September 26th has been set for Kenyas first ever hosting of the Oscars of Travel when this unique annual award ceremony will come to East Africa s foremost tourism country to celebrate global travel in an African setting. The Africa Hotel Investment Forum, which is running parallel to the WTA event on September 25 and 26, is thought to bring key decision makers from the global hospitality industry to Kenya, who may then also attend the award ceremony where industry leaders from Africa and the Indian Ocean islands will be honoured for persistent quality and environmentally best practices. The organizers, from WTA and Bench Events, had this to say in a press release just received this morning: The selection of our hosts is fundamental to the success of our awards program, and Nairobi possesses all the ingredients to rise to the challenge of hosting our Africa&Indian Ocean Ceremony a vibrant and progressive city, brimming with opportunity. Tourism is fundamental to Kenyas economy, contributing 12 percent to its GDP and creating one in ten jobs. The future is exceptionally bright given the nations overwhelming natural resources, most notably its unrivaled collection of wildlife and its paradise beaches. New airlift from the likes of Etihad Airways will facilitate this growth. Kenya also serves as a blueprint of how to develop tourism in a sustainable way said Graham Cooke, Founder and President of the WTA Awards while Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events said: We are delighted to announce that both the Africa Hotel Investment Forum and World Travel Awards will take place in Nairobi in September. Its very important that we join these leading events together to underline the growing importance and overall influence Africa has on the world tourism stage.
The African and Indian Ocean winners will then head to the global stage when on 12th December the regional champions will meet in Dehli to hear who will walk away with the coveted Global WTA Awards.
Well done for Kenya, as this double decision for Nairobi reflects the standing Kenya enjoys around the world as a top tourism destination.
Archive for April 13th, 2012
JAMBO JET IS COMING THIS YEAR
Kenya Airways own low cost carrier Jambo Jet is still expected to take to the skies over Kenya and across Eastern Africa by 2012, it was learned from a regular source in Nairobi.
The new airline will be a fully owned subsidiary of Kenya Airways but operate under its own licenses, with its own fleet of aircraft sourced from KQ, its own staff and under its own logo.
Kenya Airways had last year announced the intention to set up an LCC to counter the growing inroads other locally incorporated airlines had made and inspite of a major fightback and recapturing market share, the powers that be at Embakasi are not content with just that but are aiming of taking on the lower cost competition head on. Said a source working at JKIA: If KQ is determined to launch their own low cost version, it will be good for fares. They can use planes from the fleet on charter, on wet lease or on dry lease as it suits them. They can fly domestic inside Kenya but also to EAC countries around us. For passengers it is still within the same group, although no one knows by now if flights will earn miles, but we expect KQ will pull all strings to make their new venture attractive and a success by using existing installations and facilities. I would speculate that KQ might send their E170s to Jambo Jet because by now they are more keen on the larger E190 version which is one of the most cost effective aircraft of its size and class.
The same source also confirmed that the next Embraer E190 is now expected to join the Kenya Airways fleet in May, i.e. next month already, before from July onwards one such aircraft a month is expected to be delivered to KQ until the current firm order is concluded. More purchases of the same aircraft type however are said to be in the pipeline as Kenya Airways has pending options with Embraer which can be turned into firm orders at the stroke of a pen, well almost anyway. Watch this space for regular and breaking news from Eastern Africas exciting aviation industry.
ATCLS CEO STATEMENT SEEN AS FEEBLE, UNWORTHY
Aviation observers in the region reacted with some scorn to the response by Air Tanzanias Acting CEO Paul Chizi to the most recent accident of the airlines single plane, a Bombardier Q300, which crashed on takeoff at Kigoma, tearing off the undercarriage, part of a wing and an engine, besides inflicting hull damage to the aircraft.
The announcement that it would take at least three weeks before any flights would be resumed, was met with questions what aircraft ATCL was proposing to use, as the airline had not a single operating plane left to fly with. Also met with skepticism were claims that Air Tanzania was a safe airline, considering the loss two years ago of a B737-200 in Mwanza and now this latest accident in Kigoma, although thankfully no passengers at either incident were killed or seriously injured. Observers were also more than a little amused by Mr. Chizis attempt to explain that the airline was far from collapse as it still had human resources and an air operator certificate in place, which allows continued operations. He also defended requests made by the airline to inject 200 million US Dollars by the Tanzanian government to acquire planes on lease while also seeking other investors in what has turned into a Herculean task.
