Seychelles President set for State Visit to Kenya

SEYCHELLES AND KENYA SET TO STRENGTHEN TIES

(Posted 27th March 2017)

President Danny Rollen Faure will on April 03rd and 04th visit Kenya in his first State visit to East Africa’s largest economy.
Ties between the two countries have for long been cordial if not outright friendly, given the support the Seychelles has extended in fighting and exterminating piracy in the Indian Ocean waters, which also affected tourism, in particular cruises and trade in Kenya.
Kenya’s national airline Kenya Airways flies presently four times a week between Nairobi and Mahe, the main island of the archipelago, providing crucial connectivity between the two countries from the entire KQ network in Africa and beyond.
Cruises, a market Kenya is very keen to develop, regularly come from the Seychelles to Mombasa, or sail vice versa and an MoU has been signed some time ago between Kenya Tourism and Seychelles tourism to promote two centre holidays.

Ban Ki-moon honoured as tourism champion by UNWTO

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Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon honored as champion of tourism

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The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. For the duration of 2017, the global UN community, across all nations and agencies, will focus on the critical role of Tourism as a vehicle for global unity, opportunity and sustainable advancement of the economies, societies, cultures and environments.

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Emirates does an Airbus A380 ‘Triple’

THREE NEW AIRBUS A380 DESTINATIONS IN A DAY – ONLY BY EMIRATES

(Posted 26th March 2017)

Emirates, Dubai’s award winning national airline, today launched three new Airbus A380 destinations, expanding their global sky superhighway substantially.
Tokyo Narita, Casablanca and finally Sao Paulo pushed the number of worldwide destinations served by the largest commercial fleet of Airbus A380 to 49, now just one short of the half century mark. Emirates now operates 94 of the largest passenger aircraft in the skies and has a further 48 on order.
For Sao Paulo it was a double celebration as the airline commenced flights to this Brazilian city ten years ago.
On all three routes does the A380 replace the Boeing B777, now offering a passenger capacity of 515 seats in First Class, Business Class and Economy class besides a cargo uplift of up to 8 tons.
Notably does Emirates grant extra baggage allowances to passengers with those in First Class qualifying to check in 50 kgs, those in Business Class 40 kgs and even economy class passengers to check in 35 kgs.
None of the new destinations has joined the US and UK directives that passengers cannot carry their laptops on board as they very likely recognized these two countries are playing politics with aviation security and in particular the US lashing out at Arab countries after the regime twice lost their attempted travel bans in federal courts.
In East Africa does Emirates serve Entebbe / Uganda with daily flights, operates two flights a day to Nairobi – and intends to add a third frequency by mid year – and finally Dar es Salaam which is also served daily, all with Boeing B777 aircraft. The new A380 destinations now offer additional chances for travelers from the three East African countries to experience the comforts on board where in particular premium passengers enjoy unparallelled luxury.

The Kampala Serena Hotel, growing bigger and better …

KAMPALA SERENA’S NEW PRESIDENTIAL SUITE SAID TO DWARF ALL OTHERS IN THE COUNTRY

(Posted 25th March 2017)

(A aerial view of the Kampala Serena’s pool and Maisha Health Club and Spa)

When by mid May the new rooms and suites are handed over by the contractors to the Kampala Serena Hotel’s management, will Kampala be in for a surprise – so much can be said already at this stage.
The 36 Suites and Executive Rooms, include a yet to be named second senior Presidential Suite, which will be larger, more luxurious and provide new levels of comfort to Serena’s top rated VVIP clientele.

The ‘Royal Suite‘ in the main hotel, named after H.M. The Queen Elizabeth II following her stay in Kampala during the Commonwealth Summit of 2007, will on opening of the new facility become the hotel’s number two as the latest trends in technology, equipment, security and furnishings have been incorporated in the country’s largest such suite. This new showcase will no doubt become Uganda’s top hospitality offering. Be it Heads of State, Heads of Fortune 500 companies, the who is who of high finance, movers and shakers and of course the stars of the entertainment industry from Hollywood to Nollywood to Bollywood, this will be their place to be as there simply will is no better anywhere in the country – and I say that after a sneak preview a few days ago during which the taking of pictures was not quite yet on the cards.

