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Take social media stories with a pinch of salt — Soyinka

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Take social media stories with a pinch of salt — Soyinka

By Raji

Rasak

Badagry (Lagos State) Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has again cautioned Nigerians not to believe everything they read on the social media but rather take such online publications “with a pinch of salt.”

Soyinka gave the warning on Saturday in Badagry at the unveiling of an art gallery in commemoration of his 85th birthday.

“Be very, very careful what you believe even when you read such materials in social media or sometimes in newspapers because in this country, we have a most fertile multiplier effect.

“When somebody hears something, he puts it on the Internet, it spreads and an industry begins as people start commenting on things which never existed.

“Positive, negative or neutral, it doesn’t matter; what matters is that somebody’s identity has been stolen and some contemptable cowards are responsible for stealing that individual’s identity.

“Putting words in his or her mouth and thereby generating totally non-existent irrelevant contestations.

“So, when you read things on social media, take it with a pinch of salt, decide whether it makes sense because the person who posted it might have a private agenda,” Soyinka said.

The Nobel Laureate said that the social media was supposed to be an “empowering media” which was being abused by some people.

“Sometimes on social media, you’ll even see trending quotes supposedly from me, with my name, my photograph, with statements which represents what those people want to say but lacked the courage to say it,” he said.

He advised people to read books when in doubt in order to question the authenticity of what they see on social media.

“Never turn your back on an opportunity or chance to reading a work or product of somebody’s mind; that way you enter the minds of others, you dispute with them, examine ideas, expand your horizons and make the entire universe a better place,” Soyinka said.

The Nobel Laureate condemned the recent lock out at the venue of a public symposium by the police in Lagos.

“It is important to send strong message to this government and to the security services to stop trying to muzzle people when they come together to exchange ideas.

“You’re reducing them as human beings and you’re also reducing yourselves as human beings, because it means you’re afraid to listen,” said the Nobel Laureate.

According to Soyinka, “one of the beauties of existence is the ability to express concern which we cannot compromise.”

He noted that “creativity takes place in an atmosphere of absolute freedom,” adding that “the reduction of the rights of expression of any one of us is an infringement and assault on the rights of all of us”.

Soyinka thanked Femi Coker Art Gallery in Badagry for organising the event “which honoured my birthday and infact my existence”.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Tourism

30 countries to participate in 2019 INAC — Runsewe

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Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), said no fewer than 30 countries would participate in the International Arts and Crafts Expo slated to hold in Abuja.

Runsewe media aide, Mr Frank Meke, said in a statement in Abuja on Friday that the event would hold for Nov. 20 to Nov. 24 at the FCT Exhibition Pavilion.

Runsewe said that some of the countries that indicated interest in participating were India, Bangladesh, Spain, Indonesia and Morocco, among others.

According to him, countries from every continent of the world will be represented in what has become a tradition since the event was expanded to a global affair in 2017 from African Art and Crafts Expo (AFAC).

 “All is now set for the 2019 edition of the annual International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC) slated for Nov. 20 to Nov. 24 in Abuja.

“This time around, INAC will break new grounds with a record of 30 countries participating in the exhibition which is an upgrade from the 23 counties that exhibited last year.

“The venue for the event remains the FCT exhibition pavilion,” he said.

Runsewe said that the NCAC, saddled with the responsibility of hosting the fair, was ready to stage another showpiece reputed as Nigeria’s number one global exposition.

He said 2019 INAC would feature components like free skill acquisition, free medical services, waste to wealth initiative, investment forum and many other aspects aimed at empowering Nigerians.

The Director General expressed satisfaction at the massive mobilisation of equipment to the venue including world class pavilions, a media/ICT centre, mobile toilets, state-of-the-art stage by renowned event management outfit.

Runsewe said that there would be a standby emergency vehicls throughout the duration of the Expo.

The DG assured exhibitors, participants, guests, visitors, foreign nationals and all Nigerians of maximum security following the engagement of the Nigeria Police to provide security.

“Dignitaries expected include members of the diplomatic community, top government officials, major public and private stakeholders, industry players, corporate outfits and first class traditional rulers from around the country,” he said.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Wale Ojetimi

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Economy

Sabre researcher says tourism revenue in Africa Could Increase by 27%

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Consumers would be more willing to travel if they were able to move freely within the continent, and if travel pain-points were addressed

Spend among African travellers could increase by 27 percent over the next year if they were able to move more freely within the continent, new research from Sabre Corporation reveals at today’s 51st African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Annual General Assembly in Mauritius.

More than 5,000 people across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa were asked whether they had travelled by plane in the past 24 months, to which 26% said they had – a 2% increase on Sabre’s similar 2016 study. However, those that did travel cited that various barriers were preventing them from travelling more often. The majority said that air travel was too expensive, but many also cited difficulties in obtaining visas and booking flights, delays, queues at the airport, and an overall stressful travel experience as some of the reasons they don’t travel more.

