MUTOKO APPOINTMENT AS KTDC CHAIR CHALLENGED IN COURT BY PREDECESSOR
Ms. Caroline Mutoko, appointed last weekend as chairperson of the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation by President Kibaki, and other members of the KTDC board, appointed by the Kenyan minister of tourism at the same time, will have to wait a little longer to take up their positions as the former chairman of KTDC took his grievance over being unceremoniously removed to the High Court. Justice Cecilia Githua suspended the appointment notice in the Kenya Gazette, where all such notices must be published to become effective, until a full or ex parte hearing can be held and the substance of the challenge, which claims the revocation of appointment of the former chairman was illegal, be assessed. It is understood that the legal team of the applicant was given 21 days in which to file a material case and a provisional date has been set for September 25th when the case comes up for mention. Until then, it appears that the Ministry of Tourism will have none of the former board doing any further business while of course the new board cannot transact any business either, until the court case has been either withdrawn, thrown out for lack of merit or else been heard and determined. Watch this space.
D ARROS ISLAND BECOMES A NATURE RESERVE
The Creole Island Paradise of the Seychelles is once again living up to its billing as one of the worlds most committed green countries when the announcement was made yesterday that DArros Island was to be declared a nature reserve. The islands owners, a locally incorporated company, will let the Save Our Seas Foundation manage the island, which is located over 250 kilometres southwest of the main island of Mahe and part of the Amirantes Group. Together with the nearby atoll of St. Joseph is DArros island a place of outstanding natural beauty and home to a range of bird species and marine life including giant tortoise and sea turtles, which come to short to nest. The island has an airstrip of over 975 metres long, allowing twin engined turboprop STOL aircraft to safely land and take off.
This latest declaration of an island as a nature reserve drives the overall percentage of protected land yet deeper into the 50 percent range of all terrestrial area of the archipelago now protected, the highest proportion of land set aside anywhere in the world for conservation purposes.
It was also learned from communications received from Mahe that the Save Our Seas Foundation, a Switzerland based not for profit NGO, has an established track record of supporting sustainable programmes of ocean conservation, and has in the past worked in the Seychelles with the Marine Conservation Society working towards the protection of sharks.
The formal announcement is expected to be made today in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, and members of the conservation and tourism fraternities are expected to attend the press conference to be briefed on plans of future conservation measures and if the present villa of the owners may perhaps be converted to a more permanent luxurious holiday hideaway. Meanwhile, breaking news here for our readers to be one step ahead of the pack.
GENERAL ELECTIONS SET FOR 04TH MARCH 2013 FOLLOWING APPEALS COURT DECISION
Kenyas Court of Appeal yesterday upheld an earlier ruling by the High Court and affirmed, that the next general and presidential elections will indeed now be held on the 04th of March 2013.
The election date has long been speculative but the judges, inspite of one dissenting opinion from a member of the 5 judges bench, felt that the date is legal and falls within the prescribed period of holding elections within 60 days after the term of the current parliament expires on 14th January next year.
There was immediate relief from in particular the tourism industry, which has for long advocated that the traditional end December polling dates be shifted to let the peak holiday season of Christmas and New Year pass without the political tension elections inevitable brought in the past to East Africas largest economy.
At least any possibility of disturbing our peak season with December polls is now out for good. The country can now prepare for elections and get ready with the logistics. It will also give the tourism industry time to prepare, and tourists not need worry about coming to Kenya during the high season. True, as you point out the date now confirmed with somehow clash with the run up to Easter next year which is at the end of March, but at least now the uncertainty is over. What tourism is now expecting is our politicians to be mature and refrain from anything which could bring back the scenes of early 2008. So besides our electoral commission we demand that our security organs prepare to prevent any violence instigated by election losers as we saw in early 2008, which threw the country into chaos and ruined the tourism industry. Our partners abroad should be assured that safety and security of tourists are our top priority in Kenya and our sector will play a crucial consulting role with public officials and security organs to make sure that this will remain so commented a regular source from the Kenya coast, which depends on substantially on tourism.
While the matter could still be referred to the Supreme Court of Kenya, the time limitations to convene a full bench and hear such a final appeal may ultimately not permit a different outcome as the logistical preparations for elections are now and have been geared towards a March 2013 election date and it may be physically impossible to have the voters registers updated and published and election materials procured and ready for any date much before the now confirmed date of 04th of March next year.
