Africa tourism sector for 14mn jobs in a decade

By admin

 

African travel & tourism sector is expected to create almost 14 million new jobs over the next decade, said the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in its latest Economic Impact Report (EIR).

The global tourism body’s annual report also shows further optimism for the region’s Travel & Tourism GDP, which could approach pre-pandemic levels by 2023 – just 9 percent below 2019 level

The positive forecast from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which shows an average of 1.4 million new jobs every year, also reveals the sector will lead the economic recovery in the region, with its annual GDP growth set to outpace the overall economy for the next 10 years.

According to the report, Travel & Tourism’s GDP is forecasted to grow at an average rate of 6.8% annually between 2022-2032, more than twice the 3.3 percent growth rate of region’s overall economy, to reach nearly $279 billion (7.2 percent of the total economy).

The sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to grow 20.5 percent to $144 billion by the end of 2022, amounting to 5.1 percent of the total economic GDP, while employment in the sector is set to grow by 3.1 percent this year to reach nearly 22 million jobs.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Africa is clearly bouncing back and is set to experience a significant recovery over the couple of years and looking ahead over the next 10 years, the sector could create almost 14 million jobs.

“However, last year the recovery was significantly impacted by Omicron, which saw many countries reinstating severe and unjustified travel restrictions on several key African destinations.”

Before the pandemic, the Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to the region’s GDP was 6.8 percent ($182.4 billion) in 2019, falling to just 3.8 percent ($96.5 billion) in 2020 when the pandemic was at its height, nearly halving the contribution of such a crucial sector to the economy with a 47.1 percent decline.

The sector also supported more than 25 million jobs across the region, which after a 22.9 percent drop, fell to just 19.6 million in 2020.

However, looking back at 2021, WTTC’s latest EIR report reveals a year in which we saw the beginning of the recovery for the region’s Travel & Tourism sector, Travel & Tourism’s contribution to GDP increased 23.5 peercent year on year, to reach more than US$119 billion.

It also saw a recovery of 1.6 million Travel & Tourism jobs, representing a positive 8.2% rise to reach more than 21 million.

Rotimi goes to Germany for exclusive shows

By Favour Nnabugwu
Olurotimi Akinosho with a stage name Rotimi appears in Germany for an exclusive show.
The American actor, singer and model, born to Nigerian parent, father is a Yoruba and mother from Igbo, will perform his debut album in Berlin on 20 May, part of his ongoing world tour to promote his debut album “All or Nothing”.
He co-signs with T-Pain, 50 Cent, JAY-Z, Jamie Foxx and TI, singer-songwriter Rotimi ushers in a new era of game changers.
While he has so far been best known for his acting roles, such as in the American hit series “STARZ”, Rotimi also really got off to a musical start with his debut album this year.
Born on 30 November 1988 in Maplewood, New Jersey. He attended Columbia High School, where he was on both the varsity basketball team and the choir. He continued his studies at Northwestern University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication with a minor in Business in 2010.
A contemporary R&B artist, the singer-songwriter mixes modern R&B with traditional Afrobeat and dancehall, while adding his own smooth sound of global influences. His first EP “Jeep Music Volume 1”, which was released in 2017, generated over 40 million streams with “Want More” (ft. Kranium). But until his debut album “All or Nothing”, which was released in August 2021, fans were musically spoiled over the years with a few mixtapes such as “The Resume”, “While You Wait” or “The Beauty of Becoming”.
The latter EP includes the gold-certified track “In My Bed” feat. whales In April 2020, Rotimi released a six-song acoustic EP called Unplugged Sessions, which enthralled its listeners. At the beginning of the year he released his music video “Love Somebody” which shows a new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve.
A creative creator at heart, Rotimi’s motto embodies both his attitude and his art: “No Limit.”
Independent Hajj Reporters to monitor 33,976 allocation to States

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

A civil society organisation under the aegis of Independent Hajj Reporters, (IHR), has vowed to monitor State Muslim Pilgrims Boards share the 33,976 Hajj 2022 seats allocation to intending pilgrims.

This is to ensure that each State are equitable distribution of Hajj seats to pilgrims,

NAHCON has allocated seats to states using a commendable 2019 airlift performance yardstick to States and private Tour Operators. A total number of 33, 976 were distributed to states and 9,032 set aside to be shared to registered private tour operators.

