Category Archives: TOURISM

Americans say they are worse off today than 50 years ago

What a difference half a century makes. If, that is, you’re not living in the U.S.

Are you doing better than the previous generation? The Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C., asked nearly 43,000 people in 38 countriesaround the globe that question this past spring. Residents in 20 countries said people like them were better off than they were 50 years ago. In Vietnam, 88% felt better off, followed by India (69%), South Korea (68%), Japan (65%), Germany (65%), Turkey (65%), the Netherlands (64%), Sweden (64%), Poland (62%) and Spain (60%). Overall, 43% of people in those countries said they were better off.

All told, a majority of respondents in these 20 countries said they were better off.

However, the U.S. wasn’t one of them.

The U.S. was among the other 18 countries in which people said they were actually worse off than half a century ago. In Senegal, 45% felt this way, followed by Nigeria (54%), Kenya (53%), the U.S. (41%), Ghana (47%), Brazil (49%), France (46%), Hungary (39%), Lebanon (54%) and Peru (46%). Venezuela, which has suffered from political unrest and economic turbulence in recent years, was last on the list. Some 72% people there said they felt worse off than 50 years ago (only after Mexico, Jordan and Argentina).

Why the disparity between these countries? In Europe, populists tend to be more enamored of the past than people who disapprove of some of the continent’s right-wing parties. Germans who support the Alternative for Germany party are 28 percentage points more likely to say that life is worse for people like them than those who have an unfavorable view of the anti-immigrant party, researchers found. Another trend: More educated people are likelier to say life is better today, and in some countries young people are more positive on life in 2017 than their elders.

“Some of the most positive assessments of progress over the past 50 years are found in Vietnam, India and South Korea,” the report found. “All societies that have seen dramatic economic transformations since the late 1960s, not to mention the end of armed conflict in the case of Vietnam. A majority in Turkey also share a sense of progress over the past five decades.” That said, Pew’s analysis indicates that views of the current economy are also a strong indicator of whether people say life for people like them is better today than it was 50 years ago.

In the U.S., the rich appear to be leaving the middle class behind. The American middle class made up just 26% of incomes in 2014, down from 46% in 1979, adjusted for inflation, according to a separate report released last June by the Urban Institute, a nonprofit and nonpartisan policy group. The upper middle class controlled 63% of all income in 2014, up from just 30% in 1979. And it isn’t because more middle-class Americans are richer: Middle-income households make up 120.8 million of the population, almost as much as upper middle-class and lower-income Americans combined.

FG mustering political will to develop tourism, says Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday said that the  Federal Government was irrevocably committed to the development of the tourism sector.

The minister said this while speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference has: “Positioning Tourism Within Nigerian Economic space”, as its theme.

He said the government was mustering the right political will and taking some result-oriented steps to develop and reposition the sector.

Mohammed described tourism as “the oil that never dries”, saying that the government would harness the potential of the sector to boost the revenue profit of the country.

“This government is committed to the development of the tourism sector and we are mustering the political will to reposition the sector.

“We recognise the potential of tourism to propel the growth of the economy and we will do everything possible to develop this sector and make it a major revenue earner for the country,” he said.

The minister said that the government was focusing on the development of domestic tourism while putting in place the right infrastructure to attract foreign tourism.

He said domestic tourism was not fully explored in view of its enormous potential to the economy of the country.

Mohammed said that the government was giving those areas like entertainment, fashion in which the country had comparative advantage over some other countries, priority attentions in its tourism development agenda.

The minister, while highlighting some of the steps being taken by government to develop the sector, said that the Presidential Council on Tourism was being revived.

He said the resuscitation of the committee would engender the rapid development of the sector through policy directions and other enablement.

He said the issuance of tourist visas was being simplified and issuance time reduced to 48 hours to attract foreign tourists.

The minister added that a committee to implement the tourism roadmap had been set up and that a task force on creative economy had been put in place.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the government had designed a festival calendar for the country to stimulate internal tourism and attract foreign tourists.

The minister, however, said the government could not develop tourism alone.

He appealed for the partnership of private sector and other stakeholders to develop the sector.

A former governor of Cross River State,Dr Liyel Imoke, in his speech at the conference said the state’s  success story was a proof that tourism could be a big mover of the economy.

He said with the right policy; vision, infrastructure and attitude, the country could make tourism as its major revenue earner.

Imoke , however, said that the greatest problem hindering  the development of the sector was the misrepresentation of Nigeria by its citizens to the outside world.

He advised Nigerians to stop the practice if tourism must grow.

“The greatest problem facing the development of tourism in the country is what I call, ‘Naija Bashing’

“ Nigerians running Nigeria down, especially, some of our people abroad.

“This is not good for our tourism as foreigners will have wrong perceptions about us. We need to believe in the country for our tourism to grow.

“We need to speak well of the country everywhere we go. It is when we stop writing those negative headlines that the perception will change and people will visit our country,” Imoke said.

He urged the country to focus more on domestic tourism as a strategy to develop external tourism.

Imoke canvassed harmonisation of festivals in the country to stimulate patronage and reduce confusion associated with simultaneous holding of festivals.

Also speaking, the Director-General Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, Mr Folarin Coker, said the agency was working hard to retain every dollar spent abroad on tourism in Nigeria.

He said the agency was partnering with stakeholders to promote domestic tourism; while developing the right template for the attraction of foreign tourists.

Nigerians head to East Africa for holidays

Nigerians head to East Africa for holidays

…as cost of traveling to Europe, USA soars.

Nigerian holidaymakers, hit by a weaker naira which has made travelling to Europe costly, are now looking to cheaper destinations across Africa, to fulfil their holiday dreams.

Most travel agencies and tour operators are recording significantly stepped-up bookings from Nigerians for holiday packages in East Africa, especially young couples.

While Kenya recorded the highest number of Nigerian holidaymakers of over 17,000 in 2016, up from 14,065 arrivals in 2015, Rwanda hosted over 20 Nigerian companies and about 5,000 individuals on corporate functions, and Ethiopian Airlines connected more Nigerians across the globe, than all the African airlines put together.
The closest to Nigeria in West Africa, is Ghana, with 8,391 tourists to Kenya last year, a number that is up from 6,116 of the previous year.

Furthtermore, mature destinations such as Tanzania and Uganda, are also wooing wildlife and beach lovers from Nigeria to the many picturesque offerings across the two countries.

Speaking on the growing popularity of East African destinations, Efetobo Awhana, managing director, Avantgarde Tours, observed that the visa on arrival policy of most East African countries is proving to be a big attraction to Nigerians and that travel agencies are recording more bookings for top destinations in East Africa, such as Kenyan coastal resort towns of Diani and Mombasa, as well as Tanzania’s Arusha, Zanzibar and Kigali, among others.

Awhana further noted that beyond the easy visa, East African destinations are cheaper, compared to Western destinations and even Dubai. “With $50 you can get an East African visa, the flights are relatively cheaper and the holiday packages are also affordable. So, the average Nigerian is looking for ways to save money during this economic downturn and the East African destinations easily come to mind because of their affordability”.
Considering the flights, Ignatius Ijere, another tour operator, said that East African carriers are cheaper than even flights within West Africa, and so, most Nigerians who are running on low budgets, take advantage of the cheap flights to holiday in East Africa.
“It is more expensive to fly Asky from Lome to Liberia and Lagos to Banjul because of the many stopovers. It costs between N130,000 and N160,000 from Lagos, Abuja or Enugu, to any of the East African countries, while you need upwards of N250,000 to visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi and from N300,000 to visit London”, Ijere said.

Besides the cheap flights, Ijere noted that more Nigerians are visiting East Africa for holiday because Dubai, which used to be very easy in terms of visa procurement, is beginning to delay from two days to one month, while visa denials are becoming more frequent because of alleged offences Nigerians committed, especially absconding in Dubai.

“With the current exchange rate, the Dubai visa is no longer cheap at $150. The same is the case with the South African visa, from $100. Yet, Dubai has started delaying and denying Nigerians visas.”

“South Africa would have been an option to Dubai but they are worse because you pay $100 for a three-month visa, which expires soon, and you may not get your passport in two months, and when you get it, it might not come with a visa. So, the East African destinations are gaining ground because of the easy and cheap visa and affordable flights too”, Ijere said.

Considering the continued xenophobia attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, most tour operators in Nigeria are reluctant to sell that country’s holiday tours to Nigerians, as choice of holiday destination is now determined by affordability and safety.