Nigerians face airfare hikes, foreign airports impose N950bn charges - PUNCH
BY Oyetunji Abioye
Airfare hikes by international airlines operating flights into Nigeria and other countries may be imminent as airport and air navigation services providers in the United Kingdom, South Africa, European Union, Ethiopia and United States have concluded plans to increase their charges by at least $2.3bn (N950bn).
As a result – the International Air Transport Association – the global body representing over 290 international carriers, has warned that the planned increases in charges by airports and air navigation service providers will stall post the COVID-19 recovery in air travel and damage international connectivity.
According to IATA, confirmed airport and ANSP charges increases have already reached $2.3bn (N950bn).
It said further increases could be 10 fold this number if proposals already tabled by airports and ANSPs were granted.
Speaking at the 77thn Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Boston on Tuesday, the Director-General, IATA, Willie Walsh, said it was wrong for airports and air navigation services providers to increase their charges at a time the industry was seeking to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Walsh said, “A $2.3bn charges increase during this crisis is outrageous. We all want to put COVID-19 behind us. But placing the financial burden of a crisis of apocalyptic proportions on the backs of your customers, just because you can, is a commercial strategy that only a monopoly could dream up.
“At an absolute minimum, cost reduction – not charges increases – must be top of the agenda for every airport and ANSP. It is for their customer airlines.”
According to the IATA DG, a case in point is found among European air navigation service providers.
Walsh added, “Collectively, the ANSPs of the 29 Eurocontrol states, the majority of which are state owned, are looking to recoup almost $9.3bn (N3.84tn or €8bn) from airlines to cover revenues not realised in 2020/2021.
“They want to do this to recover the revenue and profits they missed when airlines were unable to fly during the pandemic. Moreover, they want to do this in addition to a 40 per cent increase planned for 2022 alone.”
Other examples, according to him, include: Heathrow Airport pushing to increase charges by over 90 per cent in 2022; Amsterdam Schiphol Airport requesting to increase charges by over 40 per cent over the next three years; Airports Company South Africa asking to increase charges by 38 per cent in 2022; NavCanada increasing charges by 30 per cent over five years; and Ethiopian ANSP raising charges by 35 per cent in 2021.
Consequently, the IATA boss warned of the danger of the planned increases in airport and air navigation charges by the airlines.
Although Walsh did not categorically disclose whether airlines will increase, experts believe carriers will push the costs to travelers.
Heathrow passengers report delays of up to four hours as e-gates fail - INDEPENDENT UK
Some travellers at Terminal 5 posted images of long queues on social media on Wednesday morning, while others were being held on planes due to the congestion.
George Zarkadakis, an artificial intelligence engineer, wrote on Twitter: “System for scanning passports is down (again). Expected time of waiting for arriving passengers: 2-4 hours.
“I think I’ll stay home next time… and stick to Zoom calls.”
Another passenger, Thomas de Lucy, tweeted: “Not only are we waiting for two hours at passport control but Heathrow staff are all incredibly rude, shouting at people and ignoring others.“Maybe a supervisor should be on hand to control staff behaviour.”
It is less than a fortnight since a widespread e-gate failure caused delays at airports across the UK.
E-gates – managed by Border Force – allow travellers with biometric passports to pass through border control without a manual inspection.
Heathrow wrote on Twitter: “We’re aware of an issue impacting the e-gates, which are staffed and operated by Border Force.
“We apologise for the impact this is having on your journey.
“Our teams are working closely with Border Force to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
Slow vaccination, restrictions to cost Nigerian airlines, others $1.9 billion revenue loss - THE GUARDIAN
World airlines lose $201b in two years, amid new projections
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), yesterday, bemoaned the slow pace of vaccination and travel restrictions in Nigeria and other African countries, describing it as a setback for expected recovery.
The body, at the ongoing yearly general meeting in Boston, United States, said the bottlenecks would cumulatively cost African carriers a $1.9 billion loss in 2021 and $1.5 billion in 2022.
It noted that the situation is not peculiar to the African continent, but in-country constraints, high taxes and charges would further dampen demands all through 2022.
IATA, the clearinghouse for 290 global airlines, also announced its latest outlook for airline industry financial performance showing improved results amid the continuing COVID-19 crisis.
New estimates showed that net industry losses are expected to reduce to $11.6 billion in 2022 after a $51.8 billion loss in 2021, worsened from the $47.7 billion loss estimated in April.
