image056 mandelaThe passing of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, in December 2013 sparked a global outpouring of grief. The world paused as we collectively reflected on the life of this phenomenal man and celebrated what he had achieved, not only for South Africa, but for mankind. Most of the places associated with his life’s journey teemed with visitors who dedicated private notes and flowers as tokens of respect and remembrance as South Africans and, indeed, the world tried to come to terms with the loss of the founding father of the nation,” Minister Van Schalkwyk said as he spoke today at an event at Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison) in Cape Town – the last place where Nelson Mandela was held captive before he took his first steps to freedom on February 11, 1990.

South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, today launched “Madiba-inspired tourist attractions” – a travel map that encourages tourists from around the world to come to South Africa to walk in former president Nelson Mandela’s footsteps.

“To make it as easy as possible for people to personally experience Mandela’s story, we have developed the ‘Madiba-inspired tourist attractions’ map, which encapsulates the key points on his life’s journey,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Developed by South African Tourism in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the map highlights tourist sites as well as general places of interest in the four main provinces that defined Mandela’s life. These include the Eastern Cape, where he was born, grew up and attended Fort Hare University; Gauteng, where he worked as a human-rights lawyer and became instrumental in South Africa’s political struggle; KwaZulu-Natal, where he was captured, and the Western Cape, where he was imprisoned and ultimately freed.

Since Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990, a number of world-class museums, monuments and precincts have been developed to bring his story to life and to cater for the demand to better understand South Africa’s history.

The “Madiba-inspired tourist attractions” map includes well-known attractions such as the UNESCO world heritage site Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned, and Mandela’s house on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, which is the only street in the world to have had two Nobel peace prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, as residents. It also features some of the lesser-known attractions, such as the Kliptown open-air museum, also in Soweto, which marks the spot where the Freedom Charter was adopted by the Congress of the People, as well as the Nelson Mandela youth and heritage center in Mandela’s childhood home, Qunu, where he was of course buried as well.

mandela“Mandela’s integrity and spirit of hope, reconciliation and love have touched the lives of millions of people. This year, we celebrate 20 years of democracy and freedom, and we look forward to welcoming many tourists from around the world to share the South African story and Mandela’s legacy with us. Not only was Nelson Mandela an incredible man and leader, but he remains a truly global icon. Since 1994, visitors from all corners of the globe have come to South Africa to seek out the places that shaped his remarkable life. His name alone put South Africa on the map; today, we are returning the favor in a literal sense.”

In 1993, the year before Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president, South Africa had 3.4 million international arrivals. In 2012, South Africa welcomed 13.5 million people to the country, of whom close to 9.2 million were tourists (people who spent one or more nights here).

“The numbers aside, though, what has perhaps been the greatest legacy for tourism is that Mandela has encouraged people from all corners of the globe to come and experience South Africa for themselves. It is thanks to his vision and principles that our tourism industry has grown as much as it has since our first democratic elections 20 years ago when he was elected president of South Africa,” Van Schalkwyk added.

“It is also thanks to him that the world now knows South Africa for more than just our incredible wildlife, amazing scenic beauty and excellent value for money. Since 1994, the world has come to realize that what really sets this country apart is Mandela’s people, whose warmth and hospitality leave all who visit us touched by the ‘Madiba magic,’” the Minister concluded.

The “Madiba-inspired tourist attractions” map has been made available to trade partners in South Africa and around the world to make it as easy as possible to package Madiba-inspired itineraries. The map is also available online at 

Source: ATQ News

download wtmThe latest forecasts for Africa’s rapidly growing travel and tourism industry will be unveiled at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa Vision Conference - Cape Town.

The WTM Vision Conference – Cape Town, which takes place during the inaugural WTM Africa on Friday 2 May, will also debate the crucial impact of mobile on the tourism industry and showcase the best mobile apps and case studies.

 As with the other four WTM Vision Conferences around the globe, it will feature up-to-the-minute market intelligence from Euromonitor International, a leading research specialist with an extensive network of strategic analysts in 80 countries. Paz Casal, Africa Research Manager at Euromonitor International, will present the Travel Industry Forecast Review 2014, looking at how the recovery in the global economy will affect the continent.

 According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, demand for international tourism in 2013 was strongest for destinations in Africa (+6%), as well as Asia and the Pacific (+6%). Africa attracted three million additional arrivals, reaching a new record of 56 million, reflecting the on-going rebound in North Africa (+6%) and the sustained growth of Sub-Saharan destinations (+5%).

2014 regional prospects are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (+5% to +6%) and Africa (+4% to +6%). Casal will investigate trends such as Mandela pilgrimage tourism, as well as online and mobile developments which enable consumers to bypass traditional distribution methods.

 “With international hotel chains buying up regional players, Sub-Saharan Africa holds the last piece of the puzzle in the search for long-term sustainable growth,” said Paz Casal.  The second session at WTM Vision Conference – Cape Town will be from Digital Tourism Think Tank, an initiative which aims to provide thought leadership to the tourism industry in digital marketing best practice.  

Called ‘Mobile is here to stay – 2014 Goes Mobile’, the session will present global and African case studies of tourism organisations and businesses which have successfully incorporated mobile into their digital marketing.

Think Tank experts will showcase the best apps to demonstrate how mobile strategies can shape and add value to the overall tourism experience.  WTM, Conference and Seminar Manager, Charlotte Sutton, who will introduce the event, said, “The inaugural WTM Vision Conference – Cape Town is a must attend event for all WTM Africa participants, as it will offer the latest  information and insight into the African travel and tourism market.”

WTM Africa Vision Conference takes place between 10am – 12pm on Friday 2 May.