Of those that had travelled, there was a willingness to spend up to 27 percent more on air travel if they could travel visa-free throughout the continent – with most respondents saying they would take 2-3 trips per year compared with the 1-2 they currently take. More than 90% were also willing to spend more on ancillary services like in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment, and special on-board food and beverages. Forty-three percent said they would spend over $100 on these ancillaries to improve their travel experience – 26% up on 2016 and still significantly more than global averages.

“It is encouraging to see that a greater number of people have been able to access air travel over the past three years,” said Dino Gelmetti, vice president sales, Middle East and Africa. “However, our research shows that there is still a long way to go to make travel affordable and accessible. The majority of our respondents’ barriers to travel are within an airline’s control, and investing in the latest technology can significantly improve the whole flight experience – from booking to the day of travel.”

Those polled said that if pain points were eliminated and they could travel more freely, the countries top of their lists to visit are South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya and Botswana. And, in an environment in which airlines across Africa are grappling with slow growth, this study sheds light on significant opportunities for the travel industry to improve the travel experience and capitalise on new revenue opportunities.

“Overcoming the cost constraint is a major challenge, but all indications are that if airlines were able to reduce flight costs by optimising operations, routes and pricing, far more African people would take advantage of the opportunity to travel by air,” continued Gelmetti. “Digital technologies offer the key to slashing operational costs, improving efficiencies and understanding customer pain points. By using data harnessing technologies to make sense of customer data and using these insights to offer passengers the right product in the right context at the right time, travel operators immediately improve their chances of increasing sales.”

Airlines also need to break down barriers such as confusing booking and check-in processes, by adopting multi-channel sales and check-in processes that allow travelers to engage in the channels they are most comfortable with – be those traditional channels such as travel agents and check-in staff, or digital channels such as websites and mobile apps. These same digital channels lend themselves to streamlined ancillary services sales, allowing travelers to quickly and easily order and pay for personalized add-ons to enhance their travel experience.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Sabre.

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Tourism

Lagos Trade Fair: International exhibitors commend LCCI on organisation, security

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Some international exhibitors at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair on Friday commended the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) for putting together a well- organised event and an effective security team.

The exhibitors told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that this would encourage them to participate in the fair in subsequent years.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the fair, which opened on Nov. 1, comes to an end on Sunday.

Yasin Ummar of Welco Industries from Pakistan said that from his assessment, this year’s fair remained the best edition so far, as he had access to most of the facilities provided for them by LCCI.

He said that business had been thriving with a good number of people buying his wares, and none of his belongings had been carted away since the commencement of the fair.

“The fair has been going on smoothly and it is looking promising even though we are in the 8th day.

“LCCI has tried in the area of security and the fair is well organised,” he said.

Also, Tsung-Ming Ku, Marketing Officer, Dynapak Plastics Incorporation from China, described the Nigerian market as attractive.

He said that he had not been disappointed since the opening of the fair.

The marketing officer said that the company had been able to attract many Nigerians who were willing to work with the company as distributors.

According to him, Nigeria has the best population to make any business thrive, which accounts for the company’s presence at the fair for the first time.

Muriya Tyurk, a sales representative with a Turkish company that sells ladies underwear, said though business had been dull, the fair was well organised.

She said that the air conditioners situated at the pavilions were effective, and other facilities accessible for all.

Tyurk linked the dull business to the economic situation in the country.

“So far, the organisation has been commendable, but no encouraging business opportunities which I feel could be as a result of the economic situation of the country right now,” she said.

Mr Kazeem Ajibade, the Chief Security Officer for the fair, said it had been a challenging task ensuring security at the event.

He said there were cases of theft, and the criminals had been handed over to the police for proper punishment.

“It has been tough; I must confess,  it has been nights of sleeplessness, but thank God for the success so far,” he said.


PTB/R

Edited by Edwin Nwachukwu/Oluwole Sogunle

 

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Tourism

Expert tasks operators to ensure increased creative tourism to boost GDP

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Dr Adun Okupe, a Senior Advisor with the Red Clay Advisory, has called on stakeholders in the tourism industry to embrace more creative tourism experiences to boost the sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Okupe made the call on Thursday while briefing newsmen on the forthcoming 2019 Nigerian Travel Week, scheduled to hold from Nov.17 to Nov.23 in Lagos.

According to her, a move beyond cultural to a creative tourism industry will attract foreign visitors and create more business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the country.

The theme of the 2019 Nigerian Travel Week is “Harnessing the Creative Tourism Potentials of Culture Rich Destinations.”

Nigeria News Agency reports that Red Clay is a specialist tourism advisory practice focusing on tourism development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Its core services are to the tourism, leisure and recreation sectors and in the areas of strategy, policy advice and guidance, destination development and destination management.

