Category Archives: Global scene

The Corn Magic

The rain season had a strong appeal to me growing up. The appeal was more than the excitement of running outdoors half-naked, feeling the raindrops pelt my skin. It was more than feeling thrilled when we avoided getting whooped for tracking mud on the floors. It was the corn that grew on talk silky stalks.

Corn. Supple, golden, hot, and moist. One staple plant that comes with the rain season.

People have different consumption preferences. Some like it boiled in salted water till tender, others prefer it grilled over hot coals, and some enjoy it cooked with other foods like rice or beans. There are many ways to enjoy it

 

An amazing fact about this produce is the potential it carries for economic growth. According to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the United States’ corn exports in 2020 were up to 1.6 billion dollars. China and Mexico export a combined value of 9.73 billion dollars in 2021.

 

This amazing crop is versatile – from adhesives to medicinal teas. Its economic importance spans from importing and exporting corn-based items like food produce, livestock feed, and everyday items.

The Naija Corn Festival 2021 was held in Lagos State. It had a panel discussion that covered topics like the sustainable development for a nation, healthy ways to eat corn as a family, and business opportunities the product provides for individuals. It was a mix of shared knowledge and fun.

An exciting part of the festival was the booths spanned from end to end with a plethora of corn delicacies; thrilling games and tons more.

This year promises to be more. Click here to sign up today!

A holiday in Namibia

Namibia is a beautiful country in South West Africa and it’s a magical spot recommended for nature lovers, first time visitors and even returning travellers, whether young or old! There are a variety of fun activities for all to do.

Namibians are proud of their amazing wildlife, the country is well known as the home to iconic Safari destinations. This includes the famous self-drive safari tour, where visitors pick up a car from the airport and drive themselves to tour through these wildlife parks. Some tourists prefer this because it is less pricey.

Namibia till date, holds the highest Cheetah population in the world, which are the fastest land animals on Earth. They are considered to be in danger of going extinct by the International Union for Conservation. The Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia is working hard to protect these endangered species.

The oldest desert in the world is found in Namibia and no it’s not the Sahara desert. Research shows the Namib desert in Namibia is believed to be the oldest desert in the world. It’s a coastal desert along the shores of Western Namibia about 1600 km long. The desert has been dry and arid of life for more than 50 million years! The Namib desert is well known for also having the highest sand dunes in the world. A sand dune here can be as tall as 300 meters which is like a building with 100 floors, about the height of a skyscraper! There are lots of activities to do, ranging from climbing the Dunes 45, airplane tours or balloon tours over the Namib desert and quad biking over the golden sandy desert.

       

Namibia is actually a coastline country and has plenty beautiful shores with over a thousand miles of coastline. However, swimming in the beaches is not safe for people or tourists because of the rich marine life in the waters.  This is due to the cold strong waves of the ocean, being capable to sweep swimmers away. However it’s coastline is more suitable for professional surfers with surf boards, who want to explore the waters and high waves.

The famous skeleton coast in Namibia is  known for it’s dark past of ship wrecks due to it’s rough tides from the violent Atlantic ocean.  Though survivors made it out of the ship wreck to land, there was a large mass of dry sandy desert with no water, food or shelter waiting to welcome victims. Hence very few made it out alive of the desert and there are skeletons of animals, whales and ships littered all over this coastline.

Today in Namibia, the Skeleton Coast is a tourist hot spot littered with beautiful luxury lodges for tourists who come for sight-seeing of the desert and the ancient ship wrecks. This coastal desert tells a special story while being truly, tragic, sad, beautiful, historical and unique at the same time.

     

On the 13th January 2022, Mr Humphrey Geiseb, the Namibian high commissioner to Nigeria, paid a courtesy visit to Nigeria’s Minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed in Abuja.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed used this opportunity to also voice out Nigeria’s interest in partnering with Namibia to boost tourism and culture between both nations. The Minister remains hopeful that the MOU between both nations would be implemented as soon as possible.