All other rooms in the new wing will also be larger and again include the latest technologies and layouts, for sitting rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Overall will the number of rooms rise from the present 152 to 188, also reflecting the growth in demand the hotel has experienced over the past 11 years since it opened under this leading East African brand.

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The upgrading and expansion of the Kampala Serena is in line with what is happening in other city hotels of the group, which is generally seen as East Africa’s market leader, in terms of service, market standing but also the sheer number of properties in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique and of course Uganda.

Kigali’s expansion was completed some time ago already and now it is the Dar es Salaam Serena where only last week the new restaurants and public areas were unveiled, reflecting much of the coastal architecture and designs for which this part of East Africa is so famous for.

In Nairobi too is a major refurbishment and expansion underway and again is Serena upping the game in the face of all the new competition which has sprung up over the past years and is still pushing into the Kenyan capital.

In Kampala is Carlson Rezidor set to open a Quorvus Collection branded hotel – which took its owners over 11 years of construction and then some, the same time the Serena has been in operation by the way – before CR came onboard with their expertise to put finishing touches to it and move it to the verge of opening. Yet, the Kampala Serena Hotel will be ready for the new kid on the block, not just in terms of room offerings but also vis a vis a very refined food and service concept which can be experienced in the various F&B outlets.

Only a few days ago was the Pearl of Africa restaurant, a repeated award winner as Kampala’s best fine dining venue, chosen to host the ‘Gout de France‘ dinner which was celebrated around the world in 2.000 venues with 2.000 menus.
Chef Raphael, seen above proudly displaying the certificates awarded to the hotel and restaurant, and his team, including Sommelier Celestine, were suitably acknowledged by their French and other guests who received a culinary firework paired with great wines. Add to all that the hospitality extended by Restaurant Manager Faussy and her team and you truly have a winning combination.

(The YouTube interview with them can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5-NR3L4ytw)

But excellence in cuisine does not end here. The Kampala Serena partakes in national and regional food competitions, stages regular international food festivals and is often host to guest chefs who come to Uganda from their home 5 star hotels and even Michelin rated restaurants. When at the Kampala Serena they orchestrate the high art of culinary perfection, train the local chefs in the process and delight patrons with taste bud busting creations, be it at the Pearl of Africa, the Lakes or the Explorer.

(The outside terrace of ‘The Mist‘ cocktail bar where preferred drinks and snacks are served)

I will in due course narrate my dining experiences at the Kampala Serena Hotel, one being a superb meal at the Pearl of Africa venue where Chef Raphael offered me a choice of a la carte or else their regular workday table d’hote menu. I settled for the latter, which proved to be an excellent three course meal served in the space of one hour and a bit, perfect for top executives who are looking for a lunch venue of this kind where food excellence and service speed are a match.
My other meal was breakfast at the Lakes and indulging again by having an Egg Benedict, expertly prepared but here too, more about it in a few days or weeks, as I catch up with my writing and finish other assignments.

Meanwhile though will my eyes be glued to the calendar when sometime towards mid May the new Kampala Serena extension will open up and the attention of the contractor can then shift towards the completion of a new champagne bar and a new Executive Lounge on the 6th floor of the hotel.
Guests with a sudden craving for a Kir Royale or a glass of pink or golden bubbly will not be disappointed as Sommelier Celestine is already preparing a new section in his cellar just for that outlet.

The new lounge according to usually well informed sources, will add another dimension of hospitality for Serena’s loyal clientele.
Regular Serena guests with loyalty cards, or those who are booked into the various suites, will experience an oasis of serene tranquility, in spacious and contemporary surroundings where across the day snacks and light meals will be on complimentary offer. From breakfast to lunch to high tea and pre dinner hors d’ oeuvres will those using the facility be able to still a sudden peckish feeling and a lounge concierge will be at the service of the guests with almost no task considered impossible. There may even be a daily happy hour for guests, perhaps with the General Manager or key members of his team making an appearance to interact with guests, or maybe there will be a once a week GM’s cocktail for his premium guests … time will tell so stay tuned to this site.

