SEYCHELLES MAKES HISTORY IN JULY
The Seychelles are looking forward to a series of meetings which at the start of July will come thick and fast and underscore why the archipelago is the darling of the global travel and tourism media and increasingly a choice place for bringing political and professional gatherings to the tropical Creole island paradise.
The International Council of Tourism Partners, launched with some fanfare at the World Travel Market in November last year in London, will hold its first general meeting in Victoria in early July and will both take stock as well as develop a vision for the way forward. Seychelles minister for tourism and culture, Alain St. Ange, is the Vice President of ICTP and will be the official host for the daylong meeting.
The ICTP will be headquartered at the La Meridien Barbarons Resort which to their credit has made complimentary accommodation available to travel and tourism journalists making their way to the archipelago, to cover the ICTP event and the three other major meetings taking place subsequently. It will be nice to return there after a brief visit in March and a stay last year which is still fondly remembered.
Routes Africa, with a record attendance never before accomplished for their African region, will meet from 08th to the 10th of July, aimed to discuss airline route developments for the entire continent of Africa but also with special relevance to connecting the Vanilla Islands of the Indian Ocean better, namely La Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mayotte, the Comoros and Seychelles. It is felt that a lack of enough inter island flights is a setback to promote inter island travel for the benefit of trade and tourism.
This is of particular relevance as the Vanilla Islands group will hold its own general meeting with ministers responsible for tourism and their tourist board chairpersons or CEOs in tow, to agree on a firm agenda how to set up a calendar of events between them in which the other partners can participate in and to avoid the fall out of a few weeks ago when Mauritius was seen as doing a copy and paste job on the Carnival International de Victoria, later then however defused when MTPAs chair Robert Devaux brought the media stampede to a halt after he made very conciliatory and reflective remarks last week during a visit to the Seychelles.
The fourth meeting will then be of the SADC tourism ministers, who will gather in Victoria for their RETOSA Board Meeting, again allowing for the development of mutually agreed targets in tourism cooperation between SADC member countries. A series of key events in the Seychelles coming up and reporting as usual live from where the action will take place for the benefit of our readers.
The archipelago is for 2012 looking at establishing another visitors record and is presently well on course to do so after the initial 5 months of the year show sustained growth in arrivals. Staying it the media limelight, as the hosting of these four events will make sure it will, the archipelago can only benefit from it, as will surely also the Vanilla Islands partners. Seychelles, Truly Another World see you there in a few
Archive for June 21st, 2012
SEYCHELLES MAKES HISTORY IN JULY
Another 6 Nairobi National Park lions killed as KWS’s response comes under fire from Kenya’s conservation fraternity
NEWS OF LION KILLINGS AND RENEWED ELEPHANT POACHING PILE PRESSURE ON KWS
The shock news yesterday, that 6 lions were killed outside the safety of the Nairobi National Park has brought not just the human wildlife conflict to the forefront again but also re-kindled the arguments between the conservation fraternity in Kenya and the Kenya Wildlife Service, the latter now accused to doing little if anything to prevent the killings or bring the perpetrators to book. What yesterday showed is that KWS seems afraid to wade in and use the law to bring the culprits to justice. They play big boys when they take the cheetahs from the Mara and bring them to Nairobi, ignoring all common sense and reason but when they are really supposed to show flag they back down. The reports on Twitter about the lions roaming outside were there, KWS was copied by several with pleas to act and what have they done other than collect the carcasses. And as you said, I still got to check that by the way but heard rumours yesterday afternoon, more elephant have been poached in Mt. Kenya and there also are allegations that they did not react to information given in a timely fashion. I personally find that KWS leadership lacks consistency and for sure the morals now. Let him [sic: meant to refer to
Dr. Julius Kipngetich] come and arrest me too for disagreeing with him in public wrote an angry conservation source from Nairobi, whose identity though I prefer to keep anonymous to prevent him facing the same fate as the CEO of Eco-Tourism Kenya suffered some weeks ago. The poached elephants, four carcasses without tusks have been found in recent days near the Ndumanu / Mathira East location by local residents, constitute again a major loss for the elephant population and according to available reports from sources in Nanyuki KWS did not respond in a timely fashion to reports being filed by the local community, raising questions what process is involved to get them to act when only weeks ago they boasted to have installed a task force able to deal with such incident reports as a moments notice.