The Minister also assured to promote healthy working relationships  between Nollywood and the Namibian film industry. He also received the kind gesture of the Namibian government to assist in improving the Elephant conservation in Nigeria as Mr. Geiseb emphasized that African wildlife is in danger of extinction. Lai Mohammed appreciated the Namibian government for supporting the country with 279 wildlife animals in accordance with the already signed MoU in cooperation of wildlife.

It seems a new tourism and cultural chapter between both countries is about to unfold, especially with Nigeria taking tips on wildlife preservation from one of Africa’s wildlife gurus, Namibia.

Mr. Humphrey Geiseb, the Namibian high commissioner to Nigeria also recounted and appreciated the support gotten from the Nigerian government when Namibia was fighting for independence. He also made clear that the Namibian-Nigerian joint commission would hold meetings to analyze and work towards all possible means of cooperation between the two countries in the future, these areas including tourism, beef infrastructure, creative industries, oil and gas sectors and animal conservation.

English is widely spoken in Namibia, their local dishes are delicious and foreigners are warmly welcomed  to the country. The Landscape of Namibia is second to none, having almost all types of landscape ranging from mountains, to savannah grasslands, deserts and beach coastlines. A lot of untold wonders to discover in this fascinating Southern African Nation. A trip to Namibia is well worth it.

The Lure of the Middle East

Over the years the Middle East has transformed into one of the most loved tourist’s destinations in the world. It has a global impression of having some of the world’s best holiday resorts, airlines and airports for travel. It is a major travel hub for passengers to connect to another flight and has a reputation for luxurious spots for vacations and relaxation.  Among Countries in the Middle East, Nations like the UAE and Qatar  are among top world class in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries. Dubai is also a choice destination for a lot of Nigerians with 3 hours time difference .

   

The United Arab Emirates where Dubai is found stands out as one of the most visited countries in the Middle East and the world, with over 20 million visitors each  year. Of all the oil rich nations in the Middle East, UAE has been able to establish one of the world’s most successful tourism industry.

The world famous Dubai is like a bright shinning magnet that attracts travelers and visitors from all over the planet. It is almost shocking to hear one has not visited this astonishing city, with all that has been told and heard about it. However why do you think travelers desire to visit Dubai over and over again? 

Before setting foot into Dubai, visitors already have this idea of experiencing heaven on earth and getting to explore one of the globes most futuristic cities and to relax in luxury resorts. Dubai may have already set awesome tourists standards for the world to follow. To the extent, people who haven’t visited already have an imagination of what to expect and when they do visit their expectations are often met.

 

Majority of Nigerians love to take a holiday off from work in this amazing city. It’s no surprise that 56% of the total visitation of Africans to Dubai are Nigerians and they were thrilled with the news that the United Arab Emirates had lifted it’s travel ban off Nigerian inbound flights, granting access of flight routes from Nigeria to UAE and vice versa. This officially became effective on 29th January, 2022. The travel restrictions were put in place late last year, by the UAE government to help control and prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant. Passengers travelling to Dubai must still present a valid negative Covid-19 test certificate and also receive a PCR test upon arrival. 

World Food Festival 

Dubai  hosts multiple world class events like the recently held Gulfood Festival, that was from 13th to 17th February 2022, which is the world’s largest annual food event that brings together international chefs and leading food flavors  from different continents. Nothing less than 120 countries exhibit their national food and dishes, professional chefs, well-known restaurants and Food and Beverage startups secure their spots and showcase their culinary art to the global hospitality and food industries.

Gold Souk

The famous Gold market in Dubai, also called the Gold Souk keeps tourists flocking in and out. This market is known for a wide range of classy jewelry made from gold, diamonds, silver or other precious stones.  The Gold Souk is one of the largest gold markets in the world, with over 300 retailers and lots of visitors dropping by to either purchase gold or  just sight-see the beauty of this glittering market place.  The gold pieces found in this market are sold 60% cheaper than any where else in the world, hence Dubai got it’s nickname “the City of Gold”.

