Friday, 18 August 2017

KENYA: Nairobi Faces Increase In Domestic Air Travel By 22%

Nairobi has witnessed an increase in domestic aviation seat capacity compared to international average in the first seven months of the year, a report by travel analysis firm ForwardKeys shows.

Among the top 10 airports in Africa, Nairobi is the only one that saw a bigger growth in domestic seat capacity, while Lagos slumped on both the local and international fronts.

Most of the other airports in Africa’s top 10 are seeing a healthy growth in capacity, which is more international than domestic.

However, the most notable exception to this trend is Nairobi, which is seeing a 22 per cent boost in domestic capacity, read the statement.

The Kenyan aviation space has seen increased activity on both domestic and international routes. The latest entrant, Britex Air Services, announced new flights between Nairobi and Kisumu last month.

Jambojet added weekly flights between Nairobi and Eldoret citing increased passenger demand.

Last month, Fly 540 and Fly SAX set up offices at Isiolo International Airport ahead of its opening for domestic flights.
Olivier Jager, ForwardKeys CEO, said: The growth in air travel to Africa is impressive.

However, it is notable that consumer demand and airline investment is greater in travel to African countries from outside the continent than it is between African countries.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the total number of visitors arriving through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Moi International Airport (MIA) increased to 67,531 in May 2017 from 67,084 in April 2017.

The number of passengers who landed at JKIA increased from 179,511 in April 2017 to 179,571 in May 2017, while passengers who embarked increased from 180,388 persons to 180,431 in the same period.

French national carrier Air France announced that it would resume flights between Paris and Nairobi from next March after an 18-year hiatus, signalling rising travel demand on routes connecting the Kenyan capital to global cities.

Oman Air marked its re-entry into the market in March this year. The carrier had quit the route to focus on Zanzibar.

Morocco national carrier Royal Air Maroc increased flights on the Casablanca-Nairobi route while Emirates Airlines added an extra flight in June, bringing the total to three daily flights.

Lufthansa increased flights between Franfurt and Nairobi to six per week. Turkish Airlines will increase flights from Istanbul and Mombasa.
Switzerland’s largest carrier, Swiss International Air Lines, raised the number of flights between Zurich and Nairobi from five per week to six.


Tourism Observer

CHINA: Chinese Tourists Seek Asylum In Africa To Avoid Heat Wave

Africa is one of hottest destinations for Chinese tourists this summer.

With a video of an African man saying the temperature in China was too high and that he wanted to go back to his hometown to “bishu” means run away from heat wave going viral, the topic of “go to Africa to bishu” is buzzing.

Some Chinese said they were considering going to Africa to run away from the scorching sun.

During this year’s summer holiday, the number of people who pre-booked travel to Africa nearly doubled from a year earlier, according to online travel agency lvmama.com.

Chinese tourists aged between 25 and 40 and earning well are the main visitors to the continent.

Mauritius, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia are the most popular African countries among Chinese tourists.

This summer, many Chinese cities’ temperature hit or exceeded 35 degrees Celsius.

However, because some African countries are in the Southern Hemisphere, and eastern and southern African countries are at an altitude of over 1,000 meters, the temperature there is lower than in China in summer.

Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, the air routes between China and African countries are increasing, and some African nations have eased the visa policy to attract more Chinese tourists.

In 2008, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Africa only accounted for 3 percent of total outbound tourists, but last year, the figure rose to 10 percent with 11.3 million Chinese traveling to Africa, news website Cankaoxiaoxi.com said citing data from World Tourism Organization.

The website citing African media said the spending power of Chinese tourists is 40 percent higher than that of European visitors.



Tourism Observer

USA: African Airline To Connect Florida

Although the value of South Florida construction starts in the first six months of this year was 5% below the first six months of 2016, the area was sixth in the nation in the value of starts in the first half of the year, Dodge Data & Analytics reports.

The total value of starts in the region was almost $3.6 billion, Dodge reported, down from almost $3.8 billion in the first half of last year but well above the less than $3.1 billion in the first half of 2015.

Leading the nation this year was the New York metropolitan area at under $10.5 billion, which was down 22% from 2016’s $13.5 billion and half of 2015’s $21 billion in starts in the New York area.

Others in the top five were the San Francisco area at $4.5 billion, the Los Angeles area at $4.4 billion, Chicago at $3.8 billion and the Washington, DC, at $3.6 billion. Of those areas, only San Francisco was up from last year.

