Thursday, 19 April 2012

Climate change impacts on wildlife in Uganda.

The Uganda Wildlife managers together with the Uganda Wildlife Authority refute the reports claiming that all the problems that the Uganda national parks and game reserves are currently experiencing are as a result of poor management thus the reason for the decline in the number of wild animals fro example the ostriches, lions and zebras in Uganda.

However, the responsible people from their offices I Kampala mentioned that the decline in the wildlife is as a result of the change in the climate which is affecting the procreation grounds and therefore making it un conducive for reproduction but also, there is a problem of human encroachment leaving the animals without enough space for their survival thus the decline in their numbers
The executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said while addressing the press that although his office respects the report produced the Auditor General about the money audit in 2011, it is still true that the report produced about the real conditions of wildlife populations in Uganda’s national parks was not exact. It is also true that in some areas, this decline in the animals is as result of both the anthropogenic and environmental factors.  

This is the reason why the blame should be put on only The management system given the fact that climate changes have affect so many other countries around the world as well as the human population increase which they some how have got no control over and yet they destroy the homes for the wild animals as they seek for land for settlement and cultivation. Despite all this, the management together with Universities in Uganda and others outside are working with the Wildlife Conservation Society to do research into the population dynamics of the Uganda Kob in Queen Elizabeth National Park. They will be producing a report about it at the right time.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Flying Etiquette

Flying etiquette has always been a topic of debate.
When you're sitting in the middle seat, who gets the armrest? You're travelling with your kids and you're sitting in different aisles, shouldn't the other passengers move for you? The large burly man sitting by the window keeps on getting out of his seat assuming you're not there, do you tell him to park his oversized bottom? The passenger sitting next to you keeps on looking over your shoulder to read your magazine, do you tell her to go buy her own? The list continues - it's a jungle up there.

Time-changes, delays, overcrowding and lost luggage only compound the problem and continue to test the patience of a polite traveler, which is like an endangered species. These days, air travel is far from civilized.

But, if you're flying with Emirates, there's no need to fret. A brand synonymous with luxury and innovation, Emirates was the first to offer inflight telephony across all classes, individual TV screen on every seat, First Class suites and an onboard Shower Spa, on its A380 aircraft - no need to worry about smelly passengers that clearly need a freshing-up anymore. From its home base in Dubai, Emirates is geographically located within an eight hour direct flight of 75 per cent of the world's population - cutting air travel drastically, ensuring that you won't have to deal with too many uncivilized travelers and truly capturing the essence of connecting people, like their "Hello Tomorrow" campaign suggests.

If you're not fortunate enough to travel with Emirates in business class on your next flight, here are just a few tips on flying etiquette:

Overhead Bins
To avoid the inevitable "space-grabbing rush" and risking limited space for your hand luggage, try to be one of the first to board the plane.

Trading Places
Passengers need to realize that it's not required of them to move if someone asks them to switch seats. Don't swap simply to avoid embarrassment or conflict. There's no point in being nice if at the end of the day you'll be unhappy for the next 8 hours. Only swap seats if it's a legitimate reason like if a mother wants to sit with her child. If a couple wants to sit with each other for a 1 hour flight - they can stand to be separated.

Why do people engage in such jockeying? If you're sitting in the window or aisle seats, then you're lucky - you have at least one of your armrests. If you're in the middle, you should even be luckier with two armrests to yourself. Those to your right should just be happy with the armrest on their right, and if you're on the left of the middle passenger simply be happy with your left armrest.

Africa's Ancient Art Included in Google's Virtual Museum

Lovers of art can now explore the mystic ancient African art and sculptures at the comfort of their desk thanks to Google's amazing virtual museum.

Launched last year, the Google Art Project initially brought 1,000 images from nine countries online, allowing art fans to explore the high resolution images at the click of the button. The Art Project has rapidly expanded to include 30,000 artworks from 46 museums across the world, including the Tate Gallery in London, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City and Uffizi museum in Florence.

Works of art available online include world renowned artiste Vincent van Gogh, Hans Holbein the Younger and Vittore Carpaccio.

Now African art will be included in the virtual museum, allowing users to take virtual surreal tours of partner museums and get details of the artworks on display. The walk-through feature on the art project uses Google's Street view technology. "We are particularly excited to have collaborated with the Rock Art Research Institute in Johannesburg and with the South African National Gallery in Cape Town," announced Google Africa in a blog post.

