COAST WATER SERVICES BOARD | mountain gorilla feeding


Dozens of mails and messages received indicate that the Coast Water Services Board is once again employing crude methods to extract payment from water distributors in two counties, namely Kilifi and Mombasa. While these proverbial elephants now fight over who owes whom how much, have dozens of hotels, at a time when tourism has notably picked up, failed to draw water from their pipes.

The Mombasa Water Supply and Sanitation Company is said to owe CWSB in excess of 600 million Kenya Shillings while Kilifi and Malindi combined debt is reported to top 360 million Kenya Shillings.

It is understood from sources within the hotel industry at the coast that most resorts have paid their monthly water bills to their direct supplier, therefore feeling aggrieved and frustrated that their water supply has been cut.

The current action is a mirror image to what the Coast Water Services Board did in October last year, when even the county of Kwale was cut off before the intervention of a member of cabinet resolved the issue. That however seems to have been forgotten by the big wigs of the CWSB who willfully inflicted the same misery on tourists and coast residents this time again without seeking cabinet intervention themselves.

To make matters worse are schools, hospitals and health centres also reportedly affected by the move of the Coast Water Services Board. This prompted calls for criminal prosecutions against CWSB managers and board members, should patients die or diseases break out affecting schools as a result of the water supply to the county suppliers being cut.

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Cologne Bonn Airport, where thriving passenger traffic passed the 10 million threshold in 2015, announces the arrival of its first new airline of the year, just weeks into 2016. Securing a new link to Moscow Vnukovo, Cologne Bonn is set to welcome airline partner Pobeda next month.

germanwings, which had operated the Moscow Vnukovo route for the last 10 years from Cologne Bonn withdrew from the sector last September after announcing plans to start Moscow Domodedovo this June, leaving a gap for Pobeda to operate to this particular Moscow airport with no direct competition.

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REUNION ISLAND TOURISM | Behavior of mountain gorillas


On January 15, Reunion Island was elected “first volcanic destination in the world” by travel community website WAYN, short for “Where are you now?” Other competing countries in the survey were Japan, Italy, and Iceland among others, which were neck on neck with Reunion.

Reunion Island is the first volcanic destination in the world according to the opinion of the members of the site Wayn, social network for travelers with over 23 million people in over 193 countries around the world. Nominated in the top 7 of the most beautiful volcanic destinations in the world, Reunion Island was pushing all the right buttons and was able to fire on all cylinders alongside other renowned international destinations such as the Philippines, Tanzania, Costa Rica, or Japan.

Reunion Island arrived in pole position and has won the title of first destination volcanic world with nearly a 1,000 vote difference ahead of Japan, which was ranked at second destination.

Already in 2013, Reunion Island was elected “most beautiful island in the world” by members of Wayn. Since then, Reunion Island has continued to gain fans from members of this influential social network dedicated to travelers worldwide. More than 7,000 members of WAYN claim to have already been to Reunion Island, and after the latest survey, some 273,000 more want to visit this French Indian Ocean island in the future.

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CHINESE NEW YEAR NIGHT PARADE | mountain gorilla feeding


Thirteen festive floats as well as 22 international and local performing troupes will take part in this year’s Chinese New Year Night Parade. The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has installed more decorations along the route in a bid to transform the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui into a big playground, allowing local residents and tourists the opportunity to experience the festive New Year atmosphere.

Organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade will be held on the first day of the Chinese New Year (February 8) in Tsim Sha Tsui. This will be the 21st staging and the theme will be “Playground of the World – Party of the Year.”

To allow more international visitors to experience the bustling and exciting atmosphere of the Chinese New Year, the HKTB will share the festivities with major international news and wire agencies. Additionally, the HKTB has for the first time invited a presenter from the BBC to board the HKTB parade float to experience and report on the parade first hand. The HKTB will also be co-operating with various trade partners to target short- and long-haul markets including Mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Canada to promote Hong Kong Chinese New Year themed tours and attract more visitors to spend their time in Hong Kong over the New Year.

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The Seychelles’ government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport, has signed their first ever Bilateral Air Services Agreement with the United States earlier in the week. The open skies agreement is due to come into effect in early 2016.

Minister Joel Morgan and the American Ambassador to the Seychelles, Mrs. Shari Villarosa, put pen to paper, bringing to an end three years of negotiations and discussions between the two countries.

Visitors from the US to the Seychelles are presently few, many of those arriving on cruise ships. American expatriates make up a large portion of US visitors when visiting from either the African mainland or the Gulf, and they come by air to the archipelago for conventional beach vacations or the archipelago’s famous deep sea fishing.

