ETHIOPIAN TO COMMENCE SEYCHELLES FLIGHTS
From the middle of November onwards will Ethiopian Airlines begin flights from Addis Ababa to Mahe, the Seychelles international airport outside the capital Victoria. It is understood that a B737-800 aircraft will be used for the service, which initially will connect the two countries three times a week. The new route will make ET the second airline after Kenya Airways, which also flies three times a week from Nairobi to Mahe and is hopefully a precursor to yet more African airlines seeking traffic rights and connecting Seychelles Another World with the rest of the continent.
It is understood that Ethiopian Airlines will mainly seek connecting traffic from across its extensive African and international network although Ethiopian citizens too can now fly nonstop to the archipelago, where they need no Visa but only have to show a return ticket, a confirmed hotel booking and sufficient funds for their stay on arrival.
The Seychelles Tourism Board has special promotions for visitors from the African continent, covering a wide range of budgets which makes holidays on the Creole Island Paradise both affordable and also special.
Mahe is to be ETs 64th destination worldwide and the commencement of flights will go hand in hand with a dedicated promotional campaign across the airlines network, from which the Seychelles tourism industry is going to benefit with more arrivals.
The country is on course to break the 2010 arrival and revenue record by a wide margin this year, a result of the addition of Mahe to the network of several airlines during the cause of the year. Happy Landings!
Archive for October 10th, 2011
ETHIOPIAN TO COMMENCE SEYCHELLES FLIGHTS
NATIONAL COLLEGE OF TOURISM FORMALLY OPENED
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism last week officially opened the country first National College for Tourism, a long awaited institution to teach relevant hospitality and tourism courses to provide skills to young Tanzanians wishing to join the sector. This development augments the existing private vocational training institutions and courses at university level. Tourism, a growth industry across the region, requires well trained personnel and while many existing privately owned colleges and schools offer study places, often allegedly of inferior quality producing graduates subsequently rejected by employers for lack of practical skills, those in demand regional institutes like the Kenya Utalii College, renowned for its quality education, lack the capacity to admit more students.
The unfolding grading and classification exercise across the region is also thought to spur investment in better trained staff and in house as well as external training, as the quality and experience of staff are a crucial part of the catalogue of criteria for awarding star ratings to hotels, resorts, safari lodges and camps and restaurants. The new college is reported to seek admission soon to the Association of Hotels Schools in Sub Saharan Africa, in short AHSSA, under which most leading public and private institutions are coming together to cooperate in harmonizing their curriculum and their course contents as well as examination standards, thus providing internationally recognizable Certificates and Diplomas attained under the same strict guidelines. The institute will provide for as many as 600 students to be enrolled and study at the same time.
STATEMENT BY SENIOR OFFICIAL PITS HIM AGAINST PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE
Information came to light over the weekend that the Director of Environment in the office of the Vice President has for all practical purposes declared the Lake Natron Soda Ash Project as dead in the water in the absence of clearance by NEMC, Tanzanias National Environmental Management Council, which raised serious concerns way back in 2008. This, together with a vocal international campaign against the project, said to destroy the single one breeding ground available for the East African over 2.5 million lesser flamingo eventually lead to the withdrawal of interest by project promoters TATA of India. The company was set to invest about 400 million US Dollars to create a rival to Kenyas Magadi Soda Company, which is operating a similar plant just cross the border at Lake Magadi.
Earlier in the year had President Kikwete issued a directive to fast track the project and the statements made by Dr. Julius Ningu last week appear to be in direct contradiction with the wishes of the President. When we talk of sustainable use of natural resources, we mean for the benefit of current and future generation, now extraction of soda ash for sure cant be beneficial to the future generation was one of the statements made by Dr. Ningu and quoted in the media and observers are now closely monitoring the reaction from the powers that be and what fate may befall Dr. Ningu for contradicting his masters.
Several voices have already spoken out about this latest development, close on the heels of Tanzania forming its own World Heritage Site Committee last week, claiming that this was a predictable reaction aimed solely to divert attention from the true extent of government plans to push such controversial projects through, ahead of the celebration of Tanzanias 50th year of Independence in a couple of weeks. They have come to realize that there is a lot of opposition growing around the world over the plans to build a highway across the Serengeti, about the Lake Natron plans, about converting the Tanga Marine National Park into a deep sea port, about mining of Uranium in the Selous Game Reserve and they fear that this will impact on the celebrations, attendance and international profile and standing of Tanzania at this crucial time. And they are right, it will affect Tanzanias reputation and it already has. We will not let this opportunity go but continue to press for the government in Dar to abandon such plans like Uranium mining in the Selous, building a dam at Stieglers Gorge and uncontrolled foreign mining for our resources across the country at the expense of the environment said a regular contributor from Arusha, closely involved in the campaign to draw attention to what he termed environmental sins of the highest order. Others were cautiously optimistic though and were taking hope that government could indeed see sense in the arguments advanced by environmentalists, but having followed these events now for several years it may be wise to adopt a wait and see stand and let things unfold first before rendering final judgment. Watch this space for environmental developments and challenges across the Eastern African region and how mega projects can potentially destroy tourism attractions and the livelihood of people connected to the sector in favour of progress.
RAINFOREST LODGE MABIRA SET FOR A NIGHT OF JAZZ, RYTHM AND BLUES
Raising awareness and drumming up support for the survival of Mabira Forest comes in many different forms and key stakeholder, GeoLodges Africas RainForest Lodge will be breaking new ground when they hold a night of music at the lodge deep in the forest. On the evening of the 22nd October will a live music event be staged at the lodge and the audience will comprise not just ordinary music lovers but also expected is a cross section of supporters for Save Mabira Forest who will come to show flag, although it has been stressed that the evenings programme is purely a cultural event and not of any political nature. Nevertheless, those coming to the lodge for the concert will be able to appreciate the pristine rain forest environment surrounding the property and they will go back home knowing just what is at stake here.
Ill considered plans have been revived a few months ago, first defeated in 2007 in the wake of a wave of street protests in Kampala, to convert over 7.000 hectares of prime rain forest into sugar cane plantation, aimed to benefit the arguably worst performing sugar company in the country from which the very same government has divested for lack of profits and dividends. However, public reaction was swift and broad based once more, pitting development partners including the World Bank, a majority of Ugandas parliamentarians, the business community and society at large against the project, hopefully this time stopping it for good and leaving this green lung of the country intact for future generations. Experts have in any case projected that the value of the forest, if kept as it is, will in the long term earn the country considerably more revenue through carbon credit trading and tourism use than the sugar barons could ever do. Besides, Mabira is a crucial water tower and catchment area benefitting Lake Victoria and the upper Nile and cutting down a quarter of it would most likely cause a major environmental degradation and long term negative fallout for the country, something the powers that be have clearly not appreciated as yet.
The RainForest Lodge has several options on offer for the event night and a basic package of self-drive to the lodge, a BBQ dinner and a ticket to the concert sells at 50.000 Uganda Shillings at current exchange rate less than 25 US Dollars. Other packages include the transport option as well from and to Kampala. Overnight options are also available for one or two nights at the lodge, which has always given this correspondent this special enchanted feeling when visiting. The wooden cabins are set far apart for privacy and tranquility, allowing guests to hear the sounds of the forest and catch glimpses of its furred and feathered residents.
The RainForest Lodge is part of GeoLodges Uganda and more information about the company and the location of their properties can be found via www.geolodgesafrica.com.