From this correspondent it is therefore best wishes to our Kenyan brothers and sisters towards a peaceful run up to the general and presidential elections next year and a mature and responsible conduct by all concerned.
TANZANIA SET TO CLEAR ALL BUILDINGS INSIDE THE 60 METRE SHORELINE LIMIT
Information has come to light that the Tanzanian government seems set to implement a ban on coast line construction and has pledged the removal of all buildings, houses and apparently even resorts, which reach inside the 60 metre distance of the high water level along the beaches from Tanga near the Kenyan border all the way to Mtwara and the border with Mozambique. The issue came to the fore through questions asked in parliament in Dodoma recently, according to a regular source from Dar es Salaam, which were reportedly prompted by concerns over rising ocean waters and the possible impact on built up areas following a potential tsunami or storm impact. Another source however lamented that this will open the door wide to corruption, as officials may try to blindside resort or property owners with demolition notices only to then promise to make them go away following some consideration as in particular in popular resorts beach bars and restaurants are often within that radius and have been there long before such regulations have come into place. Talking of safety measures, that 60 metres will not make much difference in case a tsunami would strike our populated coast lines. So surely there is some other agenda at work again. And raising the issue of Rio+20 resolutions, that has never been the case that implementation would be that fast anywhere, for sure not in Tanzania. That is pure pretence. So there has to be suspicion over the way this is being floated to the public. We must know the true motives behind this move and who is being targeted and why. They should leave all tourist resorts, hotels and restaurants alone or is this just another pretext to run wild against what they constantly call foreigners owning our land asked another source from the hospitality sector when requested to comment on the development.
Sources close to parliament and government preferred not to comment, saying only the matter is sensitive and it would be best to wait and see what if any measures government would take, although there have been unconfirmed reports that in the wider Dar es Salaam area some demolitions may already have taken place. Watch this space for further information as and when available.
WILDPLACES AFRICA MOVE TO NEW PREMISES
The Uganda Safari Company and sister organization WildPlaces have moved their offices in Kampala to a new location in the suburb of Bugolobi. WildPlaces comprises the Semliki Safari Camp, the Apoka Lodge in Kidepo Valley National Park, the award winning Clouds at Nkuringo / Bwindi National Park and the latest edition Pineapple Bay, located on Bulago Island in Lake Victoria, just 40 minutes by boat from the mainland.
As shown below, the company will however maintain a liaison office at the Sheraton Kampala Hotels shopping arcade in office no. 2.
We have moved
This is to notify our esteemed clients and the general public that THE UGANDA SAFARI COMPANY and WILD PLACES AFRICA head office has moved to Bugolobi on Binayomba Avenue, off Lithuli Avenue, opposite the Ambrossoli International school.
The new office is more convenient and ideal for our customers and is aimed at serving you better.
The following is our new address and phone contacts:
Plot 15 Binayomba Avenue
Tel: +256 414 251182, +256 312 261995
Our downtown office will continue operating from The Sheraton Kampala Hotel at Shop No. 2
5TH ANNUAL E-TOURISM AFRICA SUMMIT SET FOR CAPE TOWN]
South African Tourism and Cape Town Tourism are the main sponsors for the upcoming 5th Annual e-Tourism Summit, which will take place this year at the southern end of the African continent between 13th and 14th of
September at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Economic wobbles apart, the UNWTO has forecast that in 2012 for the first time ever more than a billion people will travel, equivalent to what is expected to be the number of people subscribed to Facebook, the worlds largest social network.
The African continent, still getting the smallest slice of the global travel business in percentage terms, has however embraced the new technologies by storm and with the global playing field on the world wide web now more level than ever before, it is important to continue working cyberspace and making an impact by embracing e-marketing of destinations and company services. This years e-Tourism Conference will once again highlight how best to make use of social networks and promote e-transactions to an estimated 1 billion plus subscribers and users of social and professional networks and how to use the latest technologies of interactive websites and linkages to social and business networks to get the best out of ones presence on the web.
Speakers will include top ranking executives from Facebook, YouTube, TripAdvisor, Expedia and hosts South African Tourism, who will inject the inspiration into the summit one the opening day before workshops, dedicated seminars and panel discussion groups will on day two take the participants into the application stages to discuss the how and where.
Registration for the event is open via www.e-tourismfrontiers.com and although the early bird discount for registrations expired yesterday, participation still offers extraordinary value for money.