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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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FirstBank Salutes Medical Professionals Tackling COVID-19 

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By Felix Onajite

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has saluted medical professionals tackling the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and the world, THE WITNESS reports.

The Bank in series of tweets on its Twitter page on Friday, acknowledged the role medical experts are playing to fight the virus.

Some of the messages read: “No capes, just heroes. To all the health professionals at the frontline of efforts to tackle COVID-19, we say thank you. Your timeless efforts are much appreciated. The world called and they responded.”

“No cape, just lab-coats. No superhuman capability, just dedication, strength, and compassion. As we play our parts of staying at home, we thank our medical professionals for being our ‘Avengers’.”

“The world called and they responded. We salute our frontline warriors.”

FirstBank has been in the forefront of supporting the drive to flatten the curve with promoting public enlightenment being among its many measures to check the rising spread of Coronavirus since the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria.

Recall, the lender, as part of a robust effort to combat the deadly virus, recently announced a donation of N1 billion to the federal government of Nigeria for the expansion of health facilities, purchase of relief materials, critical care facilities, protective gears to contain the spread of the virus and treating individuals diagnosed with the disease.

The donation is in addition to the Bank’s drive to move one million children to e-learning, together with an early partner – Roducate – as recommended by the Lagos State Ministry of Education.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the e-learning initiative is a complementary effort in education to support students and minimise the disruption to their education resulting from closure of schools.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday night confirmed 20 new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

Eleven cases were confirmed in Lagos, three cases confirmed in the FCT, 3 in Edo, two in Osun and one in Ondo

“Two new deaths have been recorded in Lagos and Edo States, with 25 cases discharged. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 210,” the centre said.

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APC Chieftain, Ogiemwonyi Celebrates Oshiomhole at 68

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Edo State and renowned technocrat, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, has joined millions of well wishers to celebrate the party’s National Chairman, Adams Aliu Oshiomhole who clocked 68.

Ogiemwonyi described Oshiomhole as a Pathfinder and Leader of leaders in a message he signed.

It read “Happy 68th Birthday to our National Chairman, a pathfinder, a coach, mentor and Leader of leaders.

“Comrade Adams Aliu Eric Oshiomhole,
On behalf of My family, friends and Political Associate, I pray that whatever you ask may you receive, whatever you seek may you find, whatever door you knock may it be opened on your birthday and always.

“May the joy that you have spread in the past come back to you on this day. Another adventure filled year awaits you so wear a seat belt and be sure to enjoy the journey. Happy birthday”

Ogiemwonyi recently joined the fight against coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria with the donation of relief materials such as nose mask, gloves and sanitizers to Edo rural dwellers and appointed coordinators across the 18 local government areas of the state to sensitise them on personal hygiene in a bid to stop the spread of the COVID-19.

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Ronaldo Becomes Football’s First Billionaire

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Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo will become the third sportsman in the world after golf star Tiger Woods and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr to have earned $1bn during his career.

The Old Lady announced a massive pay cut to help them during a period with loss of revenue, but it won’t affect the Portuguese superstar too much.

Thanks to the brand that is CR7, he exclusively earned about €100m only in 2019, but in his career, he is expected to reach the $1bn club in 2019-20, even with the three-month pay cut at the Bianconeri.

Only Barcelona star Lionel Messi earned more than Ronaldo last season, but the fact that the 35-year-old has almost played 18 seasons of professional football helps him become the first-ever footballer to reach $1bn during his career.

Business Insider also reports that Roger Federer will become the first billionaire in tennis this year.

Only golf and boxing champions have reached numbers that level of the active players, whilst basketball legend Michael Jordan is the third member currently in the club.

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