The hospitality sector is gradually becoming the mainstay of many economies in the world and from the looks of it, it might also become the economic pillar of oil-rich economies such as Nigeria.
There are many states in the country that can effectively run-on revenue generated from hospitality. Delta State is one of such states.
With an estimation of over 4,112,445 people, a close gender balance of 2,069,309, male, and 2,043,136, female population, Delta State is considered one of the most endowed in Nigeria.
Known as The Big Heart but the real popularity of the state comes from its being an oil-producing state in the Niger-Delta region.
In the latest data on 13 per cent derivation sharing, Delta State ranked first with 31 per cent of N94.4 billion from a total of N302.8 billion, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2019 report.
But with the instability of global pricing for crude, it becomes imperative for the state and in extension, the country, to start ‘making hay while the sun shines’ in other lucrative sectors to weather future instabilities in the oil sector.
Fortunately, Delta State is also famous for its richness in diverse cultures and agricultural prowess. These alternative potentials can become the state’s economic mainstay if developed, especially as the hospitality sector.
According to travelnews.online, an online travel magazine, “Nigeria has over 11,000 hotels” and a considerable amount of these hotels are in Delta State. The accommodation sector alone is estimated to employ over 2 million direct and about a million indirect jobs in Nigeria.
The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) between January 2013 and January 2014 generated N197,599,911,988, which is about 80 per cent of all international airlines ticket sales in the country.
With the commissioning of the Warri-Itakpe railway line that runs through Agbor, connecting three states: Delta, Kogi, and Edo States, eventually, it will also connect the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Delta State should brace up for the flood of private sector development that is expected to overrun the state.
The rail line alone has projected an annual commuter figure of about one million people. This means more people will make stopovers at different locations and sales are expected to rise at such locations.
In a publication on the African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA) website, Executive Director, West Africa, BON Hotels, Paul Umoh, said: “In 2017, tourism statistics reflected a growth of 140.2 per cent from 2016. And from 2015 to 2016, 130.3 per cent the increase was seen. Two years prior, the statistics were in decline. Now, however, more people are visiting the country for business and leisure, and investors are seeing the increased potential in the region.”
“The hospitality industry in Nigeria has predominantly been concentrated in larger cities such as Lagos and Abuja. By expanding into smaller cities across multiple regions, we will dramatically increase the potential for business and leisure travel throughout the country,” explains Umoh. In 2016 BON Hotel acquired the Protea Hotel in Delta State.
Delta State also plays host to the largest waterpark in West Africa, Park Vega Waterpark, located in Agbor. The rest of the tourism world has gone far ahead as many in Nigeria still wonder what the waterpark is in 2020.
Quoting from a 2015 report conducted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the waterpark was defined as a facility with “at least four of the following attractions considered essential to a waterpark such as toddlers’/children’s play area, tube slide, lazy river, body flume, wave pool, tipping bucket play area, speed slide, family raft slide, mat racer slide, spray ground, still-water lagoon pool, action river, water coaster or a surfing simulator.
Designed for family and friends, couples and individual, to bond, Park Vega Waterpark attends to the young and the young at heart as they experience wow moments and create memories that last a lifetime together.
The park is a fun place to go as a family with several facilities that thrills the kids, toddlers, teenagers, and adults such as Space hole slide, Multi-surf slide, Freefall slide, Blackhole slide, Aquatower, splash pad, Attraction pool, relax pool that has a bar, and a restaurant that serves delicious food.
How Can Delta State Benefit from a Waterpark Located in the State?
When residents of other states visit the park in Delta State, it would be a net gain for Delta but a net loss for the other states who had people leaving to visit Delta. But it would be gainful for Nigeria as the taxes and trade inspired by the park are still within the country.
This is why the federal government and Delta State government should encourage such investments in the hospitality sector that has a rippling effect by offering tax rebates and holidays just like other countries that operate waterparks.
In the United States, Kentucky offers eligible tourist attractions sales rebates up to 25 per cent. The state understands some tourists may not have visited the state if it was not for the waterpark.
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions said in 2011 nearly 30,000 attractions in the United States generated $211 billion in economic activity. America’s local and regional public park agencies generated nearly $140 billion in economic activity and supported almost 1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending alone in 2013.
Studies have revealed that residents prefer to live in proximity to a park. The National Association of Home Builders says the presence of parks influences 65 per cent of homebuyers. Another study in 2001 by the National Association of Realtors found that 50 per cent of survey respondents were more likely to choose a neighbourhood near parks and are willing to pay more to be located close to a park.
Generation of new jobs – The state can benefit immensely as waterparks are known worldwide to create a lot of direct and indirect jobs wherever they are located.
Development of infrastructure – Research has shown that infrastructural development around waterparks is very fast as everyone wants to key into the business buzz created by the waterpark.
Improve the image of the destination – Normally unknown locations gets on the map the moment a waterpark is built in the area. Because waterparks are usually constructed in places considered as outskirts for reasons such as space, low traffic, easy access, and others, the waterpark tends to add reputational value to the location.
