The United States Secretary of State, Anthony J. Blinken has congratulated Liberians on today’s occasion of the Liberia National Day.

According to reports monitored by TBS Africa on the State Department website of the United States, Blinken issued a congratulatory noted yesterday, July 25th, 2021, where he referred to Liberia as the oldest republic Africa.

SEE THE PRESS RELEASE BELOW:

On behalf of the United States of America, I congratulate the people of the Republic of Liberia as it marks 174 years of statehood.

The special bond that exists between our two countries dates from the very foundation of Liberia, Africa’s oldest republic. Almost two centuries later, our relationship is stronger than ever, and we are dedicated to working together with Liberians to fight COVID-19, facilitate peace and reconciliation, strengthen democratic institutions, and support economic development.

The United States stands proudly with our Liberian partners on this Independence Day. We are committed to our partnership with Liberia as it strives to strengthen democratic principles and enhance economic growth and investment.

The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, on Friday, 16 July, 2021 led top dignitaries including the Governor, State of Osun, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, to officially launch the Ife Grand Resort & Industrial Park in Ile-Ife.

In a statement signed by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare, the Grand Resort, located beside the tollgate on the Ife-Ibadan expressway is a brand new city of hubs driven by urban renewal initiatives of the Ooni Ogunwusi to serve as the hub for sustainable development, fountain of employment generation, radar of empowerment and satellite for branding and showcasing the cultural heritage and value of Ile-Ife the source and natural headquarters of the Oduduwa race globally.

According to the press release, the huge investment is a legacy project embarked upon by Ooni Ogunwusi for urban renewal and redevelopment into the current smart city global requirements in the selfless spirit of ‘Charity Begins At Home’

The Ife Grand Resort and Leisure which is planted on over 1000 acres of land will aside from offering facilities for exquisite lodging/accommodation, harbour multiple industrial parks with pockets of industries currently producing many industrial and agricultural products as well as rendering essential services to the resort, the Ife community and Nigeria.

Capt. Emmanuel Great, President, Osun Tourism Stakeholders’ Association with Dr. Adebisi Obawale, Hon. Commissioner for Culture & Tourism, State of Osun during the launch of Ife Grand Resorts

Sitting comfortably within the Ife Grand Resort which is a focal attraction on Friday is the 3000 seating capacity Meeting Incentives Conference and Event (MICE) Centre branded ‘Ojaja Arena’, a complex of architectural wonder planted by Ooni Ogunwusi to add value of relevance to urban renewal in Ile – Ife.

SEE VIDEO:

 Ooni Ogunwusi disclosed that he deliberately brought the 3000 seating capacity event centre to make Ile-Ife the epicentre of MICE in Africa, saying that the ‘Ojaja Arena’ has been configured and positioned with all facilities to satisfy demands of Meetings , Incentives, Conference and Event adding that it would also shore up intellectual and congregational activities in Ile Ife, the ancient source of mankind.

“We are building a brand new city driven by urban renewal initiative. The Ojaja Arena is basically not built for social activities but a centre for training and manpower development for youths in this country, considering Ile-Ife to have over 500 thousand students of about 20 tertiary institutions; Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Schools of Nursing within 100km radius surrounding Obafemi Awolowo University built at the nucleus Centre in Ife over 60 years ago.

The question in my lips has been, what will these young vibrant youths will be doing after tertiary institutions, the best bet is to set up a hub that is technology friendly to boost and drive small and medium scale industries within our country Nigeria by creating a smart city for them to display whatever they can do to become employers of labour after graduation. It is a sad truth that no industries to employ them all. We can only encourage them to create industries for and by themselves because that is the reality on ground”. Ooni said.

The natural traditional head of the House Oduduwa worldwide also revealed that “One of the industrial parks within the Ife Grand Resort Colony, the Adire hub has engaged 50 people, empowered over 150 others and started producing adire in bales which are being exported to foreign countries.

He also disclosed that one of the agricultural parks which specializes in rearing of Ostriches has also employed another set of 40 staff who have started rearing Ostriches in an unprecedented manner with the vision to produce ostrich hides and skin in high commercial quantity for export purposes.

The Co-chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria(NCTRN) revealed that the various industrial parks have started receiving collaboration and acknowledgement from Africas in diaspora who are willing and ready to train and empower interested individuals in various segments of the park.

