Global luxury hotel giant Kempinski has today launched the latest addition to their collection, when the Kempinski Seychelles Resort was officially opened for business.
While already for some weeks in a soft opening phase the tape was only cut today and a grand opening party was held by management for guests, including a sizeable contingent of the global media who came to the island to cover the second edition of the Carnival International de Victoria, which is jointly hosted by La Reunion and the Seychelles. In fact the Seychellois Who is Who were present at the event, which was strictly by invitation only and befitting the occasion did it snow food and rain drinks, from the very finest the acclaimed chefs of the luxury hotel group could produce, caviar and champagne included.
The 150 suites and elegant rooms are needless to say meeting guests expectations, raised high by the mere mention of the name Kempinski, as does the location on Baie Lazare, where the resort is embedded in a secluded corner of the bay, overlooked by massive granite rock formations. Set on an astonishing 63 hectares of land the new resort will undoubtedly live up to its billing and the opening party tonight set the tone and raised the threshold of what tourists can now take for granted in terms of luxuries, facilities and amenities, and then some more.
Fireworks proved to be one of the highlights of the night, illuminating the ocean, the beach, the lush tropical forest and the mountains behind the resort as the assembled guests broke into spontaneous applause, only to rise to a crescendo when several groups of dancers came on stage performing a preview of what the forthcoming carnival festival will hold in store for visitors.
Kempinskis CEO Reto Wittwer was of course present at the launch as was the President Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean Ulrich Ekhardt and Regional Public Relations Director Lashley Pulsipher found herself swamped by the media representatives with never ending questions. With this latest addition Kempinski now got 72 5star hotels, residences and resorts in their stable.
General Manager Pierre Stacher said to the guests: Tonight is a celebration of Kempinskis debut in the Indian Ocean region and Baie Lazare in the Seychelles is the perfect setting for this stunning property. This resort combines the rich natural beauty of the Seychelles with Kempinskis signature European luxury. In the spirit of Carnival, a melting pot of cultures, we are delighted to have hosted so many people from around the world to help us commemorate this special occasion.
Also present for the launch was the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Mr. Taleb Rifai, the Chairman of the Seychelles Tourism Board Barry Faure, the CEOs of the Seychelles Tourism Board Alain St. Ange and his La Reunion counterpart Pascal Viroleau and the CEO of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association Raymond St. Ange plus nearly 80 international media representatives from around the world including eTN publisher Thomas Steinmetz, who is also Chairman of the International Council of Tourism Partners.
Seychelles, Truly Another World.
Archive for March 1st, 2012
HOTEL MANAGERS BLAME OWNERS FOR POOR SERVICES
A group of managers of hotels in Musanze / Ruhengeri have stood up to their bosses when they denounced them for being responsible for the lack of top quality services, as tourist visitors expect to find when coming to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda or else visit the other national parks or lakes.
Only last week did the Rwanda Development Boards Tourism and Conservation Department threaten to expose hotels and restaurants with continued poor service levels, by naming and shaming them, while at the same time also embarking on solutions such as added and intensified training to provide skills to staff already in the workplace.
Managers, though not yet organized in a separate trade association, have used the presentation by RDB last week to speak out why in their opinion owners are at least partly responsible for lower standards, pointing to the employment of unqualified relatives and in laws at the expense of properly trained staff, while at the same time payingpeanuts to those who trained in such institutions like Kenyas Utalii College.
Said a regular reader of this correspondents articles and columns in an overnight mail: Some of our owners do not understand what hotel keeping is all about. They look at it as a way to make a lot of money but fail to employ professionals to design and build their hotels, and then fail more when they employ cheaply paid staff brought in without training. They need to consider maintenance budgets to keep their property in top shape and have to invest in training of the staff to give the best possible services. Within the East African Community our standards in comparison need to be lifted up so that we can be at level with Kenya, which leads the region in the employment of professionals on all levels. The Kenyans are also the most advanced in using management companies with a lot of expertise while in Rwanda, and I think also often in Uganda, the owners prefer to do their own thing even if they have no clue of the specific requirements to operate and manage a hotel successfully long term. We as managers are happy with RDB to raise the issue with owners and proprietors and if they succeed the quality of service in Rwanda is bound to rise.
True words here and no doubt with RDBs Rica Rwigamba and her team do all they can to make certain that regular training opportunities are availed to the sector to make Rwanda the regional number one destinations in terms of quality and attractions. Watch this space.
Kenya conservation news – KWS and wildlife ministry launch new 10 year strategic plan for elephant conservation
KENYA LAUNCHES NEW ELEPHANT STRATEGY
A regular conservation source in Nairobi confirmed that the long awaited 10 year plan of how the Kenya Wildlife Service intends to deal with elephant conservation over the next decade, has been released last weekend in the Kenyan capital. The Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Dr. Noah Wekesa officially presented the strategy document and was quoted to have said: The strategy provides a clear road map for the conservation and management of the elephant population in Kenya for the next 10 years. It outlines clear guidelines that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and other conservation partners will use to protect the flagship species particularly in key strategic locations, such as dispersal areas, migration corridors and in the human-elephant conflict hotspots.
The minister went on to say the documents also seeks to increase the number of elephants at an annual rate of three percent, which would increase the current population of about 37,000 to about 50,000 by 2021 before continuing to add: In order to sustain this rate of increase, renewed and sustained efforts by all stakeholders will be required given the challenges of poaching and slow demographic variables resulting in low population growth rate. The strategy provides a framework to measure efforts with specific timelines in order to achieve the dream of a secure future for elephants and their habitats.