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UPDATED AVIATION SAFETY LIST | what to wear on a gorilla trek


Only days after the adoption of a new Aviation Strategy for Europe, the European Commission has today updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.

The updated EU Air Safety List clears Kazakh carrier Air Astana, whose operations in the EU had been restricted since 2009. On the other hand it adds Iraqi Airways due to unaddressed safety concerns.

This list is essential to guarantee the highest level of air safety for European citizens, which is an absolute priority of the Commission. It complements the new authorization scheme for third country operators, which is being phased-in since June 2015 and will further boost air safety while cutting red-tape.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, “Offering the highest level of air safety to European citizens is a priority of the Commission. On Monday we updated the EU’s safety rules as part of the Aviation Strategy and today we are updating the EU’s Air Safety List. I am satisfied that we were able to clear Air Astana after six years of work. In the interest of European citizens, we are however forced to maintain other Kazakh carriers on the list and to add Iraqi Airways.”

No air carriers from Thailand were added to the Air Safety List at this time. The Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are willing to continue to work with the Thai authorities to enhance aviation safety in the country. The Commission and EASA will however closely monitor future developments and, if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the Commission could then propose to include one or more air carriers from Thailand in the Air Safety List.

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Tanzania’s president has formed and appointed a new cabinet of ministers to run his five-year term government but skipped appointing the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, a key ministry in Tanzania’s economic development.

Announcing his newly-appointed cabinet of 19 ministers at a press conference in the Tanzanian capital city of Dar es Salaam today, Thursday, December 10, 2015, President Dr. John Magufuli told journalists that he is looking for the best, most competent and qualified person to hold the tourism ministerial portfolio.

The Tanzanian president has, however, appointed Mr. Ramoi Makani, a lesser-known personality in the tourism industry, as a junior Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism.

Mr. Makani, a new entrant in Tanzania’s politics and government functions, will be in charge of key businesses in the tourism ministry, and is charged with overseeing the daily activities in key areas under the ministry including the tourism sub-sector, wildlife conservation and protection, forestry, and the antiquities sub-sector.

During his presidential campaign in October, Dr. Magufuli promised voters he would develop Tanzania’s tourism and vowed to fight poaching of elephants and other wildlife species, which are the biggest attractions for foreign and local tourists.

He promised to revive Tanzania’s ailing airline, Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), as a strategy to attract more tourists to fly to Tanzania from other corners of the world.

When appointed, the new tourism minister will also be responsible for overseeing daily activities affecting his ministry’s departments, including wildlife and forest resources, which members of parliament and the Tanzanian people have complained of being looted by foreign companies.

Poaching of elephants and rhinos is a big problem that this new minister will be dealing with, while corruption in key wildlife conservation departments in Tanzania seems to be a block ahead of his daily performance.

The ministry will also be responsible for controlling key tourist sites, including the 16 tourist national parks, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where the famous Ngorongoro Crater is located, game reserves including the Selous Game Reserve, game-controlled areas, and open wildlife habitat areas.

Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, is focused on wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism, with approximately 28 percent of the total land area protected by the government for biodiversity heritage.

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ALBINO CHILDREN A STORY OF COURAGE | what to wear on a gorilla trek


None of these sweet little kids asked for this gene disorder and apart from the look of their skin and the blond hair which comes with it, they are just the same as every other kid I have ever seen.

Meeting them was a truly exceptional moment for me, sensing their apprehension when being hugged tight, me just wanting to convey to them – they only speak Kiswahili – the emotion I felt. Some of them hugged back equally tight, showing how they felt being hugged by a stranger and that perhaps their confidence had indeed started to return after their earlier experiences in life which must have been a complete and utter shock to them, being shunned, bullied, beaten, and hunted.

I owe this experience to Godwin Joshua, who himself only met these kids a few weeks ago after being posted as a relief manager to the Kirawira Serena Luxury Safari Camp from his regular workplace at the Lake Duluti Serena in Arusha. Godwin relayed to me how, when visiting the lakeside town of Lamadi to check on the camps’ CSR project, a primary school, more by accident than by design he heard about the orphanage, looked for it and his life never was to be the same again either. He reported his experience to his superiors, via the Serena Tanzania Managing Director Mr. Mugo Maringa right up to the Serena CEO Mr. Mahmud Janmohamed, who immediately endorsed Godwin’s proposal to adopt the orphanage as an additional CSR project.

This is the story of Sister Helena, who in her own words, while working in the United States doing missionary work, literally heard her Lord’s calling ring in her ears. it brought her back to the town of Lamadi at the shores of Lake Victoria where she then gathered young Albino kids to save them and care for them. Her house was turned into an orphanage, now home to some 40 albino children as well as 14 other orphans or abandoned kids with physical disabilities.