All of it again shows that Serena not only maintains high service standards but is constantly pushing the envelope further, incorporating the latest trends in the hospitality industry and giving value for money to their loyal guests because service is at the very heart of Serena’s corporate philosophy.

For more details on Serena click on www.serenahotels.com or visit www. http://www.serenahotels.com/serenakampala/default-en.html

Kenya’s Jacinta Nzioka joins World Tourism Forum’s Advisory Board

KENYA TOURISM RECOGNIZED AS JACINTA NZIOKA ASKED TO JOIN THE WORLD TOURISM FORUM

(Posted 25th March 2017)

Kenya Tourism’s Director of Marketing, Mrs. Jacinta Nzioka, has been selected to join the Advisory Board of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne. East Africa’s tourism fraternity was quick to extend congratulations to Jacinta who has been a key instrumental player in the revival of Kenya’s tourism industry, first in the 2008 to 2011 period and more recently again after the industry suffered a downturn caused by such events as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, a creeping global economic crisis and other contributory factors.

Since its launching in 2009, the World Tourism Forum has been professionally supported by an international Advisory Board. Several prominent new names have joined this consultative body of late. The most recent appointment is Jacinta Nzioka of the Kenya Tourism Board who has become the Advisory Board’s newest member.
The World Tourism Forum Lucerne will take place in central Switzerland for the fifth time from 04th to 05th of May. Within the framework of the Forum’s global orientation and expansion, an international Advisory Board has been supporting the event since its launch in 2009.
Now have six new members joined the Forum’s Advisory Board. With their touristic insight and expertise, they are assisting in the planning and staging of this year’s event. Aboulfas Garayev Culture and Tourism Minister Azerbaijan, Isabel Hill Director National Travel & Tourism Office, US Dept. of Commerce, Michael Kerkloh President & CEO Munich Airport, Simon Lehmann President Phocuswright, Jacinta Nzioka Director of Marketing Kenya Tourism Board and Manfred Schoenleben CEO TMC Partners.
Reto Wittwer, Chairman of the Advisory Board, said when making the announcements: ‘We provide professional advice and assistance to the World Tourism Forum Lucerne and we often act as a "door opener". Through the extensive expertise and know-how of our members, we ensure that the Forum is always in touch with the changing times. It is due to the commitment and networking excellence of the Advisory Board’s members that the Forum has in recent years been able to position itself as a globally relevant tourism platform." The members of the international Advisory Board represent a wide range of travel and tourism sectors. This multi-sectoral make-up ensures that emerging destinations also have their place at the World Tourism Forum Lucerne as well as global concerns and locally based service providers. After a detailed talent search process, Jacinta Nzioka, Director of Marketing of the Kenya Tourism Board, has just been appointed as the 24th member and the first representative from Africa in the Advisory Board. As Director of Marketing of the Kenya Tourism Board Jacinta Nzioka has excellent knowledge in tourism marketing and is highly experienced in the field of community-based tourism and sustainable development‘.
Jacinta Nzioka then responded saying: ‘Kenya is a key player in tourism in Africa and one of the global leaders in sustainable tourism. Through my seat on the Advisory Board of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne, I am offered an ideal opportunity to share and deepen my personal know-how and experience with like-minded professionals. For me this is an excellent chance to contribute actively to the future success and sustainability of tourism worldwide‘.
The World Tourism Forum Lucerne is an interdisciplinary professional platform which takes place annually, alternately in Lucerne, Switzerland and from next year in China. It offers decision-makers in business, politics, science and finance an overview of current topics and trends in the global tourism industry. It is also the only international platform which enables leading decision makers and emerging young talents in the industry to interact under the "Next Generation" designation.
The World Tourism Forum Lucerne is supported by an international Advisory Board under the chairmanship of Reto Wittwer.
The 5th World Tourism Forum Lucerne will take place from 04th to 05th of May. For added information click on www.wtflucerne.org

Lets Go Travel Kenya listed for ‘Africa Responsible Tourism Awards’

LET’S GO TRAVEL KENYA – ONCE A WINNER THEY JUST CARRY ON THE TRADITION(Posted 25th March 2017)

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The World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town next month will provide a suitable backdrop for the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2017 and it is understood that Kenya’s Let’s Go Travel is on the list for consideration.
This award scheme now exists since 2014 and has fast established itself as one of the most coveted awards African businesses can capture.
Affiliated to the World Responsible Tourism Awards is the African ‘offspring‘ keen to recognize excellence on our own continent and showcase best practice where it exists.

