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Hospitality & Tourism

Radisson Hotel Group renews partnership with SGS and continues global application of the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol



Radisson Hotel Group is proud to announce the extension of its partnership with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity, and the continued global roll out of the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol to further strengthen Radisson Hotel Group’s existing rigorous sanitation, cleanliness and disinfection program across its portfolio around the world.

In 2020, Radisson Hotel Group worked closely with SGS to conduct a thorough review of all existing health and safety processes and worked with a team of experts to develop and validate the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, a comprehensive series of 20-Step and 10-step protocols for hotels and for Meetings & Events. These enhanced protocols which include comprehensive health and safety procedures such as increased cleaning and disinfection especially in high touch point areas, sanitizing stations, team member personal protective equipment (PPE), physical distancing measures and hybrid solutions for meetings, improved air circulation, and strict food safety procedures, have all been validated by SGS, building on local requirements and recommendations to ensure guests’ safety and peace of mind from check-in to check-out. In addition, Radisson Hotel Group has adapted the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol specifically for Resorts, with attention to services like sports, spa facilities and kids’ clubs.

The Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol is an official cleanliness and disinfection label which can be used by hotels only after an in-depth centralized validation process has been conducted by SGS. In addition, selected hotels receive the additional SGS Disinfection monitored & Cleaning Checked label upon completion of a comprehensive local audit including on-site testing using the latest technology.

“At Radisson Hotel Group, the health and safety of our guests, team members and partners continue to be a top priority. The world has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19, so it is key that we continue innovating and striving to deliver a clean and safe environment to all who walk through our doors, stay in our hotels and conduct meetings in our properties. SGS has been a key partner to ensure our hotels are providing the best and latest health and safety measures, and we are proud to renew our partnership for a second year,” says Federico J. González, CEO, Radisson Hotel Group.

Frankie Ng, CEO of SGS, adds that: “Expert and documented validation by SGS of health, safety and prevention protocols related to COVID-19 has allowed the Tourism industry and Radisson Hotel Group to inspire trust and confidence to travelers around the world.  The goal of our continued partnership is to ensure that the highest hygiene standards are met, and to protect guests as well as Radisson Hotel Group team members and partners.

As part of the Group’s ongoing commitment to the safe return of travel and to allow for a swift return to business, Radisson Hotel Group recently launched its new comprehensive testing program as the first hotel group to roll out a rapid testing service for meeting and event attendees at properties across their EMEA portfolio. In addition, hotels will be able to direct guests to an easily accessible and affordable PCR testing location. The comprehensive testing program for guests is groundbreaking in its coordinated approach across EMEA to reinstall confidence and peace of mind to travelers as the world returns to business by providing a safe environment and seamless testing facilitation.

Radisson Hotel Group continues play a key role in the development of the World Travel and Tourism (WTTC)’s “Safe Travels” and “Seamless Travel” health and safety protocols, a global framework and stamp for a safe return to business and to create consistency across the Travel and Tourism industry. The WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp is currently endorsed by over 200 destinations around the world.



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Hospitality & Tourism

Radisson Hotel Group unveils Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle, its second brand in Morocco



Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle (Source: Saadiyah Hendricks)

Radisson Hotel Group is proud to announce the debut of its second brand and third hotel in Morocco with the signing of Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle in partnership with Al Hoceinia Hospitality. With construction already underway, the hotel is scheduled to open in 2023 and will consist of 133 guestrooms and suites.

Located in the heart of Casablanca’s vibrant and exclusive Gauthier district, one of the prominent corporate, financial and entertainment districts, Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle is just 2.5 km from the glistening La Corniche, the charming Old Medina, and Hassan II Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world. The hotel will offer a unique view over the Arab League Park and will also form part of La Citadelle, a new, premium mixed-use development which will comprise of residences, offices and retail outlets.

Ramsay Rankoussi, Vice President, Development, Africa & Turkey, Radisson Hotel Group, said, “Morocco is a strategic bridge between Europe and the rest of Africa, and a key focus market in our African development strategy. We aim to grow our Moroccan portfolio to over 15 hotels within the next three to five years, and Casablanca is a key city where we are looking to expand our footprint to more than five hotels. Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle is the Moroccan debut of our fastest-growing brand in Africa, and marks our third hotel in the country, joining our other two successful properties, Radisson Blu Hotel, Casablanca City Center and Radisson Blu Hotel, Marrakech Carré Eden. We expect to introduce each of our remaining three brands but also cover all segments, from business hotels to resort properties, as well as serviced apartments. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners, Al Hoceinia Hospitality, for their trust as we look at working together to reinforce our presence across Morocco with additional properties.”

Hamza Laghrari, Managing Director of Al Hoceinia Hospitality, Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle managing company said, “It is with great pleasure that we commence this journey and long-term relationship with Radisson Hotel Group and together introduce the upscale Radisson brand to the Moroccan market. The hotel which will be equipped with the latest innovation to accompany the changing expectations of business customers, will provide a new and an ideal venue for business and leisure guests and an enhancement to the city of Casablanca. As part of our group’s diversification strategy, the tourism industry is an important growth sector in which we see opportunities in the near future, and we are pleased to partner with Radisson Hotel Group to introduce this property and eventually many more. We aim to open a total of five hotels by 2025 in Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech and Tangiers.”

