Uganda’s excellent coffee and Serena’s Barista Denis Agaba – a winning combination

KAMPALA SERENA’S DENIS AGABA TO REPRESENT UGANDA AT BARISTA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

(Posted 13th February 2016)

(Serena’s Denis Agaba displays his Ugandan winners’ trophy together with his General Manager Anthony Chege)

Coffee aficionados are flocking to the Kampala Serena Hotel after news emerged that the hotel’s Barista Denis Agaba has bagged top honours in Uganda as the country’s best in his field.

When a year earlier he did not make it into the final round it only inspired him to work harder towards success and his winning attitude translated into getting the trophy this time. Denis then went on to the regional championship in Arusha where he emerged as first runner up, again providing him with motivation to do better next time.

The team at the Kampala Serena Hotel, from General Manager Anthony Chege over the chefs in the kitchen to the staff at the Ssese Coffee and Pastry Shop all supported Denis over the past year when, after hours, he stayed on to train in producing what has become Uganda’s best Cappuccino and East Africa’s best Espresso.

He will later in the year travel to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland where he will be Uganda’s sole representative at the Barista World Championship which takes place on the 22nd June and on which occasion the entire country will be rooting for him to bring home honours as one of the world’s best Baristas.

Nairobi wildlife meeting signals closer cooperation between East African nations

EAST AFRICAN COUNTRIES CLOSE RANKS TO FIGHT POACHING AND SMUGGLING

(Posted 13th February 2016)

Kenya on Thursday hosted a meeting of the Eastern African elephant range states of Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Ethiopia to find common ground to stop poaching and fight other wildlife crimes, which have seen mainly elephant and rhino but also other species poached and trophies, teeth and skins smuggled abroad to consumer markets like China and Vietnam.

The newfound cooperation, supported by the Lusaka Agreement Taskforce, extends to the sharing of intelligence data, joint antipoaching operations, law enforcement in broad terms and future alignment in legislation and regulations.

Participants were drawn from the regional wildlife management bodies, law enforcement and security agencies and policy makers.

East Africa in recent years was at the very centre of poaching, where especially in Tanzania elephant were lost in alarming numbers while the ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa were becoming notorious for smuggling ivory out of the continent.

Host Kenya is also the only country in the region which has a forensic laboratory dedicated to conservation, based at the headquarters of the Kenya Wildlife Service and additional investments are underway to upgrade the facilities and allow for DNA sequencing. This will also allow for the chain of evidence to be tightened when samples are delivered to the lab for analysis.

Meanwhile has Kenya also announced the fitting of additional satellite based tracking devices on elephant and rhino in the world renowned Masai Mara Game Reserve to improve real time monitoring and surveillance of populations. Uganda is using similar technology where especially in Murchison Falls National Park elephant have been fitted with collars to allow the Uganda Wildlife Authority monitor their movements and, in case they stray from the park, intervene in a timely fashion.

Seychelles’ Tourism Minister nominated for induction in African Diaspora Hall of Fame

Tourism Minister Alain St.Ange chosen for Tourism Hall of Fame in Atlanta

(Posted 12th February 2016)

Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles has received a letter of invitation to attend the African Diaspora World Tourism Awards taking place on April 15th to 17th in Atlanta / USA and chosen as an Honoree to be inducted into the African Diaspora World Tourism Hall of Fame for all the work he has done in cultural heritage tourism.

It has also been confirmed that at this Travel Award in the USA Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles will be honoured as a world tourism leader.