In an effort to expand its global route network, Miami International Airport is looking to establish links with African carriers on both cargo and passenger flights.

MIA currently has no direct flights to Africa, but we’re the closest geographic point, said Emilio Gonzalez, county aviation director. Mr. Gonzalez says an Africa link will probably be established soon, even before the Asia link that already has a formal taskforce and meetings lined up with potential air carriers.

Miami International Airport is planning a Terminal Optimization Plan to extend the lifecycle of its facilities another 15 years.

It’s a group of projects we’ve cobbled together under one plan that will total over a billion dollars, said Emilio Gonzalez, county aviation director.

The planning process is long-term with an undetermined timeline. Most of the renovations would require tearing down and relocating old facilities.

The taxi lot is just beat-up, old abandoned buildings, so it’s a safe bet we have to move the lot when they inevitably come down, Mr. Gonzalez said.

The plan doesn’t currently include terminal expansions, only renovations to run-down buildings.

The City of Miami is entering an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation for landscape, irrigation, bonded aggregate surfaces and pavers maintenance for Southwest Eighth Street from Southwest Eighth Court to Eighth Avenue, and on Southwest Eighth Avenue from Southwest Seventh to Eighth streets.

The city’s Department of Public Works approved design plans for beautification on state maintained right-of-way.

The 3Broamigo Development One LLC wants to install non-standard improvements abutting the new project on that right-of-way. The state requires a Maintenance Memorandum of Agreement, and the developer executed the non-standard improvement covenant with the city.


Tourism Observer

KENYA: Piles Of Garbage In Mombasa Become Tourist Attractions

Tourism city of Mombasa is stepping up efforts to get rid of heaps of garbage with planned employment of 65 cleaners.
The county government said in an advert it is looking to employ cleaners to supplement efforts by the department of environment to deal with the menace.

Governor Hassan Joho has been on the spot for failing to deal with the piling garbage in the county.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, have also criticised the governor for failing to get rid of the waste.

Over time, uncollected garbage has littered almost every space, including road reserves as well as residential and public areas in Mombasa.

The County Service Board has advertised vacancies for five cleansing supervisors and 60 general cleaners on a three-month non-renewable contract.

Garbage has been our main challenge. High season is setting in and we need to have our town clean, county communication director Richard Chacha said.

We have been criticised by many people mainly because of garbage. We want to address it once and for all and there are many other efforts we are taking to deal with it, he said.

The garbage menace was massively used as a campaign tool by Mr Joho’s rivals, Hassan Sarai, Hezron Awiti and Suleiman Shahbal who accused the governor of failing to clean the tourist city.

In June, the Mombasa County Assembly passed a Bill on waste management. The Bill came on the heels of an outcry from hoteliers, the business community and residents over the mounting waste.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch executive officer Sam Ikwaye termed the uncollected garbage an eyesore to locals and tourists.

He said tourists travelling by road from Moi International Airport to they city centre have to endure an intolerable stench from the Kibarani dumpsite.

Mr Chacha warned residents against littering. Anyone found littering faces an instant fine of Sh5,000 for failing to pay garbage collectors or dumping waste at non-designated places, states a proposed by-law.

The county has spent Sh2.3 million on building garbage collection points after phasing out the previous waste management system.

Hoteliers have asked the Mombasa and Kilifi county governments to collect rotting garbage and keep the resort towns clean ahead of the tourism high season.

Sam Ikwaye, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch executive said Mombasa, which is the country’s tourism hub, is filthy due to piles of uncollected garbage.

Mounds of garbage dumped on road reserves and public areas are emitting overpowering stench, making life miserable for locals and visitors, he said.

The KAHC official said the refuse in the town is an eyesore to both locals and international tourists visiting Mombasa for holidays.
In every corner of the town you travel, you are hit by sickening smell of rotting garbage or sewage emptied into storm-water drainage system, he said.

Mr Ikwaye said tourists travelling by road from the Moi International Airport have to endure an intolerable stench emanating from the Kibarani dumpsite.

For Mombasa to attract more holidaymakers, the city must be kept clean. The high season is just the corner and it is our wish that the county chiefs address the solid waste challenge, he said.

In Malindi, Ocean Beach Resort Managing Director Roberto Marini said the tourist town was choking with garbage due to non-collection of waste.
The hotelier added that the untidiness of the town is among the challenges crippling tourism in Malindi.

