TOURISM NEWS from the Eastern African and Indian Ocean region
Reports, Travel Stories and Opinions
By Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome
First edition February 2011
US ADMIRAL ADMITS THAT PIRACY EQUATES TO TERRORISM
US Vice Admiral Mark Fox was quoted last week in an AFP news services release that ‘only counter terrorism measures’ could deal with the Somali pirate menace, as they operate with increased impunity along the entire Eastern African shorelines from the Horn of Africa all the way down to Madagascar and near the Mozambique borders with Tanzania, leave alone their radius of operations in the deep Indian Ocean. This correspondent has in the past regularly drawn criticism over the use of the phrase ‘ocean terrorist’, a description however entirely befitting to the criminals, and the call for counter terrorism reaction is now finally proof enough that officials too are thinking at last along these lines.
The way terrorists are being dealt with on land simply has to be extended to naval operations against the pirates and all naval forces, not just those of the Seychelles, Malaysia and South Korea, need a robust mandate from their governments to decisively deal with the menace and instil the fear of God in the Somalis. They need to be knowing full well that once they leave their shores with the intention to commit piracy, the moment they look like pirates and act like pirates on so called ‘motherships’ and skiffs on the deep Indian Ocean, that they will be decisively engaged BEFORE they can reach their targets to prevent more hijackings of ships and in particular remove any future threat of passenger cruise ships being attacked or in a worst case scenario captured for ransom.
Members of the naval coalition with second thoughts, or ‘soft’ rules of engagement, need to review their options and commitment, as frankly only those WITH robust rules of engagement have a place amongst members of the naval coalition. Countries which do not wish to act decisively against the ocean terrorists, for fear of public opinion at home or other reasons, should leave the scene and make way for those who do.
Other measures like tracking the flow of funds and supplies too needs to be aggressively enforced to prevent the pirates from moving their ill gotten gains around and obtaining fresh supplies and goods and to more closely examine alleged links between the pirates and the Islamic militants operating in parts of Somalia. If the ‘problem from hell’ is ever going to be brought under control, in the interest of the East African and Indian Ocean countries and the rest of the world, now is the time to act and to act with renewed vigour. Watch this space.
SHOOTING OF BABOONS PROMPTS UWA REACTION
Last week the local media widely reported that the Luweero district administration had resorted to shooting a troop of baboons, said to have constantly raided local ‘shambas’ – small scale farms – and generally had become more than the usual nuisance to the villages nearby, with some residents there claiming to live in fear of being attacked by the animals. This prompted UWA to react publicly and put a halt to further ‘cleansing’ of the affected area, but not before allegedly over 30 baboons had been shot already by officers from the council.
Baboons are effectively termed ‘vermin’ but as they are also wildlife any countermeasures must be discussed with UWA and agreement reached on what action to take, instead of unilaterally going after them and eliminating them wholesome. UWA further offered added training to affected communities and swift consultations, should such problems be brought to their attention first.
UGANDA SHILLING GETS TEMPORARY RELIEF
A major intervention by the Bank of Uganda last week saw the trend of the falling shilling value halted at the time, following a 40 million US Dollars sell off by the regulator. The market was left befuddled when suddenly the BoU’s dollars swamped the otherwise narrow transaction market driving the value of the Uganda Shilling up by initially some 200 Shillings versus the US Dollar. The initially wild fluctuation eventually ebbed out after currency dealers cleared their positions to avoid too big of a loss in the face of the sudden action by the bank. Bank sources then publicly announced that they would continue to ‘boost’ the value of the shilling but it remains to be seen how that will hold on the market, in particular as public speculation has also been growing over international speculation against the shilling ahead of the February 18th elections.
KARUMA DAM COST ESCALATES
The planned hydro electric power plant at Karuma Falls, initially thought to cost some 1.2 billion US Dollars, has according to media reports now jumped to 2.2 billion US Dollars, a massive escalation by any standards, although the initial design has been upgraded from producing 200 MW to as much as 750 MW of power. The project has been pending since the 90’s but never really taken root as initially the World Bank opposed the construction of a second plant over fears of ‘electricity oversupply’ – in hindsight one of the crazier notions the Bank’s experts ever thought up. However, subsequent to that successive energy ministers too failed to give the project the green light in favour of Bujagali – itself not ready at this time – eventually causing NORPAK, a Norwegian company to withdraw from the project altogether after selling the design and planning work to the government of Uganda.