WTM Vision Cape Town is the third in a series of six WTM Vision Conferences taking place across the globe before World Travel Market in November (Monday 3 – Thursday 6) at ExCeL– London.The first is in Moscow on 9 April, followed by Sao Paulo on 24 April. The fourth in the series is Dubai on 6 May, the fifth takes place in Shanghai on 8 May. The final event is in Rimini on 9 October.

WTM Africa will be one of three co-located travel industry events at the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC) that form Africa Travel Week 2014. The others will include IBTM Africa (Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings) and ILTM Africa (International Luxury Travel Market) which will take place from 28-30 April.

 Africa Travel Week are:

·         ILTM Africa 28 – 30 April 2014

·         IBTM Africa 28 – 30 April 2014

·         WTM Africa 2 – 3 May 2014

For further information on WTM Africa please visit For more information on each of the Africa Travel Week events, please visit

To register for this event please visit

Yann Ranaivo reports in this article for Delaware's The News Journal that Park to be named in his honor in Bob Marley's hometown:

Wilmington City Council President Theo Gregory is proposing an ordinance that would rename the Tatnall Playground to “One Love Park.” The park, located at 24th and Tatnall streets, would be named in honor of Marley’s famous song.

one-love-secondaryDuring the mid-1960s, the reggae icon lived for a time at 2313 Tatnall St. The house belonged to Marley’s mother, Cedella Booker, who ran a Jamaican music shop on Market Street until the late 1970s.

Gregory said he hopes the renaming sends a positive message to a community that has had to deal with shootings and other crimes. “It’s not a cure all, but you do little things to try to promote a positive in the community,” he said. The proposed ordinance is being co-sponsored by council members Nnambdi Chukwuocha and Trippi Congo.

Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington, also plans to ask the General Assembly to approve a historical marker for the playground. She said timing for her effort depends on when City Council approves Gregory’s proposal and an unveiling ceremony occurs.

“The fact that [Marley] was in Delaware is historic, and I want people to know that,” Henry said. The ordinance is slated to go before the city’s Planning Commission on Tuesday. The renaming would add to a list of activities and properties in Wilmington that honor Marley and his ties to the city.

The Peoples Festival, which celebrates Marley’s music and message, is held annually in Wilmington. Across the street from the Tatnall playground, a home sits above a mural and stairs painted in red, yellow and green. The mural includes a painting of Marley singing and playing a guitar. Next to him, a sentence on the mural says “I feel so good in my neighborhood.”

Above the house’s entrance, reads “Governor General.”

Beryl Jackson, who lives at the house on the corner of Tatnall and 24th and a native of Jamaica, said she hopes the renaming causes more people to come out to the park. “It would be a great idea,” she said. “It would be something for the neighborhood to enjoy.”

Ulysses McManus, who has lived in the area his entire life, said “One Love” has always been his favorite Marley song because it came out when he served in Vietnam. McManus, 68, said he recalls seeing Marley on the street and in the park. McManus said Marley, who began achieving fame in the early 1960s when he lived in Wilmington. “He was already there,” McManus said, “but around the neighborhood, he was just Bob.”

Source: Repeating Island

For the original report go to

lamyThe protection of children from all forms of exploitation, the fight against trafficking, anti-poaching and accessible tourism for all are among the work priorities defined by the newly formed World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE). The committee recently met at UNWTO headquarters to identify the major challenges facing responsible tourism and define its Action Plan for the coming four years.

Under the chairmanship of Pascal Lamy (former Director-General of World Trade Organization – WTO), the World Committee on Tourism Ethics met for the first time in its new constitution as appointed by the UNWTO General Assembly in August 2013.

(Photo) World Committee on Tourism Ethics Chiar Pascal Lamy (center) at a press conference with Haiti’s Minister of Commerce, Mr Wilson Laleau (right), and Hait’s Ambassador to the WTO, Mr Pierre-André Dunbar, in Port au Prince, Haiti.

“The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is not destined to solve major political and economic issues at the global level; it will be a useful instrument in interpreting a frontier area, which is tourism ethics, by binding people together in an operational way”, said Pascal Lamy.

“One billion tourists crossing international borders every year can mean one billion opportunities but also one billion catastrophes; it is up to us to decide. Governments, companies and tourists themselves need to ensure tourism works as a force of good and I am convinced that the new Committee on Tourism Ethics will assist greatly in this endeavor”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

The Action Plan of the Committee for the coming four years will focus on:

  • · the exploitation of children in all its forms;
  • · trafficking;
  • · poaching and the illegal trading of wildlife;
  • · accessible tourism for all;
  • promotion of fair models of all inclusive holidays; and
  • · unfounded ratings on travel portals which may impact the reputation of companies  and destinations

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is an impartial body responsible for interpreting, applying and evaluating the provisions of the the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.


The UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) is a set of principles designed to guide the development of tourism in a way that maximizes the socio-economic benefits of the sector, while minimizing any negative impacts. It was adopted in 1999 by the UNWTO General Assembly and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2001.

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics, a subsidiary organ of the UNWTO General Assembly, reports directly to the Assembly. Members are elected in their personal capacities and not as officials of governments or representatives of their countries.

Members: Mr. I Gede Ardika (Former Minister of Tourism of Indonesia), Mr. Yoshiaki Hompo (Former Commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency), Ms. Fiona Jeffery (Former Chair of the World Travel Market), Mr. Khelil Lajmi (Former Minister of Tourism of Tunisia), Mr. Jean Marc Mignon (President, International Organisation for Social Tourism), Ms. Tanja Mihalic (Head of Institute of Tourism, University of Ljubljana), Mr. Ron Oswald (General Secretary, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers´ Association), Mr. Eugenio Yunis (Executive Vice President, Federation of Tourism Enterprises of Chile); alternate members: Mr. Hiran Cooray (Chairman, Jetwing), Ms. Suzy Hatough (Director of Dar Al-Diafa for Tourism Human Resources Development Consultancy) and Ms. Gunnur Ozalp (Secretary-General, Association of Turkish Travel Agents).

Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing and most profitable airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that it has finalized preparations to start four weekly flights to Vienna, Austria starting 2 June 2014.

eTHIOPIAN-FLYVienna is the political capital and the economic hub of Austria. The city is a major diplomatic centre and seat of United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Ethiopian flights to Vienna will bring the total number of its international destinations across five continents to 80. The city will mark the 9th European city served by the airline. Thru commercial cooperation with Austrian Airlines, a fellow Star Alliance member with strong network in Central Europe, Ethiopian aims to provide seamless and convenient connectivity options for travelers between Africa and European cities such Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw, Budapest, and Bucharest, subject to regulatory approval.

Flight Days From To Departs Arrives
ET724 MON/WED/THU/SAT Addis Ababa Vienna 00:20 06:10
ET725 MON/WED/THU/SAT Vienna Addis Ababa 23:10 07:05

“We are very happy to spread our wings to Vienna, which is one of the most popular convention and conference centers in Europe. In addition to serving the growing travel needs between Vienna and Africa, we will be able to offer efficient connections between Africa and Central/Eastern Europe in cooperation with our Star Alliance partner, Austrian Airlines. Europe, which is still the largest trading partner of Africa, is an important region for us”, said CEO Tewolde Gebremariam.

The new flights to Vienna are scheduled with a view to provide to Ethiopian customers convenient connections, with minimum layover in Addis Ababa, to 48 African destinations.

Ethiopian is a global Pan-African carrier currently serving 79 international destinations across 5 continents with over 200 daily flights and using the latest technology aircraft such as the B777s and B787s.

Source: ATQ News


When, in April 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the appointment of Mrs Sally Uwechue-Mbanefo, an accomplished banker and a top private sector player as the new Director-General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), the tourism stakeholders and practitioners were gripped by a cold. The cold emanated from the fact that the erstwhile director general of the corporation, Chief Olusegun Runsewe, was not only perceived to be doing well by the template operating then, but he was in far away Dubai, UAE, doing what he knows best for Nigeria, coupled with the fact that he was just two years four months into his second term tenure of four years!

The image of Chief Runsewe, which loomed large over the sector with the impression of being the best performing director-general and the fact that the newly appointed Mrs Mbanefo was unknown in the tourism sector, readily prepared a negative mindset against her among the stakeholders and particularly the tourism media, over which the former director-general seemed to have wielded a lot of influence.

ntdc directorMrs Mbanefo’s  silence in the first eight weeks of her appointment did not help matters, as this seemed to have jelled with the growing fears that she could not make any impact not to talk about performing well and better than her predecessor in office. Reinforcing this were some unfounded tales of missing money  in the NTDC,  this is an entity which her predecessor used to  constantly hammered into the ears of the public  that it  suffered from paucity of fund, thereby  making people to wonder where else could such a huge money come from within eight weeks of vacating a post which the new occupant is being alleged to have embezzled!


However, the tide of events changed exactly in the third month when Mrs Mbanefo called a stakeholders’ summit in Victoria Island, Lagos,  an event she used her goodwill in the private sector to get   sponsors  for without any financial implication for the NTDC  where she unfolded her plans, vision and action. At the Tourism Stakeholder Summit held at the Events Centre, Kofo Abayomi , Victoria Island, with the theme: “Rebranding the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation,“ Mrs Mbanefo, leveraging on her experience in the private sector, opened up what was up her sleeves for the sector. “Tourism is a serious business  which must be approached with all sincerity of purpose, diligence of mind and optimal clarity  for the betterment of the nation’s economy  and not just for its glamour, noise  and paparazzi intent I don’t want to play to the gallery as my mission, according to the President Goodluck Jonathan who appointed me, is to do all things  humanly possible  to link the sector with the mainstream of the economy, not by making noise on the pages of newspapers but by ensuring there is a strong connect between NTDC  and the private sector.” She revealed to the guests and tourism stakeholders that she had been silent for the past weeks because “For the sector to grow and align itself perfectly with  the mainstream of the economy   for the benefits of the stakeholders and practitioners, there should be a paradigm shift from the ways NTDC  as an entity used to conduct business and interact with the private sector  and this could only be done if the corporation itself  is reinvented and restructured in line with contemporary dictates and demands . This is what I have been doing as the structure I met on ground cannot fast track the new template of the moment. Then, it was business as usual but now it is business unusual. As they say charity begins at home.  I know the fact that driving a vision successfully is not a loner’s efforts but a collective endeavour of all in the corporation who must key into to the vision. But we thank God. We have repositioned NTDC and honed the work force thoroughly well to service the sector and your aspiration.”

image007She revealed that “it is now a new NTDC where the staff are assured of future growth with a new well defined salary structure, conducive atmosphere, two staff buses to ease transportation in Lagos and Abuja offices.” She declared: “I have to declare to all that I will use whatever time I have as the DG NTDC to grow Domestic Tourism. This is the fundamental and the bedrock for tourism to grow in this country. We must first of all appreciate, promote, harness and enhance the tourism gifts, blessing and opportunities which abound in Nigeria by ourselves before calling others to come and see.” Mrs Mbanefo, in a sequential order, reeled out her vision of promoting domestic tourism as contained in her booklet with the theme “Rebuilding the NTDC and Growing the Tourism Value Chain for Revenue Generation and Job Creation.” She efficiently encapsulated the totality of her vision on domestic tourism, hinging it on the three pillars, viz rebuilding the NTDC which she has done  and is ongoing via retuning the staff and the environment for the business unusual : growing the tourism value chain, which she has been doing  and which was demonstrated on that day when she signed MOU with five  strategic partners, Heritage bank, Visa Incorporated, Arik Air, ABC transport and Reddington Hospital,  on the day of the Summit in Lagos and Re – inventing the Tourism Sector which involved introducing programmes that change how value is created, marketed, delivered and financed.

