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Niyi David

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Tewolde GebreMariam, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines has been named as ‘Airline Executive of the Year’ by the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) at the annual Global Aviation Awards for Excellence in Malta on 5th December 2019. Regarded as the pre-eminent awards for strategic excellence in aviation, CAPA initially established the awards in 2003 to recognize successful airlines and airports based in the Asia Pacific region. The awards later expanded to the global stage in 2012 to acknowledge aviation excellence worldwide.

Tewolde GebreMariam has become a giant in African aviation over the past decades. This past year he has been most strenuously challenged following the MAX accident, and emerges with an even stronger reputation. We are proud to present him with this award and look forward to him continuing to lead the airline to even greater heights.

GebreMariam bagged the honour which is awarded to the airline executive who has had the greatest individual influence on the aviation industry, demonstrating outstanding strategic thinking and innovative direction for the growth of their business and the aviation industry at large. According to CAPA Chairman Emeritus Peter Harbison,

“Tewolde GebreMariam has become a giant in African aviation over the past decades. He has guided a marginal airline into becoming a major global force, with a modern fleet and a world class operation. This past year he has been most strenuously challenged following the MAX accident, and emerges with an even stronger reputation. We are proud to present him with this award and look forward to him continuing to lead the airline to even greater heights.”

Responding, Tewolde GebreMariam said, “I am honoured to have received the award and I sincerely thank CAPA for the recognition. We at Ethiopian have achieved greater milestones as one family. I want to dedicate this award to my colleagues: more than 16,000 brave men and women around the world who always challenge themselves to soar higher with the mind-set that every step they take can become new history and milestone in today’s 21st century aviation business.”

Having served Ethiopian Airlines in different capacities for decades, Mr. Tewolde took the helm of Africa’s leading flag-carrier as Group CEO in January 2011, and his outstanding leadership that propelled Ethiopian to the top of Africa’s aviation. He has received a number of prestigious accolades in the aviation industry, and was recently listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in 2019 by New African Magazine.

Alain St. Ange has once again advocated for the betterment of aviation and tourism. The former Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of Seychelles who is in Mombasa, Kenya as an invited delegate for Routes Africa 2019, took to the stage yesterday along side Tony Griffith, the Senior Vice President Consulting at ASM, and as usual spoke with passion as he made his points for quality improvement in the aviation and tourism industries. 

The need for political will was highlighted and for the continent’s accredited bodies to stand by the side of African Member States starting with the African Union, IATA AFRICA, AFRAA and the African Tourism Board.

St. Ange’s points were discussed overnight and earlier this morning in a meeting with Steven Small, the Director of Routes. The point was made and agreed that a meeting is needed between Routes, African Union (AU), African Tourism Board (ATB), IATA Africa and AFRAA. Africa needs a coordination planning meeting in its opening of the air space, routes development and in so doing help tourism to rewrite its own narrative for Africa by Africa. Steven Small of Routes has said he sees the need for such a meeting to be called and plans to follow-up.

Presently, St. Ange heads his own outfit, the Saint Ange Tourism Consultancy and remains a sought after speaker at tourism and aviation forums and conferences. He also publishes regularly the Saint Ange Tourism Report.

According to the latest data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020, which will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from Sunday 19 to Wednesday 22 April 2020, arrivals from the United Kingdom to the GCC will increase by 22% over the period 2018 to 2024, driven by new and direct flight routes, competitive air fares and a growing number of leisure travellers.

Research carried out by Colliers International, for ATM, indicated that as many as 2.8 million UK residents will travel to the GCC in 2024, which is an additional 500,000 travellers when compared to 2018 arrival figures.

Adding to this, figures from ATM 2019 show the number of delegates, exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business with the UK increased by5%.

Danielle Curtis

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Historically, the UK and the GCC have enjoyed excellent travel and tourism links and this trend is set to continue over the next four years despite the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the bleak pound to dollar exchange rate, in which sterling has declined 18.9% since 19thJune 2015.

