General News - May 2014
Ethiopian Airways announces 40% rate cut - 12 May 2014
In an attempt to boost tourist flow to the country, Ethiopian Airlines announced a 40 per cent flights rate cut to local tourist destinations in Ethiopia.
"We are more than ready to serve tourists coming to Ethiopia and as a national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines has a duty and obligation to promote Ethiopia," said CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam, speaking at a press conference Thursday.
"The discount makes us very, very competitive compared to local flight rates of airlines operating in the neighboring countries," Tewolde said.
The discount now enables one to fly one way with around $50 to destinations such as from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar, according to the CEO.
The airlines currently fly to 17 local destinations in Ethiopia and 63 out of Ethiopia. The CEO also mentioned that with security conscious Ethiopia is planning to increase the number of countries, which have access to visa at the airport.
Currently around 30 country nationals are allowed to get visa at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa on arrival, according to Tewolde.
The new rate of Ethiopian Airlines domestic flight is being subsidized from income of international flights and is not profitable, according to Busera Awel, Chief commercial officer of Ethiopian Airlines.
"Ethiopian Airlines decision to cut the cost is a big plus for our effort," said, Solomon Tadesse, CEO of Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) - a public private partnership body established recently to work on tourism product deployment and promotion where Ethiopian Airlines CEO also serves as a board member.
Explaining the challenges tourism industry of the country has faced, a representative of Ethiopian Tour Operators Association on his part indicated that his members will also consider cutting their cost by at least 20 per cent.
Among the challenges mentioned at the briefing includes hotel services standardization, lack of professionals and lack of infrastructures such as roads.
"We are not satisfied yet; some of the products are not up to the global standard. Tourist products should be upgraded first before promotion," said Tewolde, who is optimist that the currently less half a million per annum tourist flow to Ethiopia has a potential to increase many folds in a short period. (NBE)
Source: ATTA daily news 12 May 2014
Kenya Airways announces new flights - 10 May 2014
On June 6, KQ will launch flights to the Nigerian capital city of Abuja. Initially there will be four flights a week between Nairobi and Abuja, leaving Nairobi every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, using a Boeing B737-700 aircraft for the 4.45-hour-long flight, before returning the same day to Nairobi from where a range of onward flights to the Gulf, India, and Asia await connecting passengers.
From June 2 onwards, Kenya Airways will also return on the route to Zanzibar with a late evening departure from Nairobi. The daily service will leave the Kenyan capital at 2230 hours and arrive at Unguja, the main isle of Zanzibar, aka the Spice Island, at 2345 hours using an Embraer E190. This flight will be operated in addition to two code-shared flights with Tanzania’s Precision Air which leave at 0810 hours and at 1850 hours daily using an ATR 42 or ATR 72 aircraft, depending on loads.
Source: ATTA daily news 12 May 2014 and eTN
Kenya Tourist Board - Security statement - 9 May 2014
The Government of Kenya has moved to step up security at bus stops/termini as part of efforts to counter terrorism targeting civilians in the country.
On Wednesday 7th May, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said the national government and security agencies would work with the county governments to ensure that bus parks and the public transport system are safe for use by the public. This follows a spate of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks targeting the public transport system.
On Saturday 3rd May two small home-made devices exploded in Mombasa; one in the Mwembe Tayari area resulting in the loss of three lives and the other in the Nyali area, with no injuries reported. On Sunday 4th May two explosions involving two PSV buses occurred on Thika Highway where several people were injured and there was one fatality. Public Service Vehicle (PSV) owners and operators have been directed by the police to frisk passengers and eliminate criminal attacks on innocent civilians. There were no tourists involved in any of the above incidents which targeted local communities and buses taking people home.
The Kenyan Government has confirmed they are increasing security measures for citizens and visitors to the country and Deputy President, His Excellency Hon. William Ruto, has reinforced that the Kenyan Government’s security agencies will not relent until the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are caught. Furthermore, the Government security agencies have also provided all Nairobi hotels and Coast beach resorts with armed uniformed and un-uniformed security personnel to further provide additional security to the exterior of the hotels/resorts.