Google has upgraded the art site ( to include G+ integration, hangouts, personalized art galleries and more educational features. "The Art Project is no longer just about students in Africa and Asia wanting to visit, for example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is now also about the American students wanting to explore African artistic heritage," said Google

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Extinction threatens Wildlife in Uganda

A new audit of wildlife populations in game parks shows that the number of animals is on a sharp decline, raising fears of a possible extinction of some rare species. Last year alone, 25 elephants were killed in Murchison Falls, which is the worst scenario ever reported in a single conservation area, considering that Uganda was previously losing around three elephants only to poaching every year. "The population of some wild animals is declining," the Auditor General said. "Mostly affected are the lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, whose population has reduced by 81 per cent, followed by ostriches (79 per cent), Zebras (74 per cent) and Uganda Kobs (69 per cent), among others".

Fort Jesus In Mombasa Gets Tourism Boost Through Butterflies

THE Fort Jesus and Old Town in Mombasa is set to have an additional attraction that may bring in up to 70,000 tourists annually, once a butterfly exhibit is opened at the monument. The National Museums of Kenya's Mombasa butterfly exhibit project manager Antony Githitho the project, which is collaboration between the USAID and the NMK, will soon be open to the public at the Fort Jesus grounds.

"It is designed to provide an additional attraction for visitors and locals in Mombasa and will also showcase the rich and varied biodiversity of the coast region.’ The official said the project, which has so far cost Sh45 million was started in 2005. It is anticipated that the facility will be a popular venue and meet its objectives of enhancing conservation awareness and supporting livelihoods.

"These are already essential destinations for tourists and visitors to Mombasa which the exhibit will supplement with a 'nature' experience. However, it will not only showcase coastal biological treasures but also their value and links to local communities." The building will be completed and inaugurated this month but work on it will continue and the exhibit is expected to open to the public in the second half of 2012, according to the NMK official.

"The exhibit is located in the Research Institute of Swahili Studies of Eastern Africa, Swahili Cultural Center compound behind the historic fort and next to Mombasa Hospital but will be approached mainly from the fort," he added. The project will include a butterfly flight cage with biodiversity conservation story boards and a gift shop. Live butterflies will be released into flight cage for visitors to admire and enjoy.

"The butterflies will be produced by local coastal communities. The gift shop will specialize in cultural and natural products from conservation areas and Mombasa Old Town. In addition to the butterfly house, the grounds have been landscaped for increased enjoyment of this scenic spot. There is an amphitheater for outdoor performances and meetings with attractive views of Tudor Channel and the open sea," he said.

How to Spot Tourist Scams While Travelling to Africa

Scams: The bane of the traveller. Nothing can make a travel experience go south faster than getting conned. If you want to make sure your next trip abroad goes smoothly, then read these seven top tips on how to avoid holiday scams and you’ll soon be one step ahead of those would-be con artists.

Don’t trust strangers
One of the most frequent tricks a traveller falls for is that of the friendly stranger. These scammers take advantage of the traveller’s open mind and willingness to try new things and it can cost you a ridiculous amount in the process. If someone approaches you on the street and offers a local experience, the best thing to do is politely decline. Often this type of scammer will take you on a tour or to a restaurant, and then demand a huge amount of money as payment. If there is something you want to try, do your research by getting more information online or from a guide book.

Just say 'NO'
Don’t be afraid to assert yourself if you feel someone is trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do. Without being nasty, a firm ‘no’ will usually get your point across and they will move on in search of their next victim. The scammers are very rarely a threat to you and are used to negative responses. Never do something just because you don’t want to appear rude or feel like you are not being adventurous enough.

Too good to be true
If you are a chronic shopper and love sniffing out the deals, be aware of seemingly highly discounted luxury items. We can all go a bit bargain mad on occasion, but when someone is offering extravagant items at extremely low prices, you can be certain that all you’ll end up paying for is a fake. It’s best to ignore any situations like this, as if something seems too good to be true it probably is.

Time wasting taxis
Some drivers get paid a commission for bringing tourists to shops, restaurants and hotels and can be absolutely audacious about this even after you’ve told them that you aren’t interested. This scam can be avoided by confirming up front that there will be no unnecessary stops. Agree on a price and make sure the driver sticks to it at the end of the trip.

