Archive for February 7th, 2017

Air Mauritius flight updates


(Posted 07th February 2017)

While apparently Mauritius was spared the worst of Cyclone Carlos have bad weather conditions nevertheless prevailed, also prompting other airlines like South African to cancel flights to and from the island.

(Current satellite image of Cyclone Carlos)

(Rain intensity caused by Cyclone Carlos)

Air Mauritius has released information about flights affected by Cyclone Carlos and announce new departure and arrival times as per the information received below:

Delayed flights returning to Mauritius today, Tuesday 07 February:
FLIGHT FROM DEPARTURE ARRIVAL MK7053 London 09H30 01H25 (Wed 08) MK7047 Charles de Gaulle 08H00 22H40 MK687 Beijing 08H05 16H05 MK1045 Charles de Gaulle 10H00 00H40 (Wed 08) MK689 Shanghai 10H40 18H00 MK641 Hong Kong 12H15 18H00 MK749 Mumbai 13H45 18H15
The following flights from Mauritius have been programmed/rescheduled:
FLIGHT TO DEPARTURE ARRIVAL MK1851 (Tue 07) Johannesburg 22H00 00H35 (Wed 08) MK682 (Wed 08) Chengdu 08H00 22H00 MK1034 (Wed 08) Charles de Gaulle 02H30 11H30 MK3034 (Thu 09) * Charles de Gaulle 08H00 17H00 MK1288 (Wed08) Antananarivo 13H15 14H10 MK746 (Wed 08) Bangalore/Chennai 21H00 04H20/06H10 (Thu 09) *Flight MK034 of Wednesday 08 rescheduled

The return flights to Mauritius have been rescheduled as follows:
FLIGHT FROM DEPARTURE ARRIVAL MK683 (Thu 09) Chengdu 13H00 19H20 MK2045 (Wed 08) Charles de Gaulle 13H30 04H10 (Thu 09) MK045 (Thu 09) Charles de Gaulle 19H00 09H40 (Fri 10) MK1289 (Wed 08) Antananarivo 15H55 18H40 MK747 (Thu 09) Chennai 07H40 11H55
The following flights will operate as initially scheduled:  MK843 and MK844 to and from Cape Town  MK851 and MK852 to and from Johannesburg
No regional flights (to and from Reunion and Rodrigues) initially scheduled for tomorrow have been programmed yet. Air Mauritius will communicate new timings as soon as they are available.

Passengers travelling to these Indian Ocean island are advised to remain in close contact with their respective airlines to ascertain their actual departure day and timings.

The Conservation Action Trust demands rhino poaching figures for 2016 to be published


By Adam Cruise, courtesy of the Conservation Action Trust

(Posted 07th February 2017)

The Minister of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Edna Molewa, has been tight-lipped about rhino poaching statistics for 2016, amid claims of rhino horn trafficking within her own government. Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, who runs the country’s intelligence services, was implicated in trafficking rhino horn late last year. This week the DA called for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to enquire into Mahlobo’s involvement.

The DEA has not published rhino poaching statistics since September 2016. By then, 702 rhino had been poached nationally.

The DEA has failed to provide any further statistics on the carnage continuing throughout the country. Continuous data, say conservationists, is important to the protection of the species.

Allison Thomson, founder of OSCAP (Outraged South African Citizens Against Rhino Poaching) believes the DEA may be “stalling to let this whole Mahlobo issue die down a bit.” Thomson says Mahlobo is one of the ministers that usually attends Molewa’s press conferences “so I think they are feeling a little awkward at the moment.”

According to Eleanor Momberg, Acting Director for External Communication at the DEA, the Minister will be releasing the statistics for 2016 “in due course” but adds that a press conference may be arranged for the first week of February. Albi Modise of DEA again confirmed on Wednesday that no date had been set for release of the statistics

Despite the obvious procrastination, The Lowvelder reported that 2016 figures for the Kruger Park were inadvertently placed on record at the Nelspruit Magistrates Court on Wednesday last week as part of aggravating factors in support of a sentence for convicted poacher, Simon Ngubane. The senior state advocate, Isabet Erwee, said the figures for the national park provide an indication that a “total onslaught on the rhino population” was still in full force.

Her records showed that a total of 622 rhinos were poached in the Kruger National Park in 2016 and a further 21 since the beginning of this year. Although the number for the Kruger National Park in 2016 dropped by 204 compared to 2015, it’s still a significant amount of dead rhinos.