Construction for the Karuma power plant is expected to commence this year and will last until at least 2014, before electricity can be generated and fed into the national grid. At this time the power generated by Bujagali is thought to be ‘exhausted’, or in other words fully taken up by the anticipated growth in manufacturing, industries and domestic consumption. Presently there appears to be an electricity shortfall again in the country, inspite of heavy fuel oil and diesel powered thermal plants, as the notorious load shedding has taken hold again forcing households, hotels and industries to more often again rely on their in house generators, which of course increases the cost of running a business even more in an already challenging economic environment. Watch this space.
CLIMATE CHANGE BECOMING REAL
Recently published studies revealed that over the past 50 years the Eastern African region has experienced an average increase in temperatures by 1 degree Celsius, and suggestions were made that this may, together with other factors, have contributed to the accelerated cycles of drought and floodings and the sharply risen needs to import food and depend on crisis intervention by the international community.
The forecast for this year, especially in the region’s economic powerhouse Kenya, again proposes an almost failure of the rains between April and June, which could have a devastating effect on the pastures for livestock but also for the farmers across the country. The erratic rains are partially blamed on the warming of the Indian Ocean waters, which arguably causes less rainfall over the African continent, a claim however still under further investigation in the absence of sufficient hard data.
Nevertheless, the writing is again on the wall and governments in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are better starting now to put measures into place to avoid large sections of their respective populations going hungry, should yet another harvest fail. Watch this space.
CAIRO TRANSIT – TOO HOT TO HANDLE?
As information filtered into Uganda about international airlines cancelling their scheduled flights to Cairo and other Egyptian ‘hot spots’ while charter airlines were busy flying passengers home from the Red Sea resorts and other tourist centres in Egypt, travel agents here in Uganda – and reportedly also in other East African countries – began to quietly warn potential travellers using Egypt Air to connect in Cairo to their final destination, that they ‘might be stuck’ in Cairo if onward flights would fail to materialise for lack of crews, maintenance, fuelling or ground handling services. This was seen as a precautionary measure however to avoid inherent liabilities, should indeed something like this happen and the travellers would then make claims against their agents who ‘should have known better’.
Egypt Air presently flies 3 times a week between Entebbe and Cairo – more flights were planned for the future – and much of the traffic is actually connecting traffic to European and other destinations. Egypt Air, a member of the global Star Alliance, has over the years built up a faithful following and it is according to a source at their Kampala office only a matter of time, after ‘things settle down in Egypt’ that previous traffic levels would resume. Shortly afterwards the same source did pass on ‘confidential information’ that they had received information that all flights during curfew hours – which in past days varied widely – would NOT be operating, urging passengers to call their local Egypt Air offices for up to date information.
There are however also ‘hints’ from some travel agents that Turkish Airlines had been able to materialize on the misfortunes of Egypt Air, again pointed out entirely caused by the political situation in their home country and not over ‘real airline issues’. It is not at this stage known how many – if any – travellers have moved ‘over’ to other airlines since the outbreak of political violence in Egypt and the travel agents in regular touch with this correspondent only vaguely said ‘some have moved to avoid problems’ while others said ‘we are closely looking at developments and will tell our clients how best to reach their destination, with Egypt Air or other airlines if need be’.
EMIRATES BOOSTS ‘CONNECTIVTY’
Information received from the local Emirates office confirm that they will expand their connectivity across the board by adding more destinations and increasing frequencies too, as demand for their flights had not only recovered from the past economic and financial crisis but is ‘booming’.
Vienna in Austria will see its daily service rise to 11 per week come end of March, at which time the airline will also be going ‘double daily’ from Dubai to the Seychelles.
Other European, North American and Asia / Pacific destinations too are benefiting from the award winning airline’s steady expansion, and as more aircraft are being delivered to them more and more routes will also be operated by larger aircraft such as the ‘sky giant’ Airbus A380.
The airline has also offered special deals for Ugandans to fly to Dubai for the annual ‘shopping festival’ in February giving exceptional value in terms of hotel packages, leave alone the huge discounts available for shoppers in the main malls across Dubai. Go Fly!
AIR FAR WAR ESCALATES YET MORE
Overnight were news received from Nairobi, that Kenya Airways has done a ‘double’ on Fly 540 and other airlines like Jetlink, when they once again used their seemingly deep pockets and lowered fares on the domestic routes to both Mombasa and Kisumu.