Cultural Diversity – Something for everyone

What’s most interesting about Dubai that makes it so unique from any other country in the world, is that Dubai has a bit of every destination in the world added to it. It highlights cultural diversity from around the globe in a fascinating way. Dubai has an indoor Ski Slope, even though it doesn’t snow in this desert region country, you can find artificial snow in the indoor Ski Slope. The popular Dubai Safari Park has over 2500 animals from different species including elephants, rhinos, lions and so much more, paying homage to the African wildlife safari.  There is also Lego land and Bollywood park in the Dubai parks & Resorts. This shows how welcoming Dubai is to visitors from other nations and who wouldn’t love the feeling of being welcomed in a home away from home.

Man Made Events and Festivals

Dubai has a lot of events e.g. shopping festival, Jazz festival and a host of others  always happening within its walls and a constant attraction to the whole wide world. One of such is Dubai Expo slated from October 2021 to 31 March 2022 with an estimated visitor arrival of 8,067,012. The visitors in their millions will surely impact the nations economy. The Dubai expo offers daily shows, restaurants with world-class cuisine with different countries exhibiting and giving you a taste of their homeland.

Now tell me why you will not want to go to Dubai .

The Red Pandemic

The season of love as its fondly called by many is finally here .  Valentine’s day also known as lover’s day is just few days away. This is a day when lovers, friends or family show their affection for one another with gifts and kind messages.

As a popular event all over the world, the month of February rolls in with flashes of the colour red . It floods everywhere, from our television screens, to shops, restaurants, social media ,work places and even our schools are not spared.

Over the years, the widespread use of the colour red has become synonymous with valentines day, but why red? What is really the significance of colour red to Valentine’s day? Red flowers, Red dresses, red love notes, chocolates wrapped in red and even red teddy bears. Almost like an outbreak of a red  pandemic that everyone catches.

The red theme for Valentine’s day has a lot to do with history and traditional beliefs from long ago. In the world of today, the colour red represents passion, love, romance, anger and  danger. Apart from the romantic attributes of colour red, it is also used as warning signs to show danger, for instance on traffic signs or fire fighting equipment.

     

When we picture Valentine’s day, the first colour that comes to our mind is  red . Now let’s picture where that ideology came from. There are many concepts as to why colour red symbolizes love and passion and few of them include:

The Ancient Greek and Roman  myth

The goddess of love Aphrodite falling in love with a mortal man named Adonis. Eventually as Adonis was about to die, the goddess of love Aphrodite rushed towards him while accidentally stepping on the thorns of a white rose. Hence blood staining the white rose to turn completely red, making it unique and the first red rose to exist. In this concept red blood and red rose is symbolizing love.

Valentine’s day also dates back to the time of the ancient Romans, when there was a particular festival to celebrate family fertility called  the Lupercalia festival. During this festival, blood from sacrificed animals were touched on the women to increase their fertility. This ritual was part of the roman tradition and was celebrated on every February 15th but was moved to February 14th in the 5th century by pope Gelasius I and renamed St. Valentine’s day. Scholars believe this explains the red colour of blood used during the sacrifice contributed to the popular connection of Valentine’s day and the colour red.

The Roman Priest

St Valentine was a Roman priest who believed in love and secretly wedded young Christian couples in the church. This was against the will of Emperor Claudias who felt unmarried soldiers fought better on the battlefield . He banned marriage among young people. Saint Valentine was executed on 14th February for refusing to denounce Christ and his christian faith. Thus the day is beloved to be celebrated to honor his memory.

The Human Anatomy 

The red colour in connection to Valentine’s day is simply related to love and the colour of blood and the human heart. This is why some Countries around the world including India and China encourage their brides to wear the colour red on their wedding day. Red remains a colour that stirs up excitement and communicates a feeling of desire. The colour red represents the blood and beating heart in our bodies, symbolizing pure affection and true love.

The power of your International Passport

There remains a glaring gap in freedom for global travel by citizens of different nations across the world. While some nationals enjoy a wide variety of countries they can visit with just their internationak passports and no visa hassle, other nationalities have limited access to gain entrance into some Countries with just their passports. The sad truth is even with international passports travel is still limited for some nationalities around the world. Different passports have different strengths, which implies some passports are more powerful than others.

