BRUSSELS AIRLINES DROPS FARES FROM ENTEBBE BY 25 PERCENT
Competition was cited by a source close to Brussels Airlines in Kampala for their move to drop outbound fares by 25 percent, which is a promotion valid until the 13th of March, effective immediately.
SN is a regular visitor to Entebbe since the days of the old SABENA and operates 3 times a week with an A330, always in conjunction with another East African destination like Kigali or Nairobi.
The going is tough right now for many of the established airlines since Qatar Airways and Gulf Air have come to Entebbe late last year. And when Emirates ends their stopover in Addis in end March, that will add more competition because none of our clients ever liked that stop which only delayed everyone by an hour and a half from reaching either end. Luckily there is more traffic now to Uganda with the Lonely Planet campaign for Uganda and we hope the economy stabilizes enough for more Ugandans to travel again. Brussels Airlines is a good airline and we have the Belgian Embassy next door for Visa applications, so it is a good package said a regular source from amongst the leading travel agents.
Other airlines are bound to counter the move but with Brussels being a favourite airport for onward connections, of short ways and relatively fast processing of passengers entering the EU, SN is bound to have the element of surprise on their side and sales, according to the same source, are looking bright already. Happy Landings!
Archive for February 7th, 2012
BRUSSELS AIRLINES DROPS FARES FROM ENTEBBE BY 25 PERCENT
ROYAL AIR MAROC SET FOR NAIROBI
Kenyas Minister for Tourism, Najib Balala, is in Morocco at present on a mission to promote travel between the two countries, and while there reportedly asked Royal Air Maroc to commence flights between Nairobi and Casablanca. Nonstop flights are thought to encourage both tourism and trade between the two countries, and Royal Air Marocs extensive European and North / West African network is also expected to attract additional traffic.
Balala is on Morocco on a fact finding mission, heading a delegation from Kenya tourism private sector with a number of high ranking officials from the leading tourism trade associations like the Kenya Tourism Federation, KATO, KATA, MCTA, EcoTourism Kenya and the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers.
While Kenya Airways is not yet flying to Casablanca it is the declared intent of The Pride of Africa to fly to all political and commercial capitals across Africa by the end of 2013, giving Royal Air Maroc the initial market advantage. A delegation from Casablanca is expected in Nairobi next month to finalise the arrangements of flights between the two countries. Watch this space.
WORK BEGINS IN EARNEST AT THE NEW STA CAMPUS
Information from Mahe indicates that work has now began at the new campus of the Seychelles Tourism Academy, where when complete some 500 students will be able to undertake certificate, diploma and degree courses in hospitality and tourism studies.
Demolition of some of the existing buildings has been going on for a month now and construction is now commencing on the first tuition block with as many as 30 class rooms, which is phase one of the project to turn STA into a state of the art training facility. While construction is ongoing, and due to the demolishing of existing buildings, students are now having their classes in temporary wooden structures until the new building is ready.
Among the next phases it was learned will be an administration building, hostels to accommodate students from across Africa, a conference centre, a demonstration kitchen, a fully fledge Spa to train personnel intending to work there but also a 60 room application hotel, to be named Oceanic View.
The site, with a commanding view over Mahe island and the Indian Ocean, was originally occupied by a US military listening post and handed to STA when the Americans left the facilities to the Seychelles government and being a little remote at La Misere is today actually seen as an advantage, allowing students to concentrate on studies and not being distracted by a city location. Like in everything else, Seychelles, truly Another World.
TREETOPS, WHERE THE PRINCESS TURNED QUEEN
On February 06th in 1952, outside Nyeri in the forest of the Aberdare Mountains, did a youthful Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philipp climb up the ladders into a treetop hideaway, to spend the night watching the game parade by the waterhole below. Little did she know, and not learn of it until the next afternoon, that during that night her father had passed away and the crown had passed to her, turning her from Princess to Queen.
First built in 1932, Treetops was always a special place, inside the forest and above a waterhole, allowing visitors to stay in one place and let the game parade by. It is understood from historical records, that when the Princess turned Queen stayed at Treetops, it was no longer the original version of it, and within two years of her visit was the tree house burnt down by the Mau Mau, before yet another version was re-built in 1956.
Relocated, refurbished and expanded several times, Treetops eventually had 50 rooms but is presently closed to allow a major modernization, while also reducing the number of rooms to 36 again.
The closure thwarted the Royal Watchers from celebrating this night at location, as inspite of through the roof demand the lodge remained closed, leaving dozens of wannabe visitors, hoping to catch a night at Treetops on the very anniversary, stranded and settling for either the base hotel Outspan or neighbouring treelodges.
