Namibia awarded for conservation effort

Namibia has, for the second time, received the global gift to the Earth Award from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for its unprecedented protection effort and strengthening of its rural people.

The award was presented to Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba throughout the official opening event of the tenth Adventure Travel World Summit in Windhoek on Saturday.

Namibia is the first nation to incorporate the protection of its environment in the constitution when the first four conservation regions were structured. It was likewise in that year when, in distinguishment of its innovative legislation power that was developed over its environment, Founding President Sam Nujoma was given the Gift to the Earth in October 1998.

The nation now gloats of over 79 conservancies covering 19.5% of its land. The nation likewise boasts of the biggest free-meandering population of rhinos on the world and predators, for example cheetahs, leopards and lions have increased in numbers as a consequence of communal conservancy.

Pohamba, who expressed his gratitude for the accolade, said the world’s attention was presently kept tabs on what Namibia offers, not just regarding its extraordinary wildlife and scene, however in preservation strategies and successes.

“Namibia’s Constitution plots the protection of our environment. One of our auspicious protection efforts is the establishment of our conservancies to protect our wildlife, to minimize human-wildlife conflict and likewise to derive benefits from our tourism sector,” he said.

Pohamba likewise said the fact that the nation had been chosen and recognized for its conservation efforts for the second time is something Namibians ought to be pleased with.

Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria, who presented the gift to Pohamba, said Namibia’s success story on protection is one that numerous countries should learn from and that the nation’s award in shared preservation serves as a worldwide model.

“I have been to numerous nations around the world; however I find Namibia’s protection truly astounding. The ideas and principle behind Namibia’s communal conservancy movement are presently contemplated by over 20 nations from Africa, Asia, and the Americas with a perspective to similarly devolve environmental management responsibility and the benefit from wildlife and tourism to rural communities,” he said.

Flight makes Emergency Landing at Egypt Airport

airplaneA flight from Britain conveys 262 travelers on board made an emergency landing at Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh Airport. Consistent with reports, the flight encountered an engine problem constraining the pilot to make an emergency landing. Nobody was harmed and the travelers left the flight in normally.

The leader of the Egyptian airports company told journalists that the flight needed to land after a problem with one of the plane’s engines.

Because of some unforced error in communication with the Egypt official, the flight that made emergency landing was accounted for as Airbus A380. However, later updates show that the flight was Airbus A30.

Roatan demonstrates global leadership in sustainability

roatanROATAN, HONDURAS – The island of Roatan is the first tourism destination in Honduras to complete a comprehensive 360-degree assessment and action plan for destination-level sustainability.

The long-term viability of Roatan’s tourism sector is of critical importance to the economic health of Honduras. The idyllic island, renowned for its top diving sites and diverse marine biodiversity, as well as its rich Caribbean culture, draws 55 percent of the 1.8 million annual international arrivals to Honduras. It also generates a significant share of the overall contribution of tourism to GDP which is estimated at 5.8 percent.

The Rapid Sustainable Destination Diagnostic was carried out by the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative in close collaboration with leading global non-profit Sustainable Travel International, Honduras’ Ministry of Tourism, and Roatán’s local Geotourism Council. The diagnostic process evaluated Roatán’s performance on five key pillars of sustainability, which include sustainable tourism planning and governance, economic linkages, preservation of cultural heritage, social and community issues, and environmental protection.

The results of the destination diagnostic indicate that Roatán is making progress on destination management issues, and highlight the priority areas for the travel and tourism sector to focus on moving forward.

“Roatan ranked highly on the issue of visitor management planning and monitoring, which recognizes the local conservation community’s efforts to minimize tourism’s footprint by promoting environmental practices among tour operators, tour guides and tourists,” said Seleni Matus, Sustainable Travel International’s Vice President of Latin American and the Caribbean, who conducted the assessment. “At the same time, there is an urgent need to establish in situ destination management, incorporate native island culture more deeply as part of Roatán’s tourism product, and tackle waste management and water conservation issues.”

In response to the diagnostic results, more than 50 leaders and leading organizations from the government, private sector and civil society joined forces to define a visionary yet practical roadmap, which will address the critical sustainability issues facing Roatán. The resulting action plan is built around three key initiatives:

  • Establishment of a destination management organization (DMO) for the Bay Islands, which includes Roatán, Guanaja and Utila;
  • Preservation of native island culture through an inventory of tangible and intangible local, traditional and cultural knowledge, as well as the establishment of a permanent Cultural Marketplace for the promotion of intangible cultural heritage; and
  • Development of a destination-level action plan for waste management and water conservation.

