Daily Archives: January 13, 2016

South African Airways Gets Government Help After Citibank Ends Credit Facility

South Africa’s National Treasury is working with South African Airways to ensure the company has enough liquidity to continue operating after Citigroup Inc. cancelled a short-term credit facility.

SAA will issue a statement on Tuesday that explains the impact of the cancellation, said Tlali Tlali, a spokesman for the Johannesburg-based carrier. Phumza Macanda, the Pretoria-based National Treasury’s spokeswoman, confirmed the government was working with the airline earlier on Monday.

“We confirm that Citibank has withdrawn SAA’s credit facility,” Tlali said. “We will issue a statement on Tuesday in response to this development and to enable everyone to understand what this means for SAA from a cash flow point of view.”

Citigroup on Dec. 24 cancelled a 250 million rand [$21.5 million] facility for SAA, leaving the airline without cash, Johannesburg-based Moneyweb reported, citing an internal document of the national carrier.

The lender won’t reinstate the facility without a government guarantee, the website said.

Source: Bloomberg [By Rene Vollgraaff]

Africa: Why Millions Chose Africa As Their Safari Destination

More than 30 million tourists visit Africa every year. Over half of the international arrivals are for business purposes, and may partake in tourist activities as well, while 15% travel for pure tourism and 30% visit friends and family.

Tourists select the continent as a destination for wildlife viewing and to enjoy the sunny skies. Africa is the world’s number one destination for safaris which range from the exotic to the very simple.

The tourism industry is one of the most important for the continent: it provided 12.8 million people with jobs, directly and indirectly, in 2011. Tourism in 2012 contributed over US$36 billion or 2.8% of the continent’s GDP.

The continent’s vast and diverse nature makes it complex and difficult to decide on the best region for a safari. But the east, central and southern parts of the continent are by far the preferred choices. These areas generally have well developed or fast developing tourism sectors. There is an abundance of wildlife as well as low to no visa requirements. Tourists to these regions mostly come from countries like France, the UK, the USA, Germany and Portugal.

Below is a quick guide to some of the safari hot spots on the African continent.

East Africa

East African countries are strongly reliant on the tourism industry for generating income. Strong improvements in marketing and cooperation between these nations will help to ensure the success of this vital tourism sector.

Standardised criteria for hotels, restaurants and other services across these countries will make it easier for tourists to find suitable services. These countries possess various natural and cultural resources that make tourism possible.
The Serengeti wildebeest migration is the main reason Kenya and Tanzania have become popular safari destinations. This migration sees millions of wildebeest, accompanied by various other animal species, move between Tanzania and Kenya. The best places to view this migration include Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

And while in the area, don’t forget to visit Africa’s highest mountain -Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park.

The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area is also a great choice with an abundance of big 5 – the African elephant, African lion, white/black rhinoceros, African leopard and the Cape buffalo – and will not disappoint.

Central Africa

Civil wars and terrorist groups have made it dangerous to travel to some countries in this region. Many tourists still take their chances, though, as Central Africa is an area of immense natural beauty.

Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda are great places to view the endangeredmountain gorillas. The best places for viewing them include theVirunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-west Uganda, orVolcanoes National Park in north-west Rwanda.

Various factors have threatened the population of gorillas, including poaching, habitat loss, disease, war and unrest and poverty. Today, due to conservation efforts, the population of mountain gorillas is showing steady growth. The fact that many tourists want to get up close to these animals also drives conservation efforts, since with tourism comes economic improvement.

If you’d prefer to take part in Africa’s best on-foot chimpanzee encounters, visit Kibale Forest in Uganda.

Southern Africa

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi offer very diverse wildlife. This is because of the variety of biomes in the region.

Chobe National Park is home to the biggest concentration of elephants in the world – 70 000 of them. It lies between the Chobe River and the Okavango Delta in the north eastern parts of Botswana. Also in Botswana, the Moremi Game Reserve, in the iconic Okovango Delta, is the first reserve in Africa to be established by local residents.

The Etosha National Park in the northern arid region of Namibia offers great chances of spotting endangered black rhinoceros as well as flamingos in the salt pans.

The Kruger National Park in South Africa is in its own league because of its diversity of animals as well as advanced environmental management techniques and policies.

ISimangaliso Wetland Park was the first site in South Africa to be awarded World Heritage status. It contains most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests and is Africa’s largest estuarine system, which is a partially enclosed body of water where fresh water from rivers and streams mix with salt water from the ocean. The park borders Kosi Bay and St Lucia Lake which is the only place in the world where you can find sharks, hippopotamus and crocodiles in the same body of water.

Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape province is the only park where you can find the Big 7: the African elephant, Cape buffalo, African lion, African leopard, African rhino as well as whales and Great White sharks.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park consists of mostly unspoiled wilderness in the north of South Africa, crossing over into Botswana. This park is largely located in a desert area and is famous for animal species such as the Kalahari black-maned lions and the Gemsbok or Oryx.

Disclosure statement

Marco Scholtz does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Source: www.theconversation.com/africa: ANALYSIS By Marco Scholtz, [North-West University]

Ethiopia: Four Star Hotel for Ethiopian Airlines

The long awaited construction of Ethiopian Airlines’ four star hotel has finally begun. Chinese Company, China National Aero-Technology is responsible for the construction and has committed to handing over the project in 720 days.

Design and supervision of the project are being handled by a joint venture of a local firm, Sileshi Consultant and international and Molen Associates, a Hong Kong-based company.

The hotel, which will be built on 40,000sqm located in front of Millennium Hall on Bole Road, has had many ups and downs in the process since it was announced seven years ago.

In January 2009, Ethiopian announced the first bid for design, consulting and construction.

Local consultants including National Consultant Plc, Ultimate Plan Plc and ETG Designers & Consultants Plc participated but were cancelled by the client after a process that lasted 11 months.

Opting for other feasible alternatives, Ethiopian made a closed bid after two and a half years, in March 2012.

The saga later continued with a cancellation of the closed bid and a third alternative was chosen when the Airline reached agreement with the China-Africa Development Fund and HNA Hotels & Resorts [Group] Co. Ltd. in a detailed joint venture. That too was dropped without any substantial explanation from Ethiopia’s flag carrier.

The plan that has been tentative for so long has recently posted signs declaring current agreements and has broken earth for construction.

The last phase bid floated almost three years ago in February 2013, attracted companies from China, South Africa and the United States.

Source: www.ethiopianairlines.com

Kenya Announces Major Support Measures To Boost Tourism

At the officially opening of the 4.8 billion Kenya shillings English Point Marina in Mombasa recently, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced major reversals on a range of measures taken over the past years, which had made the destination un-competitive and which had ever since been in the cross hairs of the country’s tourism sector.

Among the decisions taken was the lifting of visa fees for children and adolescents coming to Kenya for a holiday, up to the age of 16 years, effective February 1, 2016, for an indefinite period of time.

This will make family holidays at the coast cheaper and combined with the recently-announced charter incentives overall, will reduce the cost of vacations to Kenya. The incentive package for charter operations, worth US$30 per seat, was extended to June 30, 2018, an additional year beyond the initial time frame of next year.

Another major bone of contention, value-added tax [VAT] on park and conservancy entry fees, was finally also addressed when the President directed that the value-added tax of 16 percent be removed immediately and entrance fees for national parks be capped at US$60 a day, down from the present US$90 a day.

For long-suffering local commuters, but equally benefiting the tourism industry at the South Coast, the President also announced the acquisition of a further 2 ferries to ease operational bottle necks in traffic between Mombasa island and the Likoni side of the channel.

Additional major infrastructure projects at the coast were also receiving added government support, such as the expansion of Malindi airport and the construction of various highway links to reduce the perennial traffic problems into and out of Mombasa at all exit points.

In a notable effort to improve relations with the UK and the US, President Kenyatta also thanked the British and American governments for lifting the crippling anti-travel advisories while emphasizing increased security cooperation.

“Finally are things falling into place and these measures cover a lot of ground and reflect many issues we raised with the former Cabinet Secretary in March last year when she was handed the recommendations of the tourism recovery task force. Very sadly did nothing material happen until our rafiki [Kiswahili for friend] Najib Balala was brought back into the tourism portfolio and the sector given a standalone ministry again.

We are grateful for the outspoken support you have over time given to us to highlight all those issues time and again. Balala’s return to tourism was a game changer and now at last we know that we have a friend, an advocate for change and improvements in government.

“The President obviously listens to Balala a lot more because the man brought Kenya out of the post 2007/8 tourism downturn and because he comes from the coast and knows what it takes.

Today was a great day for tourism in Kenya and when our people head to the upcoming trade shows in Europe there will be a new confidence that recovery has truly began,” wrote a Mombasa-based regular commentator when sharing impressions from the grand opening of the new resort and marina complex.

Source: www.eturbonews.com