Being ripped off
Overcharging usually happens when an establishment tries to take advantage of your ignorance of local prices by demanding huge amounts of money from you. Before you head on holiday, do some research into what you should expect to pay. This will allow you to spot when someone is trying to overcharge you. Remember, though, in some countries foreigners are charged higher prices by law. Again, be sure to do your research so that you are aware of this beforehand.

Fake policemen
This scary scam relies on intimidation to frighten travellers, and involves being approached by a plainclothes ‘policeman’ who demands to see your passport and wallet. A real policeman will never need to see the contents of your wallet, so alarm bells should be ringing straight away if this happens to you. If you find yourself in this situation try to find a uniformed officer nearby, but do your best to avoid antagonising the imposter – the annoyance of getting a new passport is nothing compared to being the victim of violence. 

Learn from your mistakes
If you do find yourself on the receiving end of a scam on holiday, one of the most important things to remember is you are not alone. It happens to thousands of travellers every day and the scam artists are experts, so there is no need to beat yourself up about what you did wrong. Try not to let it fill you with distrust, but be sure to learn from the experience so that it doesn’t happen again.

Is Africa Too Dangerous for Women Tourists?

The tiny but existing Dutch internet discussions about the events in Mali were entirely dominated by very nice Dutch women, who had found themselves living in a country that had suddenly and incomprehensibly changed - from safe to dangerous. Armed groups in the north were always a bit of a nuisance but only fools went there to find themselves kidnapped or murdered. The rest of Mali was quite safe. There were always guns but now they're actually being used. This was something that was not supposed to happen.
Yes, Mali was a country you could send you daughter to, for instance on a development mission. You see, when an African country is deemed safe it starts doing "development". This means that large fleets of 4-wheel drives appear from nowhere, with all manner of acronyms painted on their doors. The drivers are local; the passengers' earnest white people whose main purpose in life is to have meetings. Mali was full of them and they were so busy holding meetings that they did not notice that the country was moving from safe to dangerous. There was a rebellion, a coup and the country split up. What on earth happened?
Other Malis
There have been other African countries that were like Mali: Zimbabwe in the 1980s before it started to self-destruct and Rwanda before the genocide. There are other countries that became Mali, such as post-war Mozambique. Mozambique is doing loads of "development" - there are acronyms galore over there. And a few other countries have always been like Mali, such as Burkina Faso and Zambia. Sure there is always a bit of edginess here and there - this is, after all, Africa - but in essence your daughter is safe in these places to do development, sample the local culture (especially dancing to their glorious local music) and even start a relationship with a local man (a non-threatening one, of course).
Development departed
The absence of acronym-bedecked cars is a sure sign that a country or a region is dangerous. In the west of Ivory Coast, where I have just been, I only saw Medecins sans Frontière (they don't do "safe") and of course the local branch of the Red Cross, staffed by people who, you know, live there. In the 1990s Angola, Liberia and Sierra Leone were similar - until they became sort of safe again. The departure of "development", like its arrival, has no impact on a country and even less on its movement from safe to dangerous and back again. Malians will see the acronyms disappear and remain none the wiser - or the richer.
Welcome ladies
But there is a business that will really suffer: tourism. It collapsed in Zimbabwe. It is suffering dreadfully in Mali, which was just putting itself on the travel map. Fortunately, Africa has 54 (or maybe even 55) countries and there is always one that is just becoming safe again, or has always been safe. Zambia profited massively from the Zimbabwean meltdown and I predict a golden future for Senegal since it's just held an impeccable presidential election, has glorious music and is populated with lots of non-threatening local men. Ladies, welcome to Africa!

Tanzanian Legislators Decry Tourism Invasion by Foreigners

SOME members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives are alleging that the tourism sector is dominated by non-Zanzibaris contrary to the isles ambition of establishing the industry three decades ago. "We have evidence that more than one-thousand "foreigners" including Kenyans have dominated jobs in most tourist hotels. Some are staying illegally and holding Tanzanian passports," Mr Makame Mshimba Mbarouk (CCM- Kitope) alleged.

Debating the report from the House committee responsible for "livestock, Tourism, economic empowerment and Information," Mbarouk accused the government and the immigration for not taking "any action despite receiving reliable information about foreigners working in Zanzibar illegally." The legislator also alleged that there has been serious violation of employment laws in the tourism sector, including lack of contracts and uncalled-for expelling of work, giving an example of Blue Bay, Karafuu, and Serena Hotels. Mr Ismail Jussa Ladu (CUF-Mjimkongwe) said that unemployment problem in Zanzibar can be solved by implementing job restriction rules, "mainly making sure all jobs in the tourist hotels are for Zanzibaris, unless the position cannot be filled by a Zanzibari."