It saddening that a town which depends solely on tourism has been left untidy due to the laxity of the Kilifi county government in getting rid of the filth in the holiday destination,” he said.

Mr Marini called on the county authorities to clean the town for residents and visitors to live in a clean environment.

When reached for comment, Tendai Lewa, Mombasa's county executive in charge of health, said the county was grappling with the challenge of community garbage collectors who recklessly dump garbage in the streets.

He said the community garbage collectors throw waste on road reserves instead of placing it on designated stations where trucks can collect it.
We have more than 700 community garbage collectors who collect garbage from residential and business premises across the town, he said.

Sadly, instead of transporting the garbage to dumpsites, they carelessly pour the waste in the streets thereby making the city unclean, he added.
To address the issue, Mr Lewa said the county’s inspectorate department was cracking down on the collectors messing the town and would face the law.

We arrest between seven and eight irresponsible collectors and take them to court. The sentences meted on them will deter them from reckless throwing of litter in the town, he warned.

Mr Lewa assured Mombasa residents and hoteliers that the county would redouble its efforts to make the town clean.

In Kilifi, environment executive Mwachitu Kiringi said the county was addressing the matter.

Last week, we faced a garbage collection crisis in Malindi town after the contractor withdrew his services due to a payment delay, he said.
In order to rid the town of filth, Mr Kiringi said the county had hired a truck to collect the garbage that had piled up on road reserves.
He added that the county had repaired its trucks that were now working to keep the seaside resort town clean.

The county government has added six more garbage collection trucks as part of efforts to rid the city of filth.
The move came after hoteliers expressed concern over the piling up of garbage in the city at a time when the high tourist season begins next month.

Communications director Richard Chacha said the county had hired six more trucks to supplement the cleaning department in the collection of garbage across the city.

Apart from the trucks which collect garbage daily in the town, each of the six constituencies will receive one more truck each to assist in the collection of waste, he said.

Mr Chacha assured Mombasa residents, hoteliers and the business community that the county would keep the town clean.
However, he called on town dwellers and community collectors to place the garbage at designated areas for collection and disposal at the Mwakirunge dumpsite.

Mr Chacha warned against littering the city.

It is an irresponsible behaviour for town dwellers to dump waste on road reserves and public areas. Those messing up the town will be prosecuted, he said.

While it’s the responsibility of the county to collect garbage, motorists and pedestrians should stop throwing empty bottles and polythene bags in the streets.

Last week, Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast branch executive officer Sam Ikwaye said Mombasa, a tourism hub, was filthy due to piles of uncollected garbage.

He said the mounds of garbage dumped on the road reserves and public areas in the town were an eyesore and was making life miserable for locals and visitors.

In every corner of the town you travel, you are hit by the sickening smell of rotting garbage or sewage emptied into the storm-water drainage system, he said.



Tourism Observer

SWAZILAND: Reed Dance Festival Set For August 29

The Kingdom of Swaziland’s largest cultural festival, known as the Umhlanga or Reed Dance, is set to take place from 29 August with the main day (Day 7) set to take place on the 4th of September.

Filled with song and dance, and attended by the King, the main day which is also a public holiday in Swaziland, draws crowds from near and far to celebrate and share in all the festivities.

With traditions dating centuries back, the Reed Dance ceremony is an amazing spectacle.

It is during this ceremony that the Kingdom’s unmarried and childless females present their newly cut reeds to the Queen Mother to protect her residence.

From time to time, the King makes use of the occasion to publicly court a prospective fiancée or Liphovela.

When the main day arrives, young women from all over Swaziland and beyond her borders congregate at the royal residence in Ludzidzini for this momentous occasion.

Maidens gather in groups and head out along riverbanks to cut and collect tall reeds, bind them and return to Ludzidzini, the Royal Homestead in Lobamba.

Tens of thousands of maidens, led by Swazi princesses, provide a sea of colour as they dance and sing, proudly carrying their cut reeds.

Residents of this mountainous Kingdom are immensely patriotic about their culture and taking part in this festival is a proud and privileged moment for the entire family.

The highlight of the event is the reed-giving ceremony – one of Africa’s largest and most vibrant cultural sights.

The maidens gather at Ludzidzini dressed in traditional attire; bright short beaded skirts with colourful sashes dancing, singing and celebrating the unification of the Kingdom’s women.

His Majesty King Mswati lll joins these celebrations to pay tribute to the maidens.