Treetops, and Kenya however rose to fame and after the 1963 independence from Britain ties remained close and hundreds of thousands of Brits have since come to visit Kenya. Treetops, where the Princess went up and the Queen came down, but also the Outspan, where Lord Baden Powell, founder of the boy scouts, spent years, became a must visit place each in their own right, and when the new Treetops opens in April this year, one suite will proudly bear the name Queen Elizabeth Suite.
The Royal family of course has since then set new markers for the next generation of Royal Watchers, after Prince William proposed to his now wife in another lodge on the slopes of Mt. Kenya during a holiday they had in 2010 and though the couple then honeymooned in the Seychelles, Kenya will keep a share of the fame and use the good fortune of promoting the countrys safari treasures. Magical Kenya, where else does one constantly bump into Royal history and see and experience close up the hunting grounds of the Happy Valley crowd or reminisce over Out of Africa, follow the tracks of the Lunatic Express or walk in the footsteps of the great explorers or those of Hemingway, who was a regular visitor to Kenya in his days.
PARLIAMENTARY GREED ADDS TO TOURISM FUNDING WOES
News emerged from sources in parliament that a controversial deal for new vehicles for members of parliament is apparently going ahead, worth over 100 million Uganda Shillings per MP, draining the available funds left in the emancipated purses of the Ministry of Finance even more. Only last week was it confirmed that nearly 200 million US Dollars were taken off budget allocations for most ministries to pay the independent electricity producers at least some of their long pending dues. This was leaving in particular the tourism ministry in dire straits, and will very likely compromise the preparations and marketing of the country abroad during Ugandas 50th year of independence and after being named The Destination for 2012 by the Lonely Planet Guide.
This latest information has seemingly infuriated tourism stakeholders some more, denouncing the greed of parliamentarians when the country is in economic difficulties and considering that the already overstrained budget can hardly afford such luxurious expenditure on a few when crucial activities of showcasing and marketing the country are being reduced for lack of funding. Said a regular contributor: in times like this it is not responsible to spend money we dont have or need for something else. Tourism would be so happy to receive just the equivalent of 25 of those car payments because that would give us a million US Dollars and we could promote Uganda like never before. But the truth is, the money is squandered on unproductive elements while productive economic activities are starved of funds and then not perform as well as they should. And there are few development partners willing to finance tourism activities now because it is not in the governments priority list it seems and they are reluctant anyway to give Uganda much money because their own economies are not doing well.
Parliament is reconvening today after having taken a long break since December, and sparks will undoubtedly fly over a range of issues and this one not the least of them. Watch this space.
AFRICAN AIRLINES HOPE CHINESE REFUSAL OF THE EUS ETS WILL BRING CHANGES
The just reported directive of the Chinese government, prohibiting Chinese airlines from participating in any form or shape in the European Unions Emission Trading Scheme or ETC, has set not only China and Europe on a collision path but opened new hope for airlines from around the world presently blackmailed by the EU to participate in the scheme, like it or not.
While the EU threatens airlines not complying with severe sanctions and fines, to the point of denying landing rights, the Chinese governments directive is now binding on Chinese airlines, and no permission is expected to be granted to any of them to either join or raise fares or in any other way comply with the EUs demands.
This will probably bring matters to a head, as sources from the US are claiming the US government too is looking into ways and means to protect their own airlines in a similar way.
The EU would be faced with the stark option of either having to cave in and suspend the scheme for the time being, until a solution can be found, or else risk that should they deny traffic rights to airlines unable to comply their own European airlines be denied landing rights too in retaliation.
AFRAA, the association of African airlines based in Nairobi, had only recently denounced the EUs measures but so far found little backing from governments on the continent, all over cautious not to upset the Europeans for reasons of trade and aid. However, should China see their refusal to comply through, and America join that boycott, it would be easier for African governments too to jump on the band wagon and finally dare to speak up, not just in the corridors but the main arena.
Africas main airlines, Ethiopian, Kenya Airways, South African Airways and Egypt Air, to name but the market leaders, have had no choice in the matter and complied with EU requirements, but at a substantial cost which found its way into the ticket prices, as they were literally abandoned by their own governments for political considerations. It is understood though that they all would be glad to see the back of the present scheme and see a fresh round of deliberations take place first before either retaining the ETS in a different format or else bin it altogether until a globally agreed version can be introduced.
For now, and for a change, the worlds aviation hopes rest on the shoulders of the Chinese government and their ability to enforce their ban on their own airlines after throwing the gauntlet to the EU. Watch this space.