Destination stakeholders have also formed Working Groups to help bring these three initiatives to life in the near-term.

“This is an important step for Roatan and Honduras,” said Syntia Solomon Bennett, Honduras’ Vice Minister of Tourism. “These efforts will help put our tourism industry on a sustainable trajectory, and the process will serve as a model to replicate in other tourism destinations in Honduras.”

This project was made possible through the generous support of The Summit Foundation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s Ocean Fund.

Roatan joins the ranks of a growing number of tourism destinations that recognize the potential of sustainable destination management to drive economic growth and inclusive development.

Bollywood superstar to take Sydney by storm

ParamasataSYDNEY – Destination New South Wales, the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s heading tourism and major events agency, announced they have protected Bollywood legend Shahrukh Khan to visit Sydney in October as part of the fourth annual Parramasala Festival in Parramatta.

Shahrukh Khan, known as SRK and dubbed the ‘King of Bollywood’, will headline a two hour Indian variety show of music, dance and comedy – Temptation Reloaded as part of the cerebration. The visit was secured by the NSW Government as a Sydney-exclusive event.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Office Sandra Chipchase said, “Parramasala is a key arts and cultural event on the NSW Annual Events Calendar and brings some of the world’s best artists to Western Sydney. We are thrilled to welcome Shahrukh Khan to Sydney and Parramatta for the event and invite him to experience the very best of what Sydney and NSW have offer while he’s here.” said Ms Chipchase.

SRK has featured in 75 films and has more than four million Twitter followers and is one of the most popular and influential Bollywood actors. His show will attract an audience not only of Indian origin, but will also appeal to his fans overseas including Fiji, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“We are expecting SRK and the Temptation Reloaded show to attract significant international visitors to Sydney and more than 5,000 people from around Australia.”

“Temptation Reloaded offers a unique cultural experience and it is a great event for Western Sydney with many hotels and restaurants expected to reap the tourism rewards,” Ms Chipchase added.

SRK will be invited to experience some of Sydney and NSW’s most iconic experiences city including climbing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge; meeting a kangaroo and koala bear at Taronga Zoo; dining on a Snow Egg at Quay restaurant as featured in MasterChef Australia; visiting the luxury Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in the Blue Mountains region, one-hour from Sydney; and the Bradman Cricket Museum in the Southern Highlands, one-hour South of Sydney.

Earlier this year, SRK topped the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list after earning US$37.7 million in 2012. He has also been awarded one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, for his contribution to Indian cinema.

Global Tourism Economy Forum to be hosted by Macau

macauGlobal Tourism Economy Forum in Macau will have Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wynn Resorts Stephen Wynn as one of the prominent key speakers of the occasion.

Also speaking at the September 17-19 meeting in the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre, will be Shao Qi Wei, Chairman of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and Michael Frenzel, Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council.

They will be joined by Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Republic of Indonesia, Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia and Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

It will be the second sequential year such a gathering has been had in the previous Portuguese enclave with more than 1000 delegates from 34 cities around the world to attend last year’s inaugural occasion.

The discussion is billed as a standout amongst the most critical tourism occasions in China’s prosperous Pearl River Delta Region. To enroll costs $US650 or 5070 MOP, group discounts apply.

Around a year ago 48 speakers was Australian Christopher Brown, special representative of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

This year’s theme – Regenerate Our Economies: Invest in Travel and Tourism – is required to lure an alternate high-level meeting of key decision makers in the international travel and tourism sector.

The forum’s target is to give influential government and business pioneers from China, and nations from Asia and around the world a chance to impart experiences and solutions, and in addition an opportunity to connect and co-operate.

“By providing the economic points of interest and resource of the East with the innovation and skill of the West, the forum intends to start useful organizations that have the ability to shape the industry towards feasible development on a international scale,” say coordinators.

“The world is changing at an astounding pace. Asia, specifically, has been at the front line of this conversion and exceptional development.