The Top 10 Hajj states like Kaduna received 2,419, Niger 2256,  Sokoto 2404, Kano 2,229, Katsina 2146, Kebbi 2128 , Lagos 1562, , FCT 1538, Bauchi 1362 and Zamfara 1303

The civil society in a statement signed by its national coordinator Ibrahim Muhammed said it has instructed its members across the states to liaise with the leadership of the boards and agencies in the states to know the number of intending pilgrims that has been are able to meet the criteria set by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), and those that are eventually selected to perform 2022 Hajj.

Muhammed also noted  “The allocation of 2022 Hajj Seats to States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards follow certain criteria adopted by NAHCON and we urges States Pilgrims Boards to applied its agreed principle of first come first served.

The IHR said it is already aware that Saudi Arabian authorities have limited the maximum age of those who can perform Hajj 2022 to 65 years. This criterion alone, it said, will disrupt the philosophy of ‘first come first serve’ because there are pilgrims who paid much earlier than others but are above 65 years.

The CEO also said the projection of N2.5 Million as Hajj fare will also affect the outcome because not all those who are in priority list will be able to pay up the balance of their fare as at when due.

However, IHR advised that those who paid in 2019 should be given the right of first refusal before 2020, and 2021 depositors. This sequence of distribution should also supersede the NAHCON/SMPWBS’ 60/40 seat formula.

IHR further appeal to States Muslim Pilgrims Boards Executive Secretaries not to succumb to Politicians who may put pressure on them to allocate Hajj seats to their political foot soldiers at the detriment of intending pilgrims.

“With a few days to the primary elections of major political parties, desperate politicians may likely want to hijack Hajj seats as part of political favours to woo delegates or influence support to their candidature.

Saudi Arabia has allocated 43,008 Hajj quotas to Nigeria for this year’s pilgrimage after 2 consecutive years of suspending Hajj due to the Corona Virus pandemic.

FG blames delay in passport issuance to NIMC server breakdown, discrepancies in names

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

The Federal Government has blamed the delay in the issuance of international passports to the breakdown of the National Identity Management Commission NIMC server and discrepancies in names.

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Abdulrauf Aregbesola stated in Abuja at the 3rd and 4th Quarter 2021 Performance Review of the Ministry.

Aregbesola made it known that the breakdown of the NIMC server makes validation of passport applicants’ biodata impossible.

He added that discrepancies in names of citizens on their Passports and National Identification Number NIN also adds to the problem.

The minister said: “You must integrate your NIN with your Passport, without which we cannot issue a passport. So the delays therefore are not caused by us at all. As long as that integration of your biodata also called biometrics with your NIN number, which is on the database of NIMC, cannot accept your biodata as similar or identical with the one in it to issue a passport, without such integration or harmonization, it will simply be impossible.

“We are not the ones holding your passports and preventing you from traveling. The problem is the inability to link your biodata with your NIN. That is responsible and it is beyond our control. Why could this be? The server of NIMC might be down, it rarely happens, but it does happen.

“Another problem is the applications themselves. Individuals shouldn’t be bearing different names on their NIN and passports. It won’t be a seamless integration. There shouldn’t be a mix up of middle names in place of first names and vice versa, as it is on your NIMC so it should appear on your passport.

“These little things conspire against speedy processing of passports. I took time to explain this, because most Nigerians do not care about these minute details, they just heap the blame on the Nigeria Immigration Service.”

The Minister noted that soon, applicants will be able to track their applications online, adding that the Ministry and its sister agencies are not where they ought to be.

“I must say that our services have improved tremendously and quite noticeably too, with presentation of our performance at the Second Ministerial Retreat organized by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation which was applauded and well received.

“We are not yet there by our own standards. Things are not yet where they are supposed to be, but I want to assure Nigerians that we will not rest on our oars”, he stated.

On his part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, said the 3rd and 4th quarter performance review of 2021 would provide the Ministry the opportunity to assess and fix any noticeable loophole.