Some of the children attend primary school in different classes. All the children are in very good outstanding with their education, most of them are in the top-ten of their classes, very talented children.

With the outbreak of the killing of people living with albinism in Tanzania, l, Maria Helena, the founder of the Mary Mother of God Center, come up with a vision to start a safe haven place to care for the vulnerable, hunted, and rejected albino children in Lamadi. l started the Center in 2011 till now. The demand of the center is on high rise. till now, l have no place to welcome in the albino children who are the most hunted and killed with their own fellow people, by the belief that albino body parts have magical things for richness!

An albino child to be born in the family is counted to be a curse or a bad luck. So, the family have to throw a child away, or find a center to put the child. Nowadays, even the family with an albino child, can sell a child to the witchdoctors to be killed, claiming to make potions and become rich overnight.

l experienced a horrible event in my life that l won’t forget, when l turned a six-year albino boy back home, because there was no more room in the house, though l promised him to come back when l get a room, it was unbelievable, to find that just in the same week a boy was killed by people who hunted for his body parts. l still experience the untold story.

With humble heart, with warm spirit, l would like to welcome all the people of goodwill, and those interested in saving the lives of these precious children of God, who are hunted and killed like animals.

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SMALL SHIP CRUISING FOR 2016 | Behavior of mountain gorillas


Small ship cruise experts have just revealed the list of new trip offerings for next year. These small ship cruises include regions recently opened for cruising, along with new routes and the introduction of state-of-the-art, newly built vessels.

The 24-guest Island Passage sails May through October in Tahiti before returning to New Zealand for the austral summer. The new cruise, Tahitian Affair, sails over eight days round-trip from Bora Bora, also visiting the islands of Tahaá, Raiatea and Huahine. This is an active cruise with kayaking, fishing, swimming, snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding spliced in with visits to a vanilla plantation, local markets and the Maeva Marae archaeological site.

The US embargo against Cuba, in place since 1960, once prevented ordinary Americans from traveling to Cuba, but now with a special visa under the provision of a “people-to-people exchange”, US citizens can visit on properly licensed tours. The new Cuba People to People Cruise aboard the 49-guest Panorama sail cruiser focuses on bringing travelers into contact with Cuban people, culture and their communities.

According to AdventureSmith, the Amazon River and its tributaries represent a hot destination with travelers right now, with high- and low-water seasons providing a varied travel experience year-round. One new itinerary and vessel recently introduced is the newly built 44-guest Amazon Discovery, an all-suite riverboat that sails round-trip from Iquitos and includes a visit to a private reserve on Monkey Island, home to seven different species.

A new ship and itinerary to Costa Rica, Uncharted Isthmus: Sloths, Monkeys & Mangroves aboard the 64-guest Safari Voyager, is an eight-day cruise offering guests twice-daily options by skiff, hike, stand-up paddleboard, snorkel and kayak. Itinerary highlights include transiting the 48-mile-long Panama Canal connecting the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, visiting Costa Rica’s largest park, Corcovado National Park, and snorkeling the crystalline waters at Panama’s Granito de Oro.

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UAE SPA INDUSTRY REVENUES | what to wear on a gorilla trek


By the end of 2015, the UAE’s spa industry is forecast to achieve revenues of AED 5.5 billion, rising to AED 8.3 billion by 2017, making it one of the most valuable tourism-related industries in the Middle East, with the MENA region the second fastest-growing market in the world for spas after Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI).

To capitalize on this burgeoning sector, Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2016 will introduce a dedicated Wellness & Spa Lounge, exclusively for 25 exhibitors representing some of the world’s most recognized health and wellness hospitality destinations.

According to GWI’s 2014 Global Spa and Wellness Economy Monitor report, the UAE will top spa growth in the region by 2017, more than doubling current business volume with 17.9% annual growth since 2012.

GWI statistics show that wellness tourism represents 6% of all domestic and international trips, and 14% of total domestic and international tourism expenditure.

“Wellness tourists spend, on average, 130% more than the average international traveler, which presents significant opportunity for the MENA hospitality industry to target this high profile, high spend market segment with a wide variety of experiences, facilities and products to grow market share,” said Noblet-Segers.

Designed to be a hub for wellness and spa professionals, the lounge will host two full days of pre-scheduled appointments with high caliber Middle Eastern buyers and up to 25 international wellness suppliers.

A wellness seminar, which will take place in the Showcase Theatre, is scheduled for Wednesday 27 April under the theme Wellbeing Hospitality – Competitive Concepts for Hospitality and Leisure Assets.

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