This letter is an official request for your presence at the African Diaspora World Tourism Awards (ADWT-Awards) and Travel Expo to be held in Atlanta, Ga. on April 15-17,2016 at the Westin Atlanta Airport (4736 Best Road, Atlanta, Ga). We are inviting you as a VIP – Guest of Honor for the awards gala that begins at 7pm on Saturday, April 16, 2016. You will be inductee as an Honoree in the ADWT Hall of Fame, and you are set to receive an award for the Seychelles Carnival. The awards ceremony is a world-class event honoring movers and shakers in black cultural heritage tourism. Dignitaries, notables, professionals and cultural heritage and travel enthusiasts from all over the world will be in attendance. This ADWT-Awards gala is a formal event with celebrated actor/philanthropist Afemo Omilami as the Master of Ceremony. Co-hosts for the ADWT-Awards week-end are Evita Robinson founder of renown Nomadness Travel Tribe and Sebrena Kelly, founder of Global Caribbean -American Business Connections . The ADWT-Awards week-end will consist of two special luncheons, two gala dinners, a travel forum, travel expo and cultural entertainment along with the official awards ceremony‘ said Kitty J. Pope, the Founder/Director of the ADWT-Awards.com and AfricanDiasporaTourism.com & Dr. Babs Onabanjo, the Executive Producer/Producer of ADWT-Awards.com and Co-founder / CEO of ADKingFoundation.com in their letter to Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles.

During the same event in Atlanta in the USA the Pan Africa and African Travel Expo will be taking place where destinations, businesses and organisations will be able to showcase and promote their products. An official Hall of Fame Luncheon will also take place where accomplished in black cultural heritage tourism will be recognized and inducted into the African Diaspora Tourism Hall of Fame.

Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture said to the press once the news had broken that he was going to be honoured in the USA as a world tourism leader. ‘My work in the field of cultural heritage tourism has been recognised and the letter I have received has confirmed that I will be receiving an award for the Seychelles Carnival. Our cultural events have been receiving more and more recognition right across the world and this has brought visibility for our islands and has ensured Seychelles remain relevant in the world of tourism. As small as we are as a country we have still been able to stage an annual carnival every April that has caught the eye of the world. This is a success for Seychelles and for every Seychellois‘ said Minister St.Ange.

African Diaspora World Tourism Awards of the USA is being presented by AfricanDiasporatourism.com, an online magazine exploring black culture and heritage worldwide, in association with Atlanta’s AD King Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting peace and non-violence. The African Diaspora World Tourism Awards & Travel Expo, the first of its kind was founded by African Diaspora Tourism publisher Kitty J. Pope, who serves as the director and executive producer of the event. ADWT-Awards co-presenter is Dr. Babs Onabanjo, CEO of the AD King Foundation, who is the founding producer.
Helping to present the 2016 ADWT-Awards event are Rev. Eugene Franklin, Founder/CEO and Chair of the Pan African Cultural Heritage Initiative and Ikechi Uko of Nigeria, publisher of African Travel Quarterly and Akwaaba Travel Expo.

Supporting the 2016 ADWT-Awards event are two African Royalties, Queen Best K. Olimi, the Mother Queen of the Tooro Kingdom of Uganda and Senator Princess Florence Ita-Giwa, a royal dignitary and government official of Nigeria. Both ladies serve as ADWT international honorary chairs along with sister-in-law of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ms. Naomi King, co-founder of AD King Foundation and noted international humanitarian Joe Beasley, founder of the Joe Beasley Foundation both of whom were chairs for the inaugural ADWT-Awards event. International chairs for this year also include Dr. Ewart Brown, the former Premiere of Bermuda, Lou D’Amore, founder/ president of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism and Dr. David Fleming, director of National Museum Liverpool.

Alain St.Ange is a tourism personality who is respected in his field writes Phoebe Irving from the UK as she writes about this latest award received by the Seychelles Minister.

Few people are as passionate, accomplished and respected in their field as Alain St.Ange, Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture. Since taking office in 2012, and with his prior roles as Director of Tourism Marketing and later CEO for the island’s tourism board, St.Ange has been responsible for increasing Seychelles’ visibility in the global travel and tourism industry. He is a firm believer in the promotion of Seychellois culture as a central tenet of the country’s tourism growth and development.

Born on 24 October 1954 on the island of La Digue, St.Ange spent much of his youth on his family’s agricultural estate, primarily dedicated to vanilla and coconut plantations, before pursuing his formal education at the Seychelles College in Mahé. He later continued his studies in Hotel Management in Germany and Tourism in France. Afterwards, St.Ange held several positions in the hospitality field throughout Seychelles, the Channel Islands and Australia, eventually managing key properties in Seychelles and ending his resort management days with the Denis Private Island. In addition to his extensive experience in the hospitality industry, St.Ange’s upbringing led him into politics as his father, Karl St.Ange, was an influential political figure during the early years of Seychelles independence.