Rhino poaching has shown a dramatic increase elsewhere, notably KwaZulu-Natal where at least 159 rhinos having been killed in 2016, compared to 104 during the same period in 2015. Provincial rhino security head Cedric Coetzee told SABC News last year: “There are influxes or displacement of poaching from Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and so forth. So the syndicates are getting to use the whole country rather than staying in a single area.”

Nationally, there’s a belief of a downward trend in the number of rhino poached but with the spike in poaching in Kwa-Zulu Natal this trend may be nullified.

OSCAP, who glean independent statistics from verified sources or from newspaper articles and other social media outlets, suggest the number of poached rhino is still staggeringly high. Thomson calculates that at least 1,105 were killed in 2016, a figure not significantly different from 1,175 in 2015.

Another worrying statistic is the revelation that conviction rates are agonizingly low despite an increase of arrests for the year and a positive spin by the Minister in May last year. She had claimed a successful conviction rate of 78%, when according to a more thorough analysis it was only 15%.

The problem lies with the Minister’s definition of conviction rates. Her percentage only takes into account those cases that went to trial and where there was some form of verdict. Her evaluation does not compare the number of prosecutions with the number of arrests . For example, in 2015 there were 317 arrests but only 54 were prosecuted. In other words, only 17% of those arrested led to prosecutions in 2015.

For the whole of 2016, anti-poaching officials made 281 arrests in the Kruger Park. Once arrested, poachers are taken to Skukuza Magistrates’ Court, which has lately become severely overloaded.

A total of 25 to 30 matters is on that court roll every Wednesday,” said Erwee. “Some days, we have more than 50 accused in the dock”. As a result, trials cannot proceed and extra court dates have to be arranged, often with the perpetrators walking free.

Erwee is also on record saying: “Arrests and convictions did not seem to scare off poachers”.

This is a crime of greed,” she said, “kingpins pay a lot, and the business has become a fashionable one. Although many suspects are killed during contacts or end up losing limbs, the lure of money is stronger than the fear of death.”

Uganda’s Tourism Board welcomes #POATE2017 delegates


(Posted 07th February 2017)

(Mr. Steven Asiimwe, CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, welcomes buyers, media and invited guests for the welcome function at the Best Western Premier Garden Hotel in Entebbe)

Over 70 hosted buyers and international travel trade media personnel, besides regional and local media representatives, made it to Entebbe where the Uganda Tourism Board had arranged a meet and greet session followed by cocktails and performances of traditional dancers.
Mr. Steven Asiimwe, the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, and key members of his staff were at hand to welcome their guests who had travelled from as far as Australia, the USA, Canada but also from India and from all over Europe to the sunny shores of Lake Victoria, most of them leaving freezing temperatures behind able to enjoy the balmy weather of Uganda.
All will depart this morning to sample some of the country’s best national parks, from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – one of East Africa’s foremost gorilla habitats, to Kidepo Valley National Park in the remote north of Uganda, once described by this correspondent as a ‘Prime piece of African wilderness real estate‘ well before CNN then, years later, named it as their favourite African park at the time.
The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls, Kibale Forest and Queen Elizabeth national parks will provide in particular the hosted buyers with an insight of how varied Uganda’s attractions are. Travel media on those tours will be able to describe to their readers and viewers the often spectacular sights Uganda has in store for tourists, from mountain gorillas to the Nile falls and from white water rafting to zip lining in Mabira Forest.

The tours will conclude in Kampala where between the 17th and 19th of this month the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo will then take place in the gardens of the Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

For added information about Destination Uganda click on or

AFRAA’s Aviation Stakeholder’s Convention moves from Kigali to Hammamet


(Posted 07th February 2017)

AFRAA’s next Aviation Stakeholders Convention, a key calendar event for African aviation and suppliers, manufacturers, airports, aviation authorities and related institutions and companies, will for 2017 move to Hammamet in Tunisia where TunisAir will be the host airline.
This follows a hugely successful ASC 2016 in Kigali / Rwanda which recorded record attendances across all days.This sixth such convention will take place between the 07th and 09th of May.
The main objective of this event is to bring together the suppliers of the whole range of airline products and services and the potential customers of these products and services at one venue annually for purposes of networking, knowledge exchange and business negotiations. The programme is structured to incorporate conference sessions, scheduled one-to-one appointments, masterclasses and social events.