He also blamed some ministers for abusing their position by accepting bribes from some investors to violate the existing laws. Jussa also expressed his disappointment with some leaders including minister who use the Bwawani Hotel (state owned) without paying bills. Other legislators such as Ms Ashura Sharif Ali (Special seats), and Mr Suleiman Hemed Khamis (CUF- Konde) decried moral decay from mainly youths copying western lifestyles of living. Meanwhile, Jussa also asked media owners and the government to improve the welfare of journalists who have been working hard in "unfriendly environment without proper working tools, no transport, and poor payment."

Rwanda is the First in Africa to Use Google to Map Its Tourism Facilities

Rwanda is now the first African country to work with Google, citizen mappers and tourism operators to systematically map all tourism facilities and attractions to increase discoverability through search engines.

The development was announced by head of tourism and conservation at RDB after the board sealed the deal with Google. Google has partnered with the RDB to map the country's tourist attractions, as the travel industry has become that country's top foreign currency earner.

The initiative, Rwanda Tourism MapUp, uses Google Maps to locate attraction locations, and other services such as hotels, restaurants and banks. The development comes as the Internet grows as an important method of communication in the tourism industry. Google statistics show that, 62% of those in the US use search engines as their number one source for travel information.

In Rwanda, tourism is now considered the top foreign exchange earner. According to the World Bank, tourism accounted for 23% of total exports between 2005 to 2008, while coffee and tea were 11% and 8%, respectively.

The new MapUp is part of the drive towards making travel in Rwanda easier and more comfortable. Forty mappers, GUS experts, students and tourism operators are taking part in the scheme, which will be updated regularly as Rwanda's tourism infrastructure grows. Aside from attractions, hotels, restaurants and banks, road networks, forex bureaus and shopping centres will also be mapped. MapUp uses the standard Google Maps application, which offers maps, route planners and service locators. All national parks and lakes are being mapped, as well as the Congo Nile Trail, Nyungwe Forest and key islands, trails and attractions.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Elgon tourism threatened as animals find refuge in Kenya

Tourist activities on Mt. Elgon are drastically declining and continue to be threatened due to the soaring encroachment on the park land and hunting, forcing many animals to run to neighbouring Kenya. Although the mountain is beautifully littered with cliffs, caves, gorges and waterfalls with the upper slopes draped in tropical forest cover, most of these have been destroyed by encroachers who are pushing for land for settlement and farming.

According to Mt. Elgon Conservation Warden, residents living around the park hunt animals for game meat, cut down trees for timber and settlement and have encroached on the parkland for farming, thereby scaring away the valuable birds and animal species treasured most by tourists to the Kenyan side.

The tourism warden, said that if the encroachment and poaching on Mt. Elgon goes unchecked for long, all the valuable animal and bird species would either be hunted down or flee, thereby killing entire tourism activities at the park. The high depletion of wildlife, trees and the land itself at the park reflects the hostility of the people living around it. Statistics at the park indicate that in the Financial Year 2009/2010, Mt. Elgon received Shs304 million compared to Shs90 million for part of 2011/2012 Financial Year. Although for the first quarter of 2012, Mt. Elgon seems to be doing relatively well, there are fears that the rate at which encroachment is taking place could terribly deplete the wildlife if it is not controlled.

Mt. Elgon attracts tourists from Australia, Britain, China, Germany, Canada, US, Austria, Belgium, Israel, Japan and local visitors from African countries; Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.

Child Sex Tourism in Uganda

Women activists gathered at the Federation for Women Lawyers (FIDA) offices in Kampala on March 29 to condemn Emin Baro, a 53-year old Macedonian man who entered the country as a tourist but has been detained over alleged serial paedophilia.

"These tourists come here in the name of touring yet they have sinister moves behind, they come and exploit our young children. It is time for government to find a solution to these sex tourists, otherwise we stand a chance of letting down the nation if we fail to protect our children," Patricia Atim from the Public Interest Law Clinic Makerere University lamented.

Baro had earlier on March 26 been sentenced by a magistrate to two years in jail or pay a fine of shs 6 million for "misuse of a computer" after he was found in possession of pornographic material. Nakawa Magistrate's Court heard that Baro lured young girls to commit sex acts on him as he filmed the proceedings. He would then sell the pornographic content to other social websites. He would pay the girls between shs 2000 and shs 5000. He is accussed of having molested about 50 children from different areas from Masaka, Kampala and Jinja. "He defiled the children and intended to use the material on his social website.”