Net 2020 loss estimates have been revised to $137.7 billion (from $126.4 billion). Adding these up, total industry losses in 2020-2022 are expected to reach $201 billion.
Demand is expected to stand at 40 per cent of 2019 levels for 2021, rising to 61 per cent in 2022. Total passenger numbers are expected to reach 2.3 billion in 2021. This will grow to 3.4 billion in 2022, which is similar to 2014 levels and significantly below the 4.5 billion travellers of 2019.
However, robust demand for air cargo is expected to continue with 2021 demand at 7.9 per cent above 2019 levels, growing to 13.2 per cent above 2019 levels for 2022.
According to IATA, African carriers will see a very slow pace of recovery in financial performance from a $1.9 billion loss in 2021 to a $1.5 billion loss in 2022.
Low vaccination rates across the continent are expected to severely dampen demand throughout 2022. The slight improvement is built on the expectation of some recovery in intra-Africa travel and travel to some tourist destinations with relatively higher vaccination rates.
IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, said the magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis for airlines is enormous. “Over the 2020-2022 periods total losses could top $200 billion. To survive, airlines have dramatically cut costs and adapted their business to whatever opportunities were available.
“That will see the $137.7 billion loss of 2020 reduce to $52 billion this year. And that will further reduce to $12 billion in 2022. We are well past the deepest point of the crisis. While serious issues remain, the path to recovery is coming into view. Aviation is demonstrating its resilience yet again,” Walsh said.
The air cargo business is performing well, and domestic travel will be near pre-crisis levels in 2022. The challenge is international markets, which remain severely depressed as government-imposed restrictions continue.
“People have not lost their desire to travel as we see in solid domestic market resilience. But they are being held back from international travel by restrictions, uncertainty and complexity. More governments are seeing vaccinations as a way out of this crisis. We fully agree that vaccinated people should not have their freedom of movement limited in any way. In fact, the freedom to travel is a good incentive for more people to be vaccinated. Governments must work together and do everything in their power to ensure that vaccines are available to anybody who wants them,” said Walsh.
IATA advised that in re-establishing global connectivity, the 11.3 million jobs (pre-COVID-19) in the aviation industry, and the $3.5 trillion of GDP associated with travel and tourism should be priorities for governments.
“Aviation is resilient and resourceful, but the scale of this crisis needs solutions that only governments can provide. Financial support was a lifeline for many airlines during the crisis. Much of that—approximately $110 billion— is in the form of support that needs to be paid back. Combined with commercial borrowing the industry is now highly leveraged.
“We don’t want handouts, but wage support measures to retain critical skills may be necessary for some airlines until governments enable international travel at scale. And regulatory alleviations—like continued slot wavers while international traffic recovers—will be needed well into 2022,” Walsh said.
Travellers Defy UAE/Nigeria Flight Regulations on COVID-19 Protocols, Travel to Dubai Through Neigbouring Countries - THISDAY
BY Chinedu Eze
Many Nigerian air travellers have taken advantage of the diplomatic impasse between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Nigeria over COVID-19 protocols, as they now defy flight regulations emanating from both countries, THISDAY investigation has revealed.
THISDAY observed that many Nigerian air travellers now travel to UAE’s popular destination, Dubai through the airports in Accra, Ghana, Lome, Togo and Cotonou in Benin Republic.
The Nigerian travellers go through tortuous broken roads through Badagry to aforementioned cities where they then board Emirates Airlines flights to Dubai.
Besides those that fly to Emirates, THISDAY also learnt that there are Nigerians who travel to other destinations that Nigeria has stringent COVID-19 protocols, including South Africa.
Earlier in the year, UAE had directed that Nigerians travelling to Dubai must undergo Rapid Antigen Tests (RTD) 24 hours before boarding their flights and UAE said that no other airline emanating flights from Nigeria should take Nigerian passengers to Dubai.
The obviously discriminatory policy was opposed by the federal government, which insisted that Emirates must abide by the Nigerian government’s protocol, which is that passengers must under go PCR (polymerase chain reaction) 72 hours before their flight.
THISDAY investigation revealed that everyday, hundreds of Nigerians travel through Accra, Cotonou and Lome and most of them board Emirates flights.
This was confirmed by the Director, Research, Zenith Travels Limited and the Assistant Secretary General, Aviation Round Table (ART), Olu Ohunayo, who told THISDAY that Nigerians travelling to those countries are those going to Dubai.
