- Ethiopian Airlines Leads Singapore’s Charm Offensive in Nigeria
The Singapore Tourism Board recently showcased delights awaiting Nigerian tourists in the Southeast Asian country at an event in Lagos. However, tour operators highlighted a burning issue that needs to be addressed, reports Demola Ojo.
A new drive to entice Nigerian tourists to Singapore is being spearheaded by Ethiopian Airlines in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board. Africa’s leading airline (fleet size, fleet age, connections and more) has being making commercial flights into Nigeria from the time of Nigeria’s independence.
As an organization that preaches pan-African, Ethiopian Airlines has made its mandate to connect Africa to the rest of the world. It flies to 94 international destinations and more destinations in Africa than any other airline. In recent times, it has helped ease access to Far East destinations like Japan and China.
The airline serves Nigeria from four locations (Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu) with the most modern planes in the world; the Airbus A350, the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner.
Ethiopian recently announced plans to reinstate flights from Addis to Changi Airport in Singapore. Starting June 1, Ethiopian will fly to Singapore five times a week. Marrying Africa’s leading travellers with one of the world’s most attractive destinations makes good business sense; especially when the pitch includes reduced time of travel between Nigeria and Singapore at more competitive rates.
In a bid to showcase what Singapore has to offer Nigerians, key travel personnel from the Asian country were present in Lagos last week for a roadshow that attracted leading tour operators in Nigeria and the travel media. The roadshow was a collaboration between Ethiopian Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board.
Representing the four main nationalities in the multi-cultural country (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian) were Neo Wei Shan, a manager at Changi Airport, Sidney Chua and Dilshaad Buhariwata from the two leading tour companies in Singapore, and Mohammed Firhan, Area Director Middle East and Africa for the Singapore Tourism Board. Together, they sold Destination Singapore to all present.
Despite being a small island of 5.5 million inhabitants, Singapore welcomed 16.4 million tourists last year, more than three times its population. However, the percentage of that number from Nigeria and Africa in general is minute; it is a number the Tourism Board will like to see increase.
Being an all-year round destination with a tropical climate is just one of the many advantages Singapore has over other destinations competing for tourist dollars. This asides the fact English is the official language. Another selling point is the city-state’s multiculturalism which is reflected in its cuisine, art and architecture. It is a shopper’s paradise, a family destination with a vibrant nightlife all wrapped into a carefully-planned green city.
Singapore is also big on nature and wildlife and offers night and river safaris, with a quarter of the 2,800 animals in its world famous zoo are considered threatened.
Singapore hosts many sports events with the Formula One race at Marina Bay one of the biggest. Held in September, it is usually the best time to enjoy the country as so many events are held around this time, including concerts featuring the world’s biggest entertainers. Of course this also translates to paying a premium for hotel rooms.
The Singapore Grand Prix is unique because it is a street race held at night. The racing cars drive through the streets rather than a racecourse. It means tourists can see the race from their hotel rooms. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Grand Prix at Marina Bay, so it’s expected to be bigger than ever.
Another smart move by Singapore to attract tourists is by positioning itself as a gateway to other countries in Southeast Asia through cruise holidays. There are packages that enable tourists see up to five other countries in the region including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and more.
Changi Airport in Singapore is a destination in itself. Being such a tiny country made up of dozens of islands, all flights are international flights. Due to its location (and vision) it is a major hub connecting east to west and one of the world’s busiest airports. Changi the airport with the most awards in the world and amenities like a rooftop swimming pool for traveller’s to relax is just one of many reasons why.
The Visa Snag
After the presentations which wowed the audience, Nigeria’s leading travel agents and tour operators were unanimous in their observation. They all concluded that Singapore isn’t a hard sell and doesn’t even need much marketing because the product is world class. However, the difficulty in getting visas, even for high net worth individuals, has limited the number of Nigerian tourists to Singapore. Businessmen have had to contend with single entry visas, including those who have visited up to twenty times, while the High Commission doesn’t sit in Nigeria.
If the visa process is seamless they suggested, there would be a stream of Nigerian tourists to Singapore, with E-visa being the answer. “It is the prerogative of the immigration authorities in Singapore,” Mohammed Firhan said. “We’re in dialogue with them to ease the visa process not only for Nigeria, but for other parts of Africa.”
Brent Crude Oil Extends Gain to $86.66 a Barrel Amid Tight Supply
Tight global oil supply pushed Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, to a multi-year high of $86.66 per barrel on Monday at 3:30 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price was lifted by rising fuel demand in the United States and tight global supply as economies recover from pandemic-induced slumps.
“The global energy supply crunch continues to show its teeth, as oil prices extend their upward march this week, a result of traders pricing in the ongoing rise in fuel demand – which amid limited supply response is depleting global stockpiles,” said Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.
Goldman Sachs on the other hand is predicting a further increase in Brent crude oil to $90 a barrel, citing a strong rebound in global oil demand due to switching from gas to oil. This the bank estimated may contribute about 1 million barrels per day to global oil demand.
The investment bank said it expects oil demand to reach around 100 million barrels per day as consumption in Asia increases after the devastating effect of COVID-19.
“While not our base-case, such persistence would pose upside risk to our $90/bbl year-end Brent price forecast,” Goldman said in a research note dated Oct. 24.
Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, known as OPEC+ agreed to continue increasing oil supply by 400,000 bpd a month until April 2022 despite calls for an increase in global oil supplies.
The decision bolstered the price of Brent crude oil above $84 per barrel and expected to push the price even further to $90 a barrel. Low global oil supply amid rising demand for crude oil will continue to support oil prices in the near term.
“Despite the recent power cuts and impacts to industrial activity in China, oil demand is likely instead supported by switching to diesel powered generators and diesel engines in LNG trucks, as well as by a ramp up in coal production,” Goldman Sachs stated.
U.S. and Ghana Inaugurate New $64.7 Million Energy Infrastructure Investment at Pokuase
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie Sullivan joined the President of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo and other Ghana government officials to formally inaugurate the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point (BSP) in Accra today. The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funded the $64.7 million (GH₵ 391.9 million) electrical infrastructure project under the Ghana Power Compact.
“The Pokuase Bulk Supply Point represents sustainable infrastructure investment by the United States with Ghana that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians now and into the future,” remarked Ambassador Sullivan at the inaugural event. “It will help deliver more reliable power to the people, places, and businesses of Accra that drive increased economic activity benefitting families, businesses, and communities.”
This represents a flagship investment under the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Ghana Power Compact. The Pokuase BSP will reduce outages in the power system, help stabilize voltages, and improve the quality and reliability of power supplied to the northern parts of the capital city of Accra. It will also reduce technical losses in the power transmission and distribution system, contributing to the financial viability of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in the long term. The Pokuase BSP is now the largest-capacity BSP in Ghana at 580 megavolt amperes (MVA) and will directly benefit 350,000 utility customers.
The Government of Ghana implemented the project through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). MiDA formally handed over the new power substation to ECG and GRIDCo in today’s ceremony.
The Pokuase BSP is the first major construction project to be completed under the Ghana Power Compact. The $316 million compact is helping the Government of Ghana improve the power sector through investments that will provide more reliable and affordable electricity to Ghana’s businesses and households. The compact is also funding a BSP at Kasoa and two primary substations at Kanda and Legon, in addition to other power sector investments, energy efficiency programs, and women’s empowerment programs within the power sector. The compact program will officially close on June 6, 2022.
Oil Falls Slightly as China Steps in to Curb Rising Coal Prices
Global oil prices moderated slightly on Wednesday following the Chinese government’s decision to curb high coal prices and ensure coal mines function at maximum capacity.
Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped to $83.98 per barrel at 11:00 am Nigerian time. While the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 80 cents or 1 percent to $81.20 a barrel.
“China is planning to take steps to combat the steep rises in the domestic coal market … which could put considerable pressure on the coal price there and reverse the fuel switch to oil,” Commerzbank said.
Prices for Chinese coal and other commodities slumped in early trade, which in turn pulled oil down from an uptick earlier in the day.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission said on Tuesday it would bring coal prices back to a reasonable range and crack down on any irregularities that disturb market order or malicious speculation on thermal coal futures. read more
Oil markets in general remain supported on the back of a global coal and gas crunch, which has driven a switch to diesel and fuel oil for power generation.
But the market on Wednesday was also pressured by data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group which showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.3 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 15, according to market sources.
That was well above nine analysts’ forecasts for a rise of 1.9 million barrels in crude stocks, in a Reuters poll.
However, U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, fell much more than analysts had expected, pointing to strong demand.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later on Wednesday.
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