The activists say Baro's case, as a tourist who entered the country six years ago, brings to light the increasing sex tourism most of which goes unnoticed. A 2011 study commissioned by Acting for Life/Air France , estimates that the number of children affected by commercial sexual exploitation in Uganda has increased from 12,000 to about 18,000 between 2004 and 2011, with more girls affected by the practice.

A 2011 ANPPCAN study carried out a study in Jinja District also revealed that many tourists engaged in child pornography, especially near beaches.

The booming tourism industry with an influx of foreign tourists has been blamed for the increased paedophile cases according to a 2007 UNICEF survey that was carried out in Kenya. The survey established that the vice had increased in countries where tourism is considered as a major foreign exchange earner. In Uganda tourism is considered a major foreign exchange earner and many initiatives have been put in place to encourage more foreigners in the country.

The Panos report on the status Child Sexual Abuse in East Africa published in July 2011 points out that regionally child sex tourism is on the increase especially in Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Kampala (Uganda) and Nairobi (Kenya). There is however scanty information and statistics on child sex tourism in Uganda because there has not been enough research that has been carried out on the subject. The Panos report says some child attackers are situational abusers who unscrupulously take advantage of a situation where African governments have no laws in place to handle cases of sex tourism. Baro's case has been referred to the High Court but the women activists demand that Uganda starts implementing its laws otherwise many young children are going to be abused.

Burundi grabs another tourism award

According to the sources from Bujumbura, Burundi has just got another tourism award just within a very short time after the country won one from the International Tourism Börse best known as ITB 2012 which was held in Berlin despite spending about twenty years of disturbance. This recent award that Burundi has got is being the best exhibitor in a travel and tourism fair compared to all the 14 countries from Africa, Asia and Europe which participated in this fair.

According to the records, this last exhibition has been the 7th International Travel Exhibition ‘Intourmarket-2012 (ITM)’ held in Moscow the capital of Russia from March 17th – 20th, 2012.

Burundi’s prize was received by Ambassador Patricia Rwimo who was the leader of the Burundi delegates, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism and the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Taleb Rifai from Jordan who handed over the prize mentioned that Burundi go the award as way of appreciating the role played the Government of Burundi in promoting tourism and has made it its very first main concern. this was also exhibited in what and how Burundi displayed its products and the passion they had for their work given the fact that it is one of their tools to achieve national development, but it was also given to them as way of encouraging them to carry on with that level of creativity that was seen at the Burundi stall in Moscow led by that energetic Burundian drummers.

It is important to note that in a statement that was signed by Ambassador Patricia Rwimo who is the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism, it is indicated that this new achievement is a symbol that the Tourism industry in Burundi has at last set off as far as tourism business is concerned. This award has greatly contributed to the good image of Burundi that it may require to develop its tourism industry and get as many tourists from all over the world.

Entebbe’s Protea hotel opened

The newly constructed protea hotel which is situated in Entebbe has just been officially opened this week; the hotel has got 75 rooms and suites and it is located very close to Entebbe International Airport as well as to the other big hotels in Entebbe hotels in the area which are also at the terminal. This hotel is expected to produce better yields in terms of number of bookings.

The hotel is built along the sandy beach and is expected to help in the market strategies that the country has laid; it is also expected to follow the example that the Protea Kampala Hotel has set which is very well known and used by both the foreigners as well as the locals and visitors from different part of the world. At the moment, there is just one restaurant and here they serve all the meals from breakfast to dinner. The establishment of this new magnificent hotel has added on the numbers of Protea hotels around the world given the fact that this is one of the largest group of hotels that the world has got in different countries with its base in South Africa, it gets a lot of support from the local tourism groups and it also increases options that the tourists may have while on their safaris in Uganda. This is yet another luxury hotel where you can have quality time while in Uganda a side from staying in Sheraton Kampala Hotel and the Kampala Serena Hotel or at the Lake Victoria Serena in Entebbe.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Cape Town Student Partners With Two Oceans Wine, Travels the World

Liam Kelly, who beat 4000 contestants to take the title of 2012 World Explorer, sponsored by STA Travel South Africa, is the first South African to win in the annual event that enables him to visit 75 cities in 25 countries this year. He has teamed up with Two Oceans Wine and will provide regular updates of his travels.