This, he stated, is because Emirates has not started their operation in Nigeria.
He explained that Nigerians travel through those routes to go, “and do things that are important in their lives, including business, education and health.”
“What they have done now is how to circumvent COVID-19 protocols and directives of Emirates concerning the Lagos and Abuja routes. That’s why when they get into these countries they are having their passport entries stamped and backdated for them to get to Dubai to get whatever they want. I don’t think that there are people who are going for shopping among those that travel now; it is people who are travelling for things that affect their lives, such as business, health and education. You cannot stop people doing things that will improve their lives. That is why you see them paying the extra cost of travelling through the neighboring countries,” he said.
Ohunayo noted that some of those who travel that way include those who have Emirates tickets with them who know how difficult it is to get their money back from the airline and they cannot afford to buy new tickets so they are forced to use the tickets by re-routing the tickets through Cotonou, Accra or Lome.
He said that the travellers incur less expenses because airfare from Lagos is the highest in West Africa so even when they pay for re-routing the don’t spend much “because the fare in Lagos is higher than the fairs in the neighborhood, the owner of the tickets have nothing to lose. They travel by road to the city and pay for the protocols and immigration but the re-routing cost is insignificant because the cost of ticket in Lagos is higher than that of other routes.”
Explaining why Emirates flights were banned from Nigeria, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said recently that the federal government has no issue with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), rather against the preferential treatment of adopting double standards in the enforcement of its COVID-19 protocols for visitors, saying the government just decided to prevent Nigerians from travelling straight from the country to Dubai and other cities.
The Minister said the COVID-19 protocols set for Nigeria was not the same as what UAE announced for other nations despite the achievements Nigeria recorded in the fight against the virus.
According to him, investigations revealed that the protocols set for the country were different from the West African nations and this is the reason many Nigerians now travel through the country’s neighbours, Benin Republic and Ghana airports.
“Nigeria has no issue with Emirates, rather against the preferential treatment that UAE government gave to other countries aside from Nigeria. The UAE government allowed other countries, including Benin Republic and Ghana citizens to travel directly from their country to the commercial capital, Dubai, as against Nigerians,” he said.
However, the Managing Director of FinchglowTravels and former President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bankole Bernard, recently called on the federal government to loosen the COVID-19 protocols to enable more people to travel.
Speaking in line with the International Air Travel Association (IATA), Bernard said, “Nigeria should review its COVID-19 protocol. But when you close some routes that mean we (travel agents) are going to lose out on inventory. Some other people will capitalise on it. Government has discouraged Nigerians from enjoying their little summer. Because after you worked, you have saved up for your summer, you should be able to go. I don’t think it is fair; we have already broken the protocols in place, if you don’t have your negative COVID-19 tests. If you don’t pay for another COVID-19 test, you cannot come into the country. So before you even board the flight, all that has been done and uploaded. So I see no reason why they will think that it is going to come from outside again.”
UK: Vaccinated Nigerians can now Enter England without Pre-departure Testing, Self-isolation - NAN
The UK Government has changed its travel rules, now allowing fully vaccinated travellers from Nigeria to enter into England without providing a pre-departure test and isolating from October 11.
The UK government disclosed this in a statement made available by its High Commission in Abuja to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
The High Commission however noted that travellers who are not fully vaccinated must still adhere to the UK government’s COVID-19 guidelines of pre-departure testing and isolation on arrival.
“From Monday, 11 October 2021, fully vaccinated travellers from Nigeria will be able to come to England without needing to provide a pre-departure test, undertake a day 8 test or self-isolate for 10 days.
“Although will still need to book and pay for a day 2 test.
“This policy applies to those fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca (including Covid shield), Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson).
“Fully vaccinated means that you have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England,” the High Commission stated.
Acting British High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, stated that the exemption of fully-vaccinated Nigerians travelling to the UK from providing a pre-departure test and self-isolating for 10 days is a very welcome development.
She noted that to make this happen, we have been working closely with Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency on recognising Nigeria’s vaccine certification, which we have now done.
Llewellyn-Jones expressed the UK’s commitments to opening up international travel and enabling those who wish to enter the UK, to do so safely.
“Vaccines work and – as the pandemic has shown – no one is safe until we are all safe. I would encourage all eligible people to get vaccinated,” Llewellyn-Jones stated.
The UK government however explained that the day a traveller receives the final dose of vaccine does not count as one of the 14 days.
