Parks Adventure News

Our News page is about Tourism News from the Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean region. You’ll find posts about the latest happenings in the region with great images and videos to boot. Pack your bags – Africa Awaits!

New York Times ranks Tanzania as the third best place to visit in 2016 after South Africa and Zimbabwe

A safari revival in troubled times.

Security fears in neighboring Kenya have inadvertently worked in Tanzania’s favor, as far as tourism goes: Its luxurious new lodges are enticing diverted visitors. The ever-popular Serengeti retains its cachet with high-profile openings. Asilia Africa’s secluded Namiri Plains property and roving mobile camp Kimondo opened in July, followed by Legendary Expeditions’ Mwiba Tented Camp in August, and a revamp of &Beyond Grumeti Tented Camp is slated to be unveiled this April. But the real new treasure here is unprecedented access to sparsely trafficked regions. Nomad Tanzania opened Kuro amid the baobab-studded landscapes of Tarangire; Azura opened a new camp in southern Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve, home to large concentrations of elephant, wild dog and leopard; while Ruaha, one of Tanzania’s largest yet least visited national parks, is now home to Nomad’s new Kigelia camp and Asilia’s Kwihala. Not to be outdone by its bush brethren, the alluring isle of Zanzibar is scaling up its luxury hotel offerings in the form of the coming Park Hyatt Zanzibar.Sarah Khanvernments, tourism ministries, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel agents, tour operators, and a media. ATA partners with the African Union Commission (AU) to promote the sustainable development of tourism to and across Africa.
 
Source: New York Times

KENYA BAN TOURISTS VEHICLE TO ENTER JKIA‏

Kenya`s tourism vehicles ultimatums can be resolved

Tanzanian tour operators say that the Kenyan ban of our vehicles, which has been lifted if temporarily to pave way for ministerial consultations on the issue, is a wakeup call to Tanzania to improve and market its airports.

The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) says in remarks given to this paper that the government has to work overnight to improve airports and other tourism infrastructure, such that local tour operators can communicate with tourists to come directly to Tanzania without having to go through Nairobi as is ordinarily the case.

The tourism interest group says the country can fend on its own in receiving tourists, as we are increasingly becoming part of regular routes of major airlines around the world.

An official of the tour operators' body says the government must as a matter of urgency abolish landing fees for passenger flights as an incentive for them to land directly on local airports.

This observation obviously suggests that neighbouring countries do not practice landing fees habits, and on the basis of current contentions between the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, combating observations of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), other problems linger as well.

Minister Lazaro Nyalandu was recently giving the government position on criticisms that he had failed to sign a notice on charges on hotels which were being demanded by tax collectors without having been formally gazette and signed by the minister.

It was an indication of policy differences where the tax collector and parliamentarians push for higher charges, and the minister has reservations about how far those charges are advisable.

On the basis of what TATO says, it appears that the problem in the sector is much greater than we think, and we could even take a different position from TATO as to improving and marketing our airports the Kilimanjaro International Airport in particular so that tourists arrive directly to our hotels and view our tourism attractions, without depending on the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as is usually the case.

The point is that we should slash or eliminate the taxes quite simply, such that it should be a saving for airlines to land at KIA
compared to JKIA.

The same needs to be done for hotel use charges, since Nairobi is already more competitive as a business hub, whilst our own business hub is Dar es Salaam, having minimal tourism potential in its immediate neighbourhood.

It is only by making KIA and hotels in its backyard and parks in the northern circuit as a whole much less expensive than flying via Nairobi that we can succeed. Arusha isn't a business hub so it should seek to be competitive when it comes to use of facilities and hotels.

In that case the point by TATO that our airports need to be improved and marketed is valid to that extent, but the more important issue which the newly appointed minister can ask the government to implement as a matter of urgency is slashing airport taxes and hotel use charges.

