RWANDA HOTELIERS SEEK WISDOM FROM MOMBASA COUNTERPARTS
The hotel and restaurant association of Rwanda has just embarked on a fact finding mission by at least 30 members to Mombasa, where they expect to meet and interact with their counterparts running beach resorts along the sunny beaches of Kenya’s coastline. According to information presently available they may also meet colleagues in other parts of Kenya including Nairobi.
High on the agenda will be matters concerning staff training, marketing and operational issues and the Rwandan delegation is expected to also meet with officials of the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers to also talk about institutional cooperation in the future.
The group was seen off after a cocktail function held by the association during which notably the head of tourism and conservation at the Rwanda Development Board Ms. Rica Rwigamba urged the hoteliers to improve standards and ensure that Rwandan hotels, resorts and safari lodges are of equal standards as those in the East African Community member states.
KEMPINSKI DROPS ZANZIBAR
Information was confirmed today that Kempinski Hotels will be ending their management involvement in the ‘Zamani Zanzibar Kempinski’ with immediate effect. The shock news for the Zanzibari tourism sector were elegantly smoothened over by information from Kempinski Hotels that the management agreement with the owning company ASB Tanzania Investments Limited had run its course and was not being renewed by mutual consent. It was not immediately clear if ASB would be seeking a new management company for the property or opt for direct management, as the name ‘Kempinski’ which has been shining alongside the Zamani is now being taken down and off the stationary.
Kempinski is now left with two properties in Tanzania, the ‘Bilila Safari Lodge’ in the heart of the Serengeti and the Dar es Salaam showcase ‘Kilimanjaro Kempinski Hotel’.
The company was only recently rumoured to be pursuing a hotel project in the UNESCO World Heritage Site protected old ‘Stone Town’ in Zanzibar, which proved to be somewhat of a PR nightmare for them but it could not be ascertained that the plans for the old ‘Stone Town’ had anything to do with the company’s decision to end the management agreement or if in fact it was ABS which ‘pulled the plug’ following a ‘disappointing overall performance in recent years’ as a source close to the property in Zanzibar has claimed.
Kempinski then quelled speculation immediately on their overall future in Tanzania, denying any plans to pull out from their remaining two properties, a statement which will be tested as time goes by.
Watch this space for breaking news from the Eastern African and Indian Ocean tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors.
KWITA IZINA PROGRAMME FRAMEWORK NOW AVAILABLE
The annual gorilla naming festival, now in its 7th year, has grown in leaps and bounds and is today a weeklong celebration of conservation and tourism in Rwanda, paying tribute to the country’s ‘signature animal’ and most sought after tourism activity.
Once a single day event the organizers at the Rwanda Development Board – Tourism and Conservation, have worked hard to arrange a series of activities and special commemorations, drawing in conservation and tourism journalists from all over the world and bringing tourist visitors into the country booked to co-incide with Kwita Izina to sample the incredible spirit this celebration evokes.
A national cycling tour will leave Kigali on June 11th for a two day sporting event, bringing together local, regional and international riders and this will then be followed by a conservation conference on the 15th of June, before launching a series of community programmes and projects, co-financed with tourism income, on the 16th of June. June 17th will see “Igitaramo’ unfold, a festival aimed at the local communities in which foreign visitors are truly welcome and made part of it before ‘Kwita Izina’ will then take place on Saturday 18th of June, when 22 newly born gorilla babies will be formally given their names at the festival ground outside Ruhengeri / Musanze.
‘Namers’ have again been drawn from within Rwanda, from the region and from further abroad to recognized individuals with a proven record in conservation but also public officials involved in one way or another with tourism.
Visit the official website www.rwandatourism.com for more information on the country and details of the cycling route and the location of the other festivities and activities.
SEYCHELLES EXPECTS ‘HONEYMOON BOOM’ FROM ROYAL CHOICE
The choice of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to spend their honeymoon on the ‘North Island’ of the Seychelles, has catapulted an already very visible Indian Ocean island destination into the global spotlight like little else would have done.
A concerted effort over the last two years, including the use of London taxis to popularize the Seychelles in Britain, has seemingly paid off however as the couple decided on flying to the archipelago. Global honeymoon destinations, including Tahiti and other South Pacific Islands but also ‘competing’ Indian Ocean Islands and other destinations, had all hoped they would ‘scoop the prize of 2011’ as far as prominent honeymooners go but it was the Seychelles getting royal nod to the delight of the tourist board staff and the entire tourism industry across the islands.
Already collecting recognition and tourism trade awards en masse this year, wherever STB and the islands private sector appear, the Seychelles has in recent years managed to maintain and in fact increase its appeal for the rich and famous as a unique and secluded holiday destination, while at the same time pushing the message into the market of ‘Affordable Seychelles’, promoting Seychellois owned Bed and Breakfasts, holiday villas and beach houses.
Emirates is going double daily this year to Mahe and has underwritten a major marketing effort to push the destination in conjunction with the Seychelles Tourist Board and other airlines too have added frequencies or are using larger aircraft on the route.
Royal watchers may wish to visit www.north-island.com to get an insight of what exquisite and sophisticated resort the young Royals enjoyed during the post wedding get away and the resort is open for bookings, as are others across the various islands.
For more information visit www.seychelles.travel where a comprehensive accommodation guide is available or see your favourite travel agent to book a holiday of a lifetime.
IT IS INAUGURAL DAY FOR LIBREVILLE
RwandAir has today operated its very first ‘extension’ flight between Brazzaville / Congo and Libreville / Gabon, using a B737-500 aircraft. The flight, with full traffic rights between Congo and Gabon, is the first of an East African airline to use that routing and passengers bound for these West African destinations are sure to flock to RwandAir through connecting flights.
RwandAir is expecting two brand new B737-800’s to arrive over the coming months to further upgrade and modernize their fleet, and the two new ‘birds’ are expected to join the CRJ200’s flying for RwandAir in the East African region. The new aircraft will be equipped with the latest on board entertainment systems as they will be deployed to West Africa, South Africa and to Dubai via Mombasa.
Visit www.rwandair.com for more information on flight schedules, destinations and special offers both to and from Rwanda – the Land of a Thousand Hills’. Happy Landings!