At the end of the day, once all the maidens have presented their cut reeds, the rebuilding of the protective Guma (reed fence) around the Queen Mother’s homestead can begin.

The Umhlanga Festival bonds this small yet perfectly formed nation together. Its ever- increasing popularity defies the apparent decline of traditional cultures elsewhere in Africa.

Witnessing this festival is a truly unique experience of Swaziland’s blend of ancient culture, pristine wilderness, year round wildlife and spirit of adventure!


https://tourismobserver.blogspot.ug/2015/09/swaziland-reed-dancezulu-and-swazi_1.html

GHANA: Ghana Civil Aviation Authority Inaugurated

The reconstituted Governing Board of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has been inaugurated, with a charge on them to support the ongoing initiatives in the sector to achieve government’s vision for the sector.

The Board, chaired is by Air Commodore Rexford G.M Acquah (Rtd), and comprises Mr Simon C.M Allotey-Director General of the GCAA, Group Captain Eric Agyen-Fremppong-Ministry of Defence, Mr Ellis Hugh-Tamakloe-Ministry of Aviation, Mr Kwasi Owusu-Ansah, Mr Powis Deakens Spencer, Dr Sulemana Abdulai, Mrs Ernestina Swatson Eshun and Ms Joyce Opoku Boateng, the President’s nominees.

Ms Cecilia Dapaah, Minister of Aviation, who administered the official oath and the oath of secretary to the members on Tuesday, said government and the Ministry’s vision was to establish the Kotoka International Airport as an aviation hub in the West African sub-region and to position Ghana as the preferred destination of choice for travellers.
Giving her inaugural speech, she noted that the GCAA, established under the PNDC Law 151, 1986, to regulate the aviation sector and provide air navigation services within the Accra Flight Information Region (FIR), had a critical role to play in the achievement of that vision.

She said functions of the GCAA ‘put an enormous responsibility’ on the Board to ‘give direction and express advice to management of the GCAA in the performance of their work’, adding that the President Nana Akufo- Addo expected them to work with diligence and seriousness in order to fulfil government’s agenda.

Ms Dapaah said the Board must support initiatives like the decoupling of the air navigation services from aviation regulation in line with international best practices as well as ensure the scheduled completion of the new Air Navigation Services Centre, which was crucial for the decoupling.

The GCAA, which currently provides both regulation and air navigation services for the aviation sector in Ghana and the Accra FIR, is undergoing a process that will see the separation of those two duties. This is expected to allow the GCAA to more effectively regulate the industry.

She also stressed the need for partnership with the private sector to provide modern and attractive aviation infrastructure, to build capacity and establish the required institutional and policy framework to enhance safety and security of air services in the Accra FIR.
‘We are committed to giving you all the support to enable you offer your best to fulfil government agenda,’ she stated.

Air Commodore Rexford G.M Acquah (Rtd), new Chair of the GCAA Board, thanked President Akuffo Addo for the opportunity to serve the country and pledged the Board’s commitment to work hard to help the Ministry attain its objectives.

‘We further pledge to do our best to improve on the scope and quality of the aviation services within the sub-region and also ensure that the GCAA and its management maintains the highest standards of safety and security in the provision of air transport in the country,’ he added.

Mr Simon Allotey, Director General of the GCAA, in an interview with the GNA, said the Board would have its inaugural meeting where they will be briefed on the state of affairs at the Authority to enable them to deliver their mandate of providing broad policy directions and ensuring the implementation of those policies.

He said the completing the decoupling process will be one of the key focus area for the new board, which is currently being given the needed attention and focus. Others included the acquisition and installation of modern air navigation equipment as well as human resource capacity building programmes.

Mr Allotey said once the committee working on the decoupling process finished their work, it will be reviewed by various bodies, including the GCAA management and Board, and an independent consultant, but maintained ‘there’s no rush’.

RUSSIA: New MC-21 Airliner To Climb To 11km Altitude

The flight prototype of Russia’s new MC-21 medium-haul passenger jet will climb to an altitude of 11 kilometers for the first time in September this year, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.

The plane will start flying again soon, already in August. September is an extremely busy month. The plane should take to the skies more than 20 times in September, including its climb to an altitude of no less than 11,000 meters, Rogozin said.

This is necessary for the plane to fly over to Zhukovsky in October this year where all of us will meet it,the vice-premier said.

The deputy prime minister visited the production site in East Siberia earlier where work is under way to make the first four MC-21 planes.