A loss adjustor from the airlines insurers has since arrived in Tanzania to assess the damage which other experts have already qualified as a very likely write off in view of the extensive damage the aircraft has sustained during the crash. Said a regular contributor on aviation matters from Arusha overnight: This feeble statement shows what is fundamentally wrong with ATCL. They lack leadership, they lack vision and most of all, they lack planes and money. With no aircraft now, which can last several weeks or even months as we have seen in the past, they will have a lot of expenses and not one shilling of revenue coming in. That again needs a bail out from government with our tax money. Suppliers will not be paid, old debts will not be settled. It is a big mess and it should be brought to an end. We have a thriving aviation sector in Tanzania and if ATCL is wound up, it will hardly be felt. Their good staff will find employment in the sector, because there is demand for pilots, technicians, airline experts. The latest I heard is that Kenyas Jetlink will be setting up in Tanzania also making for more competition. How ever will ATCL become a force in the aviation industry again? No one believes it except those who are paid to believe, and once their salaries are not paid, you wait what they will say next.
As the saying here goes, watch this space as another chapter in the stormy history of ATCL is now being written.
SEYCHELLES ARRIVALS SIGNIFICANTLY UP ON YEAR BY YEAR COMPARISON
Figures were just released by the Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics have put a big smile on the combined faces in the archipelagos tourism industry, confirming a 12 percent rise, year by year, of arrivals in the first week of April.
2011 was a record year for the Seychelles already and the tourism planners at STB had, in view of the economic challenges in their European core markets, put a cautious annual growth rate of 4 percent out for 2012, expecting a rise in arrivals from last years 194+ thousand to about 200.000.
When hearing about this surprisingly strong and positive trend, a regular source from Mahe answered overnight with this comment: the foundation of it all is the partnership of private and public sector. In January 2010 we had a very intense period to discuss marketing strategies and everyone came on board when we agreed to open new markets. China, Russia, the UAE were all targeted and since then our partner airlines have added a lot more capacity to make it possible for those markets to grow. China last year nearly doubled arrivals, this year after Q1 we are again seeing a near doubling with 95 percent plus in numbers. Russia is up by over 50 percent, the United Arab Emirates where Seychelles is really seen and recognized now as a top destination, is up by over 40 percent. We still have a long way to go but are on course to meet our targets for this year to reach 200.000 visitors for the first time ever.
The other reason for our success is how government has responded to the needs of the private sector over the past years. STB was restructured twice to meet the challenges the world of tourism today poses for destinations like the Seychelles. Mr. St. Ange was able to put a great team together, in Bel Ombre and overseas. He brought the global media on board and whatever skeptics there were to start with, they have all had to admit that the strategy we jointly developed was the right one. The presence of industry representatives on the board, a good chairman, a top CEO and the interaction with the hospitality association has made a lot of difference. We have challenges, but we sit down and talk them over, we develop solutions. We created new attractions like the carnival, we now have a calendar of key events and top sponsors for each and every one of those and we have new top class resorts for the high priced end of the market and more Seychellois owned guest houses, bed and breakfast, holiday villas for the budget visitors than ever before. We are proud as Seychellois of what we have achieved and we are thankful to our partners around the world, the airlines, the travel trade and the media for supporting us and making this possible.
Sentiments often heard and often written about but now once again backed up with facts and figures, as the statistics received from Victoria overnight show.
In a related development it was also confirmed that Air Seychelles and Etihad are now on course to add a 7th frequency on the route between Mahe and Abu Dhabi from mid 2012, then offering daily flights, operated on a code shared basis between the two partner airlines, allowing further penetration of emerging and new markets for the Seychelles in line with Etihads growing global network. It was also confirmed that the fleet exchange project was on course and that the remaining B767-300s would be returned to the lessors ILFC in the United States before A330 aircraft will be introduced to fly in Air Seychelles livery. Crew training is reportedly in progress already towards that end in Abu Dhabi. Watch this space.