“One of the portraying phenomena of the period is an expansion of tourists driving domestic voyage, as well as international movement of people. With the expanded wealth from the East, the travel industry is rapidly modifying and adjusting to the new market dynamics, not only to attract tourists to destinations abroad, as well as harness investment chances from inside source markets such as china.

“With its great location at the gateway to China and additionally its administration position in Asia’s blasting tourism economy, Macau is a natural decision for hosting the first Global Tourism Economy Forum.”

Over the previous decade, Macau has developed at a supernatural pace, with the tourism industry controlling this conversion. Regardless of a populace of 600,000, Macau recorded a record of more than 28 million travelers in 2012.

Like a year ago forum, the target of the 2013 assembling will be to impart ideas and produce results on how the industry can press on to emphatically impact the world economy.

Conceived by the China Chamber of Tourism, had by the Macau SAR Government and coordinated by the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre, the gathering is an interactive discussion platform intended to capture “a macro perspective of the transaction between tourism and other major economies, and the energy that each builds the development of the other.”

Through discussions between delegates and tourism stakeholders, the gathering is r expected to reveal an abundance of chances in the industry, and in addition a force to drive social and economic development

British tourists organize sit-in after locals ruin luxury beach hotel

ClubHotel-Riu-Mere_2612508bHolidaymakers said their £12,000 Thomson vacation to the Dominican Republic was destroyed by locals who touched base on a shoddy package deal and caused chaos at the Club hotel Riu Merengue.

Visitors said the pool must be shut after the “tanked and rowdy” Dominicans used it as a lavatory, and said they even urinated on sun-loungers while people were lying on them.

Tony Walton, a sales manager from Doncaster, was on vacation with his wife Cheryl, 46, a registrar, their girl and boy aged 20 and 15, and four members of their extended family on a two-week break from June 30 to celebrate family birthdays and anniversaries.

He told the Mailonline: “People were peeing on the sun-loungers with people on them. These people had no respect for anything. They peed up against my sun lounger while I was lying on it.

“They were washing themselves down completely in the shower by the pool. What’s more there was no sustenance – they took at all.”

At the time they whined to staff about the disruption of their vacation, they say they were advised to take journeys -which they might need to pay for – to get away from the hotel.

Furthermore when Mr. Walton wanted his family to be moved to a different hotel, he says he was at first rejected assistance then afterward told if he moved he would have to pay an extra £1,800.

By July 4, Mr. Walton was angry to the point that he organized the sit-in at the Thompson desk in reception.

He says more than 160 complaining visitors went along with him and stayed camped at the desk for a day and a half, throughout which time he claims he was threatened by the manager.

Mr. Walton said in the end up to 100 people, incorporating his group, was moved to another hotel close-by with fewer facilities, but says he was offered just £30 remuneration.

“It has demolished our occasion and my wife’s birthday.

“I paid a lot of money and I have wasted it. Thomson have been totally pointless and Riu (the hotel chain) much worse.”

A spokesman for Thomson told Mailonline: “Thomson is sad to catch that Mr. Walton was disappointed with his stay at the Riu Merengue in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

“We are conscious that some clients expressed a disappointment with the levels of service throughout high occupancy and, as a gesture of goodwill, have moved them to a hotel nearby, and incorporating Mr. Walton’s party.

“Thomson takes client fulfillment quite important and is right now working with the hotelier to completely examine Mr. Walton’s grumbling.”

Dispersed Gorilla Groups Challenge Field Staff

April was a very busy month for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund field staff. In addition to being the rainy season in Rwanda, which has not made the job of tracking any easier, we have both lost track of and found some important gorilla groups.

The newly formed Gushimira group had not been seen since March 24, and is not available for gorilla trekking, despite exhaustive efforts to locate them, and female Umusatsi, who had not been seen since she left Kuryama’s group March 17, was not located again until April 15 (still traveling alone). The anti-poaching team, as well as trackers from the Rwanda Development Board, have joined the groups’ regular trackers in the search efforts on several occasions.

UPDATE: Umusatsi finally joined Giraneza’s group on April 22. See our blog post for April 24, and expect more news about this adventurous female

While collaboration to find the dispersed gorillas is extremely important and useful, it is not without its drawbacks. According to Felix Ndagijimana, director of the Karisoke Research Center, when our anti-poaching teams have to support trackers in searches for missing gorilla groups, they cannot do their regular jobs of routine and shock patrols, which are also extremely important. “We do see a direct correlation in the field between the times when anti-poaching teams are not doing their patrols and spikes in the number of snares found later.”