According to the UK government, travellers must be able to prove that they have been fully vaccinated under a vaccination programme and have a valid proof of vaccination recognised by the British Government.
“For Nigeria, the certificates with valid QR codes as issued by Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency are recognised.
“If you are not a fully vaccinated traveller from Nigeria to England, you must: Take a pre-departure COVID-19 test – to be taken in the 3 days before travel.
“Book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests – to be taken after arrival.
“Complete a passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before arrival.
“After you arrive, you must: quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days.
“Take a pre-booked COVID-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight,” the High Commission added. (NAN)
Air travellers express frustration over restrictions - THE GUARDIAN
By Wole Oyebade
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that air travellers are increasingly frustrated with the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
A new survey commissioned by IATA, involving 4,700 respondents across 11 markets in September, demonstrated confidence that the risks of COVID-19 could be effectively managed and that the freedom to travel should be restored.
A total of 67 per cent of respondents felt that most country borders should be opened now, up by 12 percentage points from the June 2021 survey.
About 64 per cent of respondents felt that border closures are unnecessary and have not been effective in containing the virus (up 11 percentage points from June 2021). 73 per cent responded that their quality of life is suffering as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions (up six percentage points from June 2021).
IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, affirmed that people were increasingly frustrated with the COVID-19 travel restrictions and even more, had seen their quality of life suffer as a result.
“They don’t see the necessity of travel restrictions to control the virus. And they have missed too many family moments, personal development opportunities and business priorities. In short, they miss the freedom of flying and want it restored.
“The message they are sending to governments is, ‘COVID-19 is not going to disappear, so we must establish a way to manage its risks while living and traveling normally’,” Walsh said.
The biggest deterrent to air travel continues to be quarantine measures. 84 per cent of respondents indicated that they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at their destination.
A growing proportion of respondents support the removal of quarantine if: a person has tested negative for COVID-19 (73 per cent in September compared to 67 per cent in June), a person has been vaccinated (71 per cent in September compared to 68 per cent in June).
With the vaccination rates globally increasing, 80 per cent of respondents agree that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely by air. However, there were strong views against making vaccination a condition for air travel.
About two-thirds felt it is morally wrong to restrict travel only to those who have been vaccinated. Over 80 per cent of respondents believe that testing before air travel should be an alternative for people without access to vaccination.
While 85 per cent are willing to be tested if required in the travel process, several issues remain: 75 per cent of respondents indicated that the cost of testing is a significant barrier to travel; 80 per cent believe that governments should bear the cost of testing and 77 per cent see the inconvenience of testing as a barrier to travel.
“There is a message here for governments. People are willing to be tested to travel. But they don’t like the cost or the inconvenience. Both can be addressed by governments. The reliability of rapid antigen tests is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Broader acceptance of antigen testing by governments would reduce inconvenience and cost—costs that the WHO’s International Health Regulations stipulate should be borne by governments. It is also clear that while people accept testing and other measures such as mask-wearing as necessary, they want to return to more normal ways of travel when it is safe to do so,” Walsh said.
Among those who have travelled since June 2020, 86 per cent felt safe on board the flight owing to the COVID-19 measures. A total of 87 per cent believed protective measures are well implemented, and 88 per cent felt airline personnel are doing a good job in enforcing COVID-19 rules.
There is also strong support for wearing masks, with 87 per cent of respondents agreeing that doing so would prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With more markets starting to open to travel, an area that needs to be addressed is the COVID-related travel rules and requirements. A total of 73 per cent of those who have travelled since June 2020 found it challenging to understand what rules applied for a trip (up from 70 per cent in June), and 73 per cent felt the COVID-19 paperwork was challenging to arrange (also up from 70 per cent in June).
“People want to travel. 86 per cent expect to be travelling within six months of the crisis ending. With COVID-19 becoming endemic, vaccines being widely available and therapeutics improving rapidly, we are quickly approaching that point in time.
“People also tell us that they are confident to travel. But what those who have travelled are telling us is that the rules are too complex and the paperwork too onerous. To secure the recovery, governments need to simplify processes, restore the freedom to travel and adopt digital solutions to issue and manage travel health credentials,” Walsh said.
Canada's job market comes roaring back to pre-pandemic level in September - THE CANADIAN PRESS
Canada's job market is back to where it was before the pandemic.
Statistics Canada says employment returned to its February 2020 level in September, up by 157,000 jobs.