The Scandinavian-inspired, upscale brand, Radisson, will make its Moroccan debut with the new build, 133-room hotel, consisting of contemporary superior rooms and suites. Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle will enable guests to focus on a work/life balance and find harmony in their travel experience, while enjoying the hotel’s modern, state of the art technology, and design. Various cuisine options will be available at the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, patio as well as its panoramic rooftop restaurant. Meetings and event venues will include a large conference and function room as well as five meeting rooms. Perfectly equipped for guests to strike a healthy balance, the hotel will offer both a fitness room and a rooftop pool.

Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle (Source: Saadiyah Hendricks)

Radisson Hotel Group’s top priority is the continued health, safety and security of its guests, team members, and business partners. The Group applies its Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol created in collaboration with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, and recently unveiled its new comprehensive testing program as the first hotel group to roll out a rapid testing service for meeting and event attendees at properties across its EMEA portfolio.



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Hospitality & Tourism

Reimagining the Future of Sustainable Tourism in Africa



Photo by kureng Dapel from Pexels

At Spurt! We are always looking to amplify solutions to critical and specific challenges in Sub Saharan Africa. This week, we reviewed Why Tourism Desperately Needs a New Performance Metric Post-Pandemic by Lebawit Lily Girma. The wake of COVID-19 and its effects on the Tourism sector has unearthed realities that the sector’s metric for success needs to go beyond the numbers; the arrivals and GDP contributions. There’s a solid case for other sustainable ways for measuring success that is as inclusive and effective in capturing the real value add brought by tourist activities. The ongoing equity issue and the colonial legacy entrenched in the sector have to be front and centre to address these.

Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors. According to the UN, It employs one in every ten people on Earth and provides livelihoods to hundreds of millions more. Due to the anchor role it plays in boosting economies, it is imperative that key stakeholders, with the government taking a leading part, take active steps in safeguarding the growth and sustainability of the sector. The sector’s importance notwithstanding, transparency and cultivated trust, will be crucial in determining how the industry will bounce back from the global pandemic’s dire blow.

It is always subjective what the actual cost of a destination is. In Africa, there’s a pervasive question around the trickle-down effect of the money spent on tourism to the local communities and any transformative change that has occurred over time. Historically, the tourism value chain has always been fragmented. According to a McKinsey report, there has been limited coordination among the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that make up a large portion of the sector.

The information champions a more proactive government involvement in the industry through fostering creative alliances between the public and private sector. This cross-sector collaboration can act as an integral leadership centre in tackling emerging issues in the industry and mainstream responsible tourism. The Brookings Institution report on Africa’s tourism potential lauds the governments of Morocco, Mauritius, Kenya, and South Africa to prioritise the tourism sector as a critical driver of growth, allocating resources towards the development of the tourism sector.

Responsible tourism allows local communities to earn a modest income from the tourism activities while supporting conservation efforts. As Lebawit rightfully points out, all efforts geared towards building back the sector better will not be complete without local communities’ inclusion. As the call to decolonise the tourism sector become more substantial, it is becoming clear that innovative and localised tourism is key to a solid and resilient industry. Creative organisations like Turn Up Travel in Kenya are revolutionising responsible tourism through curating unique experiences through striking a balance between destination selection, commerce, conservation and community. More local organisations like Turn Up need to find the root is taking centre stage in diversifying the sector.

At Spurt, the conversation on championing responsible tourism excites us. Local MSMEs are front and centre in the drive to reimagine how a sustainable sector would look. We aspire to be the platform for fostering the growth of scalable local businesses in sub-Saharan Africa that adhere to the best performance and ethical standards. With our research and analytics capabilities, strategic advisory, stakeholder engagement, and implementation support, we are eager to work with local companies like Turn Up by convening, developing, and exciting the best young African thinkers passionate about working for their continent’s economic development.

Written by: Spurt!


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Hospitality & Tourism

Chinedu Rita Rosa Simple Guide to African Food and Wine Pairing



Chinedu Rita Rosa, Founder at Vines by Rosa (Source: Roger Das)

It is not rocket science, but most of us are in great distress when it is time to make a choice of wine, especially when it comes to having dinner with friends or worst of all, your husband is inviting colleagues or his boss over to your house and you want to pull out all the stops to impress and give them a dining experience that they will be talking about in the office for the coming weeks ahead.

In Nigeria, we are blessed with such a wide array of formidable cooking styles and different tastes, that I know the food is not the problem, but you do not want to serve your food with the wrong choice of wine, that will take away from the taste of your food instead of enhancing, so let’s dive right into sure ways of avoiding a mistake.

Food Categories and the Wine Match

Fatty and Oily food: We are a Nation of the best palm oils and most of the dishes in Nigeria consists of oils in one form or the order, so for a fail-proof choice, when cooking all those beautiful Afang soup, Egusi soup, Efo-riro etc, with of course all the orisirisi (Mixed meat) that goes with it. The choice is to have a wine, high in acidity and full-bodied to be able to cut through the fatty taste and cleansing the palete through the meal.