In 1979, St.Ange was elected as a Member of the People’s Assembly for the La Digue Constituencyforthe Seychelles People’s Progressive Front, and in 2002, a Member of the National Assembly for the Bel Air Constituency for the Seychelles National Party. Following that, he was appointed as the Seychelles Director of Tourism Marketing in 2008, and in 2010 promoted to CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board. In 2012, St.Ange was elected as the first President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organisation, an affiliation comprised of island nations within the Indian Ocean, aimed at forming a new tourism destination brand. That same year, he was also named by Seychelles President James Michel, as the Minister of Tourism and Culture. In 2013, St.Ange was electedto the Board of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Executive Council.

As part of his service to Seychelles tourism, St.Ange has worked endlessly to establish the tropical island as one of the world’s most attractive and visible travel destinations. In 2015, Seychelles hosted the World Travel Awards and the Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony, welcoming industry leaders and celebrating cultures from across the region. By the end of year, Seychelles recorded nearly 275,000 annual visitors, establishing a 19% increase over 2014 figures and setting a new record for Seychelles with its 89000 total population. Similarly, as a direct result of St.Ange’s close work with the Seychelles Tourism Board, the country has seen a significant increase in capital investments from resorts, hotels and destination management companies.

With a major focus on championing the world’s diverse cultures and peoples, St.Ange created the Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria in 2011, which has come to be known as ‘The Carnival of Carnivals’. Now in its sixth year, the annual, three-day event, held every April in the capital of Victoria, invites the countries of the world to showcase themselves and celebrate their unique cultures side by side through fun, carnival floats and festivities. The event continues to attract visitors and widespread publicity to Seychelles every year.

The Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture, St.Ange has received numerous awards and honours, including Key to the City Award from Tuskegee Alabama (USA) and Honorary Citizen of Sioux City Iowa (USA), the Global Achievers Award at the 34th International Congress of NRIs in Delhi India, becoming the Ambassador of Reunion Island, receiving the highest Order of Commandeur de L’Ordre National from the Republic of Madagascar, receiving the Grand Maitre de L’Ordre by the Comoros, the Mahatma Gandhi Honour Award (2014) for his work in strengthening Indo-Seychelles relations, a Plaque of Honour from the House of Lords in London (2015), and most recently, the Tourism Eminent Achiever Award in Africa (2015). He has also authored and co-authored several books about Seychelles, including: Seychelles, What Next? (1991); Seychelles, In Search of Democracy (2005); Seychelles, The Cry of a People (2007); Seychelles, Regatta 2010 (2010); Seychelles, Enters The World of Canival (2011); Seychelles, Remembers Karl St.Ange (2011); Seychelles, The Coco-de-Mer (2012); Seychelles, Festival of the Sea (2012); Seychelles, State House (2013) and Seychelles: Unexpected Treasures (2014).

While carrying on his efforts to improve tourism in Seychelles, St.Ange remains an in demand speaker and collaborator at worldwide industry events and conferences. ‘There is still a lot for us to do for our tourism industry, for the Indian Ocean, for tourism in Africa and for safeguarding tourism as the industry that continues to make a difference in the lives of millions across the world‘ he said.

St.Ange is married to Ginette Michel of Les Mamelles, Mahé and has two daughters, Christine and Michelle.

Etihad picks winner for Valentine’s trip

SOFTWARE SALES EXECUTIVE WINS ETIHAD VALENTINE’S COMPETITION

(Posted 12th February 2016)

Juliet Kyomuhendo, a Software Products Sales Executive with Ubongosoft LTD has emerged as the winner of the Etihad Airways Valentine’s competition after a raffle draw held at the Capital FM offices in Kisementi.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, in collaboration with Capital FM and Yas Island Rotana Hotel, offered Ugandans a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi through a joint Valentine’s Day campaign.

The competition, which ran from January 11th to February 03rd saw thousands of people try their luck at a chance to win a love trip.