All recent incidents have taken place in remote towns near the border with Somalia or in low income areas of Mombasa and Nairobi at public bus terminals, bars and eating areas used by locals, with no visitors involved in any of these incidents. Terrorists have targeted low income places frequented by locals where there is less effective security presence, unlike airports or international hotels where enhanced security has been in place for some time. Such incidents have never affected any of the areas where safaris are operated in Kenya's well-known wildlife parks and game reserves. Kenyans are well known for being very friendly and welcoming and visitors often remark how safe and well looked after they feel in Kenya.
The level of the FCO advice has not changed and continues to advise visitors to Kenya to simply avoid the border area within 60km of Somalia and low income areas of Nairobi, as per the map below. Terrorism is a global threat and certainly not unique to Kenya alone and the aims of terrorists is to cause anxiety and disruption to normal life wherever they can in the free world. All tourism facilities and services in Kenya continue to operate as normal without any disruption to itineraries and with all the international airlines operating into Kenya it is business as usual throughout the country.
Victoria Falls airport expansion project - 8 May 2014
Victoria Falls Airport, the gateway to one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders, is currently undergoing an expansion project.
The project will see the construction of a new international terminal building with a capacity to service 1.2 million people per annum, a new parallel 4 000m runway to cater for wide body aircraft in the class of Boeing 747 and an upgrade to the existing Terminal Building. The current runway, after being structurally strengthened will be used as a full-length taxiway to service the new runway. The current Terminal Building will be transformed into a fully-fledged Domestic Terminal. A new Control Tower and Fire Station will be built. The development of additional landside and airside road networks, as well as new car parking spaces are part of the planned expansion project.
Victoria Falls, is the epicentre of a 500 km radius which includes one the great rivers of the world, the Zambezi, and a diverse number of wilderness areas ranging from the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park in Botswana, Kafue National Park in Zambia, Hwange and Matusadona National Parks and Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe – one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, to name a few. The region is arguably the greatest wildlife area on the planet. As the hub of this region, Victoria Falls stands to benefit tremendously with the forthcoming new airport, which is already well underway.
Ross Kennedy, Director of Atta and Chief Executive of Africa Albida Tourism welcomes the expansion project, affirming that “the new airport will confirm the status of Victoria Falls as the hub of regional tourism, with remarkable tourism experiences and locations surrounding it, in our 6 neighbouring countries. Not forgetting of course that 4 countries meet near Kasane where Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia all touch! The new airport project has created many jobs, and will do so further as arrivals grow, hotel occupancies increase and the local and national economy benefits.”
Expected to cost $150 million in total, the Victoria Falls Airport expansion project is expected to be completed in April 2015 having begun in May 2013.
Source: ATTA daily news 12 May 2014
Victoria Falls sees increase in tourist arrivals - 1 May 2014
Ross Kennedy, Chief Executive of Africa Albida Tourism and Southern Africa Director of ATTA (African Travel and Tourism Association), said 2013 had been a good year for tourism in Victoria Falls, boosted by the town's hosting of the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly, along with Zambia, in August last year.
"Statistics show an increase in arrivals of nearly 12% over the 2012 calendar year; but equally if not more importantly, revenues grew by 20% in the same period," said Kennedy. The 8 major hotels in Zimbabwe's premier tourism resort town of Victoria Falls earned about $23.3 million from sales of nearly 178 000 rooms in 2013. In 2013 the hotels earned $19.261 million from 159 000 rooms sold.
Kennedy added that there has been a 'remarkable' growth from the UK market to Zimbabwe in the last 15 months, with arrivals trebling since 2012. " The first two months of 2014 have seen the UK market continue to grow and its now approximately 10% of total arrivals in Victoria Falls. We aim to grow this further to at least 20% of our arrivals" he said.
Zimbabwe received nearly 2 million tourists last year and that number is seen rising by 50% by 2017, according to a recent report by a UK based independant financial advisory company.