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Travel Business News - Africa / Middle East.

New York, Geneva (AirGuideBusiness - Travel Business News Africa / Middle East) Apr 28, 2013

Mauritius awaits outcome of Vote for Karl Campaign Following the closure of the voting for nominated participants are members of MauritiusO tourism fraternity now waiting with bated breath how successful the pleas of MTPA chief Karl Mootoosamy were to make it into the price winning categories of the annual World Travel Awards which this year celebrate the 20th edition. The categories where Mauritius was nominated were: Indian Ocean's Leading Beach Destination: Mauritius Indian Ocean's Leading Cruise Destination: Mauritius Indian Ocean's Leading Destination: Mauritius Indian Ocean's Leading Dive Destination: Mauritius Indian Ocean's Leading Honeymoon Destination: Mauritius Indian Ocean's Leading Tourist Board: Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority It was the latter though which raised the temperature once again among the growing opposition to Chief Karl, who was reportedly particularly active in soliciting votes for his own organization, by some described as: OE a last ditch effort to save his job. Bring home the trophy for best tourist board and hang on for some more or fail and face the music. If he lays another trophy at the feet of his masters they will be pleased with him and believe his yarnO as one regular source from Port Louis put it, who admittedly is an ardent, if not acid critic of KarlOs rule at MTPA. Another source pointed out in a mail received over the weekend that Mauritius deserves to win some of the nominated categories for the quality of the product, but has failed to raise global attention to the attractions the island holds for visitors. OWhen the award ceremony is held in Maldives in May we shall know who won what. Competition is getting harder every year. And last year Maldives took our crown as the most visited island destination in the Indian Ocean. What we lack today is not the attractions or the fundamentals in our hospitality industry which won us so many awards in the past. What we lack today is vision. What we lack today is a creative approach to market our strengths. MTPA is stuck in a time warp and had to resort to copy and paste of things from other island. We need new people, a new pan-Mauritius spirit, new leadership with new vision, inclusiveness and not segregation. Karl no longer has that in him and that is why he is so keen to win that best tourist board award, to justify what MTPA has not done. But an award is not a substitute for a good marketing strategyO wrote another source when discussing the subject in recent days. The entire list of nominations from the Indian Ocean islands can be found at the World Travel Awards website via www.worldtravelawards.com/nominees/2013/indian-ocean. Some 32 overall awards are up for grabs, including best airline, best airport, leading cruise line, leading cruise port as well as destination, hotel and resort and DMC awards, among others. The main contenders for the various categories come from La Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Maldives and the Seychelles with no nominees from Mayotte or the Comoros. Watch this space for the announcement immediately after the award details are released which should be on or about 12th of May. Apr 27, 2013

Update on Bahrain tourism Bahrain's tourism potential and how cultural heritage has become a key motivator for global travellers will be highlighted during a major conference, which opened last night. The International Conference on Exploring New Cultural Horizons for Tourism is taking place under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad, at the Sheraton Hotel. His Majesty deputised Deputy Premier Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa to open the conference at the Bahrain National Amphitheatre, near Bahrain National Museum. Shaikh Mohammed emphasised the crucial role of the government in spearheading the development of the tourism sector. The opening ceremony included a performance by Lebanese operatic soprano, composer and academic Hiba Al Kawas and the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra. The event is being organised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Ministers, UNWTO representatives, experts, economic experts, diplomats and tourism investors are attending the event, being held as part of Manama Capital of Arab Tourism 2013. Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa will preside over the conference. "The conference will discuss issues relating to economy, tourism and culture and ways and means of boosting cultural investment," said Culture Ministry archaeology and heritage director Shaikh Khalid bin Hamoud Al Khalifa at a Press conference earlier in the day. Culture Ministry executive director and tourism sector adviser Dr Heba Abdulaziz said the implications of a successful tourism industry were huge. "This event will seek to underscore the need for a strong ethical foundation to ensure that cultural assets are responsibly managed for tourism." Meanwhile, Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zazou arrived in Bahrain last night for the conference. He stressed that his country is now stable and outlined its strategy to strengthen touris Apr 27, 2013