Pinot Noir: Because of its high acidity, medium tannin, and careful use of oak maturation, this wine is perfect for an
amazing dinner that will enhance the Nigerian dining experience: It is quite easy to find and all you need to do is decide if you want Old-world Pinot Noir eg: Bourgogne/Burgundy AOC, or premier Crus like Pommard, Nuits-Saint-Georges etc.

New World: Californian (Santa Barbara, Sonoma etc) Chile: Casablanca Valley, Australia (Yarra Vally & Mornington
Peninsula) or New Zealand (Martinborough, Marlborough and central Otago. And of course in South Africa where the beautiful region of Walker Bay produces some amazing Pinot Noir.

Spicy/hot/Chilly: Call it whatever you want but this is the heat that puts African food on the map and as my mum would say “that drives our never-ending energy” Because of this burning topic, I have two suggestions.
If you do not like the burning sensation in your mouth while eating a heated meal, I will suggest a Low alcoholic wine with fresh and floral flavors, that will help reduce the heat but still increase the enjoyment of the food.

Champagne: The bubbles of champagne are important in heightening the taste of the spices, while the high acidity
level blends perfectly with the spices finally allowing the cooling effect of the champagne to appease the taste buds! A blanc de Noirs or Vintage champagne will get your dinner off to a good start….. Champagne Anyone!!
Riesling: Riesling is one of the best food wines in the world. Its balance of intense acidity, minerality, and fruitiness
makes it an especially good match for spicy foods and the mix of ethnic flavors. A cold bottle of Riesling will make your Asùn a perfect meal and balance the spiciness.

The slight sweetness of(Auslese) Riesling or if you are going for a Spatlese(Dry) will enhance the spice in your Asùn but also reduce the heat in your mouth, while the minerality matches perfectly with the smokiness of the roast meat and fruity flavor gives a satisfying finish.

Bordeaux Wines: The choices are endless here just make sure the balance of Carbenent Sauvignon/Merlot/ Cabernet Franc blend has more than 50% of Cabernet Sauvignon eg Haute Medoc, Saint Estephe etc. Chateauneuf-du-pape with its full body and high alcohol it can withstand the heat, other wines in this category are Cotes du Rhone (France) and Rioja Crianza or Grande Reserva (Spain).

HIGHLY FLAVOURED & Smokey: With the high use of smoked fish, crayfish and spices in our foods it is no surprise that the food will struggle to be a good match with wine, for let’s be clear Europeans did not know what spiciness meant till the ventured out of their lands and made wine according to their own taste, but here we are in the 21st century where food has traveled and now wines are made knowing that consumers come with different taste buds. So to get that Smoked chicken,Moi-Moi, obè àtà, àkara with some fried peppered snails “on point” you just need to follow this rule (food and wine must match in intensity to avoid one overpowering the other).

Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc: Vouvray is my top example of a Chenin Blanc, with its ability to make dry to sweet
wines, you can find anything you want in this grape variety. with its high acidity, stone fruit, and tropical fruit flavours thatare fabulous with a meal of Moi-Moi on its own, with roasted or oven-baked smokey fish or chicken which can be eaten with boiled yams and tomato sauce by the side. While a Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre, Pouilly fume, Pessac-Leognan, Graves) will not shy away from a dish of Lobsters, Shrimps in a fisherman Okro soup, the herbaceous and floral and sometimes Aromatic flavors in this wine enhances the seafood platter which we definitely love in Africa.

Cabernet Sauvignon Single grape or Blend: With a full-bodied Medoc (Bordeaux, Malbec from France & Argentina, Pinotage Western Cape, South Africa Nebbiolo(Barolo DOCG or Barbaresco DOCG) Sangiovese(Chianti Classico and a Brunello di Montalcino DOCG) Italy. Are wines that will keep your dinner on a high note. Bitterness – It is the bittersweet taste at the height of African cuisine (Bitterleaf soup) Match bitter foods with white or neutral wines or reds with lower levels of tannin, simple examples are Chardonnay from Chablis AOC in France because it is not matured in oak, Pinot Gris from Italy.

SWEET: Nigerians are not typically sweet eating people but times have changed so to end your dinner on a sweet and delicious note you can make sure that you get a bottle of wine sweeter than your dessert, I personally love a good glass of Porto, which just mixes spice and sweetness to complement whatever dessert you are serving, but for more choices Sauternes France’s famous wine is made from overripe,noble rot, and hand-picked grapes, it is a luxury that is worth every kobo spent, Loupiac from France, Pinot Grigio from Alsace France, Porto Tawny from Portugal.

SALTY: We are talking of Most food now, the interaction of salt in your food is pleasant and it is also the same with
Wine. Salt makes the wine seem fruitier and softens the tannins in Red Wine, so in the light of this conjecture, most
wines will go with any salty food. Go with your pocket and decide whatever you are in the mood for as long as your salty taste is not mixed in a high degree with any of the above you can drink most wines with foods in this category.

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