Nigeria Immigration Service places embargo on capturing, issuance of passports

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

The Nigeria Immigration Service has placed an embargo on capturing and issuance of passports to applicants from today May 18th till the end of May 2021.

The Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede made the announcement on Tuesday during a press briefing in Abuja.

He said the decision is to enable the service to clear its backlog, noting that it will no longer collect fresh applications until the backlogs are cleared

This means that all passports in control offices are closed for applicants from today till May 31st and payments for passports will be online when the portal is opened which will be June.

Nigerians abroad with expired passport can renew @ home country’s airports

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

Nigerians who are living abroad with expired password can come back home and have the document renewed at the airports.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said government was conscious of the difficulties Nigerians were experiencing with passport renewal due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it was committed to alleviating the situation.

“It is in this regard that the NIS [Nigerian Immigration Service] recently granted a waiver for Nigerians with expired passports desirous of coming to Nigeria to do so without fear of harassment by airlines.”

The minister made the announcement while speaking at the inaugural Diaspora Quarterly Lecture of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) at the weekend.

To ensure a hitch-free renewal of the expired passports when their holders arrive in Nigeria, the NIS would soon set up front offices at the country’s international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt, he revealed.

“The front office is a new concept which is aimed at helping Nigerians who arrive the country on expired passports to have their passports renewed immediately at these airports,” Aregbesola said.

In response to widespread complaints about the delay in the issuance of passports in Nigeria and at the country’s missions abroad, the minister said the NIS was working to ensure that all outstanding passport applications were cleared by 31 May.

“To ensure efficient and effective service delivery to Nigerians, we have recently reviewed the passport issuing process with a view to streamlining the process for better performance while also eliminating the activities of touts who in recent times have portrayed the NIS in bad light,” the minister said at the virtual conference, at which Nigerians across the globe participated.

“Some of these reforms include:

a. All passport applications and payments are to be made online;

b. Effective June 1st, all passport application and issuance will take a period of six (6) weeks. This is to enable the NIS carry out due diligence on all applications received;

c. Applicants will be informed via email and SMS on the status of their applications and;

d. The introduction of Express Centres to provide Premium service to Nigerians. The first of its kind has taken off in Maitama Abuja and more will be replicated in every local government in Nigeria soon.”

The event with the theme ‘Mobilising Nigerians in the Diaspora for National Development’, which took place on Saturday (8 May), is the first in a series of lectures organised by NiDCOM on critical issues of concern to Nigerians living abroad.

Among other dignitaries who spoke at the online confab include the Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, and Dr Bashir Obasekola, Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe, who spoke on behalf of the global Nigerian diaspora community.

Established in May 2019, NiDCOM is the agency responsible for the engagement of Nigerians in the Diaspora in the development of Nigeria.

By Favour Nnabugwu

The British Government has announced there will be work permit for Nigerians and other international students after the completion of a UK bachelor’s degree programme or above

The UK government has announced that international students who want to work in England following the successful completion of a UK degree at bachelor’s degree-level or above, or an eligible professional qualification, can now do so.

Nigeria is one of the main countries sending students to the UK, and the numbers have increased in recent years. According to statistics, in 2020 over 13,000 Nigerian students were granted a UK study visa, an increase of 56 per cent on the year before.

The British government said the graduates could look for work after their studies for a maximum period of two years and three years for PhD students.

According to a statement on Thursday, by the British High Commission, this will allow the UK to retain the brightest and the best students to continue to contribute to the UK post-study.

It added that applications for the graduate route will open on July 1, 2021,ensuring Nigerian students would continue to choose the UK as the destination to study and build their careers.

This was contained in a statement on Thursday, titled, ‘New UK post-study graduate route to open to Nigerian students this summer,’ signed by the second Secretary Political/Head of Communications, British High Commission, Dean Hurlock.

It stated, ‘’Today, the UK government has confirmed the new Graduate route will open for applications on 1 July 2021, to international students who successfully complete a degree at undergraduate level or above in the UK. International students on the Graduate route will be able to work or look for work after their studies for a maximum period of two years (three years for PhD students). This will allow the UK to retain the brightest and the best students to continue to contribute to the UK post-study.’’

The high commission also disclosed that the coronavirus concessions for students unable to travel to the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic have also been extended, recognising the continuing disruption many face in international travel.