 

The world’s leading and most powerful passports in terms of travel freedom without visa applications are Japan and Singapore. The Henley passport index reports that Japan and Singapore ranks top before other countries in the world, making citizens of these nations have access to a whooping 192 countries without a visa!

Yes, you heard that right. Japanese and Singaporean passport holders  are able to enter 192 countries without a visa. According to Henley passport index 2021, which uses data from the international Air transport association (IATA), these two countries also tied first place in passport rankings last year.

Some passports actually allow their bearers more freedom of movement than others. Germany and South Korea are next in line with citizens having access to 190 countries without a visa, while the famous nations, the United Kingdom and United States of America come in 6th position with visa free movement to 186 nations around the world. Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand also tie in for 6th position.

 

(Photo via kieferpix / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

 

On the other hand, Afghanistan ranks as one of the weakest passports globally with access of visa free travel to only 26 countries in the world. Iraqi passports allowing visa free entry into 28 countries for it’s citizens follows up close. Next in line is Syria, Pakistan and Yemen, with 29, 31 and 33 countries allowing them visa free entry respectively.  Mozambique with it’s citizens having visa free travel to 62 countries in the world. Nigerian passport having 50 visa free destinations for it’s citizens and ranks 82nd position globally for passport rankings in year 2022.

Why are some International Passports strong and some weak?

The strength of a passport may depend on several reasons and they may include how stable the country is in regards to economy, terror attacks and politics.  Also mutual understanding, reciprocity and diplomatic relations between countries play a major role and affect the strength of a passport. Nations with high populations or population issues like migration have a weaker passport.

“The borders within which we happen to be born, and the documents we are entitled to hold, are no less arbitrary than our skin color. Wealthier states need to encourage positive inward migration in an effort to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources worldwide, including improving the size and quality of their own workforces,” stated Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners.

 

 

Qatar is set to receive 6 million visitors per annum

The middle East Tourism has been dominated by Dubai as a top destination with all sorts of attractions. Visitors keep  coming back for more but today, Qatar is the new kid on the block.

For years, Qatar has been preparing to take that enviable position as number one. This is a drama series we are looking forward to as the Qatari people do not give half measures.  If you have  been to the Qatar Airport then you will know they are in pursuit of excellence , the opulence and grandeur is unrivaled . The National carrier Qatar Airways,  is the only airline to be voted World’s Best Airline six times by Skytrax. This is further complimented by the airline’s home and hub, Hamad International Airport, which got the vote World’s Best Airport in 2021 by Skytrax.

Hamad International Airport, Qatar

Qatar Tourism has launched a new campaign to promote the destination with the tagline, “Experience a World Beyond”, and a new website has been launched to this effect , www.visitqatar.qa

It is available in five languages and supported by a recently launched Personalised Travel Companion mobile app, designed to showcase the world-leading destination. The campaign features nine unique, engaging key chain characters  to introduce travelers to the destination, which will roll out across 15 international core markets. We are not sure Africa has an invite to the party yet.

Experience the culture and play local games
Dates are regular features in the middle east -Dates are the first agricultural export product of Qatar, amounting up to 16,500 metric tons per year in 2003 but the local fruit production has declined steeply over the past decade.
Middle East scents in a jar

Destination Knowledge

To aid knowledge and development for travel agents, Qatar Tourism’s travel agency training platform, TAWASH, has also been refreshed with a new interface design, content and training modules. The training platform supports Qatar’s mission to become a leader in Service Excellence. The design offers an improved learning experience, the upgrade in programme functionality includes features such as interactive maps and knowledge check quizzes, alongside a new module structure to deliver an agile learning solution.

 

Agents can receive a ‘Qatar Expert’ certificate, which can be upgraded to ‘Qatar Specialist’ through completion of additional elective options. Learners who have already completed the former programme will automatically receive the ‘Qatar Expert’ level.