“We have received pledges for training and exchange programs between the Brazilian, Cuban and other governments in the carribeans towards the empowerment of Nigerian youths both the male and female folks for post- COVID -19 empowerment action plan”

“We are occupying over 1,000 acres, we are building a brand new city that Urban renewal and it is going to be a itech environment, it is a smart city that will have a hub, industrial hub, Ostrich farming hub, Adire Hub, Green farming, Sport Academy, film and entertainment village. The resort it is a culture and tourism destination that is close to nature. You don’t even have to move around the country.”

“What we’re doing is to replicate this, we have already commenced in Ondo, Oyo and Lagos states and we shall be launching these projects concurrently. It is a means of creating an avenue for our young minds to see Nigeria from a positive perspective, so we’re creating a country from a country.

“A country in the sense that is a localized environment, for them to be there and be successful and reach out to the world like the typical Adire hub that we have done we are exporting to 25 countries now. We are shipping to everywhere in the world and we have agents all over.

“We started that one just three months ago and it is fast gaining global recognition, the same we are going to start organic remedies (Our herbal medicinal products recently launched strategically with YEMKEM). We’ll soon have a factory here from where we’ll send it to the world.

“So it is an industrial park that is fintech driven and it is through fintech that we’re even selling what we are selling at the hub. They place orders from anywhere globally and we ship to them, life is easy for everybody.

“There is equally the African village that reminds us of our ancient ways of living and yet bring it to the modern world, everything that has to do with pan African is there. Then the sporting arena is another industry that is huge, we would have a mini camp for training and development in the sporting world. We are going to have an 18 hole Golf Course.” Ooni said.

The resort is scheduled to host the Grand reception aspect of the installation activities for the Iyalaje of Oduduwa Race worldwide to be conferred on the Lagos business magnate cum philanthropist Princess (Dr.) Toyin Kolade by the Arole Oduduwa, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife on Saturday.

Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe yesterday commended Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for declaring August 27th of every year Osun Adire for all workers in the state.

Oyetola had made the declaration in Osogbo on Saturday at the Osun International Fashion Week, making it compulsory for all public and civil servants in the state to wear the state’s variant of local adire fabric, known as “Adire Eleko” to their offices on that day as a way of reviving the dying cultural fashion of the people.

Runsewe noted that this was in line with the vision and aspirations of the Federal Government to grow and focus on indigenous cultural tourism engagements.

 

BREAKING:

On the heels of the successful and just concluded Osun International Fashion Week OSIFAW 2021, his Excelleny, Executive Governor of State Of Osun, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola has officially  declared Thursday as Adire Day in Osun State.

According to Mr Governor, who was ably represented by the Chief of Staff, at the three (3) day, back to back, back to stage, epoch making event, which held from July 8 – 10, all civil servants in the State is hereby mandated to adorn the Adire attire as official dress code every Thursday.

Meanwhile, this directive takes effect beginning from August 27, 2021 which marks the 30th Anniversary of the creation of the State.

TBS Destination Management, an Osogbo-based DMC promoting ecotourism in Osun State was LIVE today at De-Distinguished Hall, venue of the event, as the time of declaration.

The Osun International Fashion Week, OSIFAW 2021 was indeed an epoch-making event for the promotion of Adire Osun. Big kudos to the Executive Governor, Osun State, Ministry of Culture & Tourism, and the two foreign partners Musty Great Development, South Africa and Alexandria Jones Cultoure, Texas, USA (both Osun State Indigenes) for giving us an International Standard Adire Runway more like what you get in Paris, France, Rome, Italy and Houston, Texas.

 

 

This is the complete speech of the Honorable Commissioner of Culture & Tourism, State of Osun during the Grand Finale (Day 3) of the just concluded Osun International Fashion Week (OSIFAW 2021).

This first of it’s kind, epoch making event is a major step in line with implementation of the Osun Tourism Master (Osun Sterling Vision 2030) which was launched last year 2020, by the Executive Governor, Osun State, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola as organized by the Dr Obawale led Ministry of Culture & Tourism.

SEE FULL VIDEO BELOW:

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CRKgWAiJmUo/?utm_medium=copy_link

By Michael Oyetunji

Nigeria’s domestic tourism suffers a major setback as one of its finest educational tour attractions in Abuja, Usuma Dam puts an indefinite ban on any tour-related activity within and around its vicinity.

