By Dipo Olowookere
Passengers seeking to travel to Europe, especially Germany could not hide their joy when Lufthansa resumed flight operations on Thursday, December 3, 2020, after an eight-month suspension.
The respected airline again welcomed its passengers yesterday at the Lagos airport on board of its resumed nonstop flight from Frankfurt/Germany.
The leading German carrier will offer up to five weekly departures from Lagos to Frankfurt and from Tuesday, December 8, 2020, it will also connect Abuja with three weekly departures.
All long-haul flights depart from Nigeria in the evening as overnight flights, arriving in Lufthansa’s main hub Frankfurt in the early morning. This allows all passengers from Nigeria to get the full choice of connecting flights to European, American and Asian destinations, leaving all from the same terminal 1.
“Lufthansa always was and will stay dedicated to Nigeria, one of our key markets in Africa. As we have received the final permission to reopen our flight operations.
“We are happy to be the first airline to reconnect Nigeria directly to the centre of Europe and onwards to all other continents,” the General Manager Nigeria & Equatorial Guinea Lufthansa Group Airlines, Adenike Macaulay, stated.
Macaulay further said, “We offer a considerable number of flights to the US and Canada, allowing our Nigerian guests to have family members and friends again at reach throughout the world.
“Health and safety continue to be our top priority and we are committed to maintaining a strict adherence to hygiene regulations for all our flights.”
Lufthansa stopped its operations in Nigeria in March 2020 because of the travel restrictions put in place by the federal government to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Lufthansa flight LH568, Frankfurt to Lagos, serviced by an Airbus 330-300, offers passengers seats in all three classes, including Business Class and Premium Economy Class.
After its arrival in Lagos, this service will continue to Malabo /Equatorial Guinea. The nonstop flight will commence with three weekly departures on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to be increased to five weekly frequencies every day except Tuesdays and Sundays. The return flight will be scheduled on the same days of operations reaching Frankfurt only after six hours flight.
LH594 will be the flight number for the resumed connection between Frankfurt and Abuja with three weekly departures. An Airbus 330-300 connects the Nigerian capital to the financial centre of Germany, Frankfurt, also with seats in three classes.
Finally, it is planned that this flight will also resume service to Port Harcourt; however, this onward flight is not yet confirmed until the airport is reopened.
As of now, all flights can be booked immediately through the usual distribution channels and the airlines’ website www.lufthansa.com.
The Lufthansa Group said it has taken special hygiene measures to protect passengers and employees. These apply not only onboard but also before and after the journey.
Details of these measures can be found at www.lufthansa.com/de/en/protection-measures and passengers have been advised to check travel and destination entry requirements before departure.
The firm further emphasised that all intending travellers to Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 as PCR test in the country of departure pre-boarding. The PCR test must be done within 120 hours before departure and preferably within 72 hours pre-boarding.
International travellers will require a second test to be done in Nigeria, seven days after arrival and that registration for travellers to Nigeria is mandatory on https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng/.
It stated further that for those travelling to Germany, no mandatory PCR test is required, however, passengers are required to register on https://einreiseanmeldung.de and stay in quarantine for 10 days after entry. Transit passengers are expected to abide by health and safety measures in their destination country.
Wakanow Unveils Outlet in Lekki to Meet Customers’ Travel Needs
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
In order to meet the rising travel needs of its customers, Africa’s largest online travel agency, Wakanow, has launched an experience centre in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
The outlet is located in Jubilee Mall on Admiralty Way and it will deliver an unparalleled immersive travel experience in a warm and relaxing atmosphere to customers.
“Wakanow is an online travel agency also with extensive offline presence with over 30 travel centres across Nigeria, Ghana and Dubai.
“We meet our customers’ travel needs across multiple touchpoints, wherever they are. We continue to expand our product portfolio& service offering as we aim to be their indispensable and trusted travel companion exciting them with travel deals, packages, and services that are unobtainable elsewhere,” the Chief Commercial Officer of Wakanow, Mrs Adenike Macaulay.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow on the travel industry as people were not allowed to move around as they used to. The sector was practically paused.
However, Wakanow was able to scale through the storm due to the hybrid model of being an offline and online agency and this was further solidified by the massive investment it has made in technology over the years, enabling business sustainability through the pandemic.
During this same period, Wakanow was the only travel agency running 24/7 customer service centre operations which enabled it to take care of teeming customers during the upheaval in flight operations.
“Wakanow was able to weather the pandemic storm due to its innovative approach in the development of new complementary products and the unwavering commitment of the staff to the customer which has paid off hugely in customer retention and service uptake in the wake of travel restrictions,” the CEO of the firm, Mr Bayo Adedeji, said.
But 2021 has seen the resurgence of interest and demand in travel, with airlines steadily increasing capacity offered to Nigeria and even the launch of new domestic and international airlines.
Wakanow said it’s positioned to continue supporting its customers across all channels with their travel needs as travel demand resurges.
Transcorp’s Aura Will Help Develop Domestic Tourism—Osinbajo
By Dipo Olowookere
The decision of the management of Transcorp Hotels Plc to design a digital platform called Aura has been applauded by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
At the launch of the app on Thursday in Abuja, Mr Osinbajo said the initiative will help revive Nigeria’s hospitality industry in general, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 global pandemic as it will provide a major avenue for other small businesses in the value chain to grow.
“This is an excellent innovation, a service that leverages smoothly on technology and one that will be a tremendous boost to the hospitality industry as a whole.
“And because I have checked it out myself, I can say that my Aura experience has been quite good,” the Vice President said as he eulogised the team led by the Chairman of Transcorp Hotels, Mr Tony Elumelu; the Group CEO of Transcorp, Mrs Owen Omogiafo; and the CEO of Transcorp Hotels, Mrs Dupe Olusola; for designing such digital platform at this time.