As Rogozin said, the first flight prototype that had performed its debut flight is currently in the enterprise’s workshop.

It is covered all over with sensors to make readings of the work of all the plane’s assemblies in the conditions of overloads under the designated test program, Rogozin said, noting that the number of sensors exceeded 750.

From October this year, all the plane’s flight tests will be held in the town of Zhukovsky outside Moscow, the deputy prime minister said.

If this happens, if the plane is in Zhukovsky in October, then all of our other plans can also be implemented, Rogozin said.

The date of the MC-21’s first public flight will be known in October, the vice-premier said.

The date of the public flight will be known in October, this is for sure and I hope that this is how it will be,” he said. The date will be determined by testers in a working procedure, Rogozin said.

When the talk is about trials, anything may happen, including some critical remarks that may emerge and must be rectified, Rogozin said.

The new Russian short-and medium-haul narrow-body passenger plane MC-21 (Mainline Aircraft of the 21st Century) performed its debut flight on May 28, 2017 over the aerodrome of the Irkutsk Aviation Enterprise. The flight lasted half an hour at an altitude of 1,000 meters and at a speed of 300 km/hr.

Russia plans to produce two versions of the aircraft: the MC-21-200 and the MC-21-300. The plane’s versions differ only by their capacity: the MC-21-300 can seat from 163 to 211 passengers while the MC-21-200 can carry from 132 to 165.

The order book for the MC-21 airliner comprises 285 planes, 175 of which have been contracted on prepayment. Preliminary understandings have been reached and framework agreements have been signed on the other 110 airliners.

Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has become the first and the largest client: it intends to buy 50 MC-21 planes.

There is also a firm contract with Indonesia’s Crecom Burj Berthad for the delivery of 25 airliners and an option for 25 more planes, as well as a letter of intent signed with Egypt’s Cairo Aviation on the delivery of six passenger planes and an option for four other airliners.

Tanzania’s national airline Air Tanzania, as well as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia have displayed interest in the plane.

According to Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, Russia may supply up to 1,000 newest MC-21 planes through 2037.

GRAND CAYMAN: $285 Million Resort To Be Constructed At Grand Cayman

A major new resort project is coming to Grand Cayman from one of the Caribbean’s most innovative developers.

Fast-expanding developer Howard Hospitality Group has announced the development of a new $285 million project on the former Pageant Beach site in Grand Cayman, according to a press release.

The 456-room resort will feature seven food and beverage outlets, including a rooftop bar and grill, a rooftop spa and a rooftop infinity pool, along with a movie screening room, a kids’ club and 35,000 square feet of flexible function space.

It will also include six waterfront villas and condominiums available for purchase.

Our team is thrilled to be a part of such an extraordinary project, especially at a time when tourism and construction in Grand Cayman is so strong, with so much opportunity, said Howard Sitzer, chairman of HHG.

Pageant Beach has long been an iconic area of Grand Cayman and we are thrilled to submit plans for a resort that will help locals and travelers connect with the natural beauty that exists there,he added.

The planned five-star resort has not yet been named, but HHG has suggested that the property will feature a major global hotel flag.

The Pageant Beach site is set closer to downtown George Town, south of Seven Mile Beach.

HHG is also behind the recently-opened Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman, a 285-room resort on Seven Mile Beach.

HHG also debuted the new Locale millennial-focused hotel brand plan earlier this year.



Tourism Observer

RUSSIA: Sheremetyevo Airport Complete For Moscow Cargo

Sheremetyevo International Airport successfully completed construction of automated Moscow Cargo terminal with the an area of 43,000 m2 and annual capacity of 380 thousand tons of cargo.

Implementation of this unique project was carried out within the framework of the program of Sheremetyevo Airport’s development and modernization for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the far future. Commenced in March 2016 and completed in July 2017, the construction works were performed within a very short time, in an intensive mode and with a high quality.

Rostekhnadzor (Russian Federal Service for Ecological, Technical and Atomic Supervision) issued the statement of conformity of the new cargo terminal to requirements of technical guidelines, regulatory acts and design documentation, including requirements of energy efficiency and availability of devices at the facility to meter energy resources to be used. In its turn, Rosaviatsiya (Federal Agency of Air Transport) issued the permit to put the new cargo terminal into operation.

The new cargo terminal meets all modern requirements in the area of ground cargo handling, to a considerable extent exceeds the level of technical equipment of similar facilities in Russia and thus creates favorable conditions for further development of the global cargo hub at the premises of Sheremetyevo Airport in partnership with Volga-Dnepr Group and Aeroflot PJSC.

