Archive for March 1st, 2017

Ethiopian and Air Namibia sign code share agreement

THREE TIMES A WEEK SERVICE FROM ADDIS TO WINDHOEK LAYS FOUNDATION FOR CODE SHARE

(Posted 01st March 2017)

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Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, last week concluded a codeshare agreement with Air Namibia. The codeshare agreement covers Ethiopian thrice weekly services to Windhoek and the services of both airlines beyond their respective hubs. The agreement will allow both airlines to expand their global network through the services of each airline and also facilitate the provision of competitive and convenient travel choices to their respective customers.
Mr. Girma Shiferaw, Acting Vice President, Strategic Planning and Alliances said, ‘We are glad to partner with Air Namibia. Itis my sincere belief that such strategic collaboration among African airlines is one of the necessities to see African aviation thrive and grow faster in line with the economic development of the continent. Now, customers of Air Namibia will enjoy seamless connection on Ethiopian ever expanding global network across five continents with a minimum layover in Addis Ababa; conversely, our passengers will be able to access destinations beyond Windhoek on Air Namibia flights‘.

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In response did Air Namibia’s Acting Managing Director, Advocate Ellaine Priscilla Samson say: ‘We are very pleased with the signing of the codeshare agreement with Ethiopia Airlines, an airline which achieved amazing accomplishments in the global arena. This will be an opportunity for the liberalization of intra-Africa air transport in furtherance of the Yamoussoukro Decision as two African carriers. In addition, this will assist Air Namibia to expand its network via the global reach and stature of Ethiopia Airlines. Hence the teaming of our two airlines is the consummate endeavor of our continent moving towards a fuller liberalization in the aviation sector‘.

The codeshare agreement will allow Ethiopian and Air Namibia to place their codes on each other’s flights beyond their respective hubs.Ethiopian will place its code on SW flights from Windhoek to Gaborone, Luanda, Victoria Falls, and Cape town, while Air Namibia will place it’s code on ET flights between Addis Ababa and Windhoek, Beijing, Lagos, Los Angeles, and São Paulo.

Ethiopian Airlines currently serves more than 90 global destinations across five continents with over 240 daily departures.

Uganda visits from North America double in volume from 2015 to 2016

SHARP RISE IN VISITOR NUMBERS FOR UGANDA LAST YEAR FROM NORTH AMERICA

(Posted 01st March 2017)

Tourist numbers from the top 20 North American (United States and Canada) tour operators directly selling Uganda leisure travel packages has more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.

The rise in numbers is largely due to the increased marketing efforts by Uganda Tourism Board through the North American public relations and travel trade representation firm, PHG Consulting. Engaged in May 2016, PHG Consulting has been promoting Uganda to the North American market through strategic direct sales and marketing efforts, public and media relations; and integrated promotions.

In 2015, we had no Uganda offerings, as interest was low‘ said one leading North American tour operator ‘That changed in 2016, when we had more than 50 bookings‘.

He says they have now added in more itinerary options that include Uganda and have included the Pearl of Africa in their marketing efforts because of the growing interest in the destination. The sustained growth has been experienced across the board by other operators as well. In some case, operators have seen sales to Uganda triple in number. A separate operator surveyed reported that their numbers rose from 80 to 250 from 2015 to 2016. Yet another American tour operator in the luxury category participated in a familiarization trip to Uganda, and has since increased sales from 18 trips to 62 trips, with this number anticipated to rise to 90 in 2017.

To remain competitive, we must keep the fire burning working through the PR firms‘ said Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO Uganda Tourism Board before adding: ‘The numbers are beginning to show since we began promoting Uganda in the North America market. This too is happening in the other markets in the UK and Europe‘.

Over the last week, UTB has taken a group of ten tour operators and media on a tour of Uganda. The teams have had cultural experiences, participated in wildlife focused activities, and visited accommodations and tourism attractions around the country.
It also hosted 75 buyers from around the world including leading travel writers on fam trips ahead of the second edition of the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo, which concluded last Sunday with a gala dinner during which Uganda’s Tourism Excellence Awards for 2017 were announced.