And in the last six months, Mrs Mbanefo has been marking the turf in accordance to her programme and projection by distinguishing herself not as a noise maker but a doer who is not taking Nigerian for a ride through newspaper tourism propaganda and sloganeering. Desirous of pulling her vision through, she had a breakfast meeting with the media in Lagos where she craved its indulgence in supporting her as “Nigeria has more fascinating stories to tell. And no one can tell it better than the Nigerian journalists themselves.” Mrs Mbanefo revealed that she would first of all take a trip to the six geo political zones to see, visit, authenticate and assess some notable tourism sites for development and enhancement. She told the journalists: “I love our participation in tourism fairs and trademarks but I am assuring you that NTDC will not just participate in international shows and trade fairs just for the love of it but we will certainly attend those in which Nigeria has a lot to gain and benefit. “We must be sure of what we are calling and inviting people to see. We must be able to know, firsthand, what and what need to be done in making the sites presentable and worthwhile.” To her, for domestic tourism to grow,  all the strategic partners must be involved and wired into the vision, and in line with this, she also had a dialogue over breakfast with airline operators and travel agencies, where she sold her domestic tourism vision, canvassed their understanding and charged them to be patriotic in their operations. “As the nerve centre of the tourism sector, you have to redefine your strategy bearing in mind the development and promotion of domestic tourism. You are the ultimate beneficiaries of domestic tourism. The wellbeing of domestic tourism is the wellbeing of your cash in the bank.  As domestic operations blossom, your coast of operation and cash flow.”

Living up to her words, she first of all ensured a proper rebuilding of the NTDC, laundered its work force and ensured a positive change of their mindset from business as usual to business unusual and she commenced her visit to the six-geopolitical tourism zones. According to her: “We cannot promote domestic tourism without ascertaining and having a heart-to-heart contact with the various sites we would be inviting foreigners to visit. This is an authentication trip which must be undertaken for authentication, certification and verification of facilities there in.” Mrs Mbanefo,  thus, tied her apron, revved her tour engine and  commenced the tour of  Lagos,  Kaduna, Kano, Taraba, Benue, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Rivers, not only visiting the tourism sites in these states, but dialoguing with  major stakeholders therein preaching to them the gospel according to domestic tourism. These peregrination have taken her to see the Mare Festival and Idanre Hills in Ondo, Tinapa in Cross Rivers, Oodua Festival in Ile Ife, the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba, 9999 Choristers in Akwa Ibom, Olumo Rock in Ogun State, first oil well site in Oloibiri, Bayelsa, the royal gate in Kaduna, the museum and other places in Lagos, and a lovely cruising on River Benue. All these were never ventured into by any of her predecessors within the space of time and logistic. For instance, in the South-West, she did not only have a heart-to-heart discussion with Otunba Gani Adams, the cultural tourism ambassador of that region, in his office, but attended the Oodua Festival, held in Ile-Ife, where the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade  Sijuwade not only specially  applauded  her passion and prayed for her, but commended her for being the first director-general of Tourism who knows what to do and doing it well.

The same episode played itself out when she was the special guest of honour at the launching of the Niger Delta Slave Route in Port-Harcourt, an event put together by the Centre for Peace Tourism Arts and Culture, CEPTAC, where the President of the centre, Chief Mike Amachree, described her as “the light in the dark tunnels of tourism.” Her carriage and exhibition of a firm grasp of the tourism industry, and what the sector needed to grow, have endeared her to major economic and professional groups in Nigeria which have either invited or dignified her as a speaker or special guest of honour at events and ceremonies. And in any of these, Mrs Mbanefo has given a very good account of herself and utilised the opportunities to tell the audience why domestic tourism should be it . Mrs Mbanefo, a Barrister-at-Law and a hard core player in the private sector, displayed her intelligence and understanding of the tourism sector as a speaker at an event organised by the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lagos, last year, where she was given a standing ovation after her delivery. She impressed the gathering of Nigerian economic players so well that Chief Goodie Ibru, the then president who was a former president, Federation of Tourism Association in Nigeria, FTAN,   described her as an “asset not only to the sector but  to the nation.”

The management and staff of City People Magazine could not hide their feeling after she honoured their invitation and delivered a paper on: “Fashion and Tourism.’’ They acknowledged her sound mind,   solid understanding of the sector and her agrarian passion at promoting domestic tourism. Mrs Mbanefo has also built bridges of constructive engagement with the Federal Road Safety Commission, the Central Bank, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Football Federation, Nigeria Turkish Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other  sectoral organs whose business cuts cross the tourism sector. Even the football fans in Nigeria commended the NTDC for being the only Federal Government parastatal which welcomed the Golden Eaglets with a ceremony at the Nnamidi Azikwe International Airport last year after their victory. Her foreign engagements have also been gauged within the location of necessity and not formality, as promised. It is on record that she did not only perform well at her first foreign engagement, the World Travel Market, WTM, London, held in November last year, but her organisational ability and conduct impressed the Nigeria High Commissioner, Dr Talatu Tafida, who participated at the fair for the first time, in praising her: “I must commend the director-general for her robust sense of duty and responsibility by inviting Nigerians who live here to participate at this market. This is the first time I am being formally invited.

