RWANDA TOURISM TO REBRAND IN 2012
While in Kigali recently it could be established that the Rwanda Development Board Tourism and Conservation, was preparing for a complete rebranding of its image abroad, aimed to attract more visitors and offer a greater range of innovative products for tourists, alongside its most visible tourists activity gorilla tracking.
The countrys promotional body will work hand in hand with the private sector, already deeply involved in defining the image and presentation of the New Rwanda.
With more nonstop and direct flights from key producer countries it will be possible to expand tourism arrivals way beyond the current limits imposed by lack of air seats, but will also expand the marketing reach of Rwanda, when such airlines as Turkish will commence flights in April 2012.
Our aim is multifold said a regular source close to RDB. We are working on diversification of our tourist products and the launch next week of the new Congo Nile Trail, which will traverse the continental water shed along Nyungwe and Gishwati forests, is one such measure. This can absorb a lot of added demand, will attract repeat visitors who have seen the gorillas, because that resource if finite, we only have 56 permits available per day. The next step is to break into new markets, emerging markets, where we expect a lot of added interest resulting in our arrival numbers climbing in coming years in double digit figures.
And thirdly, new products help us and the private sector to keep tourist visitors longer in country, spending more money on site for safaris averaging more days than they do now.
Finally, we are aiming at our own domestic market to have Rwandese take advantage of the many top class facilities which are now on the market and learn to appreciate our cultural and natural resources, our history and our traditions. Towards this end we have to give Rwanda Tourism a fresh new look and be certain that we move with the times, because our regional competitors do not sleep either.
Hotel and tour operator associations, but also the guides are participating in the development of the new image and strategy and are said to be fully behind the move, knowing that united they are a force almost impossible to beat, while elsewhere in the region often bickering and festering arguments mark such processes, regularly based on personality clashes and the inability to work for a common good and objective before eating a cake which has not yet been baked.
In closing was it also confirmed that manpower development, training in tertiary and vocational institutions has also been stepped up to inject well trained Rwandan staff into the growing industry, although a bilateral agreement with Kenya does permit Kenyans to work in Rwandas tourism industry, and vice versa, assuring that service levels keep rising and are kept at par with those of other East African countries. Watch this space for the most current updates from the regions key tourist destinations
Archive for October 30th, 2011
RWANDA TOURISM TO REBRAND IN 2012
GOOD NEWS FOR TANZANIAS ENVIRONMENT, AT LAST
A total ban for the manufacture and use of plastic bags is in the offing in Tanzania, as government is fine-tuning legislative and regulatory drafts, which in due course are to be submitted to parliament for debate and endorsement.
Previous control measures, introduced in 2006, proved to be insufficient to prevent littering and bags in use now appear not biodegradable contrary to regulations and industry assurances.
When coming into effect the new amended laws will prevent the manufacture and distribution but also the importation of plastic shopping bags, and of course the use of them by shops and consumers. Owners of shopping malls and shops have predictably already cried wolf but have conveniently overlooked the fact that Rwanda already has such measures in place since 2008 and regional retail giants like Nakumatt have found ways to package customers purchases without using the dreaded kaveeras as they are called in Uganda. As a second positive after effect will the sisal industry very likely receive a boost as consumers have to switch to jute based shopping bags, bringing both employment opportunities to the farming of sisal and the manufacturing of the bags. Besides, these alternatives are fully biodegradable and equally cost effective as their lifespan is a great multiple compared to plastic wrappings.
The issue came recently to the forefront in Tanzania when clogged up drainage channels were chocked by discarded plastic bags and livestock and wildlife have died after ingesting the bags.
Watch this space for upcoming announcements while it is also hoped that Kenya, Uganda and Burundi follow Rwandas shining example and move in earnest to ban the menace.
NYARIBO AIRSTRIP GETS UPGRADE AND EXPANSION
The Kenya Airports Authority has during the week inspected the 180 million Kenya Shillings input in modernizing and expanding this airfield in Nyeri county, assuring the aviation and business fraternity present during the occasion of continued infrastructural improvements for the industry.
The runway expansion and addition of brand new apron has made flying from the capital, and from anywhere else within the country, possible and safer, after the newly re- tarmacked field is now 1.3 kilometres long. Still to be done at Nyaribo is a new passenger terminal and a secure perimeter fencing, to increase aviation security and to keep squatters out of the land set aside for the airfield. Half a dozen similar airstrips in strategically important locations are also due to be upgraded to similar standards, a boost for general aviation and medical evacuation flights and of course for the all important safari flights carrying tourists from one part of the country to the other without wasting their precious time in country by criss crossing parks by road journeys. Watch this space.