Infrastructure and Attractions 

With the goal of raising tourism to 12% of GDP by 2030, Qatar will grow and improve assets and attractions, including the addition of 105 new hotels and serviced apartments to its extensive growing portfolio. The strategy will enhance the end-to-end customer experience and deploy a tailored marketing strategy to target point-to-point and stopover visitors.  The country will also be hosting the FIFA world cup 2022.

International travelers are welcome  to experience Qatar’s rich cultural heritage, unique hotels and resorts, incredible outdoor activities, beaches and multi-cultural culinary scene. In Qatar, visitors will truly Experience a World Beyond.” This also includes the National Museum with a grand architecture – a complex form of the desert rose, found in Qatar’s arid desert regions which  inspired the striking design of the new museum building, conceived by French architect Jean Nouvel.

 

The Feel of Gold

The rainy season in Nigeria marks the unveiling of wealth; wealth in a form unknown to many with untapped potential. Many people do not understand the value of corn, and this is because the average Nigerian comes across this staple product in its season as boiled or grilled food options. Others might know it as part of livestock by-products, and bakers are familiar with some of its products such as cornflower and corn syrup.

But, corn is much more than food for humans and livestock. Did you know that corn is the U.S primary feed grain which accounts for more than ninety-five percent of total feed grain production and use? Or that the world’s consumption of maize exceeds a hundred and sixteen million tons yearly? 

As cited by the National Center for Biotechnology Information; United States, China, and Brazil are the top three maize-producing countries in the world, producing approximately 563 of the 717 million metric tons/year. If corn wasn’t so valuable, why do developed countries produce so much of it?

Corn has numerous industrial uses. Apart from an increase in Gross Domestic Product through corn exportation, its value to the internal economy is noteworthy. Corn is the main ingredient in the production of ethanol, which is a gasoline additive, and as the demand for fuel cannot be neglected in any country, it highlights the huge importance of corn to any nation.

Corn is processed into food and industrial products including sweeteners, starch, corn oil, baby food, beverage, adhesives, cosmetics, livestock by-products, industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol. There are so many options in these categories to be explored extensively by individuals and organizations in the creation of jobs, products, and services to achieve a stable and affluent economy. 

Gold has to go through a process of intense purification for its attractive exterior to be revealed. Corn is a natural resource better than gold because with little effort and the right moves, on the right scale, it is worth more than gold with half the purification process. It is no wonder corn is known as ‘Yellow Gold’.

Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, now open.

The wait was definitely worth the while, as the newly constructed Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, officially opens its doors to the public!

 

 Setting an almost unbeatable standard in the Nigerian hospitality industry, Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja stands out with 206 guest rooms and 44 suites, inclusive in all rooms are 55′ inches smart televisions, complimentary WiFi, exceptional Marriott luxury bedding, and many more amenities. 

Marriott brand, making a debut in Nigeria will definitely remain a lucrative move considering the population and level of travel in the country. Also, the location of the hotel is the heartbeat of Lagos making it close and accessible to a wide range of individuals.

 

The newly built hotel also has specially designed amenities for it’s guests including the Great room, the M Club for elite club members, a luxury spa, a fitness center, and an outdoor swimming pool, making it perfect for business and leisure and the modern-day travellers.  

Volker Heiden, the Marriott International – Sub Saharan Africa area vice-president stated: “We are excited to have opened the Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, bringing ‘Marriott Hotels’ transformed vision to Nigeria.”

 

“Lagos is a vibrant and bustling city with much to see and do for leisure and business travellers.

 

“What better place to debut the Marriott Hotels brand in Nigeria with its thoughtful service and intuitive spaces that enable guests to be inspired during their stay.”

Marriott brand has a whooping 580 Hotels and resorts in over 60 countries across the world! The Marriott brand is of USA origin and is among one of the most popular hospitality brands in the world presently. 

Israel promoting tourism in Dubai amidst clash with Gaza

 

Despite the recent Israeli-Gaza conflict, a senior Israeli tourism official saw it normal to encourage persons in Dubai to visit Israel, as she described it as a must-see destination for Muslim visitors. 