In one fell swoop did KQ, now operating 10 daily flights between Nairobi and Mombasa – during the peak season it was as many as 14 a day AND using larger aircraft – lower their ‘bookable’ fare by a whopping 22 percent. This translates to a return ticket cost of Kenya Shillings 6.200 inclusive of taxes, and is now 250 KShs cheaper than the Fly 540 fares launched just a few days ago.
However, while Fly 540 offers their 6.450/- KShs return fare for ALL their flights, Kenya Airways is making their ‘lowest’ fare only available on a few ‘off peak’ flights, and all the ‘in demand’ departure times remain at the higher fare of KShs 7.999/-. In addition Kenya Airways has a standby fare of 3.000/- KShs one way, all inclusive for those with a hang for ‘gambling’.
The other domestic route now heavily competed over is Kisumu, and here Kenya Airways, operating up to 4 flights a day, are now charging the lowest ‘off peak’ fare too.
Aviation analysts this correspondent spoke with this morning were expressing their concern over this latest escalation of the ‘fare war’ in Kenya, with one saying it was now just a matter of time before ‘one of them blinks’ and either reduces capacity on the respective routes, once again matches the ‘lowest’ fares or else fall to the wayside as East African Safari Air Express did a few weeks ago, albeit with the eventual safety net of a takeover by Fly 540.
Said another regular contributor: ‘Kenya Airways can sustain their new fares better than anyone else in the market. The speciality airlines flying to Lamu, Ukunda and other secondary aerodromes in Kenya are not that much affected because they have a market wanting to get to their final destination and are ready to pay more. But Jetlink, Fly 540 and Kenya Airways, they are now battling it out over the main domestic routes from Nairobi to Mombasa and Kisumu, and who knows, Malindi and Eldoret might follow.
KQ’s domestic flights are a very small percentage in overall revenue and passengers carried terms, compared with their regional network, Africa network and their flights to Europe, the Mid East and Far East. Therefore, for them lower fares on the domestic market is almost like a permanent promotion of their inter Africa services and international long haul flights. In other words, low fares do not hurt them as much as it does to Jetlink and Fly 540; both of them rely quite substantially on their domestic revenues and a further fall in fares may have them rethink their strategy vis a vis the dominant carrier. These two others simply must make money out of their domestic flights to survive while KQ can rely on their generous income from in particular their African network where yields are much higher. I think for that reason the other two have pressed ahead and opened up regional routes to Eritrea, Somaliland, Tanzania, Burundi where the earnings are better, so as to cushion what has become a cut throat market within Kenya. Fly 540 is also flying within Kenya to places where KQ cannot go, as only smaller turboprops can land there, and that too is probably for their financial benefit, as long as they can sustain the load factors needed to such destinations.’
Adds this correspondent that at no time in the past have the main routes given travellers such wide choices of airlines and departures nor have the fares been so hotly contested. But then, what is good for the travellers may not be good for the airlines, isn’t it.
COMPLAINTS FILED AGAINST KENYA AIRWAYS’ FARE MOVES
Airlines flying on Kenya’s domestic routes between Nairobi to Mombasa and Kisumu have filed a formal complaint with the Competition Authority over the national airline’s move to bring their fares to such low levels which other airlines’ executives termed in communications with this correspondent ‘unsustainable, financial lunacy and only aimed to crush us commercially before then doubling the fares again’.
Kenya does have monopoly laws and it is contained in the letter of the law that predatory pricing is effectively in place when services or goods are sold ‘below cost’, an aspect however hard to prove in a court of law, more so as some of the new ‘lowest fares’ put on the market are restricted to very few of KQ’s many departures across the day to in particular the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa.
Nevertheless, notice clearly has been served by airlines like Jetlink, Fly540 and others that ‘enough is enough’ as one official on condition of anonymity put it and that government has now been called to the scene to try and either use regulatory mechanisms, directives or gentle persuasion to get the situation back to ‘normal’.
Passengers however have expressed their delight with the new low fares, saying it will make travel to the coast or to the lakeside city of Kisumu a lot cheaper for them, with only a handful of those regular travellers asked conceding that they might pay dearly after the competition has been pushed out of the market. Watch this space for further updates on Kenya’s domestic air fare wars.
