East Africa is one of the leading tourism destinations in sub-Saharan Africa because of the beautiful scenery, coastal areas, animal parks, fascinating history, culinary delights and adventure.
Here’s the latest in what is happening in East Africa:
Big Changes for Sub-Saharan Africa’s No.3 Carrier Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni will retire his post after ten years of service and after his hard-earned profit restoration after the airline’s losses suffered from the Westgage mall siege and a fire at its hub.
Kenya Airways, based in Nairobi, posted a net income of 384 million shillings ($4.5 million), a 9% increase in sales year over year from 2012.
A representative from the airline attributed the gains to “stabilization of euro-zone economies, favourable prices for jet fuel, a robust business environment and management focus on pruning loss-making operations”.
Kenya Airways is now worth more than double what it was when Naikuni took the reins in 2003. Naikuni, who will be 60 years old this year, expanded the company by purchasing 49% stake in Tanzania’s Precision Air.
In addition to several changes made to scheduled flights during the last year, the code-sharing agreement with Air France’s KLM Group is set to expand with KLM adding its code to Kenya Airways flights between Nairobi and London, Entebbe in Uganda, Kigali in Rwanda and the capitals Lusaka and Harare from Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Kenya Airways will, in turn, ad its code on KLM’s services between Amsterdam and Kilimanjaro, as well as Dar-es-salaam in Tanzania.
Though Nailuni’s contract has been extended to the end of 2014, a search is underway for his successor.
Tanzania Cites Issues with Security, Fee Collection and Data Sharing as they decline to join the East African Community (EAC) Common Visa
Three of East Africa’s most popular destination countries, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, are fast tracking their plans to have a common Visa by January 2014 in efforts to unite tourism through East Africa. However, the Tanzanian Government will hold back despite the EAC’s eagerness for them to join.
Chikandi Rumisha, spokesman for the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism said, “The proposed network of sharing data on tourists and fee collection, as well as security issues, leaves a lot to be desired”.
Regardless of reservations by the Tanzanian government, Waturi Matu, Coordinator of the East African Tourism Platform says that Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda understand that the advantages of the common visa greatly outweigh the issues presented, saying “Rwanda will be in charge of designing the visa and the plan is to have it launched in January next year with Tanzania and Burundi free to join at anytime.
Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda unveiled the common tourist visa at the London World Travel Market (WTM) earlier this month.
Tourists will be pleased to know that with the new East African Tourism Visa, they will only be required to pay $100 in total instead of $150 for three separate visas. Travel agents and other service providers in the East African tourism industry will offer these visas; the visas will also enable them to offer multi-destination packages because tourists will now be able to move freely between the tree countries.
The official launch date for the new common visa is January 2014.
The EAC is also excited about plans for a single destination for all future tourism trade fairs, including the International Tourism Board in 2014. The idea is to have a single destination where all major events are held each year, with exhibition sections for each country.
Eran Feinstein is the founder of Direct Pay Online. Direct Pay Online provides global e-commerce and online payments solutions for the travel and related industries He is a leading authority in the fields of e-commerce, travel and payments, having acquired extensive experience from various parts of the world.