“However, the UAE is expected to continue to be the preferred GCC destination for British tourists, welcoming a projected 2.23 million visitors by 2023. Saudi Arabia will follow with 251,000 visitors, while Oman will welcome 165,000, Bahrain 159,000 and Kuwait 5,000.”

UK tourists travelling to the GCC are expected to generate an estimated US$6.3 billion in travel and tourism revenue by 2024, an increase of 34% when compared with figures from 2018, according to the research data.

Building on this, total tourism spend in the GCC, reached US$70.2 billion last year, withthe UK travellersaverage spend during trips to the region, 27% higher than the average spend of any other visitor.

In 2018 Bahrain witnessed the highest average spend per visit at US$3,298. Saudi Arabia followed with an average UK tourist spend per trip reaching US$2,047, very closely followed by the UAE at US$2,020 and Kuwait and Oman reaching $US1,077 and US$945 respectively.

“The UK, as a consistent and key top source market for the GCC, continues to present significant growth potential for travel and tourism revenue across the region. In return the GCC, UAE and Dubai in particular, besides being a commercial hub, offers year-round sunshine, unique travel experiences, world-class hotels and resorts and fast-paced leisure facilities and amenities,” added Curtis.

ATM 2020 will welcome an array of UK exhibitors to the show, with names such as Visit BritainShop, Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Chelsea FC, Lancaster Landmark Hotel Group, Blenheim Palace and Historic Royal Palaces, to name a few.

“But it is not just about inbound tourism to the GCC, ATM provides a perfect platform for UK destinations, hotels, attractions, tour operators and travel agents,to market their proposition to Middle East’s outbound operators and travel professionals, who continue to play a key role in the UK’s tourism industry,” said Curtis.

ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed almost 40,000 people to its 2019 event with representation from 150 countries. With over 100 exhibitors making their debut, ATM 2019 showcased the largest ever exhibition from Asia.

Adopting Events for Tourism Growth as the official show theme, ATM 2020 will build on the success of this year’s edition with a host of seminar sessions discussing the impact events have on tourism growth in the region while inspiring the travel and hospitality industry about the next generation of events.

Former Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine of Seychelles, Alain St. Ange made a stopover in Nairobi en-route Mombasa for Routes Africa 2019 which is scheduled to take place from the 8 to 10 December, 2019. The much respected and sought after speaker for tourism and aviation forums and conferences was in Nairobi primarily to briefly meet with tourism leaders he deals with through his tourism consultancy business (Saint Ange Tourism Consultancy) from which he issues his weekly tourism report. 

However, after his meetings on Friday, some Kenyan press personalities caught up with him at the Hilton Nairobi, seeking to understand the reason(s) for his tenacity and dedication to the tourism industry. Expressing his delight about Routes Africa, St. Ange said;

“I am honoured to again be invited to Routes Africa to sit on a panel of experts in the field of aviation. This subject remains the catalyst for tourism destinations because without a good aviation network, tourism as an industry will struggle. This is why every helping hand is important and Africa needs to be relooking at its air routes to ensure better coordinated links.”

The former Minister who was honoured in Lagos, Nigeria last September during the 2019 AKWAABA African Travel Market, with the African Travel 100 Global Tourism Personalities Award also answered question on tourism in the Indian Ocean as well as on politics in Seychelles, where he presently leads the One Seychelles political party.

“Political development in Seychelles is intensifying day by day as Presidential elections are due in the latter part of 2020. Will it be just a Presidential poll? Or will the incumbent President call a General Election is anyone’s guess, but I can say the One Seychelles as a political party is ready to contest the elections as and when they are called.” St. Ange stated. 

Alain St. Ange will be in Mombasa for the three coming days as one of the invited Routes Africa delegates. Routes Africa is the longest standing and most established aviation forum bringing together leading airlines, airports and tourism authorities to discuss air services to, from and within Africa for over a decade.

By uniting the region’s key decision makers, Routes Africa provides an effective platform for key decision makers to update their industry knowledge, discuss potential and existing air services, and network with industry influencers.