FLY540 CARGO AIRCRAFT IN WILSON MISHAP
A Fokker 27 aircraft, modified to be used as a cargo plane, last Thursday overshot the runway at Wilson Airport while taking off for a test flight. From initial reports it was suggested that one engine lost power at a crucial stage of the take off run, and while remaining on the ground the aircraft then overshot the runway, broke through the perimeter fence and eventually came to a rest in a maize field with a collapsed nose gear. An accident investigation has been launched by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to establish the exact cause of the mishap. Four crew and airline personnel on board were reportedly taken to a Nairobi hospital for treatment of minor injuries but said to be fine.
A regular source from Wilson airport did point out on condition of anonymity that this was the second incident involving a Fly540 cargo plane after an accident in 2009 happened to one of their F27’s while landing in Somalia on a chartered flight. No incidents however are known from Fly540’s passenger services for which we wish continued Happy Landings.
In a related discussion with aviation experts it was also pointed out once again, that the approach and departure ‘lanes’ to and from Wilson Airport have been widely encroached by buildings, potentially compromising the safety of people living there in case of a more serious accident and it was recalled that there have been crashed into buildings and residential neighbourhoods in the past as a result of failing to keep these ‘lanes’ free of buildings. Said another regular source from Wilson Airport’s aviation fraternity: ‘we have raised this many time but it seems the official concerned just shrug their shoulders over this alarming trend. One in fact told me confidentially there is nothing they can do now that buildings have spread so widely and so closely to Wilson because taking them down cannot be financed’.
So why let it happen in the first place and ignore all past and present warning from those who know best – the aviation fraternity – asks this correspondent?
DODORI NATURE RESERVE IN LAMU ‘THREATENED’
Recent news that the Lamu County Council has leased out the land of the 40+ year old nature reserve has drawn widespread criticism, especially as it was learnt that the first payment of the new ‘owners’ was used to pay arrears for sitting and other allowances due to councillors. The conservation fraternity immediately ‘nixed’ the deal, claiming it was a corrupt move by the council to lease out a piece of land over which they had no jurisdiction at all, just to get their collective hands on some money.
The reserve, as all others across Kenya, falls under the jurisdiction of the Kenya Wildlife Service and as such the council simply cannot unilaterally decide to lease it out to a ‘private investor’ without the full consensus of such bodies as KWS and others. It is also understood that proper procedure for finding an investor for the reserve, or for a management company, would be to have KWS first advertise for expressions of interest, following which broad outlines of business and financial plans have to be submitted to the organisation. After a shortlist is then established those selected will have to present in great detail, including a full EIA for their plans, their intentions, backed up but proof of finance, before KWS then makes a decision.
However, in this case none of the above seems to have done as the councillors’ greed seems to have overtaken common and good sense and had them rush into signing a dubious deal – for the proverbial 30 silver coins that is. Watch this space as the saga continues.
TOURISM STAKEHOLDERS DISAGREE WITH WORLD BANK’S BROADSIDE
‘The man lives obviously on another planet, after all we just recorded our best year ever for the tourism industry’ was a sentiment voiced almost verbatim by a number of regular sources in Kenya, when asking them about the address given by the World Bank’s Representative to Kenya last week. Mr. Zutt spoke on the launch of report ‘Kenya Tourism: Polishing the Jewel’ in Nairobi.
In his address he blamed environmental degradation, shrinking wildlife resources, a workforce with limited skills, institutional weaknesses and limitations and a constrained business environment, besides ‘stiff competition’.
What shocked tourism stakeholders the most however was his contention that the industry was affected by a continuous drop in arrivals, while Kenya had in fact just recorded their best year ever in terms of revenues and arrivals and only a week earlier released the first set of data supporting these claims. Added another source: ‘calling our tourism products tired is almost cheeky, does the World Bank have a hidden agenda or is it just that the man does not get it or has been badly briefed. We in tourism know that we have to constantly work on our products to improve them, perfect them. Many new boutique style properties on the safari circuit and even at the coast have come up very recently, those are very exclusive and very expensive, and the Briatore man [Flavio Briatore, formerly F1 Renault Racing team chief] is investing mega bucks in Malindi. His Spa has just won an award for the best in Africa, so what is Mr. Johannes talking about. We are getting a lot of new enquiries from Hollywood to make films here after the one made last year got a Golden Globe, our tourist board now has a top private sector man Mr. Michael Joseph heading it and the results previously under Mr. Grieves-Cook were impressive too, they pulled the industry out of the abyss after the post election violence and the global crisis. Kenya was not alone in that but we managed under very difficult circumstances to come out smelling of roses and brings his cess pit wagon along to belittle what we have done? Please, such experts we really do not need, if something constructive is being said we will for sure look at it because we are professionals in our industry, but this so called report and his talk about it we do not need.
