HOUSTON MARKETING TARGETS SCANDINAVIA FOR AFRICAN MARKET WITH SEASHOW
Targeting the growing Scandinavian market to Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, here comes an ideal opportunity to meet with most of the major wholesalers and tour operators in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Collectively the four Nordics countries are considered as probably the 4th largest European source market for East African countries including the Seychelles.
Houston Travel Marketing, always seeking opportunities to promote travel to Africa, have a few tables available on their Post WTM Spotlight on Africa Nordic Seashow from November 14th to 18th where 15 Exhibitors from Africa and Indian Ocean have already confirmed their participation. East Africa is again well represented and the Seychelles Tourism Board and Air Seychelles are also exhibiting at the event.
This is the 4th year that Houston Marketing is organizing the Seashow as it is popularly known as the workshops are held on board ship in the harbours. Each year has been a resounding success with on average 20 exhibitors per year and a total of between 220-260 attendees for the four venues. Attendees are outbound Tour Operators, Incentive Travel companies, Travel agents and importantly the local Travel Media. Exhibitors in the past were particularly impressed with the quality of the attendees enabling them to meet with the decision makers of most of the who is who in each country.
Currently are exhibitors from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Seychelles, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa confirmed as participants in the 2011 event
For more information on the Seashow visit http://www.houstonmarketing.co.za and to book a table at the event contact Derek Houston firstname.lastname@example.org
KENYA IS SAFE SAYS MINISTER PROVE IT SAYS TOURISM FRATERNITY
The fallout of the second kidnapping by suspected Somali militants of a tourist from a Kenyan beach resort has already started and is likely to degenerate into a furious row between stakeholders and government, the latter now accused of not having done enough to ensure security of tourists and wananchi in Lamu. Following the Kiwayu incident some three weeks ago, security was supposed to have been considerably stepped up along this stretch of coast line. Embassies and High Commissions upped the language of their travel advisories asking visitors to Kenya to absolutely avoid the coastal strip between the Somali border and Kiwayu and the Kenyan tourism fraternity was swift to point out that other places like Lamu itself were safe and could be visited without problems.
The abduction therefore of a paralyzed French tourist on Saturday night came as a rude shock to the tourism industry, as it took place literally under the noses of this very security, from a resort on Manda Island which is part of the Lamu archipelago and not far from a Kenya naval base it was learned during investigations into the circumstances of this latest incident.
To the credit of the Kenyan security services, once the alert had been raised by staff of the resort, following the swift departure by speed boats of the abductors, they swung into action immediately and launched a hot pursuit on the water and from the air, where surveillance aircraft were redirected and on daylight a helicopter pursuit launched.
While the abductors were eventually cornered before they could escape into Somali waters, this only led to a standoff with the reported exchange of gun fire, but eventually the suspected militants managed to slip away and get across into Somalia, putting the Kenyans in the unenviable position to either abandon the pursuit or else be in open violation of another countrys borders regardless of the fact that Somalia at present is a totally failed state. There are also unconfirmed reports that some of the Kenyan personnel involved in the manhunt may be lost at sea after their craft reportedly capsized. Other reports from the Kenyan coast speak of the apparent wounding of some of the abductors during the exchange of fire but sadly no information is available as to the health and well being of the French hostage.
Regular contributors to this columns news broadcasts were finding it hard to make sense of things but one source in particular from Nairobi really let fly: When Saitoti [Kenyas Minister for Internal Security] talks of about the abduction being unacceptable to government, what is unacceptable is that this was happening a stone throw away from a navy base where there is supposed to be security. What is unacceptable is that government wants to build a port in the same place and they cannot keep it safe even now. What is unacceptable Bwana [Kiswahili word for
mister] Minister is that our security sleeps and lets this happen. Equally were comments made by Kenyas Tourism Minister Najib Balala critizised after he attempted to portray Kenyas coast as safe. Here again the same source said: How can Balala say the coast is safe. How can he comment and say we will beef up security? That was supposed to have happened after Kiwayu! Now the Somalis are coming as far as Lamu, what is next, Malindi? All the embassies in Nairobi have declared the entire coast from the border to Lamu and beyond a no go area now. Because our security slept and our ministers played peacock parading around the tourism business in Lamu is going to be spoilt. Who would now want to go there with such risks. There are many resorts, some even between Lamu and Malindi, who would want to go there when our government just talks and talks but fails to seal off those sea and land borders. Elsewhere the Somali militants stage hit and run attacks on refugee camps, can our army not defend our borders, can our navy not keep those boats away from our waters and from our beach resorts? Let us not mislead our visitors and ourselves about safety and security. Somalia is now a big problem and we have to get involved to sort this out. These guys need a strong government again, not a partitioned territory with Somaliland and others wanting to break away and Al Qaida using it for hideouts and for training to threaten us from there. So our ministers must not express themselves in such terms when they have failed to protect Kenyans and our visitors. Let Balala not pretend that all is well and it is business as usual and let him prove to us, to the world, that Kenya is really as safe as he claims.