NATOP President, Hajia Bilkisu Abdul with H.E. Engr AA Sule

The National President of Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Hajia Bilkisu Abdul was a guest of the Nassarawa State government recently, on the invitation by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of the state, Engr. Abdulahi A. Sule. According to our source, the NATOP President was invited by the Governor to Lafia, the state capital purposely to brief her on the State’s plans to host an annual cultural festival while seeking support and collaboration from NATOP.

The Governor said that he is impressed with the news he has been reading about Hajia Bilkisu Abdul’s selfless and tireless work as NATOP President, pointing out that NATOP is becoming a household name among many Government agencies, because she has reached out to major Nigerian organisations and state governments.

“I want to Join NATOP so I can drive tourism in my state,” Governor Sule declared as he urged the NATOP President to bring her Board of Trustees (BOT) members and Executives to meet with the State’s Commissioner of Tourism to arrange a tour of Nassarawa for NATOP members, so they can come and enjoy the tourism resources of the state.

In her response, an elated Hajia Bilkisu Abdul thanked the Governor for the wonderful reception accorded her and promised to come back with a bigger team of the best tourism experts in Nigeria. “Engaging NATOP to help promote Nassarawa State will yield great result, Sir. We shall not disappoint you. My members are capable.” She assured.

Maaha Beach Resort is a class apart. I call it “an inviting expanse of bespoke indigenous hospitality carefully blended with nature.” Located in Anokyi in Ellembele District of the oil-rich Western Region of Ghana, Maaha Beach Resort derives its name from the raffia vinifera or bamboo palm, a tropical plant with hard woody stem, known locally among the Nzema people who live in the area as maaha. Instead of concrete, the property’s exterior designs and construction has been crafted with maaha, giving it a traditional village yet exotic ambience.

I visited the resort as part of a group comprising media and tour operators on a familiarisation tour of the Western Region for the 5th Accra Weizo West Africa tourism expo. The visit was brief, but the impression lingers. We were there for lunch and site inspection after a river cruise to the famous Nzulezo Stilts Village, a UNESCO World heritage Site in Beyin.

Jean-Jacques Mass speaking with the media team

I think what makes this place unique is the fact that it’s very close to nature. When you come around, you will see these high coconut trees that give you the impression of being in some Caribbean country, but we are still in Ghana. …this place should be an example for most African countries to promote what (they) have. Everything was built by local artisans with local materials… I think this is the best destination in Ghana.

Jean-Jacques Mass

The lunch was good, very good and the staff were warm – maybe because they knew who we were. I doubt if that really made any difference. It’s hard to imagine a place like this will compromise its services by employing staff with no proper training. The staff is an eclectic and dynamic mix of highly skilled Ghanaian, Ivorian, Portuguese, and Nigerian nationalities and the multilingual nature makes communication very easy.

The rooms looked cosy and I can only guess what sleep comfort would be like. Again, the property was fully booked and we were only able to see two rooms of the combine total of about 150. It is obvious that business is booming for the resort.

Lunch…
Rooms…

We had a little chat with the General Manager, Jean-Jacques Mass and a while later on we got to meet the owner of the property who gave us some background information about the resort.

Maaha Beach Resort was officially opened in June 2017. The room categories include Standard, Deluxe, and Executive Rooms, Junior Suites, Executive Suite and Presidential Suite. Each of these has either sea or garden views, and is spacious and fitted with modern technological gadgets, Wi-Fi access and the trappings of world class resorts to make your stay both comfortable and memorable.

The resort boasts of multiple outdoor pools, a beauty spa centre and fully equipped gym, buffet and a la cart restaurants, Spanish bar and pool bar, a 30-seater movie theatre, tennis court, snooker, children playground and variety of indoor games, while the seafront is perfect for fun activities like beach soccer, etc. when tides are low.

Conference facilities are available and can be customised to suite client’s needs and requirements.

The resort offers a luxurious boat cruise to Maaha Village, a nearby island where you can engage in exciting water-sports activities like Jet-ski, Kayak, banana boat, balloon boat, water mat etc. There is also an exclusive Party Bus serving drinks and canapés for group merriment.