Kelly, who has taken off a year from his advertising and marketing studies to travel the world, will offer fast-paced, quirkily written and novel insights on his travels and encounters. Wearing his trademark flip-flops, he is also posting pictures of his feet in a range of places along the way with visitors to the site asked to guess his whereabouts to stand a chance of winning a series of prizes.

Worldwide visibility

Global marketing manager for Two Oceans, Jackie Olivier said the worldwide visibility of the brand was a natural fit with Liam's travels. According to the organisers of the World Explorer competition, he was chosen on the basis of four competition steps: a motivational letter and CV with a sample blog post; a personal interview; the promotional video he produced once he had reached the top ten shortlist and then a public voting process.

Violence Against Women May Threaten Zanzibar Tourism

Violence against women in Pemba alone goes to 35.6% while in Uganda stands to 17.2 % annual, a move which an analyst believes can threaten the tourism industry if measures to tame the crisis are not taken immediately.

Given the fact that Zanzibar depends much on tourism for its forex earnings, this rapidly increasing violence against women could scare away tourists specifically women, an analyst and tourist guide Juma Mponji said. "We need to break the wall of silence surrounding violence against women," he urged.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Inter Parliamentary Union meeting gives Uganda new tourism frontiers

Apart from being the first time an East African country is hosting the 126th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference, the meeting of parliamentarians from around the world in Kampala, also comes in the year when Uganda celebrates her 50th anniversary. What’s more, it is the first time Uganda’s parliament has ever had a female speaker, Rebecca Kadaga. These milestones make it an historical event, worth all the attention it is receiving.

The attention has been matched by the glamour and buzz outside of the summit’s main docket - discussing maternal health and.

Hosting the IPU did not come easily and many Ugandan officials believe it is a big opportunity for the country. The spokesperson for IPU organising committee Michael Bayiga Lulume (MP) says it is an occasion to showcase Uganda, and capitalise on it being named as the top tourist site by Lonely planet, the world’s largest travel guide book and digital media publisher recently.

“People come here knowing they will get time to relax and go site seeing. That means they come with money to spend while in the country,” Lulume said. “We are encouraging them to go to town and check our entertainment spots and other fun places – we want them to spend as much as possible.”

But it is not Ugandans dreaming of the success of the event, the visitors too, are taking note of the beauty of the country. Choi Young-Hee, a Korean Member of Parliament says, “Since the country is close to the equator, I thought it would be so hot. But I am mesmerised by your weather. It is so beautiful. I also like the natural environment and that your hotels are not enormous like those in Korea. The structure of hotels here have a good ambience – the simplicity is relaxing.”

She adds, “I was also amused at how so many people are living in small houses that are iron sheet roofed. Yet uphill along the road from the airport are a few luxurious houses that looked like palaces. I am hoping that I will be able to see more of the country.”

All booked up
The delegates who have shot up from the expected 1,400 to over 2,500 will have to eat food, need rooms to sleep in and transport to move around in. And all of it is benefitting the local economy.

Hotel rooms in Serena, Imperial Royale and other neighbouring hotels have been booked. At these hotels, a buzz of activity hums constantly as delegates are ferried in and out. At Serena Hotel in particular, the rooms have all been fully booked. And hosting over 2,500 guests means more demand for food items, which benefits from the supplier to the hotel.

The delegates have also visited Jinja, Entebbe to see different sites as well as to see the equator. And Ranny Ismail, a parliamentary spokeswoman, says some guests have booked to stay at Mweya, Para lodge among other places during the Easter holiday. Lulume says there are over 100 exhibitors who are not paying for the space occupied by their stalls, and local vendors are benefitting too. As it is a common practice for tourists to buy souvenirs, their market and profit seems a sure thing. “Common people have also been allowed to exhibit their products. The majority of them are women since we wanted this sect to benefit more and the benefit from this is direct.” Ismail, tasked with being in charge of entertainment, excursion, exhibition and gifts supplements says, “Our culture is rich and interesting so they have lots of crafts to choose from. And they (delegates) are buying them.”  