Israeli-Gaza conflict

This generally seems like bad timing for such promotion, especially considering the fact that major airlines have discontinued flight operations to Israel due to the increased violence from the conflict.

 

However, at the first physical travel and tourism event in Dubai, the Arabian travel market, Israel had a decorated stand exhibiting the Country as “the land of creation” along with promotional videos urging tourists to visit and book their trips now!

Israeli exhibition at the Arabian Travel Market Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Israeli new market development director in the Tourism Ministry, Ksenia Kobiakov, stated “We were not talking about it. We are talking about the future. We are talking about what we can do to bring tourism to Israel.”

 

She further made clear ‘the hope is that Emirati citizens and foreign residents of the UAE will visit Israel in return and help its tourism sector rebound when the country is open again to tourists.’

Kobiakov also added “People don’t feel safe to travel now to Israel. It’s understandable. But this escalation, it will finish one day,” she said. “We know that all the conflicts are coming and they are going. Tourism is staying forever.”

 

The $100,000,000 Travel and Leisure deal

What is in a name ?

Despite contrary opinions and actions in today’s world, a good name is sure better and can eventually translate to riches, opens doors and makes room to be admired, respected and the list is endless.

The Travel +Leisure magazine is a 50+ year old media brand which has been recently acquired by Orlando,Fla based timeshare company Wyndham Destinations.  The company was originally launched in 1937 as U.S. Camera & Travel, the magazine became Travel + Leisure after American Express purchased it for its publication division in 1968. It was later acquired by Time Inc. and was part of that company’s purchase by Meredith.

Travel+Leisure magazine,Jan 2021 cover special To the Register/Meredith Corporation

The sale comes at an uncertain time for the tourism industry which has a ripple effect on the entire industry . The industry is currently facing disappointments, cancellations and resort closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, even the buyer Wyndham Destinations reported a loss of $258 million through the first nine months of 2020 and laid off or furloughed 9,000 workers at one point.

Then things changed for good as at the end of September, company executives told shareholders, Wyndham Destinations had rehired about 3,300 of those workers.

Meredith Corp. announced Wednesday that it is selling the flagship travel magazine to the timeshare giant Wyndham Destinations for $100,000,000million but the buyer isn’t concerned with the magazine so much as the title on its cover, the brand and legacy name.

All the hard work Travel + Leisure editors have been doing for 50 years led us to this point because Wyndham Destinations wants to create this whole new company centered around our brand and legacy and name, so I’m thrilled about that, said Jacqueline Gifford, editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure.

As a result of the sale, Wyndham Destinations will rename itself Travel + Leisure Co. next month. The company (buyer) will lease the actual magazine back to Meredith (seller) as part of a 30-year-agreement, allowing the publisher to continue to produce and sell the publication. It could not be juicer nor more interesting. Just like Moses Mother, you are allowed to nurse the baby you let go and still benefit from the deal.

In addition to the $100 million cash purchase, Wyndham Destinations agreed to buy $30 million worth of ads in Meredith publications over the next five years, Meredith CEO Tom Harty said Wednesday during the Citi 2021 Global TMT West Virtual Conference. Now that is one heck of a deal !

 

“We believe there’s tremendous value in our brands that we don’t get value for,” he said. “And you have these opportunities. You can either sell or you can partner.”

Tom Harty Meredith Corporation’s newly announced CEO is pictured here. Contributed Photo/Special To The Register.

The Why 

Who is Wyndham Destinations ?

Wyndam is a rentals and Time share giant with 4 million members in its timeshare network and manages 230 resorts. They make money by selling timeshare contracts, managing resorts and helping members book vacations at a network of hotels and homes owned by other companies.

The company made this move in a bid to appeal to a generation of younger and aspirational clients/travelers.Their client base is older and time share is soon fading (story for another day) as people are more spontaneous in recent times. Their purchase interest was locked on Travel +Leisure members and followers and the circulation of the magazine was not a major concern.

Travel +Leisure has 2 membership travel clubs in existence with tens of thousands of members.