Nearby attractions include: Ankasa Nature Reserve, Cape 3 Points, Fort Apollonia, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Memorial, Nzulezo Stilts Village, Ghana Gas and Atuabo Gas.

The resort offers car rental services and local tour packages, while it accepts MasterCard and Visa credit cards, bank transfers and cash as payment methods.

With GM Jean-Jacques Mass
Organiser of Accra Weizo, Ikechi Uko meets the owner of Maaha Beach Resort

Maaha Beach Resort is located 30mins from the border with Cote d’Ivoire, which makes it quite a stretch if you’re arriving from Accra by road. The journey could last as long as six hours. An option is a local flight from Accra to Takoradi, and then you take a 1-hr-15-mins-ride from the airport to the resort. Thankfully, the resort offers shuttle services from Takoradi Airport and Kotoka International Airport, Accra. Its 30-seater Party Coach and 10-seater Mercedes bus has toilet facilities and butler services to make your journey extremely comfortable.

Maaha Beach Resort is one of Ghana’s best well-kept secret and it is waiting for you to discover its charms.

For additional information, please visit: www.maaharesort.com

The annual fundraising dinner of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) tagged Green Ball, was held on Saturday, 16th November, 2019. The event which had the theme “Restoring Mother Nature: New Deal for Nature and People” took place at the Grandball Room of the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF in his introductory remark, stated that “The alarming conclusions on the seriousness of climate change and environmental degradation in Nigeria makes it necessary for NCF to redouble its efforts. Recent scientific reports from the United Nations and other international agencies show us that climate change and the decline in nature have reached the point where they threaten human existence. This is more so in Nigeria where awareness of environmental issues is quite low and where these issues rank low in priority in our private and national lives. Hence, the essence of our gathering to deliberate and raise fund to raise the bar in the conservation promotion.”

The Chairman of the occasion, who is also the President, Board of Trustees, NCF, Izoma Philip Asiodu revealed his observation about the state of the environment in Nigeria passionately. He alarmed “The nation is losing its land at a fast rate, desert is disappearing, mangroves are being cleared, and pollution is everywhere. The report has it that Lagos and other coastal communities may be submerged under water in 2050 if the Federal Ggovernment does not take drastic steps.”

Also present at the dinner were Minister (State) of Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor; DMD of Total E&P Ltd, Engr Musa Ahmadu-Kida; representative of WWF, Mr. SeifHamisi among others.

The ‘Elegant Stallion’, OnyekaOnwenu entertained the guests with herAfrican pop music.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the first of its kind business forum which commenced on the previous day was rounded up. The forum brought together stakeholders across Nigeria and international.

The Nigerian Business for Nature was a platform where officials and business leaders shared experiences and organisation’s best practices on the environment. Participants include government officials led by Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Director Generals of institutes, heads/reps from corporate organisations, WWF, RSPB and Birdlife International.

Among the sponsors for the night were Total E&P Nig. Ltd; Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG); Chevron Nigeria Ltd; Sokoto State Government; Ecobank Plc; Stanbic IBTC bank; Keystone bank Plc; Firstbank Private Banking; Ethopian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Environmental Accord among others.

Kampala, Uganda – 27 November 2019…

As part of its objectives to establish Uganda as a premier tourist destination, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has officially launched the 5th annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE 2020). POATE 2020 will integrate a business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) trade event format under the theme “Inspiring high value engagement to promote intra-Africa travel for leisure, business and adventure”, aimed at raising Uganda’s profile as a preferred destination in the region and internationally.

Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda Ssubi, State Minister for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, while launching the event, noted the board’s focus on Intra-Africa travel. “Tourism has long been advocated as an alternative strategy for economic development and social reconstruction. The focus on Intra-Africa travel during this expo and beyond is aimed to increase the number of African arrivals to Uganda. With the revival of the Uganda Airlines, regional connectivity is easier and this among others will allow for intra- Africa travel to thrive.” He said.