According to the KWS Executive Director Dr. Julius Kipngetich the range land for elephants was spread over 70 percent of the country way back in the 1960s, i.e. 50 years ago, when Kenyas population was around 8 million compared to about 38 million today. He also said that the highly mobile nature of elephants has complicated traditional conservation efforts as the animals require large ranges: The rapid human population growth and settlements which are encroaching on habitat suitable for elephants has led to conflict. There are currently over 300,000 small arms in the wrong hands in Kenya and this is contributing to poaching. Some poachers have even resorted to using poison arrows in order for them to avoid detection by the game wardens. The current available land held by government can only accommodate 50,000 elephants in a sustainable way and so the next option could be utilize the area in northern Kenya after extensive consultations [with local communities and
the conservation fraternity]. KWSs current budget of 61 million U.S. dollars is not sufficient to cover all programmes of elephant conservation and other stakeholders will [have to] provide additional funding. We have identified that conservancies managed by locals will increase the incentives for communities to value elephants and in the process reduce human wildlife conflict.
The newly launched strategy has a ten year validity / life span and defines short and medium term conservation goals.According to data available from past KWS press releases Kenya lost 278 elephants to poachers in 2011 compared to 177 in 2010, underscoring the need to be proactive and creative to reduce poaching and the smuggling of blood ivory and rhino horn for that matter while implementing the new plans. Stakeholders in the tourism industry have generally welcomed the new plans though sections of the conservation fraternity have raised a number of issues vis a vis the proposed new Wildlife Bill, which concerned them enough to demand for, and get, another round of stakeholder consultations.
Well done in the meantime to KWS for their commendable foresight and vision to not only keep conservation issues on the national agenda but also present solutions to the pressing problems of wildlife / human conflict, which is generally expected to intensify as a growing population keeps pushing into parts of Kenya previously not used for human settlements, and in the process displacing wildlife. Watch this space.
Seychelles tourism breaking news – More than half of the Costa Allegra passengers opt to stay in Seychelles for a few days
HALF OF COSTA ALLEGRA PASSENGERS OPT TO JOIN SEYCHELLES CARNIVAL
It was learned overnight that when the disabled Costa Allegra will be towed into Victoria Harbour later today, more than half of the passengers will remain on the archipelago for a couple of days, courtesy of Costa Cruises, which has flown a team of staffers to Mahe for the arrival of their vessel. They will receive their passengers when they come off the Costa Allegra and assist them to overcome the traumatic experience they underwent since the engine room fire a few days ago. With no electricity available on board air condition units were off and the normal comforts one expects on a cruiseliner of this size gave way to heat, humidity, lack of fresh water and food and the uncertainty of reaching port safely.
371 cruise passengers will be enjoying a few days of rest and recreation on the Creole paradise islands of the Seychelles, staying in a number of top rated hotels on Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, Cerf and Silhouette islands while the remaining 251 guests will only transit and fly home immediately on flights booked for them out of Mahes international airport. Those who remain will have the opportunity to participate in the Carnaval de Carnivals in Victoria between Friday and Sunday this week, or else just enjoy sun, sand and the excellent cuisine the islands are famous for.
The CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, issued the following statement when asked about, what has been described as immediate and exemplary assistance by the Seychelles authorities when receiving the first distress call. Alain St. Ange said that security and safety of the passengers was a top priority for the authorities: This is why we worked hard to bring this unforeseen incident in our waters to a close as fast as was possible. The passengers on board are now set to be on firm ground on Thursday and the 371 guests staying on for a holiday in Seychelles will all be invited to join in the three days of festivities of the Carnival International de Victoria which be officially opened on Friday this week
Seychelles, truly Another World.
Seychelles tourism breaking news – Cabinet reshuffle will create new Ministry of Tourism and Culture
SEYCHELLES TO GET MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND CULTURE
A long practice in the Seychelles seems to be coming to an end, whereby the portfolio of tourism was held at top level of government, for several years by the former Vice President H.E. Joseph Belmont until his retirement from public service and then over the past almost two years by H.E. President James Michel himself.
The Office of the President has now announced plans in Victoria that an imminent cabinet reshuffle is in the making and that a new Ministry of Tourism and Culture is to be created.
More details are expected to be sourced while on the Seychelles in coming days, but for now it is clear that tourism is now going to have an own cabinet minister overseeing the industry, perhaps a recognition of the immense progress and strides the sector has made in past years.
Key in this success story is the close partnership between the private and public sector in the Seychelles, with the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association on one side and the Seychelles Tourism Board on the other side, working hand in hand to keep the vital flow of tourist visitors up and growing. STB has under the leadership of Alain St. Ange over the past years made certain that little Seychelles has established a big global profile and increased the destinations visibility across the globe as one of the most desirable holiday, and in particular honeymoon destinations anywhere. Ably assisted by his deputy Elsia Grandcourt, a team of source market based Marketing Directors and Tourism Ambassadors have Alain and his team at their Bel Ombre offices put the Seychelles on the global map and reeled in awards after awards while establishing new arrival records year after year since taking charge.
Watch this space to see upcoming announcements as and when news break in Victoria as to who will become the new Minister of Tourism and Culture, overseeing Brand Seychelles grow from strength to strength.