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TOURISM

Nigeria Calls For Collaboration Among ECOWAS States To Develop West Africa’s Tourism Sector

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Tourism potential in West Africa

The Nigerian government has called for collaboration among ECOWAS member countries to develop the subregion’s tourism potential and position West Africa to compete with other regions.

Folorunsho Coker, Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, also called for the streamlining of tourism policies in subregional countries while delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the meeting of experts and stakeholders in the private tourism industry on the monitoring and evaluation mechanism of ECOTOUR 19-29 and the ECOWAS Tourism Accommodation regulator in Abuja on Tuesday.

Coker stated, “It is the season to collaborate, not compete,” and added, “It is in the spirit of collaboration that we will grow pan-African tourism.”

He stated, “I want to encourage the localisation of policies,” emphasising that policies can only be successful if they are localised.

Coker said all the regulations in the region be streamlined into one that will guide activities in the tourism sector across the 15 ECOWAS member states, urging for the training of tourism operators in the region as well as the introduction of technology in tourism.

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He said: “We must embrace technology or it will leave us behind.”

The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Massandjé Toure-Liste, stated that the meeting drew inspiration from the ECOTOUR 19-29 action plan, which was adopted by the Authority of Heads of State and Government and was intended to serve as a roadmap for promoting responsible tourism.

She stated, “To this end, our technical meeting today focuses on drafting the operational modalities for two critical tools: the ECOTOUR 19-29 monitoring and evaluation mechanism and the ETAR – ECOWAS Tourism Accommodation Regulator.

“The ECOTOUR 19-29 Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism will entail creating operational guidelines and appointing dedicated members or focal points to oversee their execution.

“Simultaneously, we will define the composition and operational modalities for the ECOWAS Tourist Accommodation Regulator (ETAR) in accordance with Regulation C.REG.2/07/23.

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“Our focus on Private Sector Collaboration includes facilitating dialogue among private tourism industry representatives and encouraging strategic alignment and collaboration at the regional level.

Massandjé, who was represented by the ECOWAS Commission’s Director of Private Sector, Dr Anthony Elumelu, stated: “We also intend to assist private sector players in finalising the process of forming a regional confederation.”

The meeting is scheduled to end on Friday, May 17, 2024.

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TOURISM

Travelogue Of China:  Where Media And Culture Mix

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The “Travelogue of China” media exchange activity held in north China’s Hebei Province and Tianjin Municipality concluded on Oct. 28, 2023.

Over five days, 14 journalists from 13 countries, including Argentina and Brazil, were invited to witness China’s endeavors in building a green China and the remarkable achievements in the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

In Tianjin, the journalists visited a smart container terminal with zero carbon emissions in Tianjin Port, the Jizhou mine site ecological restoration project, and other projects that highlight China’s strong commitment to developing its digital economy while also prioritizing green development.

“I’m impressed by the terminal’s remarkable speed of construction, and the application of AI and unmanned operation technologies. It’s a true testament to China’s advancements in the field,” expressed Leticia Martinez, a journalist from Argentina.

Journalists participating in the “Travelogue of China” media exchange activity pose for a group photo in Tianjin Port.

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After exploring the Jizhou mine site ecological restoration project, Liliana Padilla Guerrero, a journalist from Mexico, expressed her admiration for China’s advanced technologies and their potential to benefit her own country, which also relies on mining for development.

Foreign journalists attend a symposium during their visit to the Jizhou mine site ecological restoration project.

The journalists were impressed by China’s trendy and innovative robots when they visited the Tangshan Robot Experience and Exhibition Center in Tangshan city of Hebei Province.

“I’m particularly impressed by the firefighting robots and robots designed to remind elderly people to take medications. China’s technological progress and development in the field of robotics are truly noteworthy,” said Martinez.

Journalists take pictures of a robot that can stir-fry food at the Tangshan Robot Experience and Exhibition Center.

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The foreign journalists also explored Tianjin’s local specialty food, folk culture, and other cultural elements.

Aliana Abadi, a journalist from Venezuela, learns to make jianbing guozi or pancake with crispy fried dough sheet, in Tianjin.

They had a captivating experience during their visit to the Tianjin Folk Museum, fully immersing themselves in a cultural tour and embracing the unique charm of the city.

The “Travelogue of China” media exchange activity kicked off in May 2023. It was guided by the Cyberspace Administration of China and co-hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) and Global Times Online (huanqiu.com).

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UK Opens Temporary Visa Submission Centre In Enugu

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The United Kingdom has opened a new temporary visa submission centre in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria and becomes operational from Wednesday 13th September.

A statement on Monday signed by the Senior Communications & Public Diplomacy Officer, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, British High Commission, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe read: “The British High Commission in Nigeria is pleased to announce the opening of a new temporary submission centre for UK visas in Enugu State from 13 September 2023.

“This facility will operate out of the Omedel Luxury Hotel, 4/6 Link Road off Pascal and Jerk Bus-stop, Independence Layout, Enugu and will shortly offer a twice-a-week service.”

The statement added: “The appointment system allows an applicant to select Enugu as their application location when applying for a UK Visa.  This is in addition to current locations in Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt.

“The temporary submission centre in Enugu opens as a Premium Location meaning it will cost NGN246,250.00, which includes a Premium Lounge appointment, courier return, SMS notifications, general customer support and guidance.”

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It added that: “Demand for visa services will be carefully monitored and service reviewed/expanded should there be sufficient volumes. TLS will trial this location for at least 3 months to assess uptake of the service and enable decisions on continuation.”

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Taxi Services At Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Suspended By FAAN

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has announced the suspension of taxi services at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

The Director, Public Affairs & Consumer Protection, Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, stated in a statement that the ongoing factional disagreement among car hire providers has been impacting airport car hire service operations.

As a result, FAAN Management recommended the general public and all airport users, particularly passengers, use secure alternate modes of transportation or e-hailing services to and from the airport.

“The FAAN wishes to inform the general public that the airport car hires service at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has been suspended with immediate effect.

“This is a result of the unresolved factional dispute amongst the car hire operators which has been affecting airport car hire service operations.

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“Consequent upon this suspension, FAAN Management advises the general public and all airport users, particularly our esteemed passengers to use secured alternative means of transportation or E-hailing services in and out of the airport.

“The Management of FAAN regrets any inconvenience this necessary suspension may cause our esteemed passengers, airport users, and the general public. Normal Car Hire Services resumes as soon as their differences are resolved” reads the statement in parts.

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