African tourism leaders recommend MICE for sectoral recovery
These tourism leaders cutting across countries such as: South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya, gave the advice at the 16th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market’s conference held online.
The roundtable was organised by Mr Ikechi Uko, with the theme: “Is MICE a Viable Pathway for Tourism Recovery in Africa?’’
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions is a type of tourism in which large groups usually plan well in advance and are brought together.
Rick Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Business Tourism Company, said that MICE in Africa was pretty new but started in the United States since 1714.
Taylor said that enormous opportunities would be available if MICE was properly developed in Africa.
“We need to work on returning to embrace our meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions because it was observed that an hour of physical meeting is only as effective as 5 zoom meetings, 10 phone calls and 20 emails.
“Some 14 new ideas were likely to be generated during physical meetings but only 7 ideas would be gotten from online meetings,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Alain St.Ange, former Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, said that the MICE market was an important one in the tourism industry, adding that there was need to discover more Africans who would be dedicated to work in grooming tourism.
He advised Africans to work together to achieve common goals of revamping the tourism industry and create global competitiveness.
“Tourism is the pillar of the Seychelles economy and with a population of 100,000 people, we are able to sustain the country through the returns on tourism.
“MICE is an important market in tourism, it needs to be developed rightly,’’ he said.
Nelly Mukazayire, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Convention Bureau, also attested to the fact that MICE was one of the innovative ways for revenue creation which Africans must leverage upon.
According to her, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous events were postponed and the country recorded losses to the tune of $8m.
“Rwanda is open to MICE, domestic tourism and travels now, the government has set up platforms to ensure tourists’ safety, who either come for leisure or business opportunities.
“The Rwandan government has established economic recovery funds, created home grown events that align with our investment priorities; Rwanda is a unique destination for events and MICE is guaranteed,’’ she said.
Jacinta Nzioka, National Coordinator, Kenya National Convention Bureau, said that the business of MICE had sustained the country as a tourist destination, adding that the Kenyan government was working with the private sector to further grow MICE.
Nzioka said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 97 tourism events were cancelled and over 42,000 jobs were lost.
She said when International travels began, 16 per cent arrivals were recorded to be on purpose of business, which she described as encouraging.
“Currently, we have stimulus packages for the hospitality sector, and recovery funds to restart the industry all put together by the Kenyan government; we see a bright future for MICE in Kenya,’’ she said.
Nzioka advised Africans to work unanimously to complement one another’s efforts in the development of MICE and not for competitive purposes.
Mr Bradford Ochieng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Tourism Board, said that the board had prioritised the promotion and development of business tourism to diversify the country’s tourism offerings and encompass more than leisure.
Ochieng said this was expected to increase the number of tourist arrivals, receipt and earnings from business travellers.
He said currently, the board was trying to partner with the private sector to develop affordable travel packages to revamp the industry.
“The MICE industry is an emerging one in the Ugandan economy, the Ugandan tourism board will continue to prioritise both leisure and business travels.
“We want to tell everyone that we are ready for MICE and planning to invest more in hotels, convention centres and all,’’ he said.
Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo
NCPC boss honours Bauchi, celebrates ‘Word Peace Day’ in the state
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam, on Monday commended people of Bauchi state for living in peace regardless of their differences.
Speaking when he visited Gov. BalaMohammed, Pam said he was impressed by the peaceful atmosphere and had therefore decided to visit the state to celebrate the. ‘ World Peace Day’ there.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the United Nations has designated Sept. 21 of every year as ‘World Peace Day’ aimed at strengthening the ideals of peace.
He said that considering the peaceful nature of Bauchi, others needed to emulate the people and the state governor , whom he said never discriminated against followers of any faith.
He described Gov Mohammed as a ‘pilgrims-friendly, Chief Executive considering his inclusiveness and generosity, especially his administration resilience and fairness in appointing Christians into positions.
In his remarks, the governor commended the Christian community in the state for maintaining peace, unity and brotherhood, which further promoted and consolidated the fraternal relationship between Christian and Moslems.
He expressed delight that the state had remained peaceful and stable, just as he commended the state chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) for being proactive.
The governor pledged to increase the number of slots for indigent Christians performing pilgrimage, from the initial 100.
Mohammed, who declined to disclose the number of increment in the seats, urged Christians to always pray for peace and stability of the state and Nigeria at large .
He said that he was highly delighted to receive the Secretary, expressing confidence that the commission would benefit from the dynamic leadership of Pam..
Edited By: Remi Koleoso
COVID-19: PTF warns against neglect of protocols
He said that there were increasing disregard for basic non-pharmaceutical measures that have proven to be very successful.
He said face masks have now been turned into chin masks, social distancing and gatherings are returning to the pre-COVID era.
Mustapha, however, called for vigilance in order to forestall any danger of second wave of the pandemic as the countries in Europe were currently facing.
According to him, the call for greater vigilance is underscored by the fact that our economy has been seriously affected by the pandemic and we are pushing through our home-grown economic recovery strategies to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.
” Also, our health systems, in spite of its fragility, have been able to withstand and contain cases resulting from COVID-19 infection, where those of more advanced countries have been overwhelmed.
“This call is made more pertinent in view of the noticeably increasing disregard for basic non-pharmaceutical measures that have proven very successful.
“Face masks have now been turned into chin masks, social distancing and gatherings are returning to the pre-COVID era,” he said.
Speaking on the second wave of the virus across the world, the PTF chairman said, “Israel has re-introduced a three-week lockdown, the United Kingdom was considering another lockdown phase, Spain was enforcing a partial lockdown in Madrid and France – amidst protests by its citizens.