This is a break from the past behaviour of your predecessor when I will just be informed that Nigeria was here. This is commendable. Kindly keep it up.” Though, Nigeria was unable to participate at the FITUR Spain, Mrs Mbanefo said: “Like I have said, many times, our participation in the foreign travel market will be determined by first, the inherent benefit of such a show and priority on available fund. You see, at WTM, London, Nigeria was able to sign fruitful MOUs and we are talking with the World Bank officials we met there on funding of certain projects. We are desirous of ITB Berlin because we are in contact with some agencies and countries that are eager to talk business with us.” The six months or half year performance of Mrs Sally Mbanefo has succinctly told all that you don’t judge a woman with her looks or appearance but rather with what she has to offer and the way and manner she goes about it.

This lady has confirmed that she has a vision for the sector. She has affirmed that she can drive the vision. She has continued displaying that it is all about physical beauty alone but about beauty of brain, guts and patriotic zealotry to deliver beyond the expectation of the cynics. According to Mr Ayo Olumoko, CEO, IFOGEM: “The director-general has been sequentially implementing her programmes and being religious about driving domestic tourism. I have watched her at close quarters, particularly how she packaged Nigeria’s participation at the WTM. I have also been following her travel all over Nigeria, preaching her gospel of domestic tourism. I have also been impressed by her strident efforts at carrying stakeholders along and informed. These are pointers to the fact that she will perform well in the subsequent months or years provided there is the right political backing and will.”

(Top Photo) The Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Mrs. Sally Mbanefo meets with His Excellency, Governor of Benue State, Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam during a courtesy visit to Government House recently in Makurdi, Benue State.

Source: ATQ Magazine,-dg,-ntdc-six-months-after-appointment.html

naomi-kingMs. Naomi King, widow of Rev. AD King who was the brother of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., recently traveled to the UK to participate in a Special London Commonwealth Celebration taking place on March 9th-11th. That evening, the AD King Foundation of Atlanta, Georgia, USA hosted “An Evening of African Arts and Culture, and activities the next day including the Nigerian Business Roundtable and an awards dinner in honor of the late Rev. AD King who was a civil rights leader with his brother.


The Special London Commonwealth Celebration with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth included a wreath laying ceremony. Ms. King participated in laying a wreath in honor of the dead of World War One and World War Two where HRH Prince Charles and other members of the Royal Family will be in attendance.


Later Ms. King was welcomed by Lord Watson of Richmond and other members of the House of Lords at Westminster. She then did a tour of the House of Lords with other government officials, leaders and special guests. After the tour, Ms. King and other leaders were led to the Palace of Westminster for the Observance Service which will be attended by Her Majesty The Queen and HRH Prince Phillip, HRH Prince Charles and HRH Princess Camilla, Commonwealth Royalty, government ministers, high commissioners, state governors and other VIPs. QueenElizabethII-594x413


That afternoon Ms. King attended the reception at the Commonwealth Secretariat (Marlborough House) hosted by H.M The Queen. During this event, the Queen will make a speech to every part of the Commonwealth. Last year, Her Majesty spoke of the Commonwealth Charter and its 16 core values that included democracy, human right, peace and security, protecting the environment, healthcare, gender and equality, and the need of civil society to foster greater understanding among younger people.  These are all ideas that Ms. King believes in and supports.

That evening, the A D King Foundation, the GLEEHD Foundation and the Nigerian Diaspora Community presented “An Evening of African Arts and Culture.” This event will showcase Africa Arts and music with performance by leading musicians from Nigeria and the Diaspora. GLEEHD is a foundation registered in England and Nigeria to address expanding opportunities of economic development of youth in Africa. A D King Foundation partners with GlEEHD to collaborate on fostering youth development in Africa.

The following day activities  included a Nigerian Business Roundtable at 9 am at 116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED, United Kingdom. Presented by the Institute of Directors in partnership with the Commonwealth Democracy Initiative, Rostra Consulting and GLEEHD Foundation, this event is part of the activities celebrating Nigeria’s Centennial. The event was co-chaired by the Lord Watson of Richmond with Simon Walker, Head of the Institute of Directors as the main host. Also in attendance will be Mark Simmonds MP - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lords, MPs. Key journalist from the Economist, BBC and African Diaspora media houses including NTA International, BEN TV and OHTV were invited.

prince charles

That evening the GLEEHD Foundation, A D King Foundation, Commonwealth Democracy Initiative and Rostra Consulting for the Nigerian delegation presented a gala awards dinner in honor of Rev. A.D. King at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London.

In addition to Ms. King, others from the US who accompanied her to London included Dr. Babs Onabanjo, CEO of the AD King Foundation; Joe Beasley, representative of the US Rainbow Push; Stephon Ferguson, a motivational speaker; Breeze Clerger, a performing artist; Tony Martin, an artistic director; Shuaa Alrobayan, a film maker and Marjo Etheridge, a performing arts studio director.

That evening, eminent and emerging Nigerian leaders was recognized for their contribution to the development of Nigeria over the last 100 years. The awards have been endowed by the Commonwealth Democracy Initiative, A.D King Foundation, GLEEHD Foundation and NIRMA (Nigerian International Recognition and Merit Award).


                  New Bed and Breakfast to Bring Much Needed Service to Accra, Africa        


bb ghanaNew Yorker Adrienne Cooke has always dreamed of opening a bed and breakfast in Ghana, West Africa. She has finally found the perfect spot for her dream --The Black Star Bed and Breakfast in Accra, Ghana, West Africa is a four bedroom home ready to become a quiet African retreat.