UTB Board Chairman, Hon. Daudi Migereko noted that POATE was a strategic avenue to market and promote the country to a group of select hosted buyers in a broader goal to increase tourist arrivals to Uganda as per the UTB strategic plan. “Trade expos have been to drive high value engagement and the focus on Africa is timely for Uganda given the recent interest of travellers on the continent.

Also speaking at the event, UTB CEO, Lilly Ajarova, stated that POATE is one of the key strategies for the promotion of Uganda’s tourism in the region and across the world. The expo facilitates key linkages through hosted buyers between tourists and our domestic tour operators. Furthermore, it allows Uganda to showcase directly to various groups of hosted buyers who play a key role in the increment of visitor arrivals.

“On a weeklong FAM trip, we shall host and showcase to hosted buyers to some of Uganda’s unique experiences and gems and ensure a rich and memorable experience so they get a hands-on sense of Uganda as a tourist destination. Hosted buyers will include tour agents, travel media, hoteliers; among others and over 70 hosted buyers are expected from Uganda’s key source markets such as Africa, North America, Canada, UK, Germany, Switzerland, among others,” Ajarova noted.

The first two days of the event will constitute seminars and workshops, B2B meetings and conferences while the last day will be open to the public for B2C engagements between the public and attending exhibitors and hosted buyers.

Commenting on the same, Pearl Horeau, the President of the Uganda Tourism Association said that the expo will present an exciting opportunity for tourism private sector to network and develop their tourism and travel business directly.

“As private sector, we are positive about the potential business that POATE will bring to Uganda. The focus on the African market is a step in the right direction as the continent provides a number of opportunities for intra-travel trade evidenced by the number of African tourist coming to Uganda and other countries.” Horeau said.

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo is a tourism and travel trade exhibition which brings together regional and international tour operators, travel agents, destination agencies and various players in the tourism trade to network and facilitate tourism business. The three day expo will run from 4-6 February 2020 and will be held at the Speke Resort in Munyonyo.

Uganda tourist arrivals at a glance 2019

In terms of arrivals, Uganda’s international tourism performance in 2018 was above the rate of continental and global tourism growth. Tourists from international air accounted for approximately 31% of the total international tourist arrivals to Uganda in 2018, growing by 10.2% compared to the previous year. Growth was recorded from Europe (+13.8%), the Americas (+9.2%), Asia (+10.2%) and the Middle East (+9.7%) in 2018. African land markets (regional and neighboring countries) that entered Uganda by road make up 69% of Uganda’s international arrivals, and grew by 6.1% in 2018.

The biggest number of tourist arrivals to Uganda in 2018 was from Africa. The top ten sources of tourist arrivals into Uganda made up about 82 per cent of the total arrivals. Kenya and Rwanda combined to provide 55 percent of all tourist arrivals in 2018. The other top ten markets were Tanzania (7%), United States of America (4%), Dem. Republic of Congo (3%), Burundi (3%), South Sudan (3%), India (3%), United Kingdom (2%), and South Africa (2%).Uganda witnessed a 7.4% increase in international tourist arrivals in 2018, growing from 1,402,409 in 2017 to 1,506,669 in 2018. Direct revenue from international tourism rose to US$1.6 billion in 2018, compared to US$1.453 billion in 2017.

According to data released ahead of the Arabian Travel Market 2020 (ATM), which will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from Sunday 19 to Wednesday 22 April 2020, destination wedding tourism as well as solo and female led travel and ecotourism, wellness, adventure and agri-tourism (EWAA) are defining the hospitality industry landscape.

The destination wedding segment, as revealed in the research by Colliers International, ATM’s official research partner, is worth more than US$90 billion globally, with 25% of marriages now taking place abroad – equating to approximately 340,000 destination weddings every year.

Looking at the Middle East specifically, the regional market is worth over US$4.5 billion,attracting 5% of the global destination weddings market. The UAE is the most favoured location as a result of the emirate’s relaxed visa regulations, easy connectivity, year-round sunshine, its variety of pristine beaches and scenic mountain ranges.