We should seek a rebalancing of what we expect from that aspect of revenues so that we lessen our dependency on Nairobi, as it is possible there is a strategic innovation to cut off the northern sphere of the EAC for a different union, for instance with South Sudan coming aboard, if peace is realized.

In other words officials in the various ministries involved in the issue need to realize that a potential strategy of cutting off the northern sphere of the community is possible, treaties like the monetary union notwithstanding, for they can be adapted to a different range of member states.

If KIA starts being competitive Kenya could even start diminishing its demands, unlike at present as it holds the cards.
SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY 8TH FEB

TANZANIA REVIEWING WILDLIFE REGULATIONS ON POACHING

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is seeking reviewing wildlife legislation to impose stiffer regulations and penalties against wildlife poachers and ivory smugglers, a senior government official said on Saturday.

Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania's Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, disclosed the new development in Arusha when speaking alongside the ongoing regional summit on stopping wildlife crime and advancing wildlife conservation.

The summit, which involves delegates from nine countries was meant to extensively discuss strategies and approaches towards scaling down elephant and other wildlife poaching.

"Elephant poaching is very serious, that's why we are planning to bolster current lenient sentences
for convicted wildlife poachers or ivory smugglers to scale down elephant and other wild animal killings," said Nyalandu.

"Our wildlife laws are outdated and need to be reviewed for greater protection of wild animals as well as penalizing heavily people who will be behind poaching incidents in its national parks and game reserves," the minister said, adding that "We are determined to fight poachers at all levels to save wild animals in our wildlife sanctuaries."

According to him, legal expert from the ministry have started working on the matter before developing the bill that is to be taken to the National Assembly for approval.

"Very soon we'll repeal the current laws and replace with new laws to save the remaining wildlife in the country's wilderness," he said.

"I am not happy with the current laws because of the magnitude of penalties given to poachers. As a ministry, we'll soon review those laws," he said.

"Tanzania shares major ecosystems with its neighboring countries which have a diverse of wildlife resources, this call for a collective responsibility to protect it," said James Lembeli, chairman of Tanzania's Parliamentary Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources.

"Poaching targets elephants for their ivory due to existing high demand and prices in the international black market. Organized and intricate poaching networks in and outside the country sustain this illegal trade, thus making it difficult for Tanzania alone to win the battle," he said.

Since last year Tanzania impounded more than 3,000 weapons including modern firearms like AK 47 and assorted hand-made guns which were used in poaching incidents.

Nearly 2,000 suspected poachers have been arrested in Tanzania and some of their cases are in different country's courts.

Poachers kill an estimated 30 elephants every day in Tanzania, or about 850 every month. The number of elephants dropped from 130, 000 in 2002 to 109,000 in 2009 and wildlife experts have warned that the entire population could be wiped out by 2020 if the trend continues.

MAP: THE AFRICA WITHOUT EBOLA


(Anthony England / @EbolaPhone)

Ebola is a frightening, unpredictable disease. Nearly 5,000 West Africans have died from the current outbreak with more than 13,000 people thought infected. However, so far the problem remains largely limited to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Two other countries, Nigeria and Senegal, have had cases, yet are now Ebola-free. The DR Congo had an outbreak of a different strain of Ebola that now looks like it might be contained. And while there has been one case of the disease in Mali, the patient died and no others have been confirmed at the time of writing -- though that may well change.

Despite clear geographical limits to the Ebola outbreak, many Americans seem confused. How else could you explain the recent Ebola scare that kept two children who had moved from Rwanda to New Jersey from attending school, despite the fact the East African country is Ebola-free (and further from West Africa than New Jersey is to Texas)? Or the resignation of a teacher in Kentuckydue to a backlash to her traveling to Kenya? Or the significant cancellation of tourist trips to places like Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa?These countries are nowhere near the West African countries where Ebola is actually a problem. Frustrated by this, Anthony England, a British chemist who earned a doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has spent a significant amount of time in sub-Saharan Africa, decided to make a map to help explain what countries currently have Ebola cases and which don't. You can see the map above. England has some relevant back story here as well: "I used to run scientific conferences in West Africa, to make leading scientific researchers, and problem solvers in general, in the West all the more aware of the pressing concerns of the developing world," he explains in an e-mail. While his company, Mangosteen, ultimately wound down almost 10 years ago, he now sees the Ebola outbreak as proof that the West needs to pay more attention to what happens in Africa.