Cooke says she fell in love with the community on her frequent visits to Accra. Not only does she want to fulfill her dream of becoming a successful business she wants to create a Bed and Breakfast that supports local community. "The bed and breakfast will also help the local economy as I plan to use the service of several local small businesses and shop at the local markets for food," says Cooke.

In order to move forward with the next step of her dream, Cooke needs to fill the bed and breakfast with furniture, while also updating the plumbing and air conditioning. She is raising funding on and will use monies raised to outfit the bed and breakfast with beds for each room, various furniture (side tables, etc.), four AC units (and installation labor) a refrigerator, stove, microwave, toaster oven, a kitchen table and chairs, living room furniture, and dining room furniture and more.


She is asking for help to realize her dream but not without offering something in return to contributors who make from eight to 70 dollar donations. Contributors will receive a variety of handmade jewelry or baskets from Africa depending on their donation choice. Ghana wood masks, Krobo Bead bracelets, Maasi bead bracelets and Ghana Bolga Baskets made by Fair Trade artisans are some of the perks available to contributors.


Conveniently located in a residential neighborhood, the house has four bedrooms with their own private bathrooms. There is a separate dining room. The guesthouse features a living room and garden available for guests to relax, read a book, watch television or meditate. Black Star Bed and Breakfast is within walking distance to Spintex Road, a 15 minute taxi ride to Ghana Mall and a 25 minute drive to Kotoka International airport.


                                        About Black Star Bed and Breakfast


ghanaBlack Star Bed and Breakfast is located in Accra, Ghana, West Africa and is the dream of Adrienne Cooke. The four bedroom home is situated in a central location where the weary or adventurous traveler to Africa can find respite. For more information, visit, 




 An International Creole Institute was officially opened last month in the mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles. Regional dignitaries in Seychelles to commemorate 30th anniversary of Indian Ocean Commission (COI), were standing alongside the Seychelles Vice President Danny Faure and Ministers Vincent Meriton, MacSuzy Mondon, Peter Sinon with high ranking officials ofthe islands and friends of the Creole language and culture witnessed a new chapter in the history of island's Creole Institute, when a commemorative plaque in the Seychelles three official languages was unveiled. sey

It was Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture who had the honour to invite Jean-Paul Adam, the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Claude de L’Estrac, Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission,  Didier Robert, the President Regional Council of La Reunion and Roland Robert, the Vice President of the General Council of La Reunion to unveil the plaque and write a new chapter in the history of the institution.

The International Creole Institute continues to perpetuate the prime mission of the former Creole Institute of Seychelles. The development and the promotion of Creole language and all that is Creole remains the mission of International Creole Institute.  . Having now acquired an international status, the institute will have an administrative council to represent the different Creole speaking countries in the region and further afield. The institute mission is also broadened and its main working method will be through joint collaborative projects among Creole Countries and Islands and among organisations. When he was officially launching the International Creole Institute, Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture said “today Seychelles is witnessing an important event in the history of Creole Institute. It is with pride that Seychelles and La Reunion are offering to the Community of the Creole World a Creole Institute of International dimension.’’

Minister St.Ange said that the international status of the Creole Institute will contribute immensely in the development of Creole culture.

“ Today we are making an important milestone in the history of the Creole Institute. Seychelles, with the support of the Regional and General Councils of La Reunion Island, are joining forces to transform the Creole Institute of Seychelles into an International institution that will not only serve Seychelles and La Reunion, but the Creole Communities at large. As a nation we are proud to speak Creole, and to live the Creole culture. Many Creole speaking Islands are looking at our achievements and now, through this  International Creole Institute, researches and those passionate about the world of creoles can work together for future generations. We can, and we should put our efforts together and proudly live our unique creole culture’’ Minister St.Ange said before inviting the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mauritius to join Seychelles and La Reunion in the Creole project. 

Didier Robert, the President of Regional Council of La Reunion, Roland Robert, the Vice President of the General Council of La Reunion and Penda Choppy, the Director of the Institute all spoke at this official opening ceremony of the International Creole Institute.

juneot002As the list grows beyond forty-two states, most recently Rhode Island, that recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or special day of observance, the major road block to the establishment of Juneteenth as a National Day of Observance like Flag Day or Patriot Day, are Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).


Juneteenth, or the "19th of June", recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the last southern state in rebellion following the end of the Civil War. This occurred more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of General Order #3 by General Granger, the former slaves celebrated jubilantly, establishing America's second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African American national holiday observance.   


The legislatures in only eight states remain to pass legislation to recognize Juneteenth. These states are Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah.



In 2012, despite having 30 U.S. Senate co-sponsors, legislation sponsored by former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas), SJR 45, that would place Juneteenth on all calendars as a special day of observance, was not supported by U.S. Senate Democratic leadership. Efforts are underway to re-introduce the same Juneteenth legislation in 2014.

Will President Barack Obama Refuse to

Recognize Juneteenth in 2014?



President Barack Obama, who did not acknowledge the significance of Juneteenth in 2013, continues to ignore thousands of petitions and letters requesting the recognition of Juneteenth at the White House and to issue a presidential proclamation.


obama4"The White House and the U.S. Capitol were built by Americans of African descent during the tyranny of enslavement," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF). "Why does President Obama, the first African American to occupy the White House, have a problem with hosting a Juneteenth celebration acknowledging this fact?"



Will the USPS Continue to Refuse to

Issue a Juneteenth Postage Stamp in 2014?



The USPS has also denied the request to issue a Juneteenth postage stamp, also despite receiving thousands of petitions.  

"We will continue to petition the USPS to issue a Juneteenth postage stamp despite their refusal in 2011," states Dr. Myers, also Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC). "We will have to double and triple our efforts for the official recognition of Juneteenth in 2014."