It said applicants who began their studies in autumn 2020 will have to have been in the UK by June 21 (updated from 6 April 2021) to be eligible to apply to the Graduate route, adding that students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by September 27.

“’The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer to apply for the route. There will be no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers – Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.

‘’To be eligible, international students must have completed a UK degree at bachelor’s degree-level or above, or an eligible professional qualification at a higher education provider, with a track record of compliance with the UK Government’s immigration requirements,’’ the statement noted.

It said the new graduate route would help the UK Government to achieve the ambition set out in the International Education Strategy to increase the number of international students in higher education in the UK to 600,000 by 2030.

Commenting on the development, the UK Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster said, “As we rebuild from the impact of the global pandemic, we want the world’s brightest talents to see the UK as the natural home for their aspirations. The launch of this new route will ensure those who graduate from our world leading institutions will easily be able to secure the status they deserve to continue living and working as they make our United Kingdom their home.”

In her remarks, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, stated, “In 2020, over 13,000 Nigerian students were granted a UK study visa to continue their academic journey. This is a testament to the strengthening educational relationship between the UK and Nigeria.”

“We hope the launch of this new post-study work route will provide an exciting opportunity for Nigerian students to build their careers, and discover new opportunities that the UK has to offer.”

 

Tanzania and four other counties are the only five countries out of 217 destinations worldwide that are fully open to foreigners, as they lifted all coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

According to World Tourism Organisation said on Monday, the other four countries are Albania, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and North Macedonia

“All COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted … (in) 5 destinations (this amount to 2 per cent of all destinations worldwide),” the report said.

It added that 32 per cent of all destinations, or 69 in total, remain closed for international tourism due to the coronavirus, with around just over half of them, 38 destinations, being shut for at least 40 weeks.

Meanwhile, partial closure of borders is being applied by 73 countries, or 34 per cent of all destinations.

“At present, the persistent serious epidemiological situation and in particular the emergence of different SARSCoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) have reversed the trend.

And this had resulted in the tightening of travel restrictions, mostly directed at destinations in which these VOCs have been verified,” the report added.

Last year, the number of international tourist trips decreased by 74 per cent — some 1 billion trips — over the onset of the coronavirus pandemic compared to the previous year.

The crisis has threatened between 100 million and 120 million jobs in the industry.

five countries out of 217 destinations worldwide are fully open to foreigners, as they lifted all coronavirus-related travel restrictions, the latest report by the World Tourism Organisation said on Monday.

The countries are Albania, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, North Macedonia, and Tanzania.

“All COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted … (in) 5 destinations (this amount to 2 per cent of all destinations worldwide),” the report said.

It added that 32 per cent of all destinations, or 69 in total, remain closed for international tourism due to the coronavirus, with around just over half of them, 38 destinations, being shut for at least 40 weeks.

Meanwhile, partial closure of borders is being applied by 73 countries, or 34 per cent of all destinations.

“At present, the persistent serious epidemiological situation and in particular the emergence of different SARSCoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) have reversed the trend.

And this had resulted in the tightening of travel restrictions, mostly directed at destinations in which these VOCs have been verified,” the report added.

Last year, the number of international tourist trips decreased by 74 per cent — some 1 billion trips — over the onset of the coronavirus pandemic compared to the previous year.

The crisis has threatened between 100 million and 120 million jobs in the industry.

Only five countries out of 217 destinations worldwide are fully open to foreigners, as they lifted all coronavirus-related travel restrictions, the latest report by the World Tourism Organisation said on Monday.

The countries are Albania, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, North Macedonia, and Tanzania.

“All COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted … (in) 5 destinations (this amount to 2 per cent of all destinations worldwide),” the report said.

It added that 32 per cent of all destinations, or 69 in total, remain closed for international tourism due to the coronavirus, with around just over half of them, 38 destinations, being shut for at least 40 weeks.

Meanwhile, partial closure of borders is being applied by 73 countries, or 34 per cent of all destinations.

“At present, the persistent serious epidemiological situation and in particular the emergence of different SARSCoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) have reversed the trend.

And this had resulted in the tightening of travel restrictions, mostly directed at destinations in which these VOCs have been verified,” the report added.

