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.
Normalcy Restored at Lagos Airport as Aviation Workers Suspend Strike
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Normalcy was restored at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos on Monday afternoon after workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc disrupted flight operations this morning.
The aviation workers had embarked on an indefinite strike action to ask for a better welfare package from the management of the company.
Their action left many air passengers stranded on Monday morning, with operators suspending their flights in the process.
But the industrial action was later called off by the leaders of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees, which promised to enter into talks with NAHCO, with a view to resolving the matter.
The aggrieved employees of NAHCO asked the management to increase their salaries after hike air fares by 100 per cent. They claimed that the company was being insensitive to their welfare.
NAHCO Workers’ Strike Paralyses Flight Operations At Lagos Airport
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Activities at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos, were paralysed on Monday after some employees of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc embarked on an industrial action.
The NAHCO workers protested the failure of the management of the company to heed their demands, including an increase in salaries and better welfare packages.
Air passengers who were at the Lagos airport were left frustrated today due to the demonstration by the aviation workers, with a few international flights disrupted.
It was gathered that most airline operators were caught unawares as they did not have prior notice that the NAHCO staff members were planning to down tools on the first working day of the week.
This led to the abrupt suspension of flight operations by most operators this morning while efforts were being made to resolve this issue in order to reduce the losses that could arise from the action of the workers.
Emirates Resumes Flights to Shanghai, Beijing After Border Reopening
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Ahead of the New Lunar Year in China and in response to strong travel demand in the country, Emirates is ramping up its operations and has resumed flights to Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.
Recall that this month, the Chinese authorities removed its stiff COVID-19-related entry restrictions and reopened its borders to international travellers.
Emirates said following this new development, it would resume passenger services to Shanghai starting with two weekly flights operated by an Airbus A380 aircraft from 20 January 2023, with EK302 departing from Dubai to Shanghai non-stop and EK303 making a short stop in Bangkok before returning to Dubai.
This service will ramp up in frequency to four weekly flights operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from 02 February 2023. During this period, Emirates’ flight EK302 will depart Dubai at 03:45hrs and arrive in Shanghai at 15:40hrs. The return flight EK303 will depart Shanghai at 17:40hrs and arrive in Bangkok at 21:45hrs before taking off from the Thai capital at 23:20hrs and arriving in Dubai at 03:20hrs the next day.
The airline operator said it would further boost its Dubai-Shanghai route from 1 March 2023 with a daily non-stop service. Its flight EK304 will depart Dubai at 09:15hrs and arrive in Shanghai at 21:05hrs. The return flight EK303 will leave Shanghai at 23:00hrs and arrive in Dubai at 05:20hrs the next day.
Starting from 1 February 2023, Emirates will increase services between Dubai and Guangzhou with EK362/EK363 operating as daily non-stop flights with the flagship Emirates A380.
Its flight EK362 will leave Dubai at 10:45hrs and arrive in Guangzhou at 21:45hrs. The return flight EK363 will depart Guangzhou at 00:15hrs and arrive in Dubai at 05:15hrs. Emirates currently operates a non-stop flight from Dubai to Guangzhou as EK362, and a return flight from Guangzhou to Dubai via Bangkok as EK363, four times a week.
Operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, Emirates’ flight EK308/ EK307 will return to China’s capital city Beijing with a daily non-stop service from Dubai, starting from 15 March 2023. Emirates’ flight EK308 will leave Dubai at 10:50hrs and arrive in Beijing at 22:20hrs. The return flight EK307 will depart Beijing at 00:40hrs and arrive in Dubai at 05:00hrs.*
This will bring the airline’s operations in the market up to 21 weekly flights, providing increased choice and flexibility for both business and leisure travellers, and contributing to China’s tourism recovery.
Tickets can be booked on emirates.com, the Emirates App, or via travel agents. Travellers are also encouraged to check the latest entry requirements.
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