Elated by her win, Ms Kyomuhendo could not hide her excitement. She stated that the win meant a lot to her and she looks forward to experiencing a different country and culture. She also reiterated that people should actively participate in such competitions because like her, they could potentially emerge victors.

Kyomuhendo, who will be accompanied on the trip by her brother said: ‘I am so overjoyed. I cannot wait to travel. The day of the trip cannot reach fast enough. I am grateful to Etihad Airways and Capital FM for this opportunity‘.

To participate in the competition, listeners had to tune in to Capital FM’s evening drive show programme daily between 3.00pm and 5.00pm to answer trivia questions about Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi to stand a chance of winning the prize of two air tickets and a complimentary stay at the Yas Island Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi from 12 to 15 February.

As part of our brand promise of taking Abu Dhabi to the world, we are delighted to give Ms Kyomuhendo an opportunity to experience Abu Dhabi at this special time of year‘ said Toyin Alaran, Etihad Airways’ General Manager, Uganda when handing over the winning ticket to her.

Abu Dhabi has become a leading destination in the Gulf and now is an increasingly popular leisure destination with a wide variety of attractions to suit all tastes.

Based on Yas Island, the Yas Island Rotana Hotel is just a few minutes away from a number of local attractions including the Yas Marina Circuit, where the Etihad Airways Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place; the Yas Links Golf Club, the Yas Marina, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and Yas Beach.

EATP meets regional tourism stakeholders

MAPPING OUT THE WAY FORWARD FOR EAST AFRICA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY

(Posted 12th February 2016)

In line with its mission and vision did EATP, the East Africa Tourism Platform, host a Forum for open discussions on the vision of East Africa as one tourism destination and the feasibility and viability of this objective. The meeting took place at Elevate Suites in Kigali last week.

Invited to the meeting were CEOs and Executive Directors of Private Sector Tourism Associations in the five East African countries, namely from Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Tourism Boards in the East African Community member states were also invited to the meeting as EATP fosters private/public sector collaboration in matters of tourism in the entire region.
These stakeholders were invited in their respective capacities as policy makers and influencers to discuss challenges and opportunities of developing tourism in EAC and promoting it as a single destination.

For two days did EATP challenge the participants to look beyond their differences and challenges at their national levels and rally their strengths behind finding solutions to common problems.
Ms. Carmen Nibigira, the EATP Regional Coordinator, emphasized that
solutions will have to come from all of the five partner states, with a unified vision and collaboration towards developing regional tourism. Ms. Nibigira hoped the forum gave each tourism stakeholder an opportunity to borrow a leaf from each other in their efforts to develop tourism in East Africa.

The priorities which emerged from the two days Forum that are common to the five countries were described as Policy Regulations, Product Development and Marketing, Skills Development and Research.

EATP called on all participants to see inter and intra-regional tourism as something to be embraced for the good of EAC. EATP believes that some of the challenges faced by the tourism sector in the region, such as lack of open skies policies, competitiveness, product development, diversity and infrastructures can be better lobbied for together and each participant was named to be the agent of change.
‘EATP is represented by each single stakeholder who is in the room; each one of you is an investor in EAC hence I urge you to collaborate, build bridges and strengthen the vision of EATP of a vibrant and diverse single tourism destination providing exceptional experiences and products’ said Rwanda’s Mr. Manzi Kayihura, current Chairman of EATP, while addressing the participants.
The fact that tourism boards of Rwanda, Uganda and Rwanda were represented in the room showed that the challenges facing the private sector can’t be solved individually but best with the involvement of the public sector.
Mr Stephen Asiimwe, Head of the Uganda Tourism Board, Mrs. Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer of Rwanda and Mr. Jonathan Mbiyu, Regional Marketing Director at the Kenya Tourism Board urged all tourism stakeholders to consolidate their efforts in forging synergies in driving regional tourism through guided policies and strategies. The key message was to shift the focus to domestic and regional tourism in driving their marketing and products development plans.
Tanzania and Burundi, even though they haven’t as yet joined the common tourist Visa, were invited to all meetings organized whether through the Northern Corridor Integration Project countries as observers or as full members at East Africa Business Council and East Africa Community meetings..

