Reasons Calabar International Carnival Should Be On Your Priority List
By Olukayode Kolawole
Thinking of your next holiday destination this year? Here are four (4) reasons Calabar International Carnival should be on your priority list
Come December 2016, Calabar will bubble once again, as it does every last quarter of the year, with its signature event, “The Calabar International Street Carnival.” The carnival has always played host to thousands of tourists from around the world. So, if you have to be in Calabar during this period, it must either be to catch a glimpse of the atmospheric carnival or to revel in the colourful display of traditions & traditional dances. Or else, you would bite a finger for not visiting at this time.
The reason is simple: premium and affordable hotels in Calabar and neighbouring cities are usually sold-out during the festivity. Getting a hotel to stay in is always challenging. One way out of this dire situation is to book way ahead of time, for instance, on Jumia Travel. This also comes with its benefits. You would get a good discount for booking ahead and probably have the opportunity to select some of the best hotels on its platform before it gets crowded, as it’s the norm during this period. In addition, you will also be saving yourself a gruesome headache of either not finding a comfortable hotel to stay (if you choose to book on some other platforms), or not finding a hotel to stay at all.
To whet your appetite on why you should include Calabar carnival on your priority list, here’s Jumia Travel’s review of some of the major highlights from the carnival last year.
The Street Parade: The carnival went a notch higher when the governor of the state flagged off the commencement of the street parade: a local competitive arm of the carnival parading the traditional five bands: Freedom Band, Bayside Band, Passion4 Band, Seagul Band and Master Blasta Band. Richly costumed girls led each group, accompanied by music blasting trucks and acrobatic dancers, revellers lined the carnival routes, cheering up the participants. Masquerades, celebrities, notable disc jockeys and exquisite floats offered some side attractions.
The Bikers: The carnival played host to over 1,000 power bikers drawn from Nigeria, China, Canada, Australia, Germany, the US, Philippines, Togo, Ghana and Benin Republic in the maiden edition of the Calabar Bikers’ Parade. In a 12-kilometre ride, the bikers performed different types of stunts to the admiration of ecstatic crowd that lined up along the carnival route to catch a glimpse of the extreme riders.
International Competition: There was also an international competition of culture and dance. Foreign groups that participated in the international competition which took place at the UJ Esuene Stadium, included the Flamingo of Spain, Italian Flag Twirlers, Drumming Wonders of Burundi, Urukereza of Rwanda, Ghana cultural Troupe, Masai Dancers from Kenya, Vai Vai Samba of Brazil and Passion-4 from Nigeria.
Fashion Show: Top Nollywood megastars & fashion label owners were also in attendance to participate in the fashion show and mingle with other tourists. There was a boat regatta, cultural events and family-friendly entertainment too.
See you at the carnival in December!
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.
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