Lower Usman Dam is the 5th Largest Dam in the world and is on the Usuma River in Nigeria. It was built in 1990 near Abuja, the new Capital of Nigeria., and supplied the city with drinking water. The dam holds 93 million cubic meters of raw water. The water flows to five (5) water plants, where the water is treated before it is passed to Abuja. The total capacity of the water is 10,000 cubic meters per hour.

Usuma Dam once offered a picturesque scenery for picnic, hilly surroundings for hiking and a pacific mass of water body for canoeing and fishing. It is a multidimensional facility, playing host to students, researchers and fun lovers.

It was on this premise that a group of Sustainable Tourism Professionals led by Capt. Emmanuel LordsGreat, CEO at TBS Africa, visited the site very recently for a tourism and sustainability assessment programme. On arrival to the Administrative building at the site, they were greeted by the Head, R & P Department, Mrs Mary Edafe, who stated outright that the site is currently closed for any form of tourism activities.

In a briefing with the representatives, she maintained that the closure has been in effect since the covid19 lockdown and authorities have decided to keep it closed until further notice. She also highlighted, as part of the concerns, “the current security risks in the country, and how difficult it is to trust that tourists can not be bought over by unscrupulous elements in poisoning the entire water body, thus causing harm and possible death to people who consume it in and around the FCT”.

“We are not ready to take chances with our work and pledge to provide clean, safe and portable water for the city”, she remarked. “We also have had rumors that there is a porous border around the dam, so security operatives are on ground to ensure no one intrudes”.

As reasonable as these reasons sounded, it was met with a dose of disappointment in the ears of the visiting tour experts, who had wished the site is accessible for the promotion of domestic tourism. “This is a heartbreaking news for us in the tourism and sustainability industry. We don’t have much eco-tourism sites in the city, and here we are, Usuma dam is off the list”, said Captain Emmanuel, the co-ordinator of the group.

They therefore urge the Government to expedite action in tackling the incessant insecurity issues in the country, so that domestic tourism can grow beyond bounds. The recent pandemic has made outbound tourism an almost impossible venture for frequent travelers, but looking inward for consolation have not been encouraging for the travel and tourism industry.

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Michael Oyetunji, a tour operator and media professional writes from Abuja as the Editor-in-Chief of The Winepress Station, and the convener of Travel Writers Forum, Nigeria.

  • Secures Five Hundred Housing Units in Abuja
  • Engages Brains & Hammers As The Property Developer

By Michael Oyetunji

National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) launches a pilot Housing Mortgage Scheme to afford its members opportunities to own houses in the Federal Capital Territory, with the help of Brains & Hammers, and the possibility of housing loan from the Federal Mortgage Bank in the five thousand housing units of the Bungalow City Estate, Kubwa. This was made known at a flag off virtual session held today, 27th April 2021, which had a nationwide participation of all NANTA members.

As part of her campaign promise to create beneficial initiatives for all members, the National President of the Association, Mrs Susan Akporiaye applauded this initiative as a brainchild of the Abuja Zone, birthed by Ambassador Kayode Adeshola – the Vice President, Abuja Zone.

“This initiative started out as an offshoot of NANTA Co-operative Society, initiated by the Abuja zonal administration few years ago. I appealed to my Vice President – Abuja Zone to spread the tentacle towards a national appeal, and he agreed to it. This brought about the housing project”, said the President.

In a virtual session which had about one hundred and fifty member participation, representatives of Brains & Hammers were present to answer questions and inform members of the procedures and all necessary information required to secure a property. Lanre Ogunyemi expressed that “We are a proven giant in housing scheme in Nigeria, and we have a high success rate and partnership with Federal Mortgage Bank in all our housing estates. We will deal with NANTA Co-operative Society on this particular project, although we are open to individuals who are interested in other properties we offer”. Reiterating this, Mr Festus, another representative of the developer insists that there are no hidden charges attached to any of their properties.

“This is just the beginning, and we are going to expand this initiative to all our zones nationwide. We are doing this to keep up with our campaign promises, and we hope this venture is sustained”, said Ambassador Kayode Adeshola, the Vice President – Abuja Zone.

Overall, it was a fruitful deliberation, as members exchanged pleasantries and expressed excitements towards the initiative. “It has never been done in the history of NANTA, as far I am concerned, and I must say that Madam Susan and her team are doing pretty well. This is just so superb, and we need more visionary leaders like the ones we have at the moment championing the cause of the association”, said one of the participants.