The jump is more than double the estimates of a 60,000 gain. Gains were widespread, led by the service sector.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.9 per cent, the lowest since the start of the pandemic.
But that doesn't mean the job market is fully healed. Canada's population has grown and the number of people working less than half their usual hours is 218,000 higher than in February 2020.
Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, says while the number is strong, a seasonal quirk explains 50,000 of those jobs. He expected a gain of 120,000.
"Our forecast was the highest of those collected for the Reuters survey, which seems to be because other forecasters missed the fact that, because there were fewer seasonal workers hired than usual over the summer, there were also fewer seasonal workers coming to an end of their employment contracts in September," said Brown.
"That had the effect of boosting the seasonally adjusted month-over-month change in employment."
Brown says because the unemployment rate is still above the pre-pandemic level of 5.6 per cent, he doesn't expect the Bank of Canada to suddenly turn hawkish.
Long-term employment mystery
Leah Nord, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's senior director of workforce strategies and inclusive growth, says better data on what's holding people from rejoining the workforce is needed for a full economic recovery.
"Our long-term unemployment numbers are still nearly double what they were pre-pandemic. That means that, in the midst of a mass labour shortage, 27.3% of unemployed Canadians are unaccounted for. Where did they go?," said Nord.
"We can speculate all day, but the fact is, we currently have no data to tell us why nearly 400,000 Canadians haven't been able to rejoin the workforce after 27 weeks or more."
Meanwhile, the U.S. jobs numbers missed estimates by a wide margin, adding 194,000 jobs versus an expected 500,000. The divergence between Canadian and U.S. jobs growth helped push the loonie higher.
"Driven by a convergence in employment levels, the Canadian dollar exchange rate broke through a key psychological barrier, rising 40 basis points from pre-release levels," said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments.
"Expectations for an additional reduction in asset purchases at the Bank of Canada's November meeting have been bolstered."
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.
Singapore Opens Quarantine-Free Entry From U.S, U.K, Others - BLOOMBERG
- Vaccinated travel from Oct. 19 to places like France, Italy
- Singapore will have 11 such vaccinated travel pacts in place
Singapore is pressing ahead with plans to reopen its borders despite battling a record Covid-19 outbreak, saying it will allow vaccinated travelers from nine more countries including the U.S. and U.K. to enter without having to quarantine.
The other places to qualify are Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain with travel to Singapore to start from Oct. 19 and South Korea from Nov. 15, the government said Saturday. The number of Covid tests will be cut from four to two, helping to reduce cost and inconvenience, according to authorities.
The move marks a significant step in Singapore’s reopening after it shifted away from a “Covid Zero” approach that’s still being pursued by the likes of Hong Kong, another Asian financial hub. It comes as Singapore battles an escalation in Covid cases, with more than 3,000 new infections reported four days in a row this week. But is backed by the city-state’s high vaccination rate, with close to 85% of the population fully inoculated and most of the infections mild.
- All nine countries are classified under so-called Category II of the health ministry’s border measures
- Travelers using the arrangement must travel on designated flights
- Children or people medically unfit to be vaccinated will not be allowed to use the vaccinated travel lanes
- Short-term visitors and Singapore’s long-term passholders will have to apply for the vaccinated travel lanes, while citizens and permanent residents don’t need to do so
Transport Minister S. Iswaran said Singapore will start with up to 2,500 daily arrivals across the nine countries. He said the places rank among the Southeast Asian nation’s top 20 trading partners.
“They have significant investments, a strong business presence, and sizeable communities in Singapore,” Iswaran said during a briefing, adding the government will press on with border reopening. “It is, therefore, important that we reconnect with them early.”
With this move, Singapore Airlines Ltd. is expanding its vaccinated travel lanes network to 14 cities, with more points on special designated flights to be announced in coming weeks, the company said in a statement on Saturday.
Singapore already allows quarantine-free travel from so-called Category I places like China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, though most of those places haven’t reciprocated. Under the vaccinated travel lane arrangements in place with Germany and Brunei, close to 2,000 travelers have entered Singapore and there have been only two Covid-19 cases detected at the point of arrival.
Earlier, Singapore had already shortened quarantine periods for travelers from several countries including the U.S. from Oct. 7. The government was under pressure from American officials to remove the requirement to isolate completely, people familiar with the matter said, partly because travelers from Singapore could more freely enter the U.S., the island nation’s biggest foreign investor.
