VANILLA ISLANDS TO BENEFIT FROM MALDIVES BLUNDER
A regular source from Mauritius, one of the Vanilla Islands in the African part of the Indian Ocean the others being Seychelles, La Reunion, Madagascar and the Comoros Islands has, albeit reluctantly and on condition of strict confidentiality and anonymity commented on the most recent developments reported from the Maldives, where hardline Islamic opposition groups have forced the government to shut down all Spas in the luxurious beach resorts across the islands.
Personally, I think every country has the right to determine their own internal affairs but this was a short sighted knee jerk reaction. If they are closing down the Spas which are nowadays synonymous with the level of vacation luxuries tourists expect, it will kill jobs, not just in the Spas but for the entire tourism sector. Tourists will feel and think that is only the start, next will be that wine and spirits will be banned or bikinis prohibited at the beaches and the pools of the women be forced to cover their hair with scarves. I expect a swift shift from the Maldives resorts to our resorts in Mauritius, or in the Seychelles once these devastating news begin to circulate amongst travelers and tour operators. Some visitors already booked might even force a free charge change of destination because this is a major negative shift in their destinations reliability and contracted values and facilities. I think the Seychellois have in their hospitality school just introduced courses for Spa management and operations and across the Vanilla Islands Spas now form an important part of guests having a holiday of a lifetime. Let it be known that we are open for business any time and would welcome guests who feel they are being used as a political football in the Maldives. We do not wish bad to our colleagues in the Maldives tourism industry but they need to stand up and get this reversed or else they know they are facing a bad downturn amidst very bad publicity. No one wants to visit a place where radicals of that sort have the say and make decisions of such nature at the blink of an eye.
Other sources from across the Indian Ocean islands were, in view of being the New Years weekend, not available for comment but are thought to harbour similar sentiments; neither could major international resort operators be reached for comment who have properties on the Maldives and who will undoubtedly be affected greatly by this political dictate. Watch this space.
Archive for January 1st, 2012
VANILLA ISLANDS TO BENEFIT FROM MALDIVES BLUNDER
ROWDY POLITICIANS INCITE MASAI HERDERS TO INVADE THE MASAI MARA
This is criminal incitement and government should arrest those responsible immediately, regardless of their status or connections said a regular source from Nairobi yesterday afternoon when discussing reports that Masai herdsmen had driven hundreds if not more cattle into the game reserve. The Ministry of Tourism investigated claims that the contract to introduce e-money through Smart Cards at the gates to the Masai Mara was corrupt. They found that procedures had been followed and in any case, this is the same system KWS use in other parks and it works. Vandalising the gates is a crime and stopping tourists from getting in and out of the reserve is simply stupidity of the highest order. We all make a living from tourism and it was high time that the leakages of cash from the gates was brought under control. Those herdsmen are misguided by politicians who really have no scruples at all to use them after feeding them false information. Some might get injured or even shot if they start opposing the security forces government has now moved to the Mara to safeguard tourism. It is two local MPs in particular, Ole Lankas and Gideon Konchellah who should answer what interest they have in preventing the use of Smart Cards for payment and how they are involved in inciting mobs before worse happens.
It is understood that hundreds of extra personnel have been moved to beef up security in and around the Masai Mara and prevent further incidents, similar to the ones reported here in mid December.
At the stroke of midnight 01st of January 2012 did also come the new fee structures into place with wagenis, aka foreign tourists now paying 80 US Dollars per person per day, up almost a third compared to previous charges, for the prime parks as published by Kenya Wildlife Service. Watch this space.
CONSERVATION SUCCESS AND FAILURE, CLOSE MATES
(The Pangolin, aka scaly anteater another endangered species)
Disturbing news emerged on New Years Eve when it became known that a mob of Masai youths had killed yet another adolescent lion on the Kitengela plains outside the Nairobi National Park, bringing to three such killings over the past few days. Twitter handle @Kenyan4Wildlife had repeatedly tweeted @kwskenya on the issue but sadly no response was recorded, nor were other channels of communication yielding any results according to further interaction with conservation groups in Nairobi.
The lion population in the Nairobi National Park, only recently counted, is critically low and the lion population in Kenya, as in the rest of East Africa, is progressively moving towards the endangered status, as poaching for trophies and relentless killings by cattle herders continue unabated.
2012 is expected to be a watershed year to make far reaching decisions how to defuse the wildlife human conflict, made worse by exploding human populations seeking land for farming and living in areas previously left to the wilderness and the wildlife but now competed over.
On a positive note though did KWS field staff arrest a poacher who had captured a rare male pangolin from the Rimoi Game Reserve in the Kerio Valley, freeing the animal and being able to return it to its habitat, while the poacher spent New Years Eve in the cells. Other suspects reportedly escaped immediate arrest but have been identified and warrants have been issued for their arrest too. Watch this space to find out if and how KWS will respond or else follow @Kenyan4Wildlife on Twitter to get instant updates of future developments on conservation issues in Kenya.
2011 in review – Courtesy of the Word Press Team to whom I extend a special THANK YOU for their support!
Thanks to you, my readers, I saw the popularity of my blog rocket after I went ‘daily’ early in 2011.
For the new year I promise you more news, close up and personal, and your reactions, comments and feedback, here, via Twitter or Facebook or by email continue to be most welcome.
Have a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Successful New Year 2012, at the end of which we will undoubtedly find out if the Mayan’s did run out of ink, paper or space on their stone carvings when creating their calendar or else they had a reason to suddenly stop at the 21st December 2012 …
As I keep saying: :’Watch this space’
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 74,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.