Also check out the organizers Facebook page via https://www.facebook.com/BetterTourismAfrica/
Only recently did they bag another award at ITB Berlin by Travel Life after having been repeatedly crowned an ‘Ecowarrior‘ by Kenya’s EcoTourism organization over the past years.
This correspondent, being on site at WTM 2017 as one of the speakers – also at the sister event IBTM 2017 at the same venue – will be rooting for Alan Dixson and his team to win and whatever good news will come out of Cape Town be sure to read it right here.

Additional information about the award scheme can be accessed via www.africanresponsibletourismawards.com

2017 african responsible tourism awards

Lillian Gaitho’s weekend thoughts focus on, what else, EASTER …

Six Ways to Bag a Bargain this Easter

If the sun, sea and sand is what you envision for this Easter four-day weekend; then you have a fortnight to ensure that every dream you catch comes at the best price possible, complete with extra toppings of freebies and post-holiday blues special pack! If you have not placed your booking yet for hotels, flights and other necessities, or probably are yet to settle on the destination of your escapade, then these tips from Jumia Travel advisors will come in handy.

#1 If on tight specifics, book early!

Most hotels, as well as holiday providers are already painting their and other towns with the colors of their Easter offers. A glimpse of my social media notifications and push messages quickly lists down unbeatable season offers to destinations such as Diani, Amboseli, Zanzibar among others. Unknown to many, most of these offers are not eternal as most companies will already have capped a number at which they achieve their targets. It’s time to make up your mind, and lock the date!

#2 The spontaneous type? Close fingers for last minute offers

Whether a last minute by design or the kind who can never pass a good opportunity to explore; a simple click on a mobile app could carry you to the laps of luxury without inflicting pain on your bank balance. The secret to this bargain is getting yourself familiar with websites which offer last minute deals, and taking time to compare the rates. Also, ensure to read the fine print and look out for any extra costs such as taxes and service fees. One last trick, always take a last look at the hotel’s website before you finally place your booking; last minute deals are bound to change any time, and might even land yourself a better late from a direct booking.

#3 Hello Tuesday, bye Thursday for the fairest flight ticket!

History, Math, and Art point to the fact that the best days to grab a bargain off your flight fare is early morning Tuesday, going Wednesday; by Thursday, Lady Luck’s smile starts to fade off. Logically, business and corporate travel tends to slow down through mid-week, thereby explaining this trend. On the other hand, most weekend getaways will be scheduled from late night Thursday, get heavier through Friday night and tone down by Monday evening, again, explaining the relation. If you can adjust your travel dates, then you will save a few pounds.

#4 Cash on your airline miles

Unknown to many, some air providers allow non-flight awards for redemption of accumulated miles. This could be in form of hotel nights and vacation stays in agreed destinations, car rentals, and tour package fees among others. If you are low on cash but high up on miles you reckon won’t be needed soon, then the next sure step is to contact your provider and enquire on the list of things you barter for your efforts!

#5 Get on the exclusive ‘Members Only” list

Ole Sereni has it, and so does world’s luxury brand Intercontinental. This allows you to get all the trappings of a good life, such as free hotel nights, easy room upgrades, high tea invites, subsidized gym membership and so forth. The best bit about this is that you are not too late; just pick on the hotel of your choice, find out what their membership subscription entails and if it fits your needs, check it off.

Ole Sereni Hotel, Spa

#6 Stay on top of the news!

Got a target? Sign up for their weekly newsletter today, follow them on their social media, and if this does not bear you fruits in terms of firsthand information on deals and bargains, then lift the phone and make that dollar-saving call! For instance, imagine what you could get out of Jumia Travel’s more than 300,000 hotels, for simply keeping up with their Twitter page?

Lillian Gaitho

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