THE MAIA TURNS 5
It has been a fast 5 years for the Maia Luxury Resort and Spa on Mahe, since it opened its doors for the first time in September 2006 and it has been a good 5 years by the signs of it.
On Tuesday this week, while yours truly was checking out luxury properties in Dubai, the MAIA celebrated the big day in style by throwing a big birthday party at their helipad for resort residents, invited guests and representatives of Southern Sun and Qatar Diar which jointly own the MAIA, offering those in attendance the sweeping views of the Indian Ocean waters and the surrounding lush countryside.
The MAIAs 25 villas are built into the hilltop and offer visitors every imaginable luxury, including the most precious one privacy since guests can actually take all their meals in situ, prepared by the team of chefs on call for exactly such requests. All villas have their own infinity swimming pool and of course their own personal butler, who is on call 24 / 7 should guests require any services, snacks, drinks or the latest newspapers from back home, which the resort actually prints on a daily basis and delivers crisp and fresh, either for breakfast or at any time of the day.
Managed since the opening in 2006 by Frederic Vidal, he and his team have over the years bagged a cabinet full of hospitality and travel magazine awards, including a few prestigious Best of from Conde Nast and other leading publications. Said Frederic on the occasion: All these prestigious awards and accolades are the result of an incredible team work, where every member of the Maia family plays his or her role.
Present from the Seychelles government was the Chairman of the Seychelles Tourist Board, Mr. Barry Faure, who is also the Secretary of State in the Presidents Office the tourism portfolio is held directly by President Michel, signifying the importance the sector enjoys on the archipelago accompanied by the STB top brass of Alain St. Ange, CEO and Elsia Grandcourt, Deputy CEO.
Notably were some inaugural guests also present, who have for the past 5 years faithfully spent their annual holidays at the Maya, a clear sign of how visitors, once they caught the MAIA bug, keep returning time and again to get more of what this correspondent once described as hospitality made in heaven and sent to earth.
From this correspondent it is a very warm Happy Fifth to the MAIA and their extraordinary staff, who have made every visit a unique experience and who are the backbone of the success of the MAIA.
(Picture courtesy of the Seychelles Tourist Board)
One the left the release of the celebratory balloons while
on the right is Frederic Vidal addressing the guests and
staff with Mr. Barry Faure (right) and Alain St. Ange
(left) looking on.
TANZANIA GOVERNMENT TO APPEAL EAST AFRICAN COURT OF JUSTICE RULING
The anger by the Tanzanian government could hardly be concealed over the ruling against their ill fated plans to build a highway across the Serengeti, when the announcement was made earlier in the week that the matter would be appealed at the EACJ in Arusha.
The appeal is also a clear signal that the government in Dar es Salaam has not learned a single lesson and that their appeasing letter to UNESCO earlier in the year, assuring the world body that there would be no road, must be taken with a pinch of salt, or in this case with a ton of salt.
Environmental organizations had taken the matter to the only court in the region seen as unbiased and unlikely to bow to the pressures from Dar, and true to their calling did the judges side with the plaintiffs and threw out the objections of the Tanzanian government which had tried to have the case dismissed.
A panel of the appeals bench is now expected to be constituted shortly to look into the decision of their colleagues and either uphold the earlier decision, which many observers feel is entirely in line with East African legislation, or else succumb to the increasing pressures brought by the powers that be in Tanzania, allowing them to go ahead and do as they please, as if they own the environment and can ride roughshod over it at will.
Environmental groups and conservation groups across the region have taken the initial decision as a signal that the EACJ is indeed independent of the usual power games other courts are often thought to be subjected to in cases of sensitive nature, and more and more such court action against governmental impunity can now be expected to be brought in Arusha, when failing in the respective member states.
Government officials were reported to have been seething with anger and true to their nature resorted to name calling in conversations overheard by sources, many of them within government circles and yet totally opposed to seeing their countrys pristine environment and biodiversity being sacrificed on the altar of progress and development, to phrases regularly used to browbeat public opinion and whitewash the potential dangers and environmental degradation and pollution associated with some of the pet projects of the powers that be. Watch this space as the legal case goes into round two.
RWANDAIR SIGNS OPTION DEAL FOR 2 B787
Following the announcement by the airlines CEO John Mirenge on the occasion of the delivery in Kigali of RwandAirs first B737-800 Sky Interior about the vision for Rwandas national airline, it was established that an option agreement for 2 Dreamliners has been signed. Deliveries are likely to fall into the 2015/16 period, at which time additional aircraft are also due to have come on line for the airline. The 2020 strategic plan speaks of a total of 18 aircraft WB intends to fly from its hub in Kigali, very likely then from the new international airport at Bugesera.
There is intense speculation amongst aviation analysts and observers in the region over the exact plans for the airlines growth, starting from the almost certain new destinations when the second B737-800 is delivered in the last week of October this year, but even more so about the intermediate future fleet development of the airline ahead of the intended B787 delivery. Considering the complex structure of the Rwanda Incorporated decision making, it is thought that a number of key decisions are pending before cabinet until pen is put to paper and firm commitments can be made for the purchase of additional new single aisle aircraft.
While the airline is reluctant to discuss these details, clearly not wanting to give the game away by alerting their competitors in the region too early to their plans, it is clear that sooner or later larger turboprops than the presently used Bombardier Dash 8 will be required to support growing demand from the domestic network, and it is anybodys guess where they may be sourced from. They could either be the larger Bombardier models like the Q400 or else for instance turboprops from French manufacturer ATR, which several other airlines in the region like Precision and Fly540 already operate successfully.
As to additional jets, the guess equally is anyones right now. It is known that Embraer has a keen eye on the East African region following their overwhelming success in selling their 170s and 190s to Kenya Airways, but even Bombardiers new C-series, with their superior economics may be a contender, besides of course Boeing itself, though they might not have the right-sized smaller jet available for RwandAirs needs in that segment. Time will tell the story in greater detail but the aggressive plans by RwandAir, for making Rwanda a regional aviation hub and claiming their place amongst the major airlines in East Africa will undoubtedly be material for more speculation in coming months. Watch this space for the most current aviation updates from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region.