Conditional ok to proposed hotel levy by Mombasa county The Chairman of Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association ( MCTA), renowned hotelier Mohammed Hersi, has given a conditional agreement to the proposals floated by recently-elected Governor Mombasa County Ali Hassan Joho, that a levy be introduced on hotel rates to finance better waste collection and provision of water and sewerage services. Tourism stakeholders in Mombasa have a long-standing feud with the city council over poor, or often totally absent collection of garbage, cleaning the city and providing water to hotels and resorts. Last year was a provisional agreement struck between the then Mombasa City Council, after the last elections turned into a county government, and the hotels, that a levy could be added provided the council would live up to their side of the bargain and actually collect garbage from hotels. When that not happened were resorts compelled to employ private companies at an added cost and renounced their provisional agreement with the council to avoid double payments. In response to JohoOs promises to substantially improve services provided, Mr. Hersi was quoted in local Kenyan media to have said: OEso long as we get garbage collection services. This will save us from the agony of hiring private firms [because in the past] we had to incur double costs by paying levy to the council and to private companies since the civic body reneged on the garbage collection deal.O Other coast-based stakeholder representatives also agreed with Hersi, among them the coast representative of the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, KenyaOs primary hospitality industry association. Meanwhile occupancies at the coast have remained depressed, with averages at the South Coast as low as 35 percent, and while some resorts continue to enjoy significantly higher occupancies as a result of their regional and international market mix strategies, most have this year felt the pinch of the low season more than in past years. This has resulted in almost unprecedented offers, in some cases on an all inclusive basis, which makes bargain hunting by upcountry visitors right now a favorite pastime and gives visitors from the wider East African region arguably the best deals for a coast vacation in a long time. Airlines flying to Mombasa, like RwandAir and Air Uganda, too are offering special fares during the current low season, making a beach holiday as affordable as it has not been in ages. Time to pack those bags and head to the Kenya coast then. Apr 24, 2013

UAE tourism to Italy to increase in 2013 The number of tourists from the UAE to Italy is expected to increase this year by 5-7 percent, Santino Adriano Berrino, president of the Italian Tourism Union [ETH] Foreign Branch, said. OWe expect that the number of tourists from the UAE to Italy to increase by 5-7 per cent who stay for an average of sevendays,O said Berrino, who is on a business trip for few days to the UAE. Italy was the second most common tourism destination in the EU for non-residents (178 million nights) following Spain (239.4), according to the Italian Tourism Board. OHospitality industry employs more than 1.5 million qualified workers and that there were more than 46 million tourists visiting Italy from foreign countries last year. The revenues are estimated at U136.5 billion, 8.5 per cent of the countryOs GDP,O statistics of the Italian Tourism Board revealed. He added that the tourists from the Middle East region would benefit from the economic conditions in Europe and the drop in the exchange rate of the euro. OThis will prompt many tourists from the Middle East to flock into Italy and Europe this year,O said Berrini. Sardinia Berrino added that Sardinia is a top destination for tourists from various countries for its Mediterranean climate. OQatar has a U1 billion ($1.35) billion investment in Sardinia, one of ItalyOs prominent leisure tourism destinations. Last year, Qatar Holding had started building four luxury hotels on SardiniaOs Costa Smeralda,O said Berrino. OThe number of tourists to Sardina amounts to 9 million tourists per year. The Arab tourists constitute about 18 per cent and this is slated to increase further in the coming few years,O he said. Apr 24, 2013