It was noted that the private sector is half of the solution in the equation; the other half are government led initiatives. Creating an enabling environment for tourism business is the mandate and duty of the government through its agencies such as the tourism boards. Hence, this forum provided a much needed platform to understand each other’s positions and give the private sector a chance to voice their concerns. EATP supported by its partners in the private and public sector will therefore seek strategic engagement with direct and concrete actions from both parties in driving the agenda towards inter and intra- regional tourism.

Seychelles Tourism Minister Alain St. Ange meets foreign based tourism board managers

KEY STAFF OF SEYCHELLES TOURISM BOARD MEET THEIR MINISTER

(Posted 12th February 2016)

Tourism Board Managers representing the Seychelles in the four corners of the world were all in the country earlier this month for their annual marketing meeting. During their stay in Seychelles Minister St.Ange, the minister responsible for Tourism and Culture also met them as a group and then individually. Present at the group meeting and at the one on one meetings were Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Tourism Board, Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism and Nathalie Didon, the Deputy CEO of the Tourism Board.

The meeting was an opportunity for Minister St. Ange to listen to the Tourism Board’s Overseas Representatives and to discuss with each one their challenges and expectations.

This was a good opportunity to dedicate quality time to each of our overseas offices. We need to always hear their point of view as we are planning the way forward for the marketing of Seychelles. They are our men and women on the ground and their knowledge of the respective source markets remains important in our own planning‘ said Minister St.Ange. Last year Seychelles performed exceptionally well as far as visitor arrival numbers go and this year the Ministry of Tourism and Culture is focussing a lot on the yield from tourism. ‘We are and remain the facilitators for our private sector trade and we remain open to them all, large or small, to work with them to help increase the yield from our tourism industry. We know that this remains very much something that the private sector can change as they are, and remain the commercial sector of our industry, but we believe that we need to continue to be by their side to facilitate resolve the challenges they face as much as possible‘ added Minister Alain St. Ange who also used the meetings to thank all of them for their hard work.

Belgian cuisine comes to the Nairobi Serena Hotel

#BelgianWeek in Nairobi from 17th to 21st of February

(Posted 12th February 2016)

What comes to mind when people ask about Belgium?
There is reason to believe that one will mention the famous Belgian chocolates, Belgium’s fine cuisine and beers and perhaps even the country’s varied music scene. These three aspects in which Belgium excels, among many other things, will be presented to the Nairobi public during the first Belgian week which will take place from Wednesday to Sunday 21st of February.

The Belgian Embassy will proudly present to Nairobians the talented Belgian chef Olivier Bruckner (L’Olivier, Namur), the renowned Belgian chocolatier (Chocolates Gerbaud, Brussels) and last but not least, the famous Belgian jazz band Jef Neve Trio.

‘A taste of Belgium at the Nairobi Serena Hotel’

Did you know that Belgium is the country with the most restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars per square kilometre in the world and not France?

Belgium is a food-obsessed country, there is no other way to put it. Belgians love their local products and are proud of their regional specialties. For Belgians, food is not only fuel for the body, it is also part of a culture and a source of pride and pleasure. The Embassy of Belgium aims to bring a Belgian culinary experience to Nairobi. In cooperation with the Nairobi Serena Hotel, Belgian chef Olivier Bruckner will take guests on a delightful Belgian culinary journey from 17th to 19th of February.

‘It’s easy to love a country known for beer and chocolate.’ Barack Obama

Belgian chocolate is famous and appreciated all over the world for its excellent quality. If anyone wants to know what makes Belgian chocolate so special and different from other chocolate, one definitely has to attend the chocolate seminar and a special chocolate pairing at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, where a session with the renowned chocolatier Laurent Gerbaud will take place. He will ‘perform’ on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th of February at the Nairobi Serena Hotel. Laurent Gerbaud is an artisanal chocolatier who has been fusing chocolate, fruits and spices for the past 11 years.

Belgium’s classic Savoir Vivre in the air brought to Nairobians and visitors at the Nairobi Serena Hotel – Not to be missed!

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