The only issue we have with government here is to allocate us say 5 percent of the overall tourism earnings to plough back into the sector through global marketing, this would match what our main competitors like Egypt and South Africa spend and once visitor numbers are going up so is interest from new investors to put up new exiting resorts and safari lodges.’
In a related development did the government in Nairobi launch its ‘Competitive Partnership Initiative’ last week, in which the tourism industry, together with the ICT sector were named as ‘locomotives of growth’ for the country and to spur the revival of Kenya’s economic fortunes. It is understood that World Bank representatives were present at the launch but had apparently little to say about their chief’s misguided outburst the previous day during which he for all purpose rubbished Kenya’s pride and joy. Watch this space if there is yet more fall out over this tiff.
PEMBA’S KARUME AIRPORT SET FOR FURTHER UPGRADE
The local airport or rather, in its present state ‘aerodrome’ on Pemba Island is due for upgrading soon, the deputy minister in charge of infrastructure of the Zanzibar government announced last week. The airport will be getting improved lighting equipment, is set for the refurbishment and modernization of the passenger terminal building and will have the runway extended to facilitate larger planes to land and take off from one of Tanzania’s favourite beach holiday destination.
Tourism sources from Zanzibar expressed their cautious optimism over the plans with one regular source saying: ‘we have heard this promise before and will be happy to see some overdue action this time. An improved airport can only be good for tourism to Pemba and the better our facilities the better we can compete with other Indian Ocean islands and Mombasa or Malindi. When larger planes can land in Pemba directly we do not need boat transfers, or use the small planes and this will be good for tourist visitors because they reach us in comfort and quickly’.
Pemba is presently the ‘lesser’ of the Zanzibar islands but has its own unique appeal, is less crowded with resorts and has maintained a more original flair in the absence of too many hotels and resorts. Some of the main activities, besides ‘life in the resorts’ for visitors are deep sea fishing, snorkelling and diving, as well as other water sports.
SERENGETI HIGHWAY – FACT OR FICTION
In a startling development have two opposing pieces of news emerged over the past few days regarding the proposed and hugely controversial Serengeti highway. The original routing was to cut directly across the main migration routes of the big herds of wildebeest and zebras, with predators closely on their trail, and has drawn the wrath and ire of the international conservation fraternity, global organisations and from many other corners.
Yet, in the face of this hardline CCM party loyalists keep parroting away that the highway will bring ‘development’, conveniently forgetting the devastating consequences of a major road across the migration paths and predictions that the herds could be decimated to a third or less of their present size of more than one and a half million animals. Only earlier this week were ‘reassurances’ coming from those political quarters in Dar, claiming the road would be built by hook or crook, inspite of a major grant and envisaged long term soft loans offered by the World Bank to finance the alternative ‘Southern route’.
Then came news that while in Davos at the World Economic Forum, President Kikwete was quoted to have reassured high ranking individuals also present at the annual summit in Switzerland, that he would NOT have the road built along the initially proposed ‘Northern route’ and in the face of such strong opposition – apparently raised with him by a number of individuals in Davos – rather opt for routing around the park’s most sensitive area.
Yet, our politicians in East Africa were in the past often quoted to have said one thing abroad, seemingly to please their hosts while promoting investments and cooperation, only to do a different thing altogether when back home again. Hence, whatever fact or fiction is in this latest contradictory talk, time will tell, Watch this space as President Kikwete now is on course to become either the ‘saviour of the Serengeti’ or the ‘Serengeti killer’. For added information read this article published in Tanzania’s ‘Daily News’:
NO YELLOW FEVER IN RWANDA
State media and tourism promoters have jointely pointed out that there are NO known cases of yellow fever in Rwanda, following concerns being expressed by travellers after an outbreak in December in the northern part of Uganda. While that situation has been brought under control queries have remained over travel advisories for visitors to Eastern Africa. It is generally recommended, if not specifically required, to have a valid yellow fever inoculation certificate, when flying to or from countries with such infections. Specific details can be obtained via the tourist boards of the East African countries or under ‘travel health information’ available on the web for the respective countries.
It should be noted though that yellow fever inoculation certificates ONLY MATURE 10 days after the inoculation has taken place so travellers should make early arrangements to ‘get their shots’.