At the moment, works at the facility are being carried out to test equipment for cargo handling and storage, as well as to test information systems.

The new cargo terminal is equipped with the following:

- automated seven-tier system of cargo shelf storage and handling designed for 3,198 house-pallets;

- four-tier area of container storage equipped with automated ULD (air container) processing system with total capacity of 576 storage bins, including 60 storage bins intended to store ULDs with temperature-sensitive cargo (temperature range of +2 — +8°С);

- 13 conveyor lines reaching the aerodrome;29 cargo acceptance/pick-up points equipped with dock levelers and shelters, two of which are intended to handle oversized cargo (including cars) and two are intended to accept express shipment items.

Moscow Cargo LLC is planning to start the terminal’s commercial operation in September 2017 upon completion of start-up and commissioning works and receipt of all licenses and authorizations required to carry out activities as the temporary storage warehouse keeper at the new cargo terminal.

In autumn 2017 reconstruction of Starosheremetievskoe highway is to be completed, which will considerably improve accessibility of Sheremetyevo Airport and the new Moscow Cargo terminal by transport.



Tourism Observer

TANZANIA: Thugs Shoot Conservationist, Is A Poacher-free Tanzania Possible

Wayne Lotter of PAMS
It has transpired that while coming from the airport the car he was travelling in was blocked by another vehicle from which two men emerged who opened the car doors and immediately shot him in cold blood before making off with his laptop.

None of the local Tanzanian media has as yet filed any story about what clearly looks like an assassination given the Guardian’s assertion that Wayne had received numerous death threats in the past related to his work.

In a twist of irony though did Tanzania’s Daily News only yesterday write about the progress made in anti poaching operations, even quoting the late Wayne Lotter and concluding that ‘there should be no turning back in the fight against poaching!

POACHING is not only a threat to wildlife in Tanzania, but also across the African continent due to high demand for ivory for architectural ornaments and other uses especially in Asian countries.

Conservationists after learning of the assassination expressed their fears and worries that others too could be killed, should the killers be able to retrieve information from the stolen laptop.

The killing reminds of the attempt on the life of Emmanuel de Merode in April 2014 when he was gunned down in his vehicle as he returned with important documents after making a report to the local prosecutor’s office. De Merode survived but took months to recover at the time.

It has adverse effects on Tanzania’s tourism sector, which earns the nation at least $2 billion annually. Tanzania envisages becoming a middle income economy and an industrialised nation by 2025.

This means the government has to ensure all sectors of the economy operate as efficiently and effectively as possible to realise this vision. But this requires the political will to implement without which there will be no positive results.

After a few years of hardworking, the government has finally plugged some loopholes in poaching or smuggling of government trophies, thanks to the intervention of PAMS Foundation. Since the formation of a taskforce in November 2014 to investigate poaching, hundreds of suspected poachers or smugglers of government trophies have been arrested and prosecuted.

This has been facilitated by the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU). As a result, there is an increase in cases related to poaching or smuggling of government trophies filed at and adjudicated on in courts of law, the seizure of weapons and a reduction in poaching or incidents related to smuggling of government trophies in the country.

This is a notable achievement! “Thanks to some excellent intelligent work implemented by the NTSCIU within a few ecosystems previously (done initially with limited funding), PAMS Foundation was able to secure a significantly large grant, which enabled the Special Intelligent Project for Elephant Protection to be expanded nationwide since October 2014,” says PAMS Foundation Managing Director (Protected Areas Management Controls) Wayne Lotter in a statement.

His statement further says that, through the NTSCIU project, more than 870 poachers and illegal ivory traders have been arrested, more than 300 firearms and 20 motor vehicles used in wildlife crimes have been impounded and more than 240 people engaged in such activities have been prosecuted and those found guilty sentenced to serve at least 20 years in jail.

A new and effective approach in the handling of cases related to poaching or smuggling of government trophies started since 2014 during the fourth phase government under President Jakaya Kikwete, who effective from October 3, 2014 appointed Biswalo Mganga as DPP.

Before his appointment, he was serving as Assistant Director in the DPP’s Office and Senior State Attorney. Although there were efforts to prosecute suspected poachers or smugglers of government trophies even before, notable achievements are seen in the fifth phase government under President John Magufuli.