Dr. Paula Kahumbu, a respected and award winning conservation voice in Kenya, lamented in detail the fact of the lion killings and how it developed by giving time frames and all on the Facebook page of Kenyans for Wildlife, available via https://www.facebook.com/groups/kenyansforwildlife/ as did many of the groups over 8.000 members, while KWS, faced with massive dissent and opposition to their handling of the situation then published this statement, without however mentioning any arrests, a glaring omission as the culprits according to conservation sources are well known and have publicly boasted of their ill deed:
Kenya Wildlife Service
A total of six lions were last night speared to death by residents of Oloika area in Kitengela, Kajiado County.
The retaliatory killing of two adult lionesses, two sub adults and two cubs on the outskirts of Nairobi occurred after the carnivores had invaded a boma and killed four goats. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers responded to a community report on the stray lions which had strayed from Nairobi National Park and spent the night with them dealing with the problem. The teams are still on site.
KWS dispatched rangers and a veterinary capture team to search for the lions. While the search was on, the lions were killed by the mob. Nairobi National Park is seasonal park and during rainy seasons, herbivores stray out of the park and lions pursue them. In the pursuit lions encounter livestock. While outside the park, the lions occasionally kill livestock from community bomas.
However, KWS works with community human wildlife conflict resolution committees and elders in ensuring that people and their property are protected from destruction by wildlife the same way wildlife is protected.
The killing is a big loss to the economy given that lions enjoy an iconic status as one of the Big Five which are a big draw for tourists who visit Kenya.
Kenya has been losing 100 lions a year for the past seven years, leaving the country with just 2000 of its famous big cats. This implies that the country could have no wild lions at all in 20 years. Conservationists have blamed habitat destruction, disease and conflict with humans for the lion population decline.
KWS would like to strongly discourage the public any killing of lions and other wildlife as this is criminal. Instead, communities should alert KWS officers nearest to them about any problem animals. Besides KWS offices spread across the country, the public can report to 24-hour hotlines 0728331981, 0736506052 and 0770296352.
While admittedly KWS does many good deeds and faces difficult operating conditions it must be said that such cases, too many in recent months to this correspondents taste, leave alone the conservation fraternity at large, would suggest that the leadership of KWS needs to come under the spotlight and should it be found lacking what it takes, changes may have to be made to then form a stronger, more focused and more inclusive partnership with the conservation fraternity at large. Will it have to come to that? Time will tell and so will this correspondent. Watch this space.
TURKISH ANNOUNCES THIRD DAILY FLIGHT TO NEW YORK FOR HIGH SEASON
A regular source at the Turkish Airlines Kampala office has confirmed that travelers from Uganda, in fact applying to the other East African destinations of Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kigali too, will until the 16th September add a third daily flights between Istanbul and New Yorks JFK, in view of growing demand for seats on the route. The three flights operate using the B777 and A330 aircraft.
The same source also mentioned that Houston will join the airlines growing global network.
Turkish has in an almost clandestine way, without the fuss and publicity seen by other airlines, made its way into the top league of global carriers, now flying 185 aircraft and by the end of the year expecting to have 200 aircraft in operation. The airlines plans are of particular importance for Africa, as the present 20 destinations on the continent will expand to an estimated 30 by the end of 2012 before adding a further 10 in 2013, then covering the African continent like few others not at home in Africa.
The competition with the in PR terms at least big league carriers from the Gulf such as Emirates and Qatar Airways, Etihad here is still playing catch up, is indicative of the worlds newfound interest in Africa for economic cooperation and tourism, as mineral riches and more recently discovered major oil and gas deposits in Eastern Africa have renewed the global rush to tap into Africas resources. Of interest for aviation observers here is that Turkish, a member of global industry leader Star Alliance, is muscling into a market alongside partners Ethiopian, which covers Africa truly like no other, Egypt Air and South African at the opposite ends of the continent, leaving OneWorld badly trailing in Africa in the absence of a significant and able partner, unlike SkyTeam which has Kenya Airways in its ranks. KQ in terms of Africa coverage is just a short nose behind Ethiopian but is also adding more Africa destinations via Nairobi, to satisfy the sharp rise in demand for travel to Africa.
Local travel agents expressed their surprise when asked about the added flights by Turkish to the US, and in fact their presence in Africa right now and their increased footprint projected for the future, a sign that the PR machinery at THY has some catching up to do themselves, now that they are outed as a big league carrier. Watch this space.