Mr Osinbajo noted that the Aura app was designed to connect people to quality accommodation, great food, and awesome experiences in several places.
“Yes, there are a number of digital hospitality platforms already, but I think the unique offering here is that Transcorp, possibly Nigeria’s foremost luxury hotel, is putting its huge reputation behind the service of helping customers choose the best accommodation restaurants, and experience tours available in Nigeria. The advantages of this service are varied.
“First, the customer can rely on the experience and judgment of world-class personnel at Transcorp in choosing hotels and restaurants.
“Second, Transcorp helps to build other smaller hospitality businesses, and even those simply offering their apartments simply as short-let apartments, by recommending their accommodation to potential guests.
“A Transcorp recommendation is more or less an accreditation that the accommodation or other hospitality service meets the high standards for which Transcorp is known. This is great all around and will help revive the hospitality industry, especially since the downturn in the aftermath of COVID-19,” he said.
The Vice President added that he found the app easy to navigate, with a copious offering of hotels, short-let apartments, experience tours.
“They lure you into it by showing you a photo of an incredibly mouth-watering meal, and I saw a few that almost convinced me to break my fast early.
“So, there was an amazing looking Chicken Cheese Pizza from Barnyard lounge in Asaba, some irresistible chicken meal – a 5-star chicken – from Platino in Lagos, and some ‘carry go suya’ spice prawns at 355 here in Abuja. So, from the photo of the meal that takes you to the restaurant itself, you have booking options, dine-in, pick up or delivery,” he added.
Mr Osinbajo noted that, “I think the feature many especially property owners will find most fascinating is the host feature; as this enables you to put up your own property. And there are terms and conditions you need to meet for your property to be accepted. Same for whatever other entertainment facility you may wish to put out there for letting.”
In her remarks, Mrs Olusola agreed with the position of the Vice President on the capability of the initiative to support the development of the domestic tourism industry.
“Aura is a digital hospitality platform that gives the opportunity to all our stakeholders and guests to actually be able to book accommodation and experiences just at their fingertips.
“Aura is an opportunity for us to diversify our economy, an opportunity to create jobs and employment, and to develop domestic tourism and leisure travel,” she said.
The launch of Aura was also witnessed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila; the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige; the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Ade Ipaye; among other dignitaries.
The event featured delectable Nigerian cuisine, video presentations and live performances by leading Nigerian artistes and celebrities, including Tiwa Savage.
Business Post reports that since its launch on Thursday, the Aura by Transcorp app has recorded over 1,000 downloads on the Google Playstore.
France to Develop Tourism in Oyo
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The French government is looking to develop tourism in Oyo State and it has already taken a step towards achieving this goal.
Last weekend, the French Embassy was in the South-Western state of Nigeria to have talks with the government on how to go about this.
During a visit to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Oyo State, the leader of the French delegation, Dr Vincent Hiribarren, said the country was determined to engage with Oyo State and seek ways to explore its tourism potentials in different archaeological and historical sites.
“Currently, France is seeking to help the Oyo State government to document its tourism potentials. This is the first working visit to the state’s tourism sites,” he said.
“The field visit to potential archaeological sites in Oyo State would afford us the opportunity to assess them, with the aim of developing an archaeological project,” he added.
The state government took the visiting team to a tourist site, Ado-Awaye Hill. They also toured studios and archives of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism with the aim of developing a project on digitalisation of archival materials and training of personnel.
Mr Hiribarren, who was excited, also promised the French government’s support to Oyo State in ensuring the full digitisation of its archaeological documents, archival materials and cultural heritage.
The team, thereafter, met the management of the Ministry to deliberate on possible projects to be developed based on the assessments made.
The French delegation added that the relics put up for consideration include Idere Relics, Kunrunmi Relics, Iyake Suspended Lake Ado Awaye & Aso Ofi centre, Iseyin (home of weavers).
“This official visit to the state is marked with a trip to the famous Ado-Awaye hill where we discovered big tourism potentials such as the Iya’ke suspended lake, the Iya’laro lake and an ancient cave,” the leader said.
Mr Hiribarren, who heads the French Institute for Research in Africa, promised the French Government’s support to ensure Ado-Awaye among other tourist sites in the State are enlisted on the UNESCO recommendation for tourism, which he noted will consummate the state’s economic diplomacy upgrade.
“We will ensure this is established as part of UNESCO tourism sites, such that it will influence tourists and improve the rating and cultural heritage of the community,” he said, adding that the visit was an attempt to build on the priorities set by the French Government, saying it was also a sign of Paris’ “willingness to change the narrative of the relations between the State and France.”
“We are working for a new, more sustainable, fairer way to support the tourism potentials in Oyo State. We want to find ways to partner with Oyo State on tourism to create more jobs, and to create more economic growth,” he added.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr ‘Bunmi Babalola appreciated the French Government for the visit, which he noted will increase the volume of economic impact on the people of Ado-Awaye.
He also promised the state government’s full support to prioritize the tourism sector, which will, in turn, expand the State’s economy.
The Alado of Ado-Awaye, Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran, said the community has waited long for the realisation of this age-long dream.
Noting that the community hosts the only natural suspended lake in the African continent, the Monarch added that the development will not only enhance tourism potentials in the state but curb criminality and other vices.
The French Embassy Mission included Professor Gerard Chouin (Williams & Mary USA), Dr Vincent Hiribarren (Director IFRA Nigeria), Ms Lea ROTH (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Prof. R. A. Alabi (Head of Department of Archaeology UI), Joseph Ayodokun (Department of Archaeology UI and Field officer of IFRA Nigeria’s Archaeological Projects) and Patrick Babalola (Archivist, IFRA Nigeria).
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