AFRAA Secretariat team travelled to Tunisia in January 2017 for preliminary meetings towards the staging of the event. The team met Tunisair CEO, Mr. Ilyes Mnakbi and key representatives of Tunisair Management, Tunisair Technics and the Poulina Group Holding who will be involved in the hosting of the event. The teams kicked off the preparations activities together to be ready when Africa’s who is who in the aviation world will come to the North African country. The team also met the Director General of Civil Aviation and Airports of Tunisia and the Director General of Civil Aviation Authority who pledged their full support in the staging of the event and took full ownership noting the importance of the event to the country and the host airline.

For more info about the event and opportunities available, please contact: Ms. Maureen Kahonge <mkahonge> or visit the event website:

RETOSA continues to add value for members

RETOSA Online Learning Program

(Posted 07th February 2017)

Image result for Retosa logo

RETOSA Online Training Program

RETOSA (Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa) has launched a Southern Africa Certified Expert Online Course for travel agents, tour operators and the global tourism industry. The program aims to offer and opportunity for all stakeholders to learn more about southern Africa’s best tourist offerings, while promoting intra-regional travel. The course seeks to boost travel agents and tour operators’ knowledge about the tourism appeals in the region while building a database of travel trade interested in selling southern Africa as a multi-faceted destination.

The course is interactive and mobile optimized. It introduces learners or trainees to tourism offerings, appeals and experiences on all 15 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and their most important tourist attractions. Also, the course is the first of its kind to train travel agents and tour operators in order to equip them with the knowledge packaging, promoting and selling Southern Africa as a long-haul destination. RETOSA believes that through this initiative, its stakeholders worldwide will identify opportunities for intra-Southern Africa travel, multi-destination or country packaging, tourism business opportunities, World Heritage Sites, Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs), diverse cultures, the incredible people, natural attractions, inviting beaches and the exceptional tourism infrastructure in southern Africa.

Consisting of 16 modules with an introductory regional module and 15 country modules, for travel agents, tour operators and all other stakeholders only need to complete six modules – the regional module and five country modules of their choice to qualify as a bronze-level Southern Africa Certified Expert. And by completing an additional five (5) or ten (10) country modules learners can qualify as a silver-level or gold-level expert respectively. On completion and passing the necessary modules, learners will be awarded certification and certified by RETOSA as a bronze-, silver and/or gold-level expert in southern Africa travel and tourism. Ultimately, the increased knowledge on the fifteen (15) countries in Southern Africa will help tour operators, travel agents and all other stakeholders to better structure their businesses offerings, multi-destination travel packages or leisure trips for their clients and prospective travelers.

To register or enroll visit:

For more information email: marketing or call +27 (11) 315 24 20.


UNWTO announces dates for the next Executive Council meeting

World Tourism Organization: Mark your Diary for the 105th Session of the Executive Council

Seychelles tourist arrivals rise by 37 percent in January


(Posted 07th February 2017)

All the hard work, all the investments in market development, all the investments in attracting more airlines and more flights, it is all paying off now‘ commented a regular Victoria based source when passing on the information about a massive jump in arrival numbers for January.
The Seychelles, in recent years, grew annually by double digit numbers, two years ago by nearly 20 percent and last year by over 10 percent, but a 37 percent rise, year on year, is almost unprecedented.
Last year was a good January and the same can be said for 2015. Therefore is a 37 percent rise in arrivals absolutely fantastic and almost overwhelming‘ did the source then add.
In 2016 just over 17.000 visitors entered the archipelago but in 2017 this figure jumped to over 23.000, resulting in higher loadfactors for all the airlines and higher bed occupancies for the resorts, hotels, guest houses and self catering establishments.
Europe leads the list of countries of origin with over 13.000 visitors in January and the German market expanded by 36 percent, a sign how popular the Seychelles are in comparison with other Indian Ocean beach destinations.
Since January last year did Turkish Airlines, Sri Lankan and Qatar Airways commence flights to Mahe and Air Seychelles expanded its operations with more frequencies to key markets like Mumbai, Mauritius, Madagascar and Johannesburg.
In a related development was it learned that plans are being explored to combine the hugely successful Carnival International de Victoria with the revitalised and rebranded Festival Kreol and when details are available and a date has been set be sure you read it here the moment an announcement is made in Victoria.
For added information about Destination Seychelles click on

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