By Dipo Olowookere
The hospitality business in the Nigerian seat of power, Abuja, will get more competitive and bigger with the planned entry of Radisson Blu in the next four years.
In a statement, Radisson Hotel Group said it was adding six new hotels to its African portfolio, bringing the total to almost 100 hotels across 32 African markets.
One of the six new hotels is to situated in Abuja, the firm said it will be the first in the city. Transcorp Hilton has over the years enjoyed huge patronage of the high and mighty in the private and public sectors in Abuja.
It was stated that the Radisson Blu Hotel Abuja City Centre, scheduled to open in 2024, will complement the existing nine hotels in operation and under development in Nigeria.
Located in the heart of the central business district of Nigeria’s Federal Capital, the 258-room hotel will boast five different food and beverage outlets from a speciality restaurant and all-day-dining restaurant to a Lobby Bar & Café, a picturesque pool terrace and a premium business class lounge.
The leisure facilities will include a 555sqm wellness spa, a gym and a swimming pool to maintain guest’s wellness, the statement said.
“We believe in the vast potential of Africa. The addition of the six hotels, following the announcement of Radisson Hotel Saint Denis earlier this year, places us firmly on track to reach over 150 hotels in operation and under development across the continent within the next five years.
“The new hotel announcements include our debut in new markets, the introduction of additional brands and the strengthening of our presence in cities we’ve identified for scaled growth.
“We thank our hotel partners for their invaluable trust in Radisson Hotel Group and its people,” the Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer of Radisson Hotel Group, Elie Younes, said.
Also, the Vice President, Development, Africa & Turkey at Radisson Hotel Group, Mr Ramsay Rankoussi, stated, “Our growth has been well balanced between greenfield projects and strategic take-overs of existing hotels.
“We aim to further accelerate our presence across the continent through conversions, especially as liquidity remains a critical challenge. We have revisited our brand architecture to enable us to quickly integrate existing hotels to our network.
“This strategy will be reinforced as our brands continue to demonstrate a better value proposition to our owners.
“Following our revised strategy, we believe we are now geared in providing solutions to the investment community for every type of asset, every segment and at every stage – from funding to construction and repositioning.”
Business Post reports that Radisson Blu plans to open a 200-room affordable luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali within the next six months; launch a 289-room hotel in Johannesburg before year-end; open a 14-room facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2021; renovate of an existing 121-room hotel and construct an additional tower which will offer 54 hotel apartments in Accra, Ghana by 2023; and open a 168-room hotel in 2022 at the Durban International Airport in Dube, South Africa.
FG Denies Planning to Stop Youths from Travelling Abroad
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The federal government has said it has no plan to prevent youths from travelling abroad, stressing that reports insinuating such are totally untrue.
A statement issued by Towoju Raphael on Saturday on behalf of the Director Press at the Ministry of Interior said the reports quoting the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Mr Shuaib Belgore, as saying so purely misinterpreted him.
The Presidential Committee from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) had recently visited the ministry and Mr Belgore welcomed them on behalf of the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola.
In the statement issued yesterday, the ministry advised Nigerians to be cautious of manipulative misrepresentation of the federal government’s intentions, statements or activities.
It emphasised that any Nigeria willing and ready to follow the legal channels to travel around the world are allowed to do so.
In its clarification, the ministry said Mr Belgore only told his guests that the committee should work with the Citizenship and Business Department of the Ministry to facilitate opportunities for youths to benefit from the local content prospects of its expatriate quota program, thereby creating decent job opportunities for youths in Nigeria.
The statement further said the Permanent Secretary said the Ministry of Interior, with its associated agencies, remain committed to ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians, public safety and citizenship integrity of all.
“Among the presidential deliverables of the Ministry is full automation of services in the Ministry and its agencies, which includes the new passport regimes and sweeping nationwide reforms witnessed with the Nigeria Immigration Service; aimed at delivering swift and seamless access to citizenship services for Nigerians,” the statement further quoted Mr Belgore as saying during the meeting.
Customs to Revalidate All Private Jets from June 7
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
All owners of private jets in the country have been advised to prepare for a revalidation exercise expected to commence next Monday.
This information was disclosed today by the National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah.
At a briefing in Abuja, Mr Attah said the verification exercise was necessitated by the rise in insecurity in the country at the moment.
Some days ago, it was alleged that one of the small planes owned by a retired military officer was used to supply food items and others to terrorists in Niger State.
The spokesman of the customs informed reporters that the government found it necessary to revalidate all privately owned aircraft in the country so as to checkmate these issues.
He said the exercise will begin on Monday, June 7 and end on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
The venue of the verification exercise, according to Mr Attah, is the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
The spokesman of the service said private aircraft owners are expected to visit the tariff and trade department of the NCS with their aircraft certificate of registration, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)’s flight operations compliance certificate, the NCAA’s permit for non-commercial flights and temporary import permit where applicable.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that the customs generated N799.0 billion as revenue in the first five months of this year, higher than the N226.1 billion generated in the same period in 2020.
Dana Air, Ibom Air Sign Agreement to Benefit Passengers
By Adedapo Adesanya
Dana Air and Ibom Air have signed the first-ever domestic codeshare/interline agreement in the country as parts of plans to offer more route options, schedule options and easy connectivity for air passengers.
The deal indicates that the two airlines would work together to ensure that passengers are taken to their destination on time and there would be flexibility in the use of ticket of both airlines.
The signing took place recently at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, between the Chief Operating Officer and Accountable Manager of Dana Air, Mr Obi Mbanuzuo and the Chief Operating Officer of Ibom Air, Mr George Uriesi.
The airlines explained that the partnership was a significant milestone for Nigeria’s aviation industry, which would afford Dana Air and Ibom Air a business arrangement whereby both airlines jointly offer flights to common destinations while operating services to places that are not within each airline’s regular routes.
By so doing, both airlines expand their market presence and competitive footprint in the interest of the flying public.
The airlines also said the codeshare alliance would commence full service in June.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Mbanuzo noted that the plan to sign the contract started a year ago, adding that it is a partnership for sustainable growth.
“The discussion started about a year ago and we are happy to be here today, formalising it. This is the first of its kind for domestic airlines in Nigeria and a huge step in the right direction for both Dana Air and Ibom Air.
“It is a partnership for sustainable growth and connectivity for the flying public as Ibom Air passengers can now fly Dana Air to Owerri and all other Dana Air destinations while our guests can now fly to Calabar and other Ibom Air destinations.
“Dana Air, like Ibom Air, is committed to the growth of the aviation industry and both airlines have shown great commitment to customer satisfaction, schedule reliability, operational efficiency, passion and innovation.
“We do hope that this partnership between Ibom Air and Dana Air will set a positive precedent for the greater good of the industry,” he said.
Also, speaking at the event, the COO of Ibom Air, Mr Uriesi, said the alliance would offer increased frequencies into common destinations as well as codeshare flights into destinations each airline does not operate into, providing more options for passengers and businesses retention for both airlines.
According to him, “With the initiation of this business alliance, both airlines have embraced a key global best practice. At Ibom Air, our business model and unwavering commitment remain schedule reliable, on-time departures and excellent service.
“Hence, we are constantly on the lookout for better and more effective ways to serve our customers.”
The code-share agreement helps the passengers by providing them clearer route options and allows them to book travel from one to three through point two under one carrier’s code.
This proves beneficial if the customer books from point one to two under one code and then from two to three under the other code.
Ibom Air operates multiple daily flights to Uyo, Lagos, Abuja, Calabar and Enugu and would be launching the Port-Harcourt destination from June 7, 2021.
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