Though the Gushimira group has caused us to use a lot of manpower in searching for them, Ndagijimana says that currently there is no other cause for concern for the groups’ wellbeing. “Before the Gushimira group formed, the individual silverback Gushimira had disappeared for quite a long time. We expect he has taken the females to another area he is familiar with and where he is more comfortable ranging. Of course, we will continue to look for them to confirm this.”

With our workforce already spread so thin due to the missing Gushimira group, it has been difficult to allocate trackers for Giraneza’s group, which recently returned to Rwanda and will soon be available for visitors on Rwanda gorilla safaris and tours. We stopped monitoring that group in Sept. 2012 when they crossed the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our first encounter with them since their disappearance was on Jan. 29. We were happy to see Giraneza and the two females, Taraja and Nyandwi, all together, although Nyandwi seemed to have an injury on her left arm. Since that first sighting in January, we encountered them seven more times in February and March, during which time we were able to confirm that Nyandwi’s injury had healed. In a meeting with the group on March 22 when we found Giraneza interacting with Bwenge’s group, we happily discovered that Taraja had given birth. The infant was estimated to be a week old at the time and in very good health, which continues to be the case.

With the return of Giraneza’s group, we have reorganized our tracker teams yet again. The Gushimira team is now being used to monitor Giraneza’s group, except when they are searching for the Gushimira group, which is currently limited to two days a week.

Ndagijimana cited a recommendation of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Best Practice Guidelines for Great Ape Tourism as one of the reasons why it was essential for us to resume monitoring the group: “Of course, our wish is to be able to monitor all the habituated groups, for scientific research purposes, but it is particularly important to carry out regular monitoring and protection of groups that have been habituated to humans, as their habituation leaves them more vulnerable to threats like poachers.” The need to monitor the group is even more important with the discovery of the new infant, as infants have low survival rates. Partial monitoring of the group resumed in March, with full-time monitoring having resumed in mid April.

Reconnecting with the Giraneza group has been very exciting, and we are looking forward to finding Gushimira’s group, as the monitoring of both groups has particular significance for the Fossey Fund. As Gorilla Program Manager Veronica Vecellio puts it, “In 45 years of gorilla monitoring we have had very few occurrences of a solitary male forming his own group. Gushimira’s and Giraneza’s groups are examples of this, so they give us an excellent opportunity to investigate and compare the development of newly established groups.”

These events in the field this past month — losing track of Gushimira’s group and finding Giraneza’s group — have caused us to consider the possibility of hiring more trackers and the potential need to adjust our methods of tracking when there are major changes such as group splits, missing groups and the return of old groups. In times of major shifts in the gorilla groups we monitor, we need to be able to accommodate all of the groups for both scientific purposes and as a responsibility deriving from our habituation of them. There is no easy answer, but we are working to find the best solution, for our organization, for our trackers and for our gorillas. Read more about Rwanda travel tips on the internet, more information is available.

Tourism industry offers the best jobs in west Australia

The Australian tourism industry is providing more jobs than any other sector. A recent study reveals that Tourism will overtake mining and construction as one of the biggest employers in West Australia (WA).

The annual “report card” compiled by Tourism Research Australia showed tourism jobs in WA grew 11.25 per cent to 89,000 in the past financial year, the biggest increase of any State.

Tourism accounts for 7 per cent of all jobs in the State, just behind mining with 8 per cent, construction 10 per cent and health care and social assistance, the top employer with 11 per cent.

Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said tourism would become more important to the WA economy as the resources boom slowed.

“The trend is for tourism jobs to grow as mining jobs decline,” he said. “With the lower Australian dollar, cheaper hotel rates and more flights to Perth, WA can win back the leisure tourists we lost over the last few years.”

Mr. Hall said in all other States tourism employed more people than mining.

“Tourism would create more jobs than mining in WA, too, if it got the same backing from government,” he said. “Over the next few years, tourism can replace the lost mining jobs, so long as WA doesn’t keep putting all its eggs in the resources basket.”

Owen Williams, director of Segway Tours WA, said it was time for WA’s tourism industry to blossom.