Suspects are now seen being prosecuted and those found guilty are imprisoned or fined or both. Smuggling of ivory, lion nails, giraffe bones and horns, rhinoceros horns, crocodile and hippopotamus teeth and other government trophies, including unlawful possession of live animals, has been going on for years, but hardly there was any effective strategy to contain the problem.

This has raised questions why it was difficult to contain poaching or smuggling of government trophies even where the culprits were arrested and arraigned. DPP Mganga says the problem has been partly contributed to a wrong mindset among some Tanzanians, who think the government values more animals than its citizens, which he says is not true.

Unfortunately, some magistrates, judges and lawyers have also this kind of mindset, which has been slowing down progress in the prosecution of suspected poachers or smugglers of government trophies in the country, he says.

He states protection of fauna and flora has a significant contribution to the national economy. Yet, some people don’t see or don’t want to see this connection. He says the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania he swore to protect stipulates the duty to protect natural resources, including wildlife and there should be efficient and effective strategies to protect them.

Article 9 of the Constitution articulates, among other things, that the state authority and all its agencies are obliged to direct their policies and programmes towards ensuring– (c) that activities of the government are conducted in such a way as to ensure that the national wealth and heritage are harnessed, preserved and applied for the common good and also to prevent the exploitation of one person by another and (i) that the use of national wealth places emphasis on the development of the people and in particular is geared towards the eradication of poverty, ignorance and disease.

So, he says, On the basis of this, living things, including wildlife, need protection and advocacy. According to him, Article 9 is the starting point of what he is doing in his capacity as DPP. Our natural resources, including elephants, rhinoceroses and giraffes, are protected for national interest and this is throughout the world.

We have to put in place better and appropriate strategies to protect our natural resources so that they are not depleted by the unscrupulous few for they are for both present and future generations, he notes.

He notes further that the law on poaching or smuggling of government trophies is clear, but it has been applied differently to the different ac cused, which he says shows a double standard and raises doubts on the integrity of some judges and lawyers, who put personal before national interests.

Between 2009 and 2014, there were 13 key accused, who were bailed, but jumped their bail. Seeing this, we have adopted a new approach to ensure all accused are available when their cases are being heard and determined in court.

This seems to be an efficient and effective approach for it has facilitated the hearing and determination of all 59 cases of poaching or smuggling of government trophies without any jump of bail and it is a great achievement, he states.

One of the issues, which is being complained about by the DPP’s Office is that for some poaching cases even where the evidence is clear, the judgement given is not consonant with what the law says.

Section 86(2)(c)(ii) of the Wildlife Act No 5 of 2009 stipulates that, where the value of the trophy which is the subject matter of the charge exceeds 1m/-, to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years, but not exceeding thirty years and the court may, in addition thereto, impose a fine not exceeding five million shillings or ten times the value of the trophy, whichever is larger amount.

Yet, for some cases of this nature those found guilty were sentenced to two years in prison, which raises more questions than answers on judicial independence and integrity. However, the DPP says for the time being poaching or smuggling of government trophies cases are being heard and determined on time.

He says another thing that has speeded up the hearing and determination of cases is the establishment of a fauna and flora desk, which he says although it started during the time of his predecessor Judge Feleshi, it has been strengthened during his tenure of office.

He notes that cooperation with stakeholders in and outside the country, including neighbouring countries, the police, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Judiciary and having focal persons in various parts of the country has also played a pivotal role in the speeding up of hearing and determination of the cases.

You can’t believe that the number of elephants has started increasing and even a flock of elephants has invaded human settlements in Dodoma, he says. On the other hand, the DPP sees there is a need to have judicial guidelines on bail conditions and judgement to avoid a double standard for the accused facing similar poaching charges.

This double standard in judgement cannot be equated with judicial independence, he explains. According to him, there is also a need to build capacity through training to make the fauna and flora desk more efficient and effective in the fight against poaching.

He notes that public awareness on environmental conservation and protection is extremely needed to curb pollution, which destroys animal habitats. He thus advocates environmentally friendly practices that put human, animal and plant life in a safer environment.

A poacher-free Tanzania is possible if we all cooperate to protect our natural resources, including the fauna and flora, he stresses. It is estimated that in 1961 (during independence), Tanganyika (now Tanzania) had 350,000 elephants, but the number dropped to 130,000 between 2002 and 2009.

