SEYCHELLES TOURISM BOARD PUBLISHES NEXT EDITION OF FRIENDS OF SEYCHELLES
Just under a year ago, caught blissfully unaware of what Alain St. Ange and his merry maidens at the Seychelles Tourism Board had in store for me as I was busy taking pictures at the opening function of the Seychelles Regatta, he named me on behalf of STB as one of now probably 40 or so media personalities with close affinity and great sympathy for the archipelago. Indeed, there is much positive to write about the Seychelles, their innovative marketing and PR approach and their endless energy and friendly disposition towards any question asked, any fact requested, no matter how often or at what hour.
As a Friend of Seychelles Press I get a regular news bulletin, tailored towards the writers out there seeking more than the usual PR release and media statements. For once I thought why not share it with my regular readers who otherwise only hear my views and see events on the archipelago through my eyes or read what comes out of my pen, these days aka keyboard.
Enjoy the variety of news and updates from the Seychelles, which continues to be not just a tag line but for me Truly Another World.
Archive for April 1st, 2012
SEYCHELLES TOURISM BOARD PUBLISHES NEXT EDITION OF FRIENDS OF SEYCHELLES
ETIHAD JOINS NAIROBI THRONG
Ethihad, Abu Dhabis national airline, has today joined the Gulf aviation who is who when the airline commenced nonstop flights between the UAEs capital city and Kenyas capital Nairobi. Etihad will as of April 01st, and this is NOT an April Fools Day joke, operate daily services on an A320 aircraft in a two class configuration, joining Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Emirates on the route, besides LCC Air Arabia which operates daily flights from Sharjah. There is now growing speculation also over Fly Dubais intentions to expand their reach on the African continent although they have been constrained in their expansion by lack of enough aircraft.
Etihad has taken the fight to the market with launch fares of US Dollars 399 to Abu Dhabi and to Dubai which can be reached by a regular coach service as well as by air, the latter a mere 15 minutes.
A senior management member of Kenya Airways, spoken to in length at the companys share rights issue launch last Friday, on condition of not being named said: This new arrival in Nairobi is good for the country. Competition in the airline industry is good for the market, affords many more travelers to go places they could otherwise not reach. And every airline has to fill those seats, so they will be promoting and marketing their new destination. When their passengers land in Nairobi, we as Kenya Airways cover the region like no other. Any of their passengers flying on beyond Nairobi to neighbouring countries, are likely to use our flights, so it is a win win situation for Kenya and for Kenya Airways too.
Magnanimous or spot on, though I am sure that the readers will have their own views too on this interpretation. What is true though is that Kenya, and the wider East Africa, has again been put on yet more maps and will undoubtedly benefit from the 7 added flights each week, adding a combined nearly 900 more seats into the market every week with all the related up- but also downsides. Watch this space for breaking news and regular updates from East Africas aviation sector.
MOMBASA BLASTS WELL AWAY FROM TOURIST HOT SPOTS
A regular source from the Kenyan coast, only met a few days ago at the e-Tourism Conference in Nairobi, was swift to make contact and get heard when he said: We had two separate but almost simultaneous explosions last evening in Mombasa. First we had an explosive device thrown into a congregation of Christians praying in Mtwapa, one of the outlying areas North of Mombasa, in which several people were seriously hurt. Then very soon afterwards was a similar device thrown at a bar near the municipal stadium where again people were seriously injured. It seems the same tactic which was used in Nairobi when you were last there and reported that night and our police are already combing suspect hideouts and looking for the culprits. It is a very cowardly act but that is what these people do. We Kenyans cannot be scared off from what we are doing in Somalia, they should know that by now. But also to be honest, this is the week ahead of Easter and we expect a big inflow of visitors from upcountry. Such incidents are bound to have an impact on bookings and of course the anti travel advisories will be sure forthcoming again and bad for business.
Other sources in regular contact echoed these sentiments and expressed their fear that with such incidents spreading to the coast it could have a significant impact on tourism arrivals. Former Minister of Tourism, Najib Balala, who is in Mombasa at present, was swift to condemn the attacks and drew on the parallels of the Lamu situation of last year, which was also overcome by determined responses from Kenyas security organs while the tourism stakeholders presented facts and details without panicking.
The timing of the attack could not have been worse though as the local dailies in Kenya will needless to day of course provide full details in coming days and Easter at the Kenya coast will for many suddenly not be such a fancy proposition, inspite of no tourist attractions or facilities having been targeted.
While in Nairobi it was also evident that added security precautions are now in place in banks, public offices, shopping centres, restaurants, hotels and government offices as part of prevention but also to reassure the general public that indeed all is being done what can be done to keep them safe from Somalias militant Islamist terror groups, which on the battlefield are now suffering one set back after the other as the combined forces of AMISOM, Ethiopia and Kenya continue their relentless advance on the remaining terror and piracy strongholds. Watch this space.
Mauritius President resigns, rejoins active politics as head of opposition coalition against government
MAURITIUS PRESIDENT RESIGNS, REJOIN ACTIVE POLITICS AS FIGUREHEAD
In a surprise move, at least as far as the timing was concerned, has Sir Anerood Jugnauth, President of the Indian Ocean island state of Mauritius, tendered his resignation from office and declared his intention to re-join active politics as a figure head amalgamating and galvanizing the opposition to the present government. Close observers on the island however mentioned that this was not a total surprise as significant differences of opinion had appeared in the past between the President and his Prime Minister over the way the government of the day was running things and the deep concerns over many aspects in politics and the economy.
A regular source from Port Louis in fact mentioned that the President made special reference to Air Mauritius precarious financial state, besides mentioning other economic negatives and the need to up the fight on crime.
Sir Anerood, now in his 80s served previously twice as Prime Minister and his re-entry into day to day politics is seen as throwing down the gauntlet to the current government ahead of the next elections, but for sure increasing the political pressure on the coalition government which has in the past already seen substantial cracks between partners. His son Pravind Jugnauth presently is head of the MSN party, Sir Anerood founded, and the MSN and other coalition partners have pulled out of the present government leaving it with a small majority, but not enough it seems to weather the onslaught now coming its way with a new alliance being formed to take Mauritius politics into a different direction again.
Tourism is not expected to suffer in any way from this development, as long as the political differences are confronted in the right arena. But you are right, 2012 is a difficult year for long haul traffic from some of our core markets and it is also true that Air Mauritius is undergoing some severe cost cutting and re-orientation. This political development will perhaps trouble us more than we like to if the new opposition coalition and the ruling party in Mauritius cannot be civil about their differences. We depend on tourism and have seen what havoc political unrest caused in Madagascar, so the private sector can only appeal to the politicians to settle their issues and not let their supporters take to the streets said a regular contributor when mailed yesterday after the news reached. Watch this space.