Mr. Williams, who expects to start Segway tours of Perth city next month, said there was big demand for innovative tourism businesses.

“With the devaluation of the Australian dollar, mining slowing and increased interest from the Chinese market, I think this demand for new tourism experiences will only go up,” he said.

Brussels Airlines introduces free digital newspapers for passengers

Brussels-AirlineIntroducing some compelling features, Brussels Airlines passengers who check in online receive a free digital copy of their newspaper thanks to a unique collaboration with publishers De Persgroep and Rossel. Passengers can choose from a wide selection of newspapers on the day of their flight on any route of the Brussels Airlines network.

E-newspapers have gained popularity over the last years, and news sites get more and more visits. Thanks to a collaboration between Brussels Airlines and the Belgian publishers De Persgroep and Rossel, Brussels Airlines’ 6 million passengers can now enjoy a free newspaper on their laptop, tablet or smart phone while they travel.

The growing number of passengers that check in online for a Brussels Airlines flight can now not only select their plane seat and save time at the airport, but they are also invited to select a newspaper, for which they will receive an access code.

Free for all passengers
This new service is free for b.light economy, b.flex economy+ and passengers on European flights, as well as for Economy- and Business Class passengers on intercontinental flights to the United States and Africa. Passengers can choose from a selection of popular Belgian and Dutch newspapers: Het Laatste Nieuws, De Morgen, De Tijd, Le Soir, l’Echo, La Meuse, La Capitale, Nord Eclair, La Province, De Volkskrant, AD, Het Parool and Trouw. The aim is to expand the offer with more foreign newspapers as well as magazines soon. Negotiations are ongoing.

“This is a good example of how Brussels Airlines responds to the rapidly changing consumer needs”, says Anne Tricot, VP Customer Experience at Brussels Airlines. “A lot of passengers consult news sources on their computer or tablet. With the e-paper service we are the first airline to respond to this digitization trend. We expect that the service will be a success and that it will motivate more people to check in online for their flight.”

At this stage, the free e-paper service does not entail that Brussels Airlines will not distribute newspapers to or b.flex economy+ passengers anymore, although it is expected that the number of paper newspapers on board the nearly 300 daily Brussels Airlines flights, will drop significantly. That’s a good thing for the environment thanks to both the paper saving and the weight reduction of the planes.

Continued Growth Sees Excellent Five Months for Tourism

tourism new zealand(1)Tourism New Zealand says another trend in guest arrivals is currently obvious, with total yearly international arrival figures released today in development for the first time since the Rugby World Cup 2011.

International guest entries are up 0.5% year-on-year and 8.7% for the month – making it the most highest ever come about for a May month. The increment in arrivals translates to an additional 224,480 stay days for the month.

Justin Watson, Tourism New Zealand’s acting Chief Executive says; “When we take a gander at the first five months of 2013 we see a significant upwards shift in arrivals – with total landings up 5.8% against the same period a year ago and holiday entries up 9.4%.”

The solid landings seen throughout summer and autumn continue to be administered with all the tourism sector’s center markets in development. For the month of May Australia, the source of 45% of New Zealand’s entries, is up by an exceptionally solid 12.3%. Tourism New Zealand’s other top five markets are additionally all in development: China (30.2%), Japan (8.6%), UK (0.3%), Germany (7.1%) and the USA (6.0%).

Justin notes that the outcomes are especially supporting for the long-haul western markets, which have been struggling for quite a while, and helps the positive effect seen from the investment in marketing New Zealand’s association with the Hobbit trilogy.

“A month ago International Visitor review indicated that 8.5% of all international guests surveyed between January and March said The Hobbit was a factor in animating their interest in New Zealand as a destination.

“With proceeded development through May from nexus target markets for the campaign, for example the USA, it is clear the 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand campaign is attaining its objectives – giving the extra reason and motivation to change interest in a vacation to New Zealand into a true booking.”

Furthermore the picture looks positive as the sector heads into the winter time of year.

“With the record snow levels seen a week ago over the nation it would appear that we are well placed for a sterling winter season for ski resorts and the wider industry.”

From 1 July, Tourism New Zealand will be executing its new Three Year Marketing Strategy, with increased subsidizes being committed over four key areas of its business: International business occasions, developing markets, high-value premium voyage and the up-scaling of particular action in core markets.

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