Overseas tour operators too have started to make contingencies after initially standing by Kenya following the first murder and abduction three weeks ago, when it was generally felt that it could have been a one off incident and that Kenya would step up security measurably. This second incident however has dented that view and shrunk the level of public support. In the short time available it could only be ascertained that holiday bookings for the Kenya coast were being sheparded away from Lamu and other more remote beach locations to the more fortified resort areas of Mombasas north and south coast. This left the question hanging in the air to what extent Malindi might be affected as fear was spreading of possible additional abductions or outright attacks on tourist resorts by Somali militants to revenge on Kenya which is a major supply stepping stone for the African Union force in Mogadishu and for the UN relief organizations still active inside Somalia. Kenya has in the past steadfastly refused to be drawn in to the conflict and avoided contributing troops to the AU mission but may now have to review their policy in view of these blatant cross border attacks.
Overall, not a good weekend for Kenyas tourism industry after a Black September month which has seen a series of accidents and disasters taking place across the country.
Our sympathy is expressed to the family and friends of the abducted French tourist, who is understood to be paralyzed and in constant need of medical attention and for whom this abduction needs to end very soon unless the outcome will be tragic. Watch this space.
LAST GLIMPSE OF BUJAGALI FALLS
This weekend will give Ugandans one of the last chances to see the Bujagali Falls in their full flow, before the downstream Bujagali hydro electric power plant will begin to close the flood gates in preparations of starting production by the end of the month. All the rapids and falls behind the power plant will progressively submerge in coming weeks until enough water has been stored to support the power plant going on line.
(The Bujagali Falls, previously a major weekend leisure spot for Ugandans and an exciting white water rafting challenge soon to be submerged)
Ugandas three main white water rafting companies have already relocated their main starting points to below the new power plant and while there are at present lots of lingering sentiments about loosing a stretch of river which was easily accessible and visible from several vantage points, there is also resignation in the fact that the falls will within a week or two be gone for good and submerged under a new mini lake created by the dam further downstream. At the same time there is relief too that when electricity production finally goes underway the eternal rationing, aka load shedding by Ugandas electricity distribution monopolist UMEME will be a thing of the past, through probably not equally regular power interruptions due to a rotten network prone to outages when the first drops of rain fall, if not before.
Bujagali Falls was one of the most visited tourism attractions across Uganda, and being less than 10 kilometres away from Jinja and the main Kampala Kenya border highway easily attracted visitors to make a stop and see the gushing waters of the worlds longest river, as it starts its long journey through Uganda, South Sudan, North Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. The immediate area around the falls become home to several adventure companies offering rafting, quad biking and accommodation like the Nile Porch or the Nile River Explorers Camp and while some facilities have shifted down river to where the future action is taking place on the river, much of the infrastructure will remain and refocus on new tourism products like jet boating and water skiing, taking advantage of the higher water levels.
For now the time has finally come when the falls will no longer be fully visible and only swirls in the water will remind future visitors of what once has been the Bujagali Falls of old, gone the same way as did the Rippon Falls when the Owen Falls dam was built in the 1950s.
SEYCHELLES ELECTION RESULTS ARE OUT
Three days of peaceful voting have come to an end yesterday evening at 7 p.m. across the inner islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, after all other islands had their voting carried out during the two previous days.
As expected and as witnessed personally at the end of May during the presidential elections, the conduct by the electorate was mature and no incidents of substance were reported from anywhere across the islands.
The general election became necessary when the previous parliament dissolved itself amid much controversy over the then opposition attempting to block parliamentary proceedings through a boycott and then failed to participate in the 2011 General Election. A new opposition party was swiftly formed by dissenters previously part of the SNP, but with little time to prepare for an election campaign eventually failed to capture a single elective seat from the 25 constituencies nor apparently gathered enough votes to claim some of the proportional seats otherwise available. Party LEPEP of President Michel captured all elective seats in the new assembly with a voter turnout of 74.3 percent.
The result, while celebrated amongst Party LEPEP supporters, leaves democracy in the Seychelles somewhat poorer than before, as opposition within parliament is now absent and will have to find another platform to participate in public affairs, and even President Michel expressed his regret over this turn of events when he said: we wished that the opposition gained some seats in order to encourage more debate. He however congratulated the leader of the sole opposition party participating in the election, David Pierre of the Popular Democratic Movement, for his efforts and maturity in being part of the democratic process.
Full results from each constituency will be available by mid day Sunday. Congratulations to the winning team and to the opposition a call to take heart as there will always be another opportunity to do better in the future.
Meanwhile was a message received from one of two close acquaintances presently on holiday on Mahe, saying: one would simply not have known about these elections but for the posters and headlines and articles in the local papers Nation and Today which we get in the hotel. Of course I dont listen to the local radio stations or watch local TV so I could not say what was on air. But unlike at home in Britain where elections are marked by big rallies and high visibility of candidates and parties, here it was just another day in paradise. I know you keep reminding me that Seychelles is part of Africa but to be honest, going for a holiday to Africa during elections is really not a good idea but here in Seychelles it was just business as usual.
Seychelles truly Another World.