FINANCIAL MARKET INSTABILITY PROMPTS ADDED TALKS ON CURRENCY UNION
Recent wild swings in the values of the three core currencies and record devaluations within the East African Community, the Kenya Tanzania Uganda Shillings, has resulted in Central Bank chiefs, apparently with the blessing of their political masters, to advance the schedule of talks towards a common currency for the EAC member states.
A high level task force will meet at the Imperial Resort Beach in Entebbe for a record 10 days to negotiate a time frame and broader policy and operational framework for the introduction of a common Shilling, focusing on the required harmonization of financial policies, tax and duty alignments, budget processes, debt management and limitations and other key areas which when NOT harmonized can impact severely on the national economies coming under a uniform currency umbrella. The 10 day talks will bring together the Central Bank chiefs and key experts from the member states and will also be dealing with recommendations for immediate remedial action to stem the slide of the local currencies and how to deal with inflationary pressures vis a vis interest rates and liquidity management.
In a further sign of how this process is being fast tracked conversion rates from national currencies into a common Shilling will be on the agenda too, including drafting of re-domination announcements to be published when the time comes.
This latest round of negotiations is complementing other protocols already in place like the customs union and the common market. The forthcoming head of state summit will undoubtedly spend time on this crucial issues but has already set a 2012 deadline to lay the foundations for a common currency.
The process is reportedly being supported by the IMF and both bilateral and multilateral development partners with technical assistance and other related inputs.
East Africa slowly becoming reality even if some have to be dragged into it screaming and kicking for the good of the regions future. Watch this space.
QATARS LAUNCH FARES SWEEP THE MARKET
True to their word, that their launch fares would rock the market, has Qatar Airways now published incredible deals for the first week of operations into Uganda, covering the period between 02nd November until 11th November. Regular travelers, when told of the launch fares, were stunned, asking after quoting the figures and what is the fare then, simply being unable to believe that such deals could ever be on offer in this day and age of inflation.
A range of destinations is one offer for US Dollars 99 RETURN, PLUS taxes that is, which considering how travelers are fleeced these days by regulatory bodies with an array of charges that can run into a multiple of the fare itself, starting from Dubai and destinations in India such as Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Kochi and of course Delhi itself.
Key European and Asian destinations such as Frankfurt, London, Paris, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Beijing sell at US Dollars 199 RETURN, PLUS taxes, making it as cheap as never before to see Incredible India or experience Malaysia, Truly Asia.
The fares have created the anticipated buzz in the market and bargain hunters are reportedly queuing up already to get Visa application processed to be able to take advantage of such Christmas has come early fares. Qatar will commence flights on 02nd November, bringing a daily A320 nonstop service from Doha to Entebbe, and the arrival of the airline has already been hailed as a breakthrough for Entebbe as a destination, prompting other carriers in the wake of Qatars announcement earlier in the year to also join the bandwagon to the Pearl of Africa.
Next in line will be Gulf Air, but their described somewhat rocky market entry they still have not announced a GSA nor been able to confirm an office location at this stage has been further clouded when their own launch fares were announced late in the week, which range for Gulf destinations and India at US Dollars 200 return, PLUS taxes, while select European and Asian destinations sell at US Dollar 350, comparing poorly with Qatars rock bottom offers. A leading travel agent, clearly not wanting to wreck relations with Gulf, shared his analysis with this correspondent on condition of anonymity: Gulf must have known that they cannot match Qatars fares when those leaked into the market before the official announcement was made. Maybe they thought that once the hype is over it gives them time until their own launch in early December, to see the market level out again, although I expect other airlines at the time, like Turkish and Qatar, to hold against whatever Gulf will put on the market for their own launch period. After that it will be anyones guess how the market shares will shift and what segment each airline can capture. Qatar is known for high quality, so that speaks for them though their use of a narrow body to Doha is maybe a setback for premium travelers, but then Turkish faces the same problem and Gulf too will have to deal with the comparison of narrow body versus wide body comfort on flights from Entebbe to their respective hubs.
All these airlines will mainly be looking to capture traffic from their networks to come to Uganda as our market here is getting saturated with seats until there is a another big jump in demand by Ugandans to travel abroad, after inflation has come down and the economy begins to recover.
Interesting insights adds this correspondent in closing while monitoring the aviation market even more closely for the next few weeks to see emerging trends in market share shift with the entry of two new players. Watch this space for regular and breaking news on aviation issues from the entire region.