It was learned overnight that the 4 star, 298 room and suite Ambre Resort & Spa, owned by Apavou Hotels, has been leased with immediate effect to Sun Resorts of Mauritius. The 20 year deal will see Sun Resorts embark on a major refurbishment of the hotel, due to commence in January next year after the end of the Christmas and New Year highs season. The new Ambre is then set to reopen in October 2012 after a 10 million Euro budget will have been spent on giving the resort a fresh new look.
The Ambre Resort & Spa is located at Belle Mare and will become Sun Resorts fifth property on Mauritius after the renowned 5 star luxury Le Touessrok, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, the Long Beach, the Sugar Beach and La Pirogue, besides their single property in the Maldives, the Kanuhura. The acquisition on lease will strengthen Sun Resorts market position on Mauritius and more information about this leading hotel and resort group can be found via www.sunresortshotels.com where links are available to the individual resorts on Mauritius and the Maledives.
Archive for October 20th, 2011
KTN TO LAUNCH TRAVEL DIARY SERIES TO PROMOTE DOMESTIC TOURISM
Kenyas premier private television channel KTN has signed on to a Standard Group sponsored deal to air regular features promoting Kenyas tourism attractions across the country, including some of the lesser known gems which get little exposure so far.
On the occasion did Najib Balala, Minister of Tourism in the Kenya government, announce his ministrys plans to have 3 million foreign tourists visit the country by 2015 while at the same time aiming at increasing domestic tourism numbers threefold to 1.5 million, up from the current 500.000 Kenyans spending a holiday in their own country. The tourism sector is a cornerstone in the economic development of the country and depends heavily on foreign exchange earnings from the industry, which last year came second only to tea but is expected to resume top position in 2011, as a new arrival and revenue record is shaping up.
Meanwhile has a Twitter campaign unfolded in Kenya, hashtagged #TembeaKenya where Kenyans travel Kenya and tweet their experiences as they criss cross the country, with more detailed accounts of their individual experiences then being published in personal blogs, pictures and all of course, retweeted widely by @Magicalkenya which is the Kenya Tourism Boards twitter address and @kwskenya which is the KWA official twitter address, in support of domestic travel initiatives. One of those blogs which caught this correspondents eye is Ahenda Anjichis blog: http://www.kamakipepeo.wordpress.com where she tells the story of her safari experiences. Well done and watch out for copycats.
QUO VADIS WILDERNESS AS POPULATION HITS 7 BILLION
The annual World Habitat Day this year is celebrated at a time when the global population is expected to cross the threshold of 7 billion inhabitants, all in need of shelter, clothing, food and water, education and jobs, and of course ever more land to live and grow food on. Population growth, particularly intense in Africa, is bringing to the forefront the challenges the next generations have to master and to untie the Gordian Knot, which presently threatens wildlife conservation and the future foundation of wildlife based tourism people versus the original flora and fauna, outcries by people for food versus the survival of the big herds.
In East Africa conservationists are wondering just how long they can stem the tide, with crucial migration routes, imprinted on the animals for eons, being fenced off for farming, built over and blocked by industrial developments, highways, roads and residential estates. In the news of late were such issues focusing on the potentially devastating hemming in of the Nairobi National Park, the Amboseli National Parks in and out migration routes but also further north where the ancient elephant routes to and from Mt. Kenya, the Aberdare mountains, the Laikipia plains, and via the Lewa Down conservancy all the way to the Matthews range and to Marsabit are being increasingly fragmented and parceled off.
In Uganda is the previous game corridor between the Pian Upe Game Reserve all the way to Kidepo Valley National Park and further into the now independent South Sudan being broken up and under growing threat of further alternate land use, condemning wildlife to mere pockets of still protected land but very likely amongst the first to be hived off in a part of the country rich in minerals. And in Tanzania an entire series of previous articles published here about the Corridor of Destruction have explained all of the threats that countrys protected areas are experiencing as development and progress carve out ever more land for the purpose of industrial and infrastructural projects, previously set aside for conservation and to preserve the unique wilderness tourists come to expect when visiting on a safari holiday. [This article is
available via this link and others can be found through a search on the
blog site itself:
Some more pessimistic conservationists say the days of the big game safari, as we grew up to know it, are numbered, and be it a decade or two or three, the open wilderness parks will have to be fenced off, game numbers strictly controlled to avoid overgrazing and fatal land degradation, and during drought periods the game may need to be watered and fed as they can no longer migrate out of their enclosed reservations in search of pasture. Some of Kenyas parks are already fenced, partly or fully and across the region are voices getting louder to claim for compensation for loss of crops and property when the animals go and eat in parts of the country which up to yesterday was theirs, before population pressure forced people to move on to land previously thought unfit for farming due to poor soils.
