New Lagos Nonstop Fuels Business and Leisure
Friday, June 18th, 2010
By Caroline Shin
For those with a penchant for the sky less traveled, Continental is launching its Africa service, a daily nonstop between Houston and Lagos, Nigeria.
This unprecedented flight meets two disparate needs.
“There is a strong demand for business travel between Houston and Lagos as it will link two energy capitals,” says Christen David, a Continental Airlines spokesperson in an e-mailed statement.
The energy motherland of Texas has almost one-fourth of total U.S. crude oil reserves and over three-tenths of natural gas reserves, according to the Department of Energy’s U.S. Energy Information Administration. Nigeria holds the largest oil and natural gas reserves in Africa, contributing 97.5% of export revenues in 2008, reports the World Bank. (Local groups, however, have been blaming the oil industry for pollution of the Niger Delta comparable to the Gulf oil spill.)
At the same time, Nigerians are the single largest contemporary African immigrant group in the U.S. According to the U.S. Census, 15% of Nigerian immigrants–the highest concentration in the country–live in Texas. And nearly half of them in Houston’s Harris County. That said, “The demand for travel by friends and family during the Christmas holiday period is especially strong,” says David Christen.
Just in time for the holidays, the first flight takes off on November 10, 2011.
But even for those without ties to Nigeria, the country boasts something for the culturalists and the naturalists: vast tracts of savanna and tropical rainforest replete with unique, unspoiled nature; local arts including ivory carvings and African drums; and remnants of the slave heritage.
Nigeria’s Office of Tourism outlines a few of the country’s hotspots:
Badagry in the Lagos state ran an important slave route in West Africa in the early 1500s.
Owu Falls in the Kwara state of Nigeria is the steepest natural waterfall in West Africa and is surrounded by a tropical rainforest with unique flora and fauna.
Eleko Beach, down the Lekki Peninsula about 30 miles from Lagos, boasts privacy and tranquility.
Ikogosi Warm Springs, a natural warm spring that flows and mixes with cold water issuing from a nearby spring.
Yankari National Park includes the Yankari Game Reserve, well-stocked with roaming elephants, crocodile, hippos and lions, and the Wikki Warm Springs, where you can relax under a waterfall after a hot day on a safari. The best time to visit is between November and May.