For added information about Destination Uganda click on www.visituganda.com or else check out www.ugandawildlife.org

UNWTO develops standards for accessible tourism

GLOBAL STANDARDS ARE COMING FOR ACCESSIBLE TOURISM

(Posted 01st March 2017)

From the initiative of the ONCE Foundation, the Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the first working meeting for the development of an International Standard on Accessible Tourism for All was held in Madrid on 13th and 14th of February.

The Technical Committee TC 228, responsible for tourism and related services within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), will develop a global and transversal international standard that will include, initially, a systematic inventory of existing standards, technical criteria, recommendations and requirements in the field of accessible tourism. In addition, recommendations and requirements will be suggested for those segments of the value chain and related activities whose international standardization in terms of accessibility is still pending.

The future standards will be called “ISO 21902 Tourism and related services—Tourism for all—Requirements and recommendations”. In terms of scope, the new standard will set clear guidelines for tourism planning and destination management.

According to Jesús Hernández, Director of Universal Accessibility and Innovation of the ONCE Foundation, the new standard will be ‘a lever to promote Design for All in such an important economic sector as tourism at the world level. In many cases persons with disabilities cannot exercise their rights to leisure and the enjoyment of culture and tourism. This is discrimination. In addition, from an economic point of view, tourism activity that is designed for all people represents a source of wealth creation‘.

For his part, Márcio Favilla, UNWTO Executive Director, emphasized that universal accessibility is a right and a business opportunity for destinations and companies: ‘Accessible tourism is the answer to everyone’s universal right to travel and discover the world. At the same time, it is an opportunity for the tourism industry to capture a global marketplace that includes millions of people with disabilities, seniors, families with young children and many others who encounter numerous barriers, both physical and cultural, when travelling‘.

Javier García, Director of Standardization of the Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE), stated that ‘technical standards are documents available to all, which contain the consensus of all parties related to globally-accepted good practices, helping organizations to establish their criteria for action. Currently, the Spanish catalogue contains 75 standards and draft standards that establish the accessibility requirements in many areas, benefiting persons with disabilities and their families, as well as society in general‘. UNE is the entity responsible for the development of technical standards in Spain and is the national representative at international and European standardization bodies.

To date, the working group established under ISO TC228 has representatives from Panama, Austria, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Portugal, Argentina, Malta, Canada, Ireland and Spain, as well as representatives of associations such as ENAT (European Network of Accessible Tourism), HOTREC (European Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafés), ECTAA (European Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents), SBS (Small Business Standards, the European association representing SMEs in standardization), and ANEC (the European consumer association for standardization)

The new standard, which is expected to be approved in 2018 after reaching consensus at the ISO level and promulgated during 2019, will be applied to the different stakeholders of the tourism sector, both public and private and at different levels.

Africa’s beach destinations challenged as Thailand expands Visa waiver programme

VISA FREE TRAVEL TO THE GLOBAL BEACHES IS A MIGHTY INCENTIVE FOR TOURISTS

(Posted 01st March 2017)

The Kingdom of Thailand has sprung a surprise on their main competitors ahead of the upcoming ITB 2017 tourism fair in Berlin, when authorities announced that a further 21 countries are now exempt from Visa requirements.
This is thought to have a major impact in pushing arrival numbers up for Thailand which in recent years has suffered of some significant wobbles over political developments.
The original Visa Waiver Programme will now at least stay in place until August this year when a full assessment on its impact can be undertaken. The extension of the visa incentives for tourists for a further six months was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and was approved at the weekly cabinet meeting earlier this month.

The new period, lasting until August 31st means that travellers applying for tourist visas at Royal Thai Embassies or Thai Consulates abroad will not have to pay any fees for entry visas, while the fees for visas on arrival (VoA) have been reduced from 2,000 Baht to 1,000 Baht per person, another significant benefit for travelers choosing to spend their vacation time on Thai beaches.

Beneficiaries are key countries which also send tourists to the East African beaches where Visa fees remain stubbornly in place in addition to hefty airport taxes levied on tourists when leaving the destinations.
Among the countries now exempted from Visa for Thailand are in alphabetical order Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

With the gauntlet thrown down in a very public fashion, and aiming at carving out added percentages of the global holiday traffic, must East Africa go back to the drawing board and reconsider their own stand vis a vis Visa requirements, as the diplomatic principle of reciprocity simply no longer works in the world of tourism, as negative examples, like the tit for tat between South Africa and Kenya last year amply demonstrates.