“They have also introduced stricter measures to contain the virus. Similar stories are coming from South Korea, Iran and the number of fatalities is approaching 200,000 in the USA.
“The World Health Organisation(WHO), has advised that everybody should learn from lessons of the first wave, especially as ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’.
“Let me share with you a global picture to buttress the foregoing. Over the last three days, the global cases passed the 31 million mark and it took only four days to get there from the 30th million.
“The USA crossed 7 million cases and continues to report a high daily caseload of over 30, 000 daily. We continue to see highest daily numbers from India.
“More specifically, the lesson for us in Nigeria, is that in spite of appreciable progress recorded, we should be vigilant more than ever before, because we have opened our air spaces to international travels, we have relaxed a number of restrictions in opening up more sectors of the economy and schools are beginning to open in varying degrees.”
On the reopening of airports for international travels, Mustapha noted that the PTF would continue to work with partners from the private sector to fine tune the protocols for international travellers, especially those arriving in Nigeria.
He, however, urged all travellers to ensure that they complete all pre-boarding and post-arrival processes, especially on the portal to facilitate seamless arrivals at the airports.
“We cannot afford the importation of the virus.
“We appeal strongly to all Nigerians to persuade their relations arriving Nigeria to self-isolate upon arrival, as required and test on day seven as prescribed,”
Edited By: Felix Ajide
At 75, UN remains true to aspirations of founders -Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed the United Nations for remaining true to the aspirations of its founders, saying the international organisation has continued to play the crucial role of fostering global peace and security.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman disclosed that Buhari stated this when he joined world leaders at a virtual event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, on Monday.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the UN for the first time convened world leaders in a virtual format for the High-level meetings and the annual General Debate.
In his video message to the UN at 75 event, Buhari amplified Nigeria’s achievements at the UN since 1960 when the country officially joined the organisation.
He highlighted the country’s active contribution in human, financial and material resources to several United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, among other priorities.
The Nigerian leader said: ”On behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I wish to express sincere felicitation to Member States for the giant strides taken towards achieving the objectives of the Organization thus far.
”Today’s celebration is a remarkable milestone in the history of the United Nations. It affords us the opportunity to review our progress and challenges as well as chart the course for our future.
”For over seven decades, the United ‘Nations has remained true to the aspirations of its founders. It continues to play a crucial role in fostering global peace and security.
”The Organisation has grown in membership and scope to reflect contemporary global trends.
”Collectively, we have improved and saved lives, as well as defended the rights of the vulnerable in adherence to the principles of the United Nations.
”More so, we have worked together to shelter refugees; foster development; invest in conflict resolution and peacekeeping; and promoted women’s and children’s rights.
”Moreover, we have jointly intensified the fight against deadly diseases such as Malaria, Ebola, Tuberculosis, and the Coronavirus pandemic.”
On decolonisation, the president called on Member States to abide by UN Resolution 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.
He warned that ‘‘the quest to realise total decolonisation remains incomplete as long as Non-Self-Governing territories continue to exist.’’
The Nigerian leader noted that beyond the spheres of peace and security, the United Nations had also played active roles in the decolonization of many territories.
”This was achieved through the adoption of many Resolutions that supported the independence and subsequent admission of over Eighty (80) territories into the Organization.
”However, the quest to realise total decolonisation remains incomplete as long as Non-Self-Governing territories continue to exist.
”In this regard, I call on Member States to abide by UN Resolution 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples,’’ he said.
On Nigeria’s participation at the UN, Buhari said the country has remained a reliable partner of the United Nations in its aspiration to achieve its mandate of a more peaceful, secure, and developed world.
”This year’s celebration is significant to Nigeria as it coincides with our Sixtieth (60) Anniversary of joining this esteemed Organization.
”As an active member of the Organisation, Nigeria has contributed human, financial and material resources to several United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
”We have also provided humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced persons; helped countries in tackling diseases such as Ebola and extended both human and financial resources as technical aid to other countries.
”In addition, we have served on five occasions as Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council and contributed significantly to the promotion of international peace and security,” he said.
According to him, in spite of progress made in safeguarding world peace and promoting global cooperation, the world is still faced with complex challenges.
”Efforts to address impediments for the attainment of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were undermined by the advent of Coronavirus pandemic which brought about unprecedented challenges that cannot be tackled by any single country or region.
”The inward-looking tendencies exhibited by Member States in the wake of the pandemic have particularly revealed an urgent need for us to strengthen international cooperation, unity and solidarity to address all negative developments including climate change, violent extremism, natural disasters, and cyber-security.
”However, as we continue to battle the pandemic and search for possible solutions, including an effective vaccine, we implore nations to adopt a global approach in addressing the global health emergency in a bid to build the future we want,” he said.
The president also used the occasion to emphasize the imperative of a fair and equitable representation in the Security Council, ”if we must achieve the United Nations we need.”
He said: ”The demand for the reform of the United Nations Security Council is just and a place for Africa in the very strategic Organ of the Organisation is long-overdue.
”In our collective effort to rebuild the United Nations of our dream, Nigeria reaffirms her commitment to upholding the principles of the United Nations including: Human Rights, Peace and Security, as well as Democratic governance.
”I, therefore, reiterate Nigeria’s rededication to multilateralism and the rules-based international system.
”It is my hope that this anniversary will encourage us to respond to the numerous challenges we face and support efforts aimed at building the United Nations System we desire.”
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz