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Developing the Young People, Technology and Customer Satisfaction Our Focal Point – Francis Daodu, CEO, 1860 Travels

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By Eric Elezuo

The world of tourism is no longer an all comers affair. It is a professional terrain only reserved for the professionals and erudite minds who are potentially endowed to provide first class travel arrangements, and follow it up with the required attention needed for customers to enjoy the best of travelling and holidaying. One of such prolific organisations is 1860 Travels.

In this brief chat, the CEO, Mr. Francis Daodu, revealed the basics of most impressive journeys and why 1860 Travels is the company of choice. Excerpts:

Could you kindly introduce yourself?

My name is Francis Olusina Daodu. I am the Managing Director of 1860 Travels Limited. We are a travel management company, of course registered in Nigeria as a member of National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA). We’ve been in business for over five years and we started from ground zero, so to speak, because we started as a non-IATA agency. We have grown through the ranks in the industry.

Can you confidently say you have arrived?

Well, I will not say we have gotten to where we intend to but it’s our resolve to continue to give our best to travellers, both current and prospective customers, and all stakeholders. We will get there.

Did you dabble into the tourism industry or it came about as a passion?

It is pure passion. I did not dabble into the industry. It is passion for travels and more importantly, the fact that that there are a lot of tourism potentials in our country that drove me into the industry. Unfortunately, these are underdeveloped. I deliberately loined the industry to my quota in ensuring that travels and tourism as a business is developed within our country.

However, considering that our country is still growing and not fully developed, we have to look more at the outbound market. It is therefore, the passion to replicate the good things out there in Nigeria that is our driving force. In fact, we should be the best tourism destination in the world; we should be competing among the best destinations in the world. Unfortunately, this is where we have found ourselves, but, of course, we all will continue to put our efforts at ensuring that this is developed in Nigeria.

How does the fact that Nigeria has no national carrier affect your job as a travel agent, both within and out there?

Of course, it has a lot of effects. Firstly, it means that foreign airlines are the ones to determine the fate of our travellers. Whether we like it or not, there is a lot of foreign exchange involved and although the foreign airlines do employ our citizens, it really does not mean that a bulk of their revenue sits here in Nigeria. This is because they are in business and for them to continue to stay afloat, the revenue make must return to where it should go to – their home country. It’s quite unfortunate but that is the situation.

What are those attractive packages that 1860 Travels has today and intends to provide, that distinguishes it from other travel agencies?

One thing that is very peculiar which stands us out in the industry, despite the numerous travel agencies in Nigeria, is that we believe in the development of young people and that’s why we have young people all around us. You know, wherever there are young people a lot of fresh ideas flow. We believe a lot in the application of technology in ensuring that travels and tourism are best served to our market. So, we understand that wherever you have young people, you have technology and where you have 1860 Travels, you have the best of travel technology. More importantly, we are five years in the industry and we continue to grow and we also continue to apply several ingenuous ideas in ensuring that travels and tourism is best served in and within our markets.

What are the challenges that limit your productivity?

Well, as an SME, it is about the same challenges SMEs face in the country. It also takes me back to what I was saying about national carrier. If we had a national carrier or we had domestic airlines operating within the international space, it would be to our advantage first. Most recently, the Akwa Ibom State government launched their own airline fleet, which, whether we like it or not, will benefit benefit the citizens first. So, let us think about that is happening on the national stage – we will be the greatest beneficiaries. These foreign airlines don’t operate in Nigeria alone, so to an extent, they cannot be blamed because their hands are a bit tied. They are not just giving to us – they are giving back, first and foremost to their citizens, then secondarily, citizens of other countries where they operate and thirdly, general full support. And of course, you must know that every business is set out to make profit, and some of them have devoted a certain percentage in ensuring that they get some of these things done, under the CSR factor. So, it is our job and that of those in the media as well, to keep emphasizing the need for a national carrier. It goes a long way; it does not just controls fares in the market, you also have a lot more independent contractors and mostly Nigerians employed. Also, we cannot underestimate the need for more young people enjoying more CSR from such airlines.

Finally, where do you see 1860 Travels five years from now?

When we started, it was from ground zero, like I said, without any special support. We have been patient and visionary enough and hope that in the next five years, we would get to the global stage. 1860 Travels wants to play on a global stage, we don’t just want to be limited within the shores of Nigeria. We want to play and be seen as a big player on the global scene. And everything has been put in place to ensure that it happens. It is our desire and hope to take the gospel of 1860 Travels to other markets around the world.