Danielle Curtis

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Destination wedding tourism is just one of four key trends identified in the Colliers report that will define the Middle East, and indeed, the global travel and tourism market as well as consumer behavior, as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond.

“Overseas weddings are now playing a key role in the overall growth of the global hospitality industry, as more couples seek a unique as well as a personalisedexperience abroad. And in addition, these weddings are also positively impacting thelocal economies,” she added.

Ecotourism, Wellness, Adventure and Agritourism (EWAA) is another notable emerging trend, particularly among environmentally conscious consumers. According to the Colliers data, 70% of global travellers are now more likely to book accommodation that is eco-friendly, with 52% prepared to alter their behavior on holiday to become more sustainable.

Ecotourism
Glamping

Today’s travellers are more attuned to the environmental impact of tourism and are looking for destinations that provide sustainable accommodation and experiences such as glamping, a form of camping that combines the traditional components with more luxurious facilities and amenities.

“Glamping has become increasingly popular in the Middle East over recent years, mainly as a result of the region’s varied landscapes, with various glamping sites opening throughout the UAE, Oman and Jordan including Hatta Sedr Lodges, Hatta; Bedouin Oasis Camp, Ras Al Khaimah; Desert Nights Camp, Oman and Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp, Jordan.”

Other major predictions include an increase in the number of solo and female travellers. Global searches for solo travel witnessed an increase of 17.4% in 2018 compared to 2017 as the idea of travelling alone has become more socially acceptable leading to hotel and tour operators removing single supplement fees to accommodate this growing market.

The Colliers data indicates that 58% of millennials are more likely to travel alone compared with 47% of baby boomers, and interestingly, 74% of lone travellers are in fact females with social media, particularly Instagram and Pinterest the main sources for travel inspiration for these unaccompanied trips.

Curtis added: “Women control approximately 40% of global wealth, a factor that has greatly contributed to more woman opting to take solo trips in recent years. Seeking time for themselves, solo female travellers tend to select their location based on adventure, culture, relaxation and gastronomy as well as visiting destinations as part of voluntary programmes or to learn new skills.”

These dynamic trends shaping the Middle East’s hospitality industry will be explored in greater detail during ATM 2020, with a host of seminar sessions discussing the impact these emerging trends will have on tourism growth in the region.

ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed almost 40,000 people to its 2019 event with representation from 150 countries. With over 100 exhibitors making their debut, ATM 2019 showcased the largest ever exhibition from Asia.Looking ahead, ATM will adopt Events for Tourism Growth as the official show theme for the 2020 edition of the show.

Five months before the biggest and most opinion building Tourism fair in East Africa, KARIBU-KILIFAIR kicks off, organisers have announced the sales of over 250+ stands to the most well-known and innovative tourism stakeholders. With a total exhibition area of 35,000 sqm KARIBU-KILIFAIR has underlined its position of being East Africa’s largest Tourism event. According to the organisers, plans are underway to bring 470+ exhibitors and more than 600 buyers from all over the world, with newly created networking events and the most amazing stage shows that will make the 6th edition of KARIBU-KILIFAIR #KKF2020 the most spectacular one ever.

In a related development, the organisers also announce sponsorship deals with some companies. DPO Online Payment services, with headquarter in Nairobi, Kenya and branch offices in over 16 African countries, featuring the biggest network of its kind, has once again signed up as the “Platinum Sponsor” of KARIBU-KILIFAIR 2020. DPO’s highly secure payment platform makes your stand payment and all other payments simple by allowing businesses to accept credit cards, mobile payments, and cross-border payments.

Also, Moshi based Helicopter company “KSAR” has recently joined the elite group of KARIBU-KILIFAIR Gold Sponsors. The company operates helicopter rescue services at Mt. Kilimanjaro and beyond, as well as unforgettable scenic flight in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. During KARIBU-KILIFAIR 2020 two KSAR Helicopters will provide free scenic flights (upon availability) and demonstrate live evacuation services.

The 6th edition of KARIBU-KILIFAIR will be held from June 5-7, 2020 at TGT, Arusha.