STB ANNUAL MARKETING CONFERENCE CONCLUDES
Last week saw STB’s regional marketing directors for Europe, Asia and the Pacific region / Americas sit down with their colleagues from head office to discuss strategies over how best to advance the Seychelles tourism sector in 2011 and beyond. The annual exercise took place over three days and working groups comprising overseas based staff and their home based counterparts developed a range of planned activities, some with the participation of the private sector, aimed to cement the archipelago’s success in 2011 and to produce even better results in coming years.
Attendees from overseas also took the opportunity to get acquainted with the latest new resorts and tourism products across the islands and will upon their return to their stations undoubtedly not only share their new knowledge with other staff but also the travel agents and tour operators in their area of responsibility. Agreed measures and proposals were at the end of the marketing meeting presented to the participants and key members from the private sector to ensure everyone was ‘on the same page’ for their work during the rest of the year.
A larger meeting is reportedly again planned for 2012, when additional staff from the STB’s overseas offices, including key members of the country’s ‘Tourism Ambassadors’ will be coming to the Seychelles to brainstorm.
In a related development the participants of the annual marketing strategy meeting were also told that the governor of the state of Hawaii had in his annual key policy address pointed to the success of the Seychelles during the past years and made it an example for Hawaii’s own tourism industry and the Hawaii Tourism Authority how to go about in re-positioning itself to a global market. As this correspondent keeps saying: ‘Small country but big vision and big future’ … way to go island paradise …
NEW BOARD FOR AIR SEYCHELLES
The national airline of Seychelles last week had a new board appointed by none other than President Michel. Members now are Gerard Lafortune, Philip Morin, Daniella Alis Payet, Ahmed Saeed, Jean Wheeling and Ahmed Afif as Vice Chairperson. In the chair as Executive Chairman remains Capt. David Savy, who has been steering Air Seychelles’ fortunes through the turbulent skies of the past economic and financial crisis and kept the airline on a steady course towards sustained success. Congratulations to the newly appointed board members and all the best for ‘HM’ – Happy Landings.
South Sudan News
ITS GOING TO BE ‘THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN’
Information received from Juba gives the clearest signal yet that the name of the emerging new country will be ‘The Republic of South Sudan’ from the 09th of July onwards, after independence for the presently semi-autonomous region has been confirmed when the count of the referendum votes is formally announced.
There has been some speculation that a different name would be chosen to break with the ‘rest of the Sudan’ once and for all but common sense clearly prevailed and as some senior sources put it ‘it is our history which we cannot deny, once we were one country and now the south is becoming independent, so that is what we will call ourselves’. It is also understood that the new national anthem and the new flag are also ready and will be revealed in due course, as the march towards Independence Day continues. Watch this space.
PRELIMINARY RESULTS CONFIRM THE TREND
The Republic of South Sudan is now a step nearer to reality as the preliminary results confirm the exit polls and public celebrations during the independence referendum earlier in the month. The specially constituted referendum commission has over the weekend released their ‘preliminary results’ – final results are due in early February – and while there were immediate arguments over the figures given, the overall trend is absolutely clear: the people of South Sudan have voted for independence. The SSRC for instance claimed that only about 60 percent of the Southern vote cast in Khartoum and across the north in areas where ‘southerners’ live, opted for independence, a claim denounced by many observers and exit pollsters as ‘ludicrous’, but generally the level of ‘yes’ votes was so overwhelming that any attempt to rig the results was from the onset condemned to failure.
‘Our people have spoken loud and clear’ said a senior source in Juba to this correspondent, adding ‘this is the result of decades of war waged on us, oppression, economic exploitation and being treated as second rate citizens in our own country. The regime in Khartoum did everything in their power over the past 5 years to sabotage us, instead of helping us to develop and in the process giving unity at least some chance. That chance they threw away and this is the result, we are going to be our own masters now’.
AND in closing today again some material from ‘The Livingstone Weekly’ courtesy of Gill Staden:
These two articles I chose to show my fellow East Africans that the competition on the safari market further down South is NOT sleeping and resting on their laurels …
Zambia’s new branding
The Tourism Board of the central African nation of Zambia is launching a world-wide contest for a new motto and a new logo that will brand Zambia as a must-see tourist destination. The contest is open to anyone on the planet over 18 years old*. Just come up with a snappy slogan (in English) or a great logo design for Zambia Tourism. Prize for each winner is a 15-day, $30,000 trip for two to Zambia.
