Stories by Demola Ojo

The Easter season is truly on and for many countries around the world it’s a holiday for students especially. Regardless of the what it’s known as (spring break, mid-term, April break)  the transitional season between winter and summer provides an opportunity for parents to give their children a lifetime treat before schools resume while entrepreneurs, corporate organisations and executives use the break to unwind and network with people from all over the world.

Speaking on how Dubai plans to lure Nigerian visitors during this period, Director Africa, Dubai Tourism, Stella Obinwa said: “Visitors to Dubai this Spring will be immersed in a world of excitement like never before as Dubai Tourism has a treat for everyone: parents; children; businessmen and women; corporate visitors and many other who want to have a great time.

“Dubai Tourism has been ensuring the enjoyable experience of Nigerian visitors to the beautiful city of Dubai for quite a long time. 

Nigerians are hardworking people who spend almost 360 days of the year at work but Dubai Tourism is creating avenues where work meets play and networking leads to formidable relationship,” she said.

According to her, there is a special focus on the young ones as two of the biggest and most equipped entertainment destinations in the world – Dubai Parks and Resorts, and IMG Worlds of Adventure – promise visitors unparalleled excitement. 

Dubai Parks and Resorts offers visitors a massive thrill playground for the young and the young at heart to relive childhood memories and fantasies all over again.

 Meanwhile IMG boasts of four epic adventure zones in one location. 

Two of the four zones represent renowned global brands Cartoon Network and MARVEL, while IMG Boulevard and the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure zones are original concepts created by the IMG Group. IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world’s largest temperature controlled indoor theme park. 

The entertainment destination features a unique array of adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, thrill rides, and spine-tingling attractions based on popular Cartoon Network characters, iconic MARVEL super heroes and hair-raising dinosaurs.

Apart from the theme parks, tourists are expected to: shop at the popular Dubai Mall, experience the amazing Dubai Parks and Resorts, learn the ropes at Aventura Parks, relive the Atlantean adventure at Atlantis, visit 

The Palm, feed the turtles at Jumeirah Al Naseem, conquer the dunes of the Safari Desert or  chase the sun at Kite Beach.

Fun lovers will also experience the popular Turtle Lagoon at ‘Jumeirah Al Naseem’ and learn more about the Hawksbill turtle, which is native to the Middle East and an endangered species with an estimated 8,000 nesting females left worldwide. Children can swim with dolphins or try out the rides at ‘Aquaventure’ – one of the best waterparks in the Middle East. Visitors are expected to discover incredible marine life at the ‘Lost Chambers Aquarium’.

Shoppers from Nigeria will benefit from quality side attractions as the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, is a major site viewed from Dubai Mall. With more than 1,200 retail outlets across 1.1 million square metres and with top brands such as Armani and Zara positioned inside the beautiful Dubai Mall, shoppers are assured of value for money.

Countdown to INDABA Travel Expo Begins

South African Tourism is putting the final touches to INDABA 2017 which kicks off a month from today. INDABA, Africa’s leading travel show, returns to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban from May 16 to 18, sporting a more streamlined programme and improved floor layout to make it easier for the world to come and sample the tourism treasures Africa has to offer.

Through the convenient online diary and matchmaking system, delegates can use technology to set up pre-scheduled meetings with buyers or exhibitors that may match their needs, saving time and enabling them to get the best out of the show.

For the first time, this digital platform has also been extended to media, meaning journalists can now schedule one-on-one meetings with exhibitors of interest to secure the stories they want to tell about Africa’s tourism industry.

A new INDABA app will also function as a one-stop digital resource for updates, news and events. This year’s heightened focus on matching like-minded tourism industry players is aimed at driving successful business deals while helping to showcase the kaleidoscope of product options on offer. 

For instance, the Hidden Gems pavilion will introduce the world’s travel buyers and visitors to small tourism enterprises from each of South Africa’s nine provinces that may otherwise have remained undiscovered, in the hope of encouraging a broader range of authentic tourism experiences to be included in tours to South Africa.

Delegates at the trade show will be exposed to the full breadth of Africa’s tourism offerings, including high-end products at the Tourism Grading Council’s new luxury pavilion. 

This feature will cater to global buyers who are on the lookout for the premier five-star offerings many destinations on the continent are famed for.

Apart from the pre-scheduled meetings, buyers will have the chance to meet with exhibitors during the morning speed marketing sessions on each of the three show days. Here, participating exhibitors will be grouped according to themes such as lap of luxury, scenic outdoors and award winners before making short presentations on their offerings. 

These sessions are an excellent way for buyers to ask questions and learn more about exhibitors – many of whom are small businesses.

Media organisations will discover an abundance of challenging and thought-provoking content in the series of Conversations at INDABA 2017. Leaders and influencers from the local and global industry will take part in riveting panel discussions around topical issues and their impact on African tourism. 

 INDABA’s focus on African destinations gives visitors a chance to become acquainted with exciting product developments throughout the continent. Industry players from more than 17 African countries are taking part, including Angola, Botswana, the DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Réunion, Seychelles, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Emirates Starts Advanced  Seat Reservation on Amadeus 

Emirates Airlines is offering travellers more choice and personalised travel experiences by making advanced seat reservation available through the Amadeus distribution channel.

Advanced seat reservation allows travellers to select their seat at the time of purchase. With this ancillary services implementation, Emirates is also able to add new and exciting services to its catalogue, so travel agents can serve their customers’ broadest needs and add further value to their overall travel journey.

Having also recently launched its branded fares in the Amadeus distribution channel, Emirates now has the tools to differentiate its brand, maximise sales and engage with travellers and travel agents in new and innovative ways through the world’s largest and most diverse travel community, a statement from the airline said.

Ethiopian, Singapore Airlines Sign Codeshare to Connect Africa, Asia

Star Alliance members, Ethiopian Airlines and Singapore Airlines will expand their codeshare agreement from June 1, offering customers travelling between Africa and Asia seamless connectivity options. Ethiopian Airlines’ daily non-stop services to Singapore from Addis Ababa, due to be launched in June, will be covered by the expanded codeshare agreement.

 Under the expanded agreement, Ethiopian Airlines customers will be able to access multiple destinations in Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam across Singapore Airlines’ wide network. In turn, Singapore Airlines customers will enjoy access to Ethiopian Airlines’ vast intra-African network including countries like Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Mozambique, The Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. 

Mr. Girma Shiferaw, Acting Vice President, Strategic Planning and Alliances, remarked: “I wish to thank Singapore Airlines for the successful completion of this vital agreement. The two airlines will synergize their respective networks in Asia and Africa to offer customers the best connectivity options with one ticket and one single check-in at the first boarding airport. 

It will also play a critical role in enhancing investment, trade and tourism ties between a rising Africa, and a highly developed, innovative, and business-friendly Singapore.”

Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, Mr Tan Kai Ping, said, “We are delighted with our expanded codeshare operations with Ethiopian Airlines. This significant expansion of our important partnership is in line with our ongoing effort to continuously expand our network reach and to offer customers more travel options and convenience when travelling between Africa, Asia and Southwest Pacific.”

 The airlines first began code sharing on each other’s flights to and from Dubai in 2011. The expanded codeshare flights are subject to regulatory approvals and will be progressively made available for sale across various sales channels.

 Ethiopian Airlines operates the youngest fleet on the African continent with an average aircraft age of less than five years, serving more than 90 international destinations across five continents with over 240 daily departures. Singapore Airlines operates a modern passenger aircraft fleet of more than 100 aircraft. Together with wholly owned passenger airline subsidiaries SilkAir, Scoot and Tigerair, the SIA Group’s combined network covers more than 130 destinations around the world.