As the leader of the "Modern Juneteenth Movement" in America, Rev. Dr. Myers continues to push for the recognition of Juneteenth because America needs healing from the legacy of enslavement. The first step toward healing is for America to acknowledge that the nation was built through the evil institution of slavery and to celebrate freedom for all Americans during Juneteenth.   


ron m"The National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement takes place on the '18th of June', the day before we celebrate Juneteenth," states Rev. Dr. Myers. "We have also established the World Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement on the '20th of August', commemorating the date the first Africans, twenty Angolans, in British colonial America, arrived in the slave ship, the White Lion, at Old Point Comfort

                                                                   Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA, in 1619. This 

                                                                   was America's first Middle Passage."


Rev. Dr. Myers has also established "June is Black Music Month!" - CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH JAZZ - "Preserving Our African American Jazz Legacy!"  Through a series of concerts, lectures and workshops, African American classical music, commonly called "jazz" is celebrated in the hometowns of great black musicians across the country and around the world.


"Efforts to establish 'June is Juneteenth African American Jazz Legacy Month' by congress and President Obama are also underway." states Rev. Dr. Myers, Founder & Chairman of the National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP). "This is an important recognition of a people who arrived in the belly of slave ships and created America's most intellectually sophisticated musical expression of freedom for all the world to enjoy." 


For information on how you can support legislation to make Juneteenth a National Day of Observance, the issuing of a Juneteenth postage stamp, the National and World Days of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement and the establishment of "June is Juneteenth African American Jazz Legacy Month" contact Rev., Dr. Myers at 662-392-2016; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; web site:


dengue-450x350Caribbean countries, struggling to emerge from a slump in exports and falling tourist arrivals brought on by the worldwide economic crisis that began five years ago, have one more thing to worry about in 2014, The Independent European Daily Express reports.

Dominica's chief medical officer, Dr. David John, said climate change and its effects are taking a toll on the health of people in his homeland and elsewhere in the region.

"You have seen what is happening [with] the effects of climate change in terms of our infrastructure, but there are also significant effects with regards to climate change on health," John said, adding that "these effects relate to the spread of disease including dengue fever and certain respiratory illnesses."

John said the Dominica government would be seeking assistance from international agencies, including the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), to mitigate "the effects of climate change on health as it relates to dengue, leptospirosis and viral disease."

In late 2012, the Ministry of Health in Barbados alerted members of the public about a spike in leptospirosis cases." Senior Medical Officer of Health-North Dr. Karen Springer said then that five people had contracted the severe bacterial infection, bringing the number of cases for the year to 18.

Springer explained that the disease, which includes flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting, eye inflammation and muscle aches, could be contracted through contact with water, damp soil or vegetation contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Bacteria can also enter the body through broken skin and if the person swallows contaminated food or water.

In recent years, dengue has also been on the rise throughout the Caribbean with outbreaks in Dominica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico and the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, among other places.

Professor of environmental health at the Trinidad campus of the University of the West Indies Dr. Dave Chadee told IPS there is ample "evidence that climate-sensitive diseases are being tweaked and are having a more significant impact on the region".

He said he co-authored a book with Anthony Chen and Sam Rawlins in 2006, which showed "very clearly" the association between the changes in the seasonal patterns of the weather and the onset and distribution of dengue fever.

"There is enough evidence, not only from the Caribbean region but worldwide, that these extreme events are going to have and going to play a significant role in the introduction and distribution of these sorts of diseases in the region," Chadee, who previously served as an entomologist at the Insect Vector Control Division of the Ministry of Health in Trinidad and Tobago, told IPS.

"If you look at the various factors that are associated with climate change, the first is heat waves. There has also been a reduction in air quality. You also see an increase in fires and the effects on people's ability to breathe as well as the association between the Sahara dust and asthma which was demonstrated in Barbados and Trinidad recently.

"The Sahara dust which comes in from Africa brings in not only the sand but also other pathogenic agents within the sand, together with some insecticides which have been identified by people working at the University of the West Indies," Chadee told IPS.

Dr. Lystra Fletcher-Paul, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative for Guyana, said she has no doubt that climate change has contributed significantly to some of the issues related to diseases in the region.

"If you look at some of the impacts of climate change, for example drought, with drought you are going to increase the amount of irrigation that you are going to be applying to the crops. And irrigation water is a source of pesticides or even chemicals, depending on where that source of water is and that could lead to problems in health," she told IPS.

"Similarly with the extreme events, if you are talking about floods, there can be contamination of the fresh-water supply."

The FAO representative is adamant that there is too much "talk" in the Caribbean and too little "implementation".

"We have had the conversation, so what we need to do now is put the systems in place to mitigate and adapt to climate change," she said. Using land-use planning as an example, Fletcher-Paul told IPS, "A lot of what we see happening in St. Vincent and St. Lucia may not necessarily have taken place if we had proper land-use planning."

A slow-moving, low-level trough on Dec. 24 dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica, killing at least 13 people. The islands are still trying to recover.

"So we need to take some hard decisions in terms of where we would allow development to take place or not," Fletcher-Paul said.

Chadee said the poor would always be at a disadvantage in climate change scenarios and they will suffer the most from sea level rise when you have salt water intrusion into fertile agricultural land, rendering them unsuitable for food production.

"A lot of diseases will essentially create havoc to people who are already poor. The adaptability of the poor versus the rich within the Caribbean region will be tested because if the poor are no longer able to produce some of their food, this would then lead to health problems."

He explained that if the poor are no longer able to have a particular diet this would make them susceptible to a number of diseases.

"With the Caribbean region having developing states, and especially Small Island Developing States, we do have a unique situation where the resources have to be put in place, especially for adaptation," Chadee told IPS.