"In the case of this Ebola outbreak, a problem which does not yet have a scientific solution and which started in a village in the developing world is actually visiting New York City and the West," he writes. "Eventually the rich world will realize that it makes no sense to leave one part of the world struggling in poverty with such terrible national infrastructures. Before it's done, this Ebola outbreak might teach them all that." Ultimately, it was frustration that led England to make the map and share it on his Twitter account, which he uses to post information about Ebola. It has since spread around the Internet, with his initial post retweeted hundreds of times.

"Ignorance & misinformation is a big problem with Ebola. So a clueless Kentucky school causing the resignation of a teacher because she spent time in Kenya is just idiocy," he writes, "And that idiocy leads to fear which leads to people like Chris Christie implementing nonsensical anti-science quarantine restrictions. Ebola in the U.S. is becoming a farce." Of course, there are some caveats to the map. England's decision to not include Mali or the DR Congo, despite the fact neither have been declared free of Ebola, has caused some thoughtful criticism. England writes that he understands the criticism, but his point still stands: "There are only 3 problem countries, and the world needs to know that," he explains. It's a fair point. Africa is a vast, under-covered continent and Westerners often have trouble understanding its geography. Earlier this year, The Washington Post ran an online quiz that asked our readers to name African nations. The results were not heartening:

For more info follow the link: Washingtonpost.com

AFRICA TRAVEL ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON EBOLA (2)

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) is the leading global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships. Established in 1975, ATA serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry. ATA members include African governments, tourism ministries, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel agents, tour operators, and a media. ATA partners with the African Union Commission (AU) to promote the sustainable development of tourism to and across Africa.
 
ATA remains concerned about the Ebola virus and its far-reaching effects, and related perceptions, on the travel and tourism sector in Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most severely affected countries are Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, however, the Africa tourism industry has felt stark repercussions across the continent through economic losses, cancelled flights and bookings, closed borders, and negative perceptions. These impacts reach far beyond the borders of those affected countries.
 
ATA urges the travel industry and traveling public to remain cautious, however, to acknowledge the immense size of the continent and to continue to travel to the vast majority of the countries that remain safe. With a landmass of 30.2 million square kilometers, the African continent is larger than China, India, and the United States combined, with its 54 independent countries.
 
ATA does not support the cancellation of flights to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as this creates further isolation, impeding the delivery of critical medical supplies and travel by aid workers, which can exacerbate the situation. According to the WHO, the countries affected “have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability.”
 
Now, more than ever, ATA hopes you will join our association in supporting, and standing in solidarity with Africa. ATA calls on travelers to make educated and rational decisions and cautions against the influence of sensationalized media. Africa has always suffered from challenges of perception relating to ignorance and a lack of understanding of the continent by citizens from around the world.
 
Despite these challenges, ATA remains optimistic about travel and tourism to the African continent. In 2013, Africa welcomed over 65 million visitors, consistently increasing its share in the global travel marketplace. Africa is an exciting travel destination, one of world’s most dynamic travel destinations for tourists seeking for adventure, exceptional cultural exchange and heritage tours, diverse culinary experiences, unparalleled safari and wildlife opportunities, first-class beaches, and a wealth of investment opportunities. In pursuit of its mission, ATA believes that tourism is a powerful tool for promoting economic growth, job creation, investment and cultural exchange.
 
Additionally, ATA encourages travelers to find the most up-to-date information here: 

For more information on ATA, please visit www.africatravelassociation.org or call +1.212.447.1357