South Africa & Indian Ocean Among Exotic Regions Voyages of Discovery Will Visit in 2014-2015 In keeping with its focus on enrichment and discovery-led destination experiences, Voyages of Discovery has added exotic new regions and itineraries -- including South Africa and exotic Indian Ocean cruises -- to its new Summer 2014 and Winter 2014-15 programs on the newly refurbished 540-guest Voyager. Those who book any of the new itineraries (departing May 4, 2014 through March 16, 2015) by June 30, 2013 will receive an Early Booking savings of up to ten percent. In addition, those who book an oceanview or balcony stateroom by June 30, 2013 will receive an onboard credit bonus of up to $300 per stateroom. The new itineraries, which are now available for booking and featured on the line's website, www.voyagesofdiscovery.com, include 19 new ports of call in 10 countries and tailor-made opportunities for adventure and exploration at such distinctive destinations as Antsiranana, Madagascar; Walvis Bay, Namibia; Sarande, Albania; Husavik, Iceland; Dubai, UAE; and Cebu, Philippines. The new program also features an opportunity to view the spectacular Northern Lights and the line's ever-popular Black Sea cruise on October 8, 2014 (fares from $2,849 per person through 6/30/13). Brochures may be pre-ordered through the cruise line's website. Among the exciting cruises during the Summer 2014 program are: Natural Wonders and Wildlife (May 17, 2014, 14 days): Experience the geological magnificence of Iceland, including UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park and the prehistoric site of Skara Brae. Contrast that with the landscapes of the remote Faroe Islands. Enjoy wildlife first-hand while whale watching or viewing the amazing birdlife of the North Atlantic during this "Footloose" walking-themed cruise accompanied by expert tour guides. Fares begin at $2,374 per person through 6/30/13. Summer Solstice and the North Cape (June 14, 2014, 15 days): This cruise departing from London (Portsmouth) includes the beauty of the midnight sun at the North Cape, the stunning landscapes of the Lofoten Islands, the charm of Bergen, the beautiful Langfoss waterfall and the engineering feat of the Atlantic Road. Fares begin at $2,374 per person through 6/30/13. Adriatic, Ionian & Aegean Odyssey (Sept. 24, 2014, 15 days): Cruise from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Piraeus, Greece, with visits to the UNESCO-listed Campiello in Corfu Town and Butrint in the not-often-visited country of Albania, the magical Meteora Monasteries, the magnificent sites of Athens, the islands of Santorini and Mykonos and the ports of Kotor, Montenegro and Chania, Greece. Fares begin at $2,374 per person through 6/30/13. The Winter 2014-15 program also provides a wide range of new regions, including:

East Africa and Indian Ocean Gems (Dec. 18, 2014, 15 days): This cruise allows guests to enjoy the winter sun and celebrate the holidays and New Year while cruising around Africa. Visit the Stone Town on Zanzibar Island, the vibrant city of Dar es Salaam, the idyllic Mauritius and stay in a safari lodge in Tanzania while getting acquainted with the continent's wildlife. Fares begin at $2,159 per person through 6/30/13. Magic of South Africa (January 17, 2015, 14 days): Experience the traditional lifestyle of the proud Zulus, the scenery and wildlife of South Africa, the beautiful city of Cape Town, the multi-cultural Durban, the authentic African lifestyle of Mozambique and the vibrant Richards Bay. Fares begin at $2,374 per person through 6/30/13. In Search of the Northern Lights (March 1, 2015, 16 days): Cruise along the spectacular Norwegian coast for a chance to see the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. Visit the Ice Hotel, go for a dog sled ride, gain insight into the Sami culture and visit the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso. Fares begin at $2,469 per person through 6/30/13. Beginning with cruises departing May 4, 2014, Voyages of Discovery is including gratuities in addition to all the features already incorporated in the cruise fare -- the line's signature award-winning guest speaker program, enrichment workshops, all meals including cocktail parties and gala dinners, entertainment, and service fees for onboard bar and spa purchases. On every cruise passengers will receive the warm and friendly hospitality that the line is known for as well as explore a world of intriguing destinations aboard the stylish Voyager which provides guests with the amenities of larger vessels and all the flexibility and features of the line's tradition of small-ship discovery cruising. Voyager's modern yet intimate facilities include 270 staterooms, of which 87 percent are ocean view, and 35 suites -- 30 with ocean view balconies. Guests can dine in any of three spectacular restaurants with open seating dining which includes a new intimate pre-bookable specialty restaurant, The Explorer Club, at no extra charge. Apr 22, 2013 AirGuideBusiness ISSN 1939-666X 04/29/2013

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Date:Apr 29, 2013
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