Okupe said there had been an increase in the number of tour organisers offering cultural tourism packages but noted that there was need to ensure various avenues for creative tourism.

“Creative tourism provides opportunities for these micro- entrepreneurs to enhance their tourism offerings.

“This is by moving beyond cultural tourism where tourists merely visit sites and museums to engage with local artisans in understanding and learning cultural practices and crafts.

“It is happening around the world, different tourist sites are coming up with various ways to earn money and retain value.

“As a result, you can go the same site; different times for numerous experiences.

“For example, you can go to Italy for wine tasting experience, then go there again different times to learn how to make pasta, speak Italian, paint among others.

“This year at the Travel Week, we are going to be looking at how we can create more opportunities for tourism entrepreneurs, various avenues for local development.

“We are also going to look at the ways people can engage in learning about communities and culture,” she said.

Okupe said that through creative tourism; tourists would enjoy different aspects of Nigerian tourist sites, thereby, enabling the local communities to be active participants in various creative tourism activities.

“This will enable the local communities appreciate their culture and who they are as people.”

Also speaking, Mr Efe Awhana, founder of the Nigerian Travel Week, said the event would host international tour operators, travel agents, travel bloggers and international media and all the major tourism stakeholders in Nigeria.

Awhana said that the 2019 Nigerian Travel Week would promote increased networking and partnerships between the different stakeholders in the travel industry.

“The event is also to create awareness about the opportunities and potential in domestic and inbound tourism in Nigeria as well as intra-Africa travel.

“It will help to nurture a culture of traveling and holidaying, both domestic and outbound in Nigerians,” she said.

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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Tourism

Explore Ekiti’s natural tourism assets, Ojo-Lanre invites Nigerians

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Wale Ojo-Lanre, Director General, Ekiti Council for Arts and Culture, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to take out time to explore the state’s immense natural tourism assets.

Ojo-Lanre told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that the state was well-endowed with lots of natural attractions which were educating and entertaining for tourists.

According to him, most Nigerians ought to be aware of the existence of Ekiti’s tourism sites in order to explore them during leisure and know more about the rich Yoruba history.

Ekiti State is blessed with lots of natural tourism endowments which I feel people should explore better; for picnics, sight seeing and hiking, the Orole Hills in Ikere-Ekiti provides such pleasure.

“It is believed that the hill was a woman who was worshiped as a goddess of prosperity.

“We have the Ikogosi Warm Spring, the Erinta Waterfall at Opole-Iloro, close to Ikogosi, which has 7 steps; the Erin Ayonigba Sacred Fish River situated in Erinjiyan- Ekiti is a river that flows upwards with thousands of fish that can neither be killed nor consumed, this is sacred.

” The Osun River source located at Igbeti-Ekiti which is worshipped by the  people of Oshogbo in Osun State is also beauty to behold; the river is seen as the goddess that cures infertility.

” Also, Esa Cave at Iyin-Ekiti that can accommodate a huge number of people, it was said to have shielded the people of the town during their internecine wars in the Yoruba land,” he said.

Ojo-Lanre said that the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti remained a fascinating tourism site due to the traditional architectural design, urging Nigerians to explore the state generally.

He said the state was working on rebranding its festivals to attract both local and international tourists.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Entertainment

Tourism association advocates legislation for tourism development

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Alhaji Rabo Saleh, National President, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), on Monday advocated for workable legislation that would enhance the development of tourism sector in the country.

Saleh told the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja that the association would host its 2019 Nigeria Tourism Investors Forum and Exhibition (NTIFE), to map out ways to enhance the sector.

According to him, the 2019 NTIFE is to get a workable consensus among Nigeria’s tourism stakeholders and facilitate the enactment of a Pro-tourism Development Act.

The FTAN president said the forum, with the theme, “An Insight into the Legal Framework of Tourism in Nigeria” would hold on Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 in Abuja.

“ Considering the intergovernmental and tourism multi-sectoral narrative of the global tourism industry, Nigeria needs an all-encompassing legislative framework.

“The framework will clearly stipulate roles and responsibilities of government and the organised private sector in Nigeria.

“FTAN earnestly desires a nationally applicable tourism development legal instrument, which respects the rights of state governments to regulate tourism in their domain.

“The idea is to also empower the private sector to financially invest in Nigeria’s tourism development with consequential powers of administration, standardisation and regulation of tourism practice and operations in Nigeria.

“This is already happening in several leading tourist destinations of the world, and for me, it is long overdue in Nigeria, otherwise, we cannot grow the industry,” Saleh said.

He added that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed ,would deliver a keynote address, while the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sani Nanono, would also address participants at the 2019 NTIFE.


PO/

Editing by Oluyinka Fadare/Ifeyinwa Omowole

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