes, and resignations. This has led to flight delays, cancellationslong lines at security, and lost luggage.

Almost 4.7 million passengers traveled through Las Vegas Airport in June, which the airport said was its "busiest month ever."

Emirates Invests over $2bn to Create New in-flight Experience - THISDAY

AUGUST 15, 2022

Emirates has announced that it is investing over$ 2 billion to enhance its inflight customer experience, including a massive programme to retrofit over 120 aircraft with the latest interiors, plus an array of other service improvements across all cabins starting in 2022.

President Emirates Airline, Sir Tim Clark said, “While others respond to industry pressures with cost cuts, Emirates is flying against the grain and investing to deliver ever better experiences to our customers. Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with the assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground. Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level.”

 “The Champagne and Caviar Experience is also being elevated. Emirates’ First Class experience, always a benchmark for service excellence, has been upped a notch in 2022. Customers can now savour unlimited portions of Persian caviar as part of the ‘dine on demand’ service, with an exquisite pairing of the world-renowned Dom Perignon vintage champagne. Emirates is the only airline with an exclusive agreement to offer the luxury brand on-board.

“Cinema in the Sky will soar to new heights. First Class customers can create a memorable movie moment on-board by ordering cinema snacks as they enjoy the 5,000 channels on Emirates’ ice inflight entertainment system. All passengers can also curate their own ice experience before their flight, simply by browsing and pre-selecting movies or TV shows on the Emirates app, which can then be synced to ice the moment they board, maximising the seamless travel experience,” the airline said.

“Emirates’ customers departing on flights from Dubai can begin crunching on fresh greens harvested from Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm and newly-opened $40 million joint venture investment through Emirates Flight Catering. Emirates is continuing to invest in sustainable operations and supply chains, seeking local food suppliers and farms wherever possible to serve the freshest produce on board.”

Additionally, Emirates said it has partnered with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, one of the world’s top hospitality management schools, to craft the Emirates Hospitality strategy and encourage inspiring customer experiences.

Heathrow extends flight restrictions until end of October - SKY NEWS

AUGUST 15, 2022

Previously the cap on passengers travelling through the airport - set at 100,000 - was due to end on September 11th.

The airport said on Monday that without a cap, it will not be able to safely and reliably handle its flight schedule.

Airline travellers across the UK have faced months of chaos, with disrupted and axed flights, paired with long waits at check-in, security and baggage collection.

The main reason for the problems has been a struggle to recruit new staff.

Heathrow claims that since the limits were introduced in July, there have been fewer last-minute cancellations, more punctual flights and shorter wait times for bags.

But airlines blame the airport - one of the busiest in the world - for failing to prepare for a bounce back in passenger traffic following the pandemic.

Some airlines could see the cap sooner than October, Heathrow said in a statement, if "improved resource levels are evident and the airport continues to see sustained operational improvements."

But it pointed to the lack of ground handling crews as a key problem in resuming normal services.

Issues with these staff remain "a core constraint on capacity at the airport."

"Our primary concern is ensuring we give our passengers a reliable service when they travel," said Heathrow Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker.

"That's why we introduced temporary capacity limits in July which have already improved journeys during the summer getaway."

"We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone operating at the airport has the resources to deliver the service our passengers deserve," he added.

Last week, Heathrow's chief executive said that the airport was beginning to recover from the travel chaos of recent months.

Thousands of jobs were lost in the aviation industry during the pandemic, when travel restrictions saw most flights grounded - and now there is a race to recruit new workers to accommodate the resurgence of holidaymakers.

Training those staff up and getting them the necessary security clearance has also been a lengthy process, airport bosses have said.

Heathrow has been among the worst-affected.

In an update on Thursday, chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: "Passengers are seeing better, more reliable journeys since the introduction of the demand cap.

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