Increase tourism – Waterparks have been known to benefit tourists’ businesses such as hotel, entertainment, lounges, restaurants amongst others. This helps the local communities and the state, in the long run, to grow its tourist potentials using the waterpark as a platform.
Economic benefits for having a waterpark in Delta state
There will be more business transactions in the surrounding communities as they cash into the bee-hive of activities created. This will eventually transcend to more revenue being generated by the local government and the state government.
Transport Sector – The aviation industry, the new rail line that has just been commissioned by the Federal Government in Delta State and surrounding states, the road transporters are all expected to benefit from the window of an opportunity opened by the waterpark located in Delta State.
Political scorecard – Waterpark is a major capital-intensive project and a great scorecard used by politicians to highlight infrastructural achievements. In The United States alone, there are over one thousand waterparks, each attracting its infrastructural development, and influencing positive reputation to grow the location they operate.
The state government benefits from these developments and only need to create the favourable climate for waterparks to thrive.
Delta State is blessed with several locations that can be developed to become a major tourist and hospitality venue capable of attracting guests from within and outside the country.
Emirates Skywards Rewards Members With Juicy Offer
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Flying via Emirates Airlines to the different parts of the world is getting more exciting with a reward programme introduced by the company.
The airline operator, through its award-winning loyalty programme, Emirates Skywards, has rolled out an exclusive offer to help members fast-track to higher tier status.
A statement from the organisation disclosed that members can automatically earn double Tier Miles on all Emirates and flydubai flights booked from April 1 until 30 June, for travel between April 1 and December 30, 2021.
The offer applies to any ticket, regardless of fare type, purchased on Emirates or flydubai during the offer period – helping members quickly earn sufficient Tier Miles to bump up against one-tier status higher.
For example, an Emirates Skywards Blue tier member can upgrade to an Emirates Skywards Silver tier member, and an Emirates Skywards Silver tier member can upgrade to an Emirates Skywards Gold tier member, the statement explained.
To be eligible for the promotion, customers need to simply be existing Emirates Skywards members or join as a new member before June 30, 2021.
Members can now move up tiers faster and unlock an extensive range of benefits and rewards.
Emirates Skywards offers four tiers of membership – Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each Tier offers members unique privileges and advantages, including lounge access, priority boarding, dedicated check-in counters, complimentary seat selection and much more, the company further explained.
It also said in addition to earning double Tier Miles, members will still be able to earn Skywards Miles on flights flown during the offer period.
Skywards Miles can be redeemed for an extensive range of rewards, including flight upgrades, hotel stays and money-can’t-buy experiences, it said.
With more than 27 million members worldwide – Emirates Skywards continues to provide its members with rich value offerings, unmatched rewards and innovative offerings.
Earlier this year, the loyalty programme was one of the first in the world, and first in the region, to offer members a generous extension on tier status until 2022.
The loyalty programme has also extended the validity of any Skywards Miles due to expire from April 2020 until June 30, 2021.
FAAN Restricts Drivers From Picking Passengers at Terminals
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said that drivers are prohibited from picking up passengers at the frontage of airport terminals but are to pick them up only at car parks.
This was disclosed in a statement released on Monday, April 12 by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, saying that drivers can only approach the terminals when they want to drop off a departing passenger.
“The authority will like to emphasize that in line with government protocols, arriving passengers are to walk down to designated car parks to board their vehicles. No driver is permitted to pick up arriving passenger(s) at the frontage of the terminals.
“All drivers must park and wait inside the car parks while arriving passengers walk down to the car parks to board their vehicles.
“For departing passengers, drivers are only allowed to drop off passengers in front of the terminals. They are not permitted to wait for any reason after dropping their passengers, it is only a Drop Off zone,” the statement read in part.
The agency, therefore, called for compliance with all laid down protocols on COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all airport users to ease facilitation and enhance the safety of all airport users.
“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) hereby advises passengers, drivers and other airport users, particularly those at the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos, to always comply with all laid down protocols on COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all airport users,” the statement added.
Last week, FAAN advised passengers to get to airports, particularly those at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, early.
The call was done to enable them to complete their check-in procedures in good time and avoid the unpleasant experiences associated with missing their flights.
This advice has become necessary as passengers are likely to go through a little delay at the entrance to the terminals,
The agency noted that it took this decision due to built-up vehicular traffic occasioned by the increase in passenger traffic being witnessed presently.
“The authority will like to assure passengers and other airport users that all hands are on deck to ensure swift facilitation and reduce the congestion to the barest minimum,” it said.
British University Plans Return of Benin Bronze to Nigeria
By Ahmed Rahma
More than a century after Britain looted sculptures in Nigeria and auctioned them to Western museums, a British university is set to return a Benin Bronze back to its place of origin.
The varsity identified as the University of Aberdeen said on Thursday it wants to return the artwork to where it came from within weeks.
In a report by Reuters, this is one of the first public institutions to carry out the action.