It's almost like the wall of the reservoir has been breached and you know that the water is coming. You don't know how high the water level is going to be but you know it's coming, so what do you do? And that essentially is the scenario in which we have found ourselves in the Caribbean," Chadee added.

Source : Repeating Islands

For the original report go to

A new biography seeks to give rock star status to one of reggae’s most militant musicians, Davina Hamilton reports in this article for The Voice Online.

LONG OVERSHADOWED by the mighty Bob Marley and even shunned by the Jamaican establishment for his outspoken political views, Peter Tosh, at last, has his story told in a new biography.

Steppin’ Razor: The Life of Peter Tosh charts the life of the Jamaican guitarist and singer, who shot to fame alongspeter toshide Marley and Bunny Wailer in the celebrated reggae group The Wailers.

Shining a light on the revolutionary musician who reportedly taught Marley to play the guitar, and who vehemently called for the legalisation of marijuana in his hit song Legalize It, the book by respected reggae journalist John Masouri, seeks to posthumously honour Tosh, who was murdered in his Jamaican home in 1987.

And according to Masouri, though Tosh was shunned and even beaten for his outspoken views on various social and political issues, he was a man ahead of his time.

“It’s interesting how some of the things that Peter articulated in his songs, such as the legalisation of marijuana – in songs like Legalize It and Bush Doctor – and the collapse of financial institutions – The Day The Dollar Died – have now come to fruition,” says the British writer, who enjoyed success with his first book, 2008’sWailing Blues: The Story Of Bob Marley’s Wailers. “The man had vision.”

In addition to receiving literary recognition in Steppin’ Razor – which takes its title from Tosh’s song of the same name – the musician’s solo album Legalize It is also set to be the subject of a planned feature film from Oscar-winning British director Kevin Macdonald.

Another posthumous honour came for Tosh in 2012, when he was awarded the Order of Merit by the Jamaican government – a feat that would have been unimaginable back in the seventies, when he was considered a thorn in the sides of the Jamaican establishment.

In 1978, during Marley’s famous One Love Peace Concert in Kingston, Tosh lambasted attending politicians, Prime Minister Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, leader of the opposition party Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), for their failure to legalise marijuana.

He also used the opportunity to bring to the politicians’ attention the bloody gun battles that were taking place in the country’s most impoverished districts, warning: “Hungry people are angry people.”

His public insubordination wouldn’t go ignored. Five months later, he was apprehended by police and beaten severely while in police custody.

Regarded by many as an intimidating figure (perhaps not least because he was 6ft 4in tall), Tosh, like many other black activists, was the type of man the establishment wished to silence. Undoubtedly the most militant member of The Wailers (he famously slammed the group’s one-time label boss Chris Blackwell, referring to him in an interview as “Chris White-worst”), what made Tosh quite so revolutionary?

“He was born black, poor and fatherless in a colonial society, governed by a ruling elite who had no interest in furthering the cause of people like himself,” Masouri reasons.

“The majority of people in similar situations spend their time complaining or assuming the role of victims, which isn’t meant as a criticism. Not Peter however – he was a fighter who believed in his chosen cause, and expressed himself without fear, despite near fatal beatings at the hands of the Jamaican police.”

Though Tosh’s outspoken nature and refusal to conform cost him international stardom (the decision taken by himself and Bunny Wailer to quit The Wailers, refusing to go on tour in 1974, meant the pair missed out on the global superstardom Marley achieved), Masouri says Tosh was not the type of person to put fame over his principles.

“[Conforming] would have meant compromising his integrity and Peter wasn’t the kind of person to undertake that willingly. He really did practise what he preached on many levels and whilst mainstream recognition brings undoubted rewards, I think we should honour artists like him regardless.

“’Time will tell’, as Bob Marley did say, and the merits of someone like Peter Tosh cannot be kept hidden indefinitely.”

Steppin’ Razor is the culmination of a tireless effort from Masouri, who interviewed over 100 of Tosh’s former friends, associates and fellow musicians for the book.

And despite his extensive reggae knowledge (several reggae artists have said after being interviewed by Masouri that he was able to remind them of facts they hadn’t even remembered about themselves), the author says he learned many new things about Tosh in writing the biography.

“I was always a Peter Tosh fan, from the early seventies. But after more than three years’ worth of research, I had a wealth of new material to draw from that even die-hard Peter Tosh fans should find of interest – particularly regarding his early years with [Jamaican producer] Coxsone Dodd and [US singer-songwriter] Johnny Nash, and his adventures with [British acts] Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones.”

Did Masouri ever meet Tosh?

“I did meet him briefly, backstage at a show in London, and found him an imposing character. He towered over me in his wraparound shades, surrounded by his dread entourage and was very imposing.

“Lots of people I interviewed for the book testify to how warm and humorous he was, but I never got the chance to experience that side of him unfortunately!”

Still, Masouri is keen for Tosh to get his dues. A man who made playing the guitar look effortless (if he’d been any more cool and laid back in the video for The Wailers 1973 hit Stir It Up, he would have been sleeping), Tosh, according to Masouri is worthy of rock star status.

“I wanted to write the book as an adventure story, and make it eminently readable to people who aren’t necessarily reggae fans or immersed in that culture. The idea was to present Peter’s life story in such a way that it could be afforded parity with that of any rock star.

“That’s because in nearly 30 years of writing about reggae music, I’ve consistently come up against this inherent bias that reggae is somehow inferior to other genres, and I wanted to try and change that somehow.”

He adds: “Peter was a visionary and he had a purpose, and it’s my fervent hope that his memory can now inspire a new generation of singer-songwriters to follow in his footsteps.”

Steppin’ Razor: The Life of Peter Tosh is available now from Amazon

For the original report go to



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