Thank you very much for your time

Thank you.

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Army Chief Commissions Multiple Projects in Janguza Barracks, Commends Troops of 3 Brigade

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, has commissioned multiple projects in Janguza Barracks, Kano.

The newly completed projects, according to a statement signed by the Director Army Public, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu, which include 72 units of Corporals and Below Quarters (CBQ), 30 units of Single Officers’ Quarters (SOQ) and 5 blocks of Company Offices and training shades were officially inaugurated today 26 January 2022 during COAS’ maiden working tour of 3 Brigade area of responsibility.

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, General Yahaya stated that the visit is in tandem with his command philosophy, to enable him interact with troops and obtain first hand information that will enhance his command and administration of the Nigerian Army (NA).

Gen Yahaya disclosed that the dearth of personnel accommodation in the NA is receiving adequate and prompt attention with the construction of befitting accomodations across formations and units of the NA, adding that the welfare of personnel is paramount to his command.

During the working tour, the Commander 3 Brigade, Brigadier General Sinyinah Nicodemus gave the COAS a brief on the Operational engagements and security situation in the Brigade’s <a href=”https://metrotimesng.com” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>area</a> of responsibility.

The COAS in his appraisal, commended troops of the Brigade for discharging their duties with diligence.

The COAS was accompanied during the visit by principal staff officers from Army Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Kabiru Muhktar.

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NIWA Poised to Change Safety Narratives on Waterways – Moghalu

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The Managing Director, National Inland waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr George Moghalu, has said the apex regulatory agency on brown water economy will leave no stone unturned in the quest to ensure accident free water transportation in the country.

He also informed that safety on waterways as a major mandate of NIWA will be pursued with vigour under his watch as a process to engender confidence among water transportation operators and users, and also to attract local and foreign investment.

Speaking after inspecting navigational buoys facilitated by NIWA on Lagos waterways from Marina to Ikorodu, with an ongoing phase two from same Marina, navigating iworo to Badagry,. Dr Moghalu noted that the Lagos template, geared towards activating a national water transportation safety architecture, will further help in emergency rescue operations and provide distressed boats an anchor before help arrives, thus eliminating incidences of crafts drifting on mid waters.

Accompanied by Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Engineer Sarat Lara Braimah and President, Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON), Ganiyu Tarzan Balogun, Dr Moghalu assured that NIWA will not fail in its responsibilities to enthrone enduring accident free water transportation signature across littoral states in Nigeria.

Mr Gani Balogun thumped up the niwa initiative, saying that Dr moghalu is a man of his words and should be trusted to make water transportation safe and attractive for all end users.

“At the last stakeholders meeting last year in Lagos, Dr moghalu promised to ensure a navigable Lagos waterways through provision of buoys which would not only serve as an anchor point for distressed boat operators but will help provide access and geographical location to rescue efforts and today, we have seen that promised fulfilled and we say more grease to his elbows,” an excited Mr Balogun stated.

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Lagos Govt Suspends Activities of NURTW

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The Lagos State Government has placed indefinite suspension on activities of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at Eyin Eyo, Church Street and Idumota Bridge on Lagos Island.

This was as a result of the mayhem that engulfed the areas last week where union members freely used dangerous weapons to attack themselves and commercial paralysed activities in the areas.

At a stakeholders meeting comprising the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Central Business District (CBD) and Lagos State Market Women Association (Iya Oloja General and Iya Oloja of Lagos Island) at the Bagauda Kaltho Press center to tackle crisis often caused by the activities of the union, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka meted out the ban to prevent further acts of violence at idumota, adding that the Lagos State Parks Monitoring Authority will resume at Eyin Eyo.

Fayinka stated that the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) would station an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) on Idumota Bridge to deter motorists from driving against traffic in compliance with traffic rules and regulations and to enforce the suspension of the NURTW within the axis and simultaneously flush out the Oju Opake boys lurking along Plaza around Church Street axis.

Also suspended are the activities of the transport union at Church Street and John Street, particularly Keke Marwa and Mini Buses (Korope).

The Transport Special Adviser added that the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in collaboration with the State Police Command would ensure safety of lives in the area.

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