Air Mauritius reacts to media reports on financial discrepancies

AIRLINE HITS BACK AT MEDIA OVER NEGATIVE REPORTING

(Posted 01st March 2017)

Air Mauritius

Following media reports of financial discrepancies in the company’s balance sheets has Air Mauritius come out swinging, rejecting any of the allegations made as inaccurate and false.
Said a company statement received overnight:

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Following reports that appeared in the press recently, Air Mauritius wishes to reassure its Shareholders and the public at large that there is no discrepancy in its Financial Statements. Air Mauritius is a public listed company on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. It carries out its operations with high integrity and its Financial Statements are prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards. They comply with the Companies Act 2001 and the Financial Reporting Act 2004. The company has only one accounting system, the Oracle Financial which is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software, used to produce its Financial Statements. The Company’s Financial Statements are audited by two external auditors and published according to the regulatory provisions of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. Annual Reports are circulated among all Shareholders and the most recent Company Financial Statements are also available on the website of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius as well as on the website of the company. Air Mauritius also provides all explanations on its Financial Statements to Shareholders at its Annual Meetings.
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Air Mauritius has been experiencing a roller coaster ride over the past decade with profits and losses making way for each other, with management changes galore and a rigorous route and cost cutting exercise which has finally yielded results when the airline turned profitable again over the past year.

More endorsements pile in for UNWTO candidate St. Ange

AS NOMINATION DEADLINE COMES CLOSER IS THIS UNWTO CANDIDATE REELING IN ENDORSEMENTS

(Posted 01st March 2017)

A hastily orchestrated campaign against the candidacy of Seychelles’ immediate former Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Alain St. Ange, is at the verge of failing as more endorsements of substance keep piling in for him.
The latest, notably again from a key private sector organization, comes from ‘Memo Planet‘ in France, a company promoting international tourism through video, new media and the latest technologies and they have come out boldly to say that they support the Seychelles Candidate.

We have known Alain St.Ange as Minister responsible for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine and even before that when he only had the Tourism and Culture portfolios and admired his passion for tourism. This is why, as a known tourism professional video company we are writing to publicly endorse him as the candidate for Secretary General for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Mr. St.Ange could never understand NO, and always wanted to find solutions. He believed in working beyond borders and coined many tag-lines to attach the lndian Ocean Islands together and also these lovely islands with mainland Africa. We know, and many of my professional photographers share our views that Alain St.Ange is so well suited for the United Nations position, which is why we are today endorsing him from the ‘tourism at large’ community‘ said Remi Voluer of My Lovely Planet.