SEE MORE PICTURES & VIDEOS OF THE PROPOSED NANTA ESTATE ABUJA

   

 

 

 

 

 

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Michael Oyetunji, a tour operator and media professional writes from Abuja as the Editor-in-Chief of The Winepress Station
info.winepress@gmail.com
080 9770 7844

 

By Michael Oyetunji

Mpape crushed rock, one of Abuja’s finest attractions for picnic and other recreational activities is currently under threat of insecurity and harassment of fun lovers. According to a recent experience by some sustainable tourism experts and SDG advocates who visited the site to mark the 2021 International Earth Day, hoodlums have taken over the entire space to harass and extort unsuspecting visitors.

In Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Mpape crushed rock is a major tourist site, which initially was a quarry site from where building stones were being supplied. After a while, site workers struck an aquifer: an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, and it was closed down. But in recent times, Mpape crushed rock became a popular site for Abuja residents due to the beautiful scenery of lake and high cliff it affords, for hiking and picnic purposes.

However, not much is left to be desired of the site as the vicinity now harbors criminal minds and hoodlums who harass unsuspecting visitors and threaten to harm them. It was gathered that a team of sustainable tourism experts and SDG advocates, who visited to the site to conduct a tourism & sustainability assessment in commemoration of the 2021 International Day of the Earth at the site, escaped by a hairs breadth as hoodlums launched an assault on their convoy after ripping them off monies.

Speaking with the coordinator of the team, Captain Emmanuel LordsGreat, CEO, TBS Africa, “we were eager to have fun and celebrate nature, based on the wonderful stories we heard of the Mpape Crushed site, and I in particular was very elated to physically see this wonderful site which I have seen so much in pictures”, he stated. Another participant, who pleaded anonymity also confirmed that they paid their way through to the site by some funny looking guys who claimed to be the security of the environment, but were harassed by another set of hoodlums, and finally chased away by another batch of miscreants.

“Such a scenario, as we witnessed yesterday, is not good for the sustainability of domestic tourism, seeing the potentials such a site has to offer”, said Captain LordsGreat. “Coincidentally, we came here to conduct a tourism sustainability assessment of the site, so we will be publishing a detailed report of our sustainability outlook for this place in the coming days. Government needs to secure this site, and make it safe for visitors, as we don’t have much of such places in the FCT. Tourists should not be subjected to such extortion, fear or harassment.”

Upon further investigation and speaking with some officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency, who pleaded anonymity, it was gathered that after conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), it has been recommended that the site be closed. According to the EIA, the crushed rock site which was used for quarry and mining activities in the past poses a safety risk to tourists, as well as residents of the area due to possible tectonic land shifts which could cause possible dangers to tourist and settlers alike.

Tourism as we believe, is life. It becomes the opposite when insecurity of lives is involved. The tourism sector therefore calls on appropriate authorities to look into the situation and save the environment, thus ensuring the safety of other visitors in the near future.

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Michael Oyetunji, a tour operator and media professional writes from Abuja as the Editor-in-Chief of The Winepress Station
info.winepress@gmail.com
080 9770 7844

TBS Africa Joins the Visegrad Group – V4 (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland & Slovakia) and the Ministry of Environment for Tree🌲Planting Exercise in commemorating Earth Day 2021 in Abuja, FCT.

The Visegrad Group (also known as the “Visegrad Four” or simply “V4”) reflects the efforts of the countries of the Central European region to work together in a number of fields of common interest within the all-European integration. Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have always been part of a single civilization sharing cultural and intellectual values and common roots in diverse religious traditions, which they wish to preserve and further strengthen.

The Earth Day is an international event celebrated around the world to pledge support for environmental protection.

The year 2021 marks the 51st anniversary of the annual celebrations. This year’s theme for Earth Day is ‘Restore Our Earth’.

    In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 as ‘International Mother Earth Day’.

TBS Africa, an eco-tourism, tourism4sdgs and sustainability advocacy platform with the mission to promote and run advocacies for eco-friendly & SDG-compliant travel & tourism in Africa has officially joined the UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition through her Clean & Green Tourism Campaign”.