Last year, the number of international tourist trips decreased by 74 per cent — some 1 billion trips — over the onset of the coronavirus pandemic compared to the previous year.

The crisis has threatened between 100 million and 120 million jobs in the industry.

China has barred non-Chinese travellers from Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Belgium and others from entry their country over the resurgence of Covid-19
The country imposed new border restrictions in response to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic across Europe.
The Chinese embassy in the UK said Beijing had “decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non-Chinese nationals.”
“The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of COVID-19,” it said .
The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria also said it will no longer issue certified health declaration form for non-Chinese nationals in the country.
The notices said the new restrictions would not affect those with diplomatic, official or courtesy visas or crew members of international flights, trains or other vessels.
The embassy in a statement said “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement.
“The Chinese Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria will no longer issue a certified health declaration form for the above-mentioned personnel. Entry by holders of diplomatic service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected.
It is not very clear why Nigeria was included in the travel ban having recorded fever cases compared to what the World Health Organization (WHO) called a “critical moment of action” in Europe.
According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Nigeria now has 63,325 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the first reported case in March.
“To date, 63,328 cases have been confirmed, 59,675 cases have been discharged and 1,155 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 668,729 tests have been carried out as of November 4th, 2020 compared to 635,410 tests a day earlier,” the NCDC said on its website.
The Chinese embassy website in Belgium announced a similar ban on travelers as a “last resort in response to the current pandemic.”
The UK, one of the world’s hardest hit countries with nearly 48,000 deaths linked to the virus and more than one million cases, has entered a new nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Belgium, which has the most COVID-19 cases per capita in the world, has been in lockdown since last week.
Beijing has recently tightened requirements for travelers from several countries, making entry much more difficult.
These requirements include the presentation of a health certificate from the local Chinese embassy showing the results of a nucleic acid test and an antibody test – within 48 hours of travel.
The new rules apply to travelers from countries including France, India, Singapore, Canada, Germany, Pakistan, South Africa and the U.S..
Arik Air, others cancel flights

Arik Air has announced the suspension of it flights due to the 24 hour curfew imposed on Lagos State by the Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo- Olu.

This is just as some foreign airlines have also announced cancellation of flights due to the current protest and unrest in the country.

The airline Communication Manager, Mr Adebanji Ola yesterday said : “Arik Air has cancelled all its flight operations for Wednesday, October 21, 2020 in compliance to the 24 hours curfew announced by the Lagos State government on Tuesday, October 20, 2020”.

“All booked passengers on the cancelled flights are advised to reschedule their flights for later dates at no extra cost”

The Lagos State government announced a 24 hours curfew effective 4:00pm October 20, 2020″.

Recall the 24 hour curfew took effect yesterday, Tuesday throughout the state to forestall further burning of government and private properties.

Thugs have infetrated and hijacked the protest that started peacefully throughout the country.

Other airlines might likely join in the cancellation of flights as prospective passengers will not be able to access the Airports.

Meanwhile, some foreign airlines have announced the suspension of flights to Nigeria due to the current protest. United States owned airline, Delta, in its advisory said flight DL248 ATLLOS for October 19, 2020 scheduled to arrive LOS on Tuesday Oct 20, 2020 will not operate due to the 24-hour curfew imposed by the Lagos State Government.

According to the airline, “Consequently, Flight DL249 LOSATL scheduled to operate today October 20, 2020 has also been canceled. Further details on flight operations will be duly communicated. We truly regret any inconvenience”

Also Ghana based airline, Africa World Airlines (AWA) yesterday said due to “curfew in Lagos, tonight, we will cancel flights for October 20 and October 21, 2020”.

The airline further said that it would be monitoring the situation and will be updating passengers

Kenya Airways has also cancelled flights to the country. The airline said : ” We regret to inform you that KQ533 scheduled to depart 21/Oct/2020 from LOS – NBO has been canceled due to the 24Hrs curfew imposed by the Lagos State Government”

“We implore you to communicate with your guests as soon as you can. Thank you for your patience and understanding”, the airline added.

It also said in a statement that it was planning to send out another communication with regards to “re-protection and flight operations for the affected guests” as soon as they have an update.