Responding to market research, the Board is looking to replace its old tagline, “Zambia, the Real Africa.” Goal? Reposition the country as a bucket list destination. Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) is one of the most unspoiled and beautiful countries in all of Africa, best known for its game-rich wilderness parks, classic safaris and Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
ReBrand Zambia Tourism Contest opens today and closes February 25, 2011. Entrants and the public will vote on five selected finalists. A panel that includes celebrity judges will determine the final two winners. Winners will be announced on Zambia Tourism’s website and Facebook page (Zambia Tourism) onMarch 21.
And from www.zambianwatchdog.com
Zambia has embarked on a process of rebranding its tourism product with a view of giving its growing tourism sector a fresh and revitalizing touch so that it could become one of the most sought-after tourist destination in the world.
While acknowledging the various strides taken by the government in improving the country’s tourism sector, minister of tourism, environment and natural resources Catherine Namugala said the country’s slogan of marketing its tourism had not been changed for a long time.
“The logo, ‘Zambia the Real Africa’, has been there for 31 years and it’s time to refresh, review the logo or replace it with a more appropriate one,” the Zambian minister said during the launch of the rebranding drive.
Zambia’s tourism is projected to increase by 2015, with earnings expected to reach 550 million U.S. dollars from the current 200 million dollars while tourist arrivals are projected to be over 4 million. The sector is also expected to create 45, 000 jobs and contribute 8 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The sector currently contributes about 3 percent of GDP and provides formal sector employment to about 25,000 people.
According to Namugala, there is need to reposition the country as a tourist destination of choice through rebranding in order to reach the projected growth.
The World Bank and Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) will be working with the Zambian government in the rebranding of the tourism sector.
World Bank manager for Zambia Kapil Kapoor said during the same occasion that Zambia must promote itself aggressively if the southern African nation is to emerge as a dynamic tourist destination.
“The global tourism industry is extremely competitive and countries across the world compete actively for tourists. This competition has become stiffer after the international financial crisis and tourists all over the world want value for money,” he said.
Malawi, Zambia – Sustainable Management of Nyika Transfrontier Conservation Area Project : environmental and social management framework
The objective of the Sustainable Management of Nyika Transfrontier Conservation Area Project for Malawi, Zambia is to establish more effective transfrontier management of biodiversity in the Nyika Transfrontier Conservation Area. Environmental assessment is triggered due to the planned project support for small infrastructure investments including rural roads, staff housing and bush camps. However, no significant adverse impact on the environment has been identified during preparation but may materialize during implementation. Rather, anticipated impacts of project activities will be positive. As a consequence, it was agreed to prepare an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) to detect and mitigate environment and social impacts when small infrastructures are designed and implemented as well as to enhance sustainability of the project results.
And some more sad stories from Zimbabwe where Mugabe’s goons are now targeting the tourism industry too after comprehensively destroying their agricultural sector over the past decade:
Lake Chivero lock-up
Comments from a Harare-ite
My husband was caught up in the scene at Kuimba Shiri on Friday. Some very fast talking got him out of a difficult weekend sitting on a wet lawn being “re-educated”.
They also hit the yacht club, the caravan club, three boat clubs, a fishing club and Harare Safari Lodge, along with various other black owned properties which face onto the lake. 29 in all. Some freehold and some leasehold.
All properties were locked up from Friday morning until yesterday (Monday) morning. No one was hurt (to my knowledge) and no obvious damage other than serious litter etc – again not sure about that. No-one was allowed in or out ‘for the duration’.
The average age of the male “war vets” was about 18 years – with their mothers and grandmothers!! It was a very well orchestrated operation all round ….
Ghosts of Zimbabwe’s Past
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe — The exhibit at the National Gallery is now a crime scene, the artwork banned and the artist charged with insulting President Robert Mugabe. The picture windows that showcased graphic depictions of atrocities committed in the early years of Mr. Mugabe’s 30-year-long rule are now papered over with the yellowing pages of a state-controlled newspaper.
But the government’s efforts to bury history have instead provoked slumbering memories of the Gukurahundi, Zimbabwe’s’s name for the slaying and torture of thousands of civilians here in the Matabeleland region a quarter century ago.
“You can suppress art exhibits, plays and books, but you cannot remove the Gukurahundi from people’s hearts,” said Pathisa Nyathi, a historian here. “It is indelible.”