The Seychelles Candidate St.Ange continues to receive more and more letters of endorsement from tourism private sector trade and from the international press. The Seychelles Candidate has already received Letters of Endorsement from President Danny Faure of the Seychelles, from Sir James Mancham, Seychelles founding President who wrote an open letter about his support for the Seychelles St.Ange bid for the United Nations just a week before he passed away, the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Organisation (Comoros, Mayotte, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles), the Africa Ports Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA), Tanzania Society of Travel Agents (TASOTA), the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), Fred W. Finn, the World’s Most Travelled Person Guinness World Records, the Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam Association, India’s important N.R.I. Welfare Society, the Creole Travel Services of Seychelles and the Association of Tourism Professionals of Mauritius (ATP), Eden Island Seychelles, Bea Broda the known Producer/Writer/Host/Speaker from the Americas who wrote: ‘One candidate that stands out to me is Alain St.Ange, the former Minister of Tourism of Seychelles. In the seven years that I have been familiar with his work, I have witnessed the extraordinary dedication, enthusiasm and visionary brilliance that resulted in his enormous success in this role. St.Ange took a relatively small island nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean and created a way to bring Seychelles to the forefront of global attention with the enactment of the Carnaval International de Victoria. This international event experienced six years of success, not only bringing interest and tourism to the nation, but proudly unifying all of the people who live there towards a common goal. In addition, St.Ange was a founder of the Vanilla Islands of the Indian Ocean, a consortium designed to combine the strengths of the islands located in the Indian Ocean to present a strong front in a competitive market. He has worked ceaselessly in the direction of the absolute success of those issues to which he cheerfully commits his time, and I would personally like to see someone with his considerable vision, dedication and creativity take the helm of an organization as influential to tourism as UNWTO‘ and Theresa St.John, the well reputed Travel Writer who said ‘It’s not often that I have the chance to interact with someone who speaks so passionately about travel, tourism, and the people behind the ‘business of it’, the Hon Xavier-Luc Duval, former Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius who had responsibility for Tourism and also a past president of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, now Leader of the Opposition in Mauritius, the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Gilbert Lamory, the Vice President responsible for Development for GIHP (Groupement pour l’insertion des personnes Handicapees Physiques) of France, Johnny Rohregger, the King of Travel, Hardy Lucas, a former political colleague of the Seychelles Candidate, Germany’s Thomas Cook Group Airlines Condor Flugdienst GmbH, a leading European Leisure Airlines Group said:- Alain St.Ange is in the top league by global comparison, and wish him all the best for his candidacy for the UNWTO and Wolfgang H. Thome of the Aviation, Tourism & Conservation News from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands who wrote ‘St.Ange is My Man for the UNWTO Top Job‘.
Maxime Behar, the President of the ICCO, the largest Public Relations community in the world being in 48 countries who said: ‘I know Alain St.Ange as perfect professional who understands every single small detail in the tourism business, but also has a wide vision on the whole world and knows how to make this business much more efficient and result oriented‘. On his part Peter Sinon, former Seychelles Ambassador & Minister and former Executive Director of the African Development Bank for Africa’s Eastern Constituency said ‘I wholeheartedly endorse Alain St.Ange for the post of Secretary General of the UNWTO‘ and also the AIOM, the ASSOCIATION OF INBOUND OPERATORS (MAURITIUS) have now endorsed him.

Small sections of the African media, who have attempted to portray St. Ange as a spoiler for Africa’s chances to capture the UNWTO top job, had to resort to nebulous insinuations while thankfully many others, clearheaded about the electability of the various candidates and their chances to make it to the crucial second round, have started coming off the fence and thrown their support behind St. Ange.
Watch this space when in a few days time the nominations close for aspirants to the UNWTO Secretary General job, which has seen campaigning on a hitherto unprecedented scale.

Serengeti vs Kruger … read on to find out if there is a winner or a draw

Travel Africa Extra Magazine compares Kruger and Serengeti

Welcome to the February issue of Travel Africa Extra, our new monthly compendium of great stories, opinion and advice for readers of Travel Africa magazine, delivered to you by email at the end of every month.
Please feel free to share this mini-mag with any family, friends and colleagues who’d enjoy reading more about Africa – the more readers we have, the more we’re all sharing our love of Africa!

Serengeti vs Kruger

We pit these two safari heavyweights against each other

Botswana Travel Guide

Key attractions and advice on practicalities for your holiday

Bats and beyond

Africa’s biggest migration of mammals, who are winged, not hooved

Friends for life

Does nature have time for one creature to help another?

Blind safari

"I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about my first safari for visually impaired (VI) and blind people…" Read more

Wouter Vergeer

"You want to visit the right destination at the right time, with a clear plan of how to get around." Read more

Partner Profile

There’s loads of companies we love working with. Log on to our Safari Planner to research your next safari, starting with Time + Tide in Zambia.

What’s in a name?

How would you describe a rhinoceros? Maybe as “a large unwieldy quadruped with a horn or two horns on the nose and thick folded and plated skin”.

Africa is extraordinary. Its people are some of the most peaceable, friendly and welcoming in the world. Its natural beauty and heritage breathtaking and abundant. They say you never visit Africa once; that it touches you in a way that is hard to explain. If you’ve enjoyed these articles, and they’ve been helpful to you, why not subscribe to Travel Africa magazine, and encourage your friends to subscribe as well, and together we’ll explore the world’s most exciting continent!

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