RIVERTREES TO CLOSE FOR ANNUAL SPRUCE UP
One of this correspondent’s favourite places when staying in Arusha, the Rivertrees Inn located on the Usa River between the international airport and Arusha itself, will be taking its annual break as of the beginning of April and will reopen by mid May once again. During that period of time staff will take their annual leave while the rooms will undergo a complete spring cleaning to ‘come back’ all bright and shiny, ready for another year.
Rivertrees is an ideal place to start or end a safari to the Northern national parks of Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti, but also a tranquil and restful location for participants in conferences, as transfers to and from the main international conference centre and other meeting facilities is at most half an hour away.
Visit www.rivertrees.com for more information, rates and bookings, or just to see what makes this little gem so special.
SEYCHELLES TOURIST BOARD TO CONSULT FOR GABON
Impressed by the sterling performance of the Seychelles tourism industry and the concerted efforts of private and public sector to sell ‘Brand Seychelles’ around the world, the Gabon government recently invited the STB Chief Executive Alain St. Ange to Libreville to discuss closer cooperation between the two African Union member countries. While in Gabon Alain St. Ange met with the minister responsible for tourism in this West African nation Hon. Magloire Ngambia and tourism advisor Annie Blondel for extensive talks, following which it was agreed to have a formal agreement drawn up between the two governments to map out future cooperation.
Information from the Seychelles reveals a large scope for the consulting team, including the setting up of a Gabon Tourist Board, tourist information offices, training cooperation with the Seychelles Tourism Academy, an institution respected around the African continent, the production of tourism guide material but also creating a new regulatory and supervisory framework for the sector with special emphasis towards the hospitality industry.
The Seychelles have in recent years aggressively marketed the country, and developed a vision for the economically most important tourism industry for coming years, to ensure that an ever increasing number of visitors receives excellent services wherever they stay, from locally owned and managed Bed and Breakfast establishments to luxury resorts, second to none from anywhere in the world.
Well done indeed and bouquets galore for sharing the Seychelles tourism experience with those countries in Africa who can do with some help.
KENYA’S TOURISM AWARDS SET FOR JUNE 23RD
Information was received overnight that Kenya’s tourism sector is planning to hold an award ceremony for leading tourism enterprises but also for the media covering tourism events and developments. The industry category will see as many as 7 awards being given while there will be three for journalists.
The announcement was made by the CEO of the Kenya Tourist Board and the CEO of the Kenya Tourism Federation, showing the unity between private and public sector and the common purpose of working together hand in hand for the common good of the industry.
While discussing the information with regular sources in Kenya the issue of the 2012 elections was also raised with the sector reiterating their demand that politicians refrain from any form of incitement and instead seek compromises in parliament over the many crucial issues related to the new constitution, so that peaceful elections can be held in Kenya next year and the growth of the tourism industry and its achievements over the past three years not be put into danger.
Only recently have industry leaders demanded positive behaviour from their political leadership, using the record breaking performance of 2010 as an example how well the country can do when peace and stability are assured and maintained.
UGANDA’S FALLEN RANKINGS LEAD TO MORE SQUABBLES
When news broke yesterday that Rwanda’s tourism sector’s competitiveness had risen to now top their standing within the East African Community, more squabbles were reported from within the sector in the New Vision of today. Predictably, as was the case with the previous CEO of the Uganda Tourist Board, attacks were launched at the current office holder, by sectoral stakeholders ever ready to engage in mudslinging and character assassination rather than seeking lasting solutions and addressing the core reasons and root causes of the sector’s less than optimal performance.
One senior stakeholder in regular contact with this correspondent said: ‘…funding remains the biggest problem for UTB. The ministry is seen as not capable of fighting in cabinet for our industry, not able to make an impact on the ministry of finance when it comes to allocating the annual budget. They even failed to protect the budget they were given because whenever government discovers financial needs somewhere else, tourism is always finding fund transfers cut down. We also suspect that there are forces within the ministry not happy with the tourism policy and the new tourism act and are hindering the implementation of the levy. It is high time that the law is operationalised and the levy introduced to secure regular funding for UTB and other intended beneficiaries. One thing is clear though, we cannot let government collect and keep that money because experience tells us we would not get value out of it, they’d keep much of it and not use it for the intended purpose. So collection methods, administration of the fund etc need to be safeguarded to avoid another UWA story in a few years when someone discovers there is money and they can get rich from it. Now about UTB’s staffing, unless there are funds to attract the brightest marketing minds this country has, and there are some very good people out there who have excelled in branding their companies, there is only so much that office can do so it is not fair to blame individuals working there for collective failures which start with our government and our ministry.’
Many of the major developments over the past 15 years in the tourism sector were driven by funding from development partners but the only significant programme presently underway is USAID’s STAR project which is aimed at promoting sustainable tourism and biodiversity in the Albertine Graben but does not have the comprehensive brief previous European Union funded programmes had.
Watch this space.
KENYA AIRWAYS TURNS GREENER
Passengers flying with the ‘Pride of Africa’ can now make individual contributions towards carbon emission offsets by using the IATA Carbon Offset Calculator to establish the ‘value’ of their ‘pollution’, KQ’s latest effort to go greener in their operations. The voluntary contributions made by passengers are then passed on from the airline to a dedicated IATA account which supports selected environmental projects and programmes aimed at creating ‘offsets’ for emissions.
Besides this Kenya Airways was one of the first African airlines to sign up to the EU’s carbon offset trading scheme now in place and pledge full compliance, unlike all the Chinese airlines flying into the EU, which have just ‘protested’ the European Union’s move towards greater measures to protect our environment and safeguard the planet’s health for future generations.
KQ’s passengers, booking through the airlines’ website [www.kenya-airways.com] can easily ‘click’ on to the tool and make their individual contribution while those booking the traditional way through their chosen travel agency or in the airline sales offices too can make their offset contribution.