What some of the delegates knew about Uganda
Berenice Auffiet, Switzerland
I didn’t know a thing about Uganda apart from that it is an African country. So when I came, I expected to see lots of flowers and other vegetation. On reaching here I found it refreshing. And I like the people a lot – they are very nice and polite

Choi Young-Hee, Korean Member of Parliament
The first thing anyone in Korea’s older generation thinks of when they hear the name Uganda is Idi Amin because of his incredible character. In fact in Korea doing something swiftly is referred to as “Entebbe strategy or strategist” because of 1970s raid on Entebbe by Israel Defense Forces (IDF). We also think of Lake Victoria and yearn to see it as it is taught in Geography.

Castelier Pieyve Bernard, Switzerland, IPU staff
I didn’t know much about Uganda before I came here. I just knew the geographical location and that it has Lake Victoria and that was it. Even as I came, I had no expectations because I came to work. I have been here for two weeks but barely gotten time to walk around because I came to work. But one thing I have liked is the weather. And the people are very friendly. It makes it easy to be here.

Direct U.S.-Kenya Flights to Start 'In a Couple of Months'

The United States government has indicated its commitment to grant Kenya the green light to launch direct flights to America possibly in a couple of months, provided the upgrades at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) are done according to international standards. US Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration said on Monday that once JKIA is certified as a 'Category 1â-' air field by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and Federal Aviation Administration which is a requirement for all airports handling flights operating in and out of America, then direct services between Kenya and the US can commence. "In terms of terminal completion and other things, it will be at least another 180 days before that happens. Things may slip as they often do but we are pushing to make sure that things happen as soon as possible," the envoy said.

Plans to launch the direct flights have been on the cards since 2007 but have not materialized largely due to security concerns by the US government. In 2009, US homeland security officials declined to give Delta Airlines the approval to operate flights between JKIA and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, via Dakar, Senegal citing 'security vulnerabilities' in Nairobi. The indefinite suspension of the inaugural flight, which had been scheduled for June 3, 2009 nearly, caused a diplomatic tiff between the two governments, as Nairobi protested that it had not been informed of the decision to cancel the flights. Negotiations have since resumed although they have been hinged on the capacity and ability of Kenya's main airport to handle direct flights to and from the US. The government hopes to have this status attained by August this year.

If achieved, the service will afford the two countries the opportunity to enhance their commercial ties particularly in the trade and tourism sectors. "We believe that there is a tremendous market in the United States for everything including green beans, flowers and we believe direct flights would help to bring investments to Kenya. We also believe that Kenya is on the cusp of tremendous growth and there are many companies that want to invest here." he stressed.
Some of those companies include American multinational aerospace and General Electric (GE) which has already opened its Africa headquarters in Nairobi. The conglomerate is also extending its operations from energy to aviation with the announcement that it had been picked by national carrier Kenya Airways to supply the engines for nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners that it hopes to take delivery of beginning 2014 at a cost of USD380 million. The 19 GE-nx-1B engines deliver 15 percent fuel efficiency and come with lower maintenance costs.

Speaking while signing the deal with GE, KQ Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni enthused that they would see a significant reduction in their fuel bill in the next few years that would be reflected into their bottom line and enable them to offer competitive rates. Fuel accounts for about 40 percent of the airline's direct costs. "The engines are bigger, quieter and more efficient than the Boeing 767 engines; have reduced fuel burn and longer periods on the wing between overhauls. This means the Dreamliner will come with lower maintenance costs and therefore ability to be flying longer," Naikuni added. The delivery will bring the share of engines supplied by GE to 56 percent in the next five years up from the current 42 percent.

The two companies hope to further reinforce their partnership by incorporating skills development on how to operate and maintain the engines. "We will help KQ train its engineers and technicians to be able to work on the maintenance aspects of the engine and also we will cooperate at the higher level with the Pride Center for training of managers and leaders of Kenya Airways," disclosed General Electric Aviation's Vice President Sales, Middle East and Africa Isam Moursy.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Uganda in Cultural Tourism Promotion Drive

Uganda has held a tourism festival, aimed at promoting the importance of cultural and community tourism in conservation. The festival, which brought together industry stakeholders and community tourism entrepreneurs, also aimed at raising awareness about community based tourism. It show cased community based enterprises products and services like crafts-mats, shoes etc. The Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) and USAID-Sustainable Tourism in the Albertine Rift hosted the event in Kampala.