The university said the sculpture of an Oba or ruler of the Kingdom of Benin had left Nigeria in an “extremely immoral” fashion, leading it to reach out to authorities in 2019 to negotiate its return.
Speaking, the head of museums and special collections of Aberdeen, Neil Curtis said the Bronze, purchased in 1957, had been “blatantly looted.”
“It became clear we had to do something,” Curtis said.
On the part of professor Abba Isa Tijani, director-general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the importance of displaying the Bronze inside Nigeria for the first time in more than 120 years was inexpressible.
“It’s part of our identity, part of our heritage… which has been taken away from us for many years,” Mr Tijani said.
British soldiers seized thousands of metal castings and sculptures from the Kingdom of Benin, then separated from British-ruled Nigeria, in 1897.
According to a report, Germany is also in talks to send back 440 Benin Bronzes as early as the autumn while the University of Cambridge’s Jesus College said it had finalised approvals in December to return another Bronze.
Mr Tijani said museums in the United States have also agreed to return two more Bronzes.
The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has also revealed plans to build a centre to store and study the returned artefacts by the end of 2021, and a permanent museum by 2025.
Artist and Edo state native Victor Ehikhamenor said he hoped the decision would prompt others to follow suit.
“Because some of these things are missing from our environment, people are not able to contextualize where we are coming from,” Ehikhamenor said.
Nigerian Pilots, Engineers Laud Azman Air Suspension
By Ahmed Rahma
The suspension of the operations of Azman Air by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been applauded by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).
The group, in a statement, said it was excited over the professional conduct of the regulatory body and equally condemned the response of Azman Air to the NCAA’s action.
Recall that on March 17, 2021, the agency wielded its big stick on Azman Air by suspending the operations of the airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft with immediate effect, following incidents involving the plane series.
In the statement, the president of NAAPE, Mr Abednego Galadima, said it read in “total dismay the unbelievable response of Azman Air to the legitimate and professional regulatory safety oversight function performed by the NCAA on its operations.
“It is unfortunate that Azman Air chooses to view the action through parochial prism.
“The sentiments expressed by the airline were unnecessary and unhelpful to the critical safety issues raised by the authority, given the cited myriads of incontrovertible safety breaches.
“Again, to interpret the patriotic NCAA act of ensuring that Nigerian pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers are considered first in employment in line with expatriates quota laws and Executive Order No. 5 as vindictive is to demonstrate disdain for our laws.
“We, therefore, commend NCAA under the able leadership of Capt. Musa Nuhu as Director-General and pass a vote of confidence on his stewardship since he assumed office in February 2020.”
The association called on the aviation community and well-meaning Nigerians to support the regulator in its onerous task of ensuring the safety and security of the airspace and equipment.
“We also wish to advise Azman Air to cooperate with the regulatory authority by opening up its books for full safety audit,” the group said, adding that the company should also consider the overall interest of the travelling public and Nigeria.
FAAN Suspends e-Finger Screening for Maintenance
By Adedapo Adesanya
The e-Finger departure screening point at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) has been temporarily shut down by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The facility was closed by the organisation to enable officials of the airport to carry out some routine maintenance on the machine, Business Post gathered.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by the General Manager of FAAN in charge of Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, it was disclosed that the maintenance should be completed very soon.
Mrs Yakubu said that the process was part of the airport maintenance and upgrade programme of the agency for the provision of quality services to passengers.
In the statement, the image-maker of the agency said, “Consequently, all human and cargo movements have been temporarily diverted to the D-Finger screening area until the maintenance and upgrade are completed.”
“The authority appeals to passengers and other airport users to please bear with us, as we hope to reopen the area as soon as possible,” Mrs Yakubu added.
FG Suspends Emirates Airline Flights
By Ahmed Rahma
The federal government of Nigeria has temporarily banned Emirates Airline from operating over its continued refusal to fly passengers out of the country without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test (RDT’s).
Speaking during its weekly briefing on Monday, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said the ban will be effective from Wednesday, March 17.
“KLM will resume outbound flights from Lagos on March 15, 2021, without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates Airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight Wednesday, March 17, 2021,” he said.
Mr Mustapha, however, said discussions are ongoing to resolve the matter amicably.
Emirates and KLM had in the past few weeks flown passengers into Nigeria but refused to fly passengers out because of its new guidelines introduced as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said, “Regarding KLM and Emirates airlines, at the time that we resumed flight, these two airlines made demands that there would be polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for passengers within 72 hours of their flight and there will also be antigens rapid test at the airport and also a PCR test on arrival in their countries.”
The Minister argued that this is devoid of any scientific basis because the virus itself will incubate at least within or after 72 hours.
In this light, it sounds incorrect for passengers to take a PCR test within 72 hours and take a rapid test before the flight and seven hours later, take another test, “you are likely to show negative and the reasons at the time was that the PCR results are being faked,” the minister said.
The Minister said KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out on the conditions agreed upon which is to have a PCR test within 72 hours.
“Emirate didn’t accept the position and so, we have asked that Emirates be banned from operations from midnight Wednesday,” he said.
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