Shooting in Libya detention centre after migrant raids - REUTERS
TRIPOLI, Oct 8 (Reuters) - At least six migrants were shot dead at a Tripoli detention centre on Friday, the head of the U.N. migration agency's Libya mission said, as many reportedly escaped from the facility and others gathered in nearby streets.
Overcrowding triggered chaos at the Ghot Shaal centre, with people sleeping in the open and different security forces present, said Federico Soda, the Libya mission head for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
"Shooting started," he said, adding that at least six people were killed.
Libyan security forces have cracked down on migrants, refugees and asylum seekers over the past week, detaining more than 5,000.
There are hundreds of thousands of migrants in Libya, some seeking to travel onwards to Europe and others coming to work in the major oil exporter.
They routinely face violence in a country that has had little peace for a decade, with many held in detention centres that United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says are crowded and unsanitary, and where Amnesty International on Friday said they face torture and sexual abuse.
Libya's Government of National Unity was not immediately available for comment.
The country has been in crisis since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and much of it is controlled on the ground by local armed forces that operate independently of the government.
Numerous videos posted on social media on Friday, which Reuters could not immediately authenticate, showed dozens of people pouring through a gap in a fence, and larger numbers marching through Tripoli streets.
Two residents said they had seen large numbers of migrants running through the streets in that area.
Soda said security forces in Tripoli had detained at least 900 migrants later on Friday, likely including many of those who had fled the detention centre.
A Reuters journalist saw dozens of migrants sitting on the floor surrounded by guards and said there was a very heavy security presence around the area and there had been sporadic sounds of shooting.
UNHCR said earlier on Friday it was increasingly alarmed about the situation for migrants and refugees in Libya after more than 5,000 were arrested in the recent crackdown.
"The raids, which also involved the demolition of many unfinished buildings and makeshift houses, have created widespread panic and fear among asylum seekers and refugees in the capital," it said in a statement.
On Monday U.N. investigators said abuses against migrants and refugees in Libya were "on a widespread scale... with a high level of organisation and with the encouragement of the state... suggestive of crimes against humanity".
Reporting by Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli, Angus McDowall in Tunis and Reuters Libya newsroom Editing by Marguerita Choy and John Stonestreet
Nigeria’s Tourists Sites to be Announced at AkwaabaAfrican Travel Market - THISDAY
The 17th Edition of the leading travel and tourism expo in West Africa, Akwaaba African Travel Market will be held on November 29 and 30, 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria.
The organisers of the event said it would serve as the venue for the unveiling of the shortlist for the 7 Natural Wonders of Nigeria. The search for the Seven Wonders of Nigeria was launched last year to draw attention to the tourism attractions in Nigeria.
A committee was put together by the organisers of Naija7 Wonders to handle the search. The committee was made of 150 Top Tourism Practitioners in Nigeria who are all members of the elite group of Tourism 100 Club. They have shortlisted 35 destinations for the public to choose from and the winners will be announced at Akwaaba.
Akwaaba is the largest gathering of travel professionals in West Africa with over 3000 delegates attending. It has over the years become the meeting place for travel and tourism practitioners in Africa. It has drawn attendance from over 20 nations. Many VIPs have graced the event in the past including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of The Gambia Late Dawda Jawara, the former Vice President of Nigeria late Alex Ekwueme, the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations Sir Emeka Anyaoku, the former Governor of Lagos State Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Cross River State Senator Liyel Imoke and Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State. Serving Ministers of Tourism from Ghana, Gambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Seychelles have all attended past editions of Akwaaba. The current President of South African Football Dr. Danny Jordaan had made a presentation at Akwaaba.
Leading hotels, airlines and destinations including Dubai, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Egypt, Kenya, Gambia, Benin, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Libya, USA, Spain and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation(UK) had all participated in the African Travel Market. Akwaaba had been so successful that it started another event in Ghana the Accra Weizowhich has been held in Accra for 5 years consecutively.
Because of the effect of the Covid19 pandemic, Akwaaba is dedicating this year’s event to Hospitality and the Leisure Economy and their capacity to heal. There will be trainings on M.I.C.E and a Specialist Certificate course on Tourism in Nigeria. There will be discussions and panels on Hospitality and Standardisation in Nigeria
The two-day event will draw on experts from Africa and Nigeria to expose and dissect relevant topics at the event. The exhibition will run for two days at Eko Hotel Convention Centre from the 29th of November to the 30th.