Ms. Helen Lubowa, the UCOTA executive director, said they developed Pearls of Uganda to discover which tourism businesses are truly devoted to sustainable tourism. The Uganda Community Tourism Association is a not for profit organization handling community based tourism enterprises. It trains its members, markets their products and services as well as networking with stakeholders. Companies that support conservation were awarded with certificates included, Red Chilli, Marasa Africa, Gorrilla Forest Camp, Uganda Lodges, GeoLodges, Mahogany springs, Uganda Safari Company, Gorilla Forest Camp and Ishasha Ntungwe River Camp. The event also brought upcountry communities together with tourists and private sector players that support them, without having to leave Kampala city.

Tanzania Creates Smallest Game Park in East Africa

Mwanza's growth can be traced back to the days of the slave trade, as the trading caravans of the Sultan of Zanzibar used it as the frontier to the unexplored African interior in search of gold, ivory and slaves. Historians say later the European explorers such as Dr. David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley, John Hannington Speke and Richard Francis Burton, followed the same route and landed in Mwanza in 1850s. Speke, who was the first European explorer to reach the Mwanza Gulf crossed the country in 1857 in search of the Source of the Nile. He was later buried in the small village of Kagaye in Mwanza, making it famous and an important historical site.

Kagaye, just beyond the city, was part of the Sukuma Kingdom and home of the Sukuma royal family and is considered one of the oldest historical sites in the country. Beyond Kagaye and the European explorers, Mwanza famous as the rock city, made another history in a tourism industry whereby Saanane National Park was created within the city and visitors enjoy watching a variety of wild animals in the open. Saanane Island is full of attractions. Boat excursions can be arranged at the National Park's offices based at Capri Point in Nyamagana District. The Island was named after Mzee Saanane Chawandi, who owned the island. It was established as the first zoo in Tanzania in 1964. The main objective was to promote interest and conservation education in wildlife, and also to promote recreation for Mwanza city residents says Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).

Some fascinating activities visitors to the Island can enjoy include, rock climbing, picnics, game viewing and bird watching, along the shores of Lake Victoria. TANAPA stated that between 1964-1966 different species of wild animal were ferried to the Island, and these included, buffalo, bushbuck, dik dik, elephant, eland, impala, black rhino, topi, warthog, and wildebeest. Others were zebra, monkeys, giraffe, porcupine and crocodiles. However, wilder animals like rhinos were caged. The Island was upgraded to a Game Reserve in 1991.

Last year, the Tanzania government through the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, announced its intention to upgrade the Island from its previous status as forest reserve and wildlife acclimatization zone. According to the Minister for Tourism, Mr. Ezekiel Maige, the move is expected to increase the number of National Parks from the current 15 to 16 next year.

It will be the second National Park to stride Lake Victoria, the world's second largest fresh water lake after Lake suoperio in the United States after Rubondo Island.

TANAPA public relations manager Paschal Shelutete was quoted by the media as saying the proposed national park would be a home to mammals like impala, rock hyrax, velvet monkeys, wild cats, clawless otters and De-brazzas monkeys. "The aquatic part of the park will offer all types of fish, crocodiles, water snakes and monitor lizards, other reptiles, including tortoises, grass snakes, pythons and agama lizards," he added.

Saanane Island National Park warden in charge of toursim, Ms. Rukia Juma Mallya says the proposed park could be a role model to other game parks, "The island gets an average of 250 visitors per month and between 180 and 200 of those are locals," she says. Already gazetted in 2011, the Island will be the smallest National Park in East Africa, with its territory measuring some 0.7 square kilometres comprising of both dry land and Water. The Park will command a 200 metres perimeter of water South and 100 metres aquatic corridor in the North.

There is also a new proposal to be released soon that include two smaller islets the Chandkende located in southern part of the main island into the bargain, says the Acting Conservation Manager of the proposed Saa-Nane National Park Donatus Bayona. "Local residents have asked us to take under our wing the two islands in order to curb illegal fishing, environmental degradation, as well as fighting rampant crime because the waters surrounding the two land features on Lake Victoria will be manned and patrolled by TANAPA wardens," says Shelutete. He says plans are also underway to introduce new animal species to boost the islands's wildlife variety.

Rwanda comes up with New Tourism Products to Boost Economy

The move by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to promote domestic tourism is bearing fruits. For instance, many people I have met from Europe say they have not seen something like "Canopy Walk" which, according to RDB's records, has attracted investors.

I wish to encourage the tourism department at RDB to put in more efforts and carry out more research in new and interesting tourism products and services, which would help further diversify this critical sector. It also my hope that key stakeholders in the tourism sector, especially hotel owners, will proactively market their facilities to the local community with special and attractive offers.