The more optimistic conservationists amongst us, and I often feel they, or at least some of them deliberately project confidence to maintain their rich funding sources, claim that co-existence of wildlife and humankind are assured long term, but few would go into specifics of how this scenario will in the future compare with the wide open spaces of yesteryear, or of what is left of those good old days today.
What they all agree on, in private at least, is that their challenges are getting more and taller and that the projections for population growth in coming years and decades will radically alter the concept of conservation. Todays approaches, tested as they might be, will undergo fundamental change and many parks will be fenced and ringed by trenches to keep the animals inside, while farm and ranching land will come right to the doorsteps of such protected areas. Private conservancies are likely to thrive, following the examples set by such pioneers like Ol Pejeta ( www.olpejetaconservancy.org) which has succeeded to have ranched cattle and wildlife co-exist, generating greater returns and therefore being financially more viable than a strict either or operation and making this type of conservation more attractive to investors.
The lack of migration, for both public national parks and private conservancies and reserves, may in the future have to be dealt with by more extensive trucking of animals to ensure the injection of fresh DNA, as for all practical purposes migration, at least outside the Serengeti Masai Mara axis, will become a thing of the past. Why, because humans claim ever more land, much of it former wilderness and wildlife corridors but claimed nevertheless, and no politician will be able to survive the next election when humans cast their votes while wildlife does not if he or she does not reflect the wishes and demands of their constituents, human constituents of voting age in particular.
Mitigation at best if not mere rearguard action seems to be the one remaining answer to all such unsavory developments, unsavory for the conservation fraternity at least, which when push comes to shove, legislation and regulations notwithstanding, will not be able to stem the tide of a population explosion. The worlds population, from this months new record 7 billion will continue to rise to 8, then 9, then 10 and beyond, relentlessly it seems with the trend going faster rather than slowing down, and while conservationists talk about carrying capacity of protected areas, no one dares to talk of the carrying capacity of our planet, at least not our politicians with eyes on the next election cycle, or at least not in public though behind closed doors this topic is gathering momentum and gaining importance as we cross the 7 billion threshold.
One thing is for certain though, that if mankind cannot protect our earths biodiversity in free and open nature, not in zoos or biolabs, then it will eventually not be able to protect itself either. And when that doomsday comes, my remains will probably turn in the grave, if that has not been dug up and built over too by that time, making that turning all but impossible.
KENYA AIRWAYS INTRODUCES DOLLAR CHARGES FOR DOMESTIC FLIGHTS
Regular travelers on regional and international flights are used to paying for their tickets in US Dollars, or at least the equivalent in local currency according to the bank rates on the day of the transaction, but following the wild fluctuations of the Kenya Shilling in recent weeks the currency risk of fixed Shilling fares for at least some airlines has become a gamble.
Kenya Airways, trendsetting once again, has announced that the fares on the domestic network between Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi and Kisumu will now be set in US Dollars, cushioning the airline against the substantial exchange risk which has eaten deep into the profitability of the airline, which has to service loans for its fleet in US Dollars as well as pay for fuel in hard currency. October 24th has been named as the day when travelers will therefore have to start converting their Shillings into Dollars, something other sectors of the economy have introduced also of late, a result of the relentless slide of the Kenya Shilling from the low 70 range to a low of 107 last week before now as this article goes to press trading in the low 100 range again.
Other airlines, trying to exploit a possible market reaction, have indicated they would continue to charge in Shillings but might well adjust their fares on a more regular basis, though of course running the risk of losing money in the exchange game for which, unlike with fuel, there are little hedging options available.
It is in any case expected that Kenya Airways would swiftly react to a shift in market share caused by their move and introduce countermeasures to keep their own planes full and others once again to rue having gone head to head with the biggest fish in the aviation pond of East Africa.