Hotel Owners in Imo Blame Police for Low Patronage
By Ahmed Rahma
Owners of hotels in Imo State under the aegis of the Imo State Hoteliers Association (ISHA) have decried the low patronage, blaming the police for this.
The group, during its year-end party held recently at the Harvester’s Hotel and Suites in Owerri, said people do not patronise their members because of insecurity in the state, alleging that the security operatives have failed to perform their duties.
“Visitors who patronise the hotels do not come because of insecurity, the police are no longer doing their duties in the state,” the chairman of ISHA, Mr Chima Chukwunyere said.
He charged the police to secure the state because “the more we are patronised, the more money will go to the government purse,” lamenting further that the patronage has been very, very low because of insecurity.”
The hotelier described the hospitality sector as “the largest industry in the state and the second largest employer of labour,” noting that IHSA must continue to support the Imo State government to build a strong economy.”
“It is also this sector that has been helping it to reduce the growing youth unemployment as the state now ranks first on the unemployment ladder among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” he added.
Mr Chukwunyere urged the government to support the sector hospitality industry by providing a healthy business environment so as to sustain the economy, emphasising that if this is done, “youths would be gainfully employed, more funds would go to the government purse and the multiplier effects will be high in the state.”
However, the Imo State Commissioner for Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Ms Doris Akubuo Onyeali, countered the group and blamed the low patronage on Coronavirus, which she said had adverse effects on the sector and others.
But she promised that the administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma will support the sector.
“Government will take the hotel and hospitality industry to be number one sector and government will also take the industry higher. The government needs to partner with the Imo State Hoteliers Association to build a strong and healthy economy,” she said.
The Commissioner reiterated the resolve of the government to partner with the association and bring about an enabling environment for the sector to thrive so that they could create more job opportunities while charging the hoteliers to ensure they pay their taxes and rates as at when due.
“Let us not shy away from our civic responsibility, to pay taxes and rates, and feel free to tell government your problems for us to know,” the Commissioner said.
Emirates Forward Bookings Remain Robust on Strong Customer Demand
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Chief Commercial Officer of Emirates, Mr Adnan Kazim, has said the airline’s forward bookings have remained robust amid a strong customer demand, spurring the company to ramp up its operations across continents.
According to him, in the past months, the airline has planned and executed the rapid growth of its network operations, reintroducing services to five cities, launching flights to one new destination (Tel Aviv), and adding 251 weekly flights onto existing routes and continuing the roll-out of service enhancements in the air and on the ground.
It was disclosed that Emirates has continued to scale up its A380 operations with the reintroduction of the iconic double-decker across its network: Glasgow (from 26 March), Casablanca from (15 April), Beijing (from 01 May), Shanghai (from 04 June), Nice (from 1 June), Birmingham (from 1 July), Kuala Lumpur (from 01 August), and Taipei (from 01 August).
“Emirates is working hard on several fronts – to bring back operating capacity as quickly as the ecosystem can manage while also upgrading our fleet and product to ensure our customers always enjoy the best possible Emirates experience.
“So far, four of our A380 aircraft have been completely refurbished with our new cabin interiors and Premium Economy seats, and more will enter service as our $2 billion cabin and service enhancement program picks up pace,” Mr Kazim added.
He noted that in the coming months, established routes to Europe, Australia and Africa would be served with more Emirates flights, while in East Asia, more cities are seeing route restarts.
Emirates had upcoming route enhancements by regions, including in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, East Asia, as well as in Africa which covers Cairo: from 25 to 28 weekly flights by 29 October; Dar es Salaam: from 5 flights a week to daily flights starting 01 May and Entebbe: from 6 flights a week to daily flights starting 01 July.
Mozambique Okays Visa Exemption for 28 Countries, Snubs Nigeria
By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
A number of African countries are focusing on promoting extensively inbound tourism. They are luring potential external investors to the tourism industry.
The latest in the southern African region is Mozambique, which has approved a visa exemption for 28 countries for tourism and business.
As the Council of Ministers approved the decree in mid-March, the exemption applies to visitors holding ordinary passports and allows for a 30-day stay, renewable to an additional 60 days.
The model adopted by the Mozambican government is similar to the United States visa waiver program in the sense that it requires travellers to register on a platform for pre-screening at least 48 hours before travelling and to pay a processing fee of MZN-650 (equivalent £8.50).
In the list released, Nigeria, which prides itself as the giant of Africa and the largest economy on the continent, was missing.
The approved countries for this programme are Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The visa exemption is a follow-up to the launch of a platform last December that allowed prospective visitors to apply for an electronic pre-authorization to travel into the country. The introduction of e-visas has seen an increase of over 30 per cent in the number of travellers entering the country compared to the same period in the previous year.
The e-visa platform commits the country to respond to applications within five days, but general feedback places an average response at 24 hours, and the few issues reported are usually created by users not uploading the required documentation.
President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, since August 2022, has taken steps containing 20 reform measures aimed at delivering to visitors and potential investors a path for a more competitive and more accessible country. Mozambique, with an approximate population of 30 million, is one of the 16-member Southern African Development Community.
Foreign Airlines Unable to Repatriate $743.7m from Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that foreign airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria have risen to over $743.7 million.
In a letter dated March 14, 2023, and signed by the Area Manager for West and Central Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun, it was disclosed that the blocked funds rose from $549 million in December 2022 and $662 million in January to $743.7 million.
IATA noted that for over a year, Nigeria had been the country with the highest amount of airlines’ blocked funds in the world.
According to the association, the increasing backlog of international airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria is a potential threat to foreign direct investment into the country and could affect the operations of airlines leading to job losses.
While appealing to the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, to intervene in resolving the issues, the association also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to clear all airlines blocked funds before leaving office.
Meanwhile, at a meeting with the IATA and foreign airlines operators in Abuja to discuss the issues, Mr Sirika said the issue of blocked funds sits with the Central Bank of Nigeria and is not what the ministry can handle alone.
He urged international airline operators to be very considerate when dealing with the issues bearing in mind the effects of COVID-19 and the recession the country had experienced.
Recall that in August 2022, IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, Mr Kamil Alawahdi, expressed his disappointment with Nigeria over the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation by the Nigerian government, which was around $464 million then.
“IATA is disappointed that the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation by the Nigerian government grew to $464 million in July.
“This is airline money, and its repatriation is protected by international agreements in which Nigeria participates. IATA’s many warnings that failure to restore timely repatriation will hurt Nigeria with reduced air connectivity are proving true with the withdrawal of Emirates from the market,” he said.
Latest News on Business Post
- Currency in Circulation in Nigeria Drops to N982.09bn in February March 21, 2023
- NGX RegCo Sanctions Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Over Price Sensitive Info March 21, 2023
- 2023 GTCO Food & Drink Festival Holds April 29 to May 1 March 21, 2023
- NASD Exchange Drops 0.05% Amid Losses in Three Stocks March 21, 2023
- Naira Trades N740/$1 at Black Market, N461.50/$1 at I&E March 21, 2023
- Africa is Against Economic Colonization—Mudenda March 21, 2023
- Equity Market Down by 0.05% as Bears ‘Japa’ With N16bn March 21, 2023
- Oil Prices Rebound Amid Banking, Demand Jitters March 21, 2023
- NDEP Eyes Further Revenue Diversification Across Business Segments March 20, 2023
- Misunderstanding the Nigerian Understanding March 20, 2023