The “Clean & Green Tourism Campaign” for Africa which was recently launched as an initiative targeted at identifying eco-tourism sites and attractions in Africa for deliberate, intentional and intelligent “Clean & Green Tourism with SDG Action” activity-based advocacy. TBS

TBS Africa, will be joining the global competition in the second category: Planet – building back better – with focus on projects related to the promotion and protection of natural resources, namely the mitigation of the impact of tourism on waste, energy and water in rural areas.

The UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition seeks to source new startups and entrepreneurs that advance the contribution of tourism to rural development and support recovery.

Creating opportunities in Rural Destinations through innovation and digital transformation in tourism to:

  • Fighting poverty: 80% of all people living in ‘extreme poverty’ live in rural communities.
  • Curbing depopulation: By 2050 68% of the world population will live in urban areas and cities will produce 85% of global economic output.
  • Closing the Digital Divide – 87 per cent of people in developed countries used the Internet, compared with just 19 per cent in the least developed countries.
  • Supporting Women and Youth– More that 50% of global workforce employed in tourism are women and nearly 1 billion of the world’s 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24 reside in developing countries and 88% of youth in developing countries live in rural areas; 75 million of them are unemployed.

1. BENEFITS

  • Mentoring by UNWTO and top partners
  • Tailored support for your startup
  • Investment opportunities
  • Form part of the UNWTO Innovation Network
  • Form part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages of the World Pilot Initiative
  • Scholarship opportunities for the Tourism Online Academy
  • Opportunity to present your startup at the 14th UNWTO General Assembly in Marrakech Morocco

 

2. CALENDAR

Launch:

6 April

Deadline to submit candidatures:

1 July

Announcement of finalists:

15 August

Final pitch session and announcement of winners:

October

 

3. CATEGORIES:

people

People – Leaving no one behind

Projects that incentivize the creation of jobs and opportunities, promote gender and youth empowerment, build opportunities for vulnerable groups in rural areas.

 

planet

Planet – building back better

Projects related to the promotion and protection of natural resources, namely the mitigation of the impact of tourism on waste, energy and water in rural areas.

 

prosperity

Prosperity – opportunities for growth

Startups that provide innovative solutions through new business models, instruments that promote access to finance, markets and marketing for tourism in rural areas.

 

propulsion

Propulsion of Rural Tech – Implementation of new technologies

Deep Tech – startups implementing new technologies to advance tourism and development in rural areas.

 

4. THE CHALLENGE:

Closer

Closer

Domestic tourism has shown positive signs in many markets since people tend to travel closer. Travellers go for ‘staycations‘ or vacations close to home.

 

New concerns

New concerns

Health & Safety measures and cancellation policies are consumers’ main concerns.

 

Get away

Get away

Nature, Rural Tourism and Road Trips have emerged as popular travel choices due to travel limitations and the quest for open-air experiences.

 

Last minute

Last minute

Last-minute bookings have increased due to volatility of pandemic-related events and the travel restrictions.

 

Change in demographics
Younger travellers most resilient
Change in demographics:
travel recovery has been stronger among younger segments. ‘Mature’ travellers and retirees will be the most impacted segments.
More responsible
More responsible
Sustainability, authenticity and localhood:
travellers have been giving more importance to creating a positive impact on local communities, increasing looking for authenticity.

Tourism has proven to be a tool for economic diversification and a major employment engine with a multiplier effect on other sectors that contribute to rural development. Tourism in rural areas can particularly benefit traditionally disadvantaged groups such as women – who make up 54% of the workforce in the tourism sector compared to 39% for the overall economy.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered rising interest from tourists looking for new experiences based around natural and rural areas in the open air, far from congested settings. This, combined with the already rising demand for more authentic experiences that over stronger engagement with local communitiestheir culture and products, such as local OR traditional gastronomy, etc., as well as demand for a greener approach in all stages of the travel experience opens up immense opportunities for the economic, social and environmental revitalization of rural areas through tourism.

The current crisis has also emphasized the importance of building resilience among communities in those rural areas which rely on tourism. This implies better social protection and benefits-sharing among communities, as well as economic diversification and the broadening of tourism products and markets through added value experiences. To achieve this, investment, skills development and education, access to finance, infrastructure development, digital transformation, sustainable development, impact assessment, improved governance and women’s empowerment should be placed at the heart of the recovery plans for tourism in rural communities. This will help support them as they navigate the crisis and build back better for people and planet.