In 2012, Tanzania had the second largest number of elephants in Africa (110,000) after Botswana, which had the largest elephant population (123,000) at the time. Another elephant census published in June 2015 shows Tanzania had 43,000 elephants left from 109,000 elephants recorded in 2009!

This sharp drop in the number of elephants and other rare species has alarmed the government and environmentalists both at local and international levels. If efforts made to curb poaching in the country continue, the elephant population will increase in the near future.

So, there should be no turning back in the fight against poaching!

TASMANIA: See Tasmanian Devils ,Venomous Snakes Like Copperheads, White-lipped Snakes,Tiger Snakes

Salamanca Market
Tasmania is Australia's only island state. It has the smallest land area of any state and the smallest population, with roughly 500,000 inhabitants. It is separated from the Australian mainland by a body of water called the Bass Strait that has isolated it for thousands of years.

Tasmania is the smallest of Australia's six states, with an area of 68,401km² (26,410 square miles). It is comparable in size to Ireland or the US state of West Virginia. Tasmania is separated from mainland Australia by the Bass Strait, from New Zealand by the Tasman Sea, and otherwise surrounded by the Southern Ocean. It is located right in the pathway of the notorious Roaring Forties winds that encircle the globe.

Most of Tasmania's population is concentrated around the south east and north coasts. The Midlands,the area between Hobart and Launcestion is primarily used for agriculture. The Huon Valley and the area between Launceston and Burnie is used for both agriculture and horticulture. The Central Highlands, the West Coast and the South West are all mountainous forested areas, a majority of which are protected inside national parks.

Tasmania is the most mountainous state of Australia, its tallest mountain is Mount Ossa at 1,617m (5,305 ft). Much of Tasmania is still densely forested, with the Southwest National Park and neighbouring areas holding some of the last temperate rain forests in the Southern Hemisphere.

Scientists believe that Tasmania was originally connected to the mainland of Australia and then separated as an island by rising sea levels, and may well have had Aboriginal inhabitants for thousands of years, perhaps even before it became an island. However, the recorded history of Tasmania begins with European discovery: first, by Dutchman Abel Tasman, from whom the island takes its name, in 1642; next, by the French in 1772; and finally, by the British between 1773 and 1799. Upon contact with British colonists, there were nine major Aboriginal tribes on the island, which the natives referred to as Trowunna.

As early as 1798, European whalers and seal hunters began arriving in Tasmania, and this situation motivated the Governor of New South Wales to set up a military outpost on Tasmania's Derwent River to prevent the French from taking control of the island. In 1804, Camp Risdon was founded on the Derwent, and within a few months, Hobart Town, now Hobart, was founded on the opposite river bank. Another colony was soon founded at Sullivan's Cove, which nearly perished from starvation in 1806 but ultimately survived.

Next followed the large penal settlement at Port Arthur, but all of the earliest towns were actually penal settlements to a large degree. In fact, 65,000 convicts, 40% of all those ever sent to Australia, went to Tasmania, and the colony had 1/3 of Australia's colonial population by 1830. At the time, however, it was known as Van Diemen's Land, its name being changed to Tasmania only in 1853 to disassociate it with its convict past.

The atrocities committed against the native Aboriginals during the 1820's and 1830's are collectively known as the Black War. The conflict arose as the British-immigrant population swelled and overtook that of the original natives, putting pressure on land formerly serving as kangaroo hunting grounds to be converted into sheep grazing pastures and farmland.

Another factor that led to conflict was that men outnumbered women four-to-one in Tasmania, and convicts began abducting native women. The Aboriginal men reacted with incessant attacks, which led to reprisals. By 1828, the governor gave permission for Aboriginals to be killed on sight in the settled districts. Soon, the native population dwindled to only 300, and these were mostly deported to Flinders Island, where most died of disease.

At first, Tasmania was a territory within the colony of New South Wales, but in 1825, it became a separate colony. In 1856, it got its own elected parliament and became self-ruling within the British Empire. In 1901, it joined five other colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia.

After joining Australia, Tasmania continued to grow in population, economically, and as a major tourist destination. Some major events in its more recent history are: the Tasmanian Fires of 1967, the 1975 Tasman Bridge collapse, the 2006 Beaconsfield Mine collapse, and the opening of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in 2011, which soon became Tasmania's top tourist attraction.

Geographically and genetically isolated, Tasmania is known for its unique flora and fauna. Tasmania has extremely diverse vegetation, from the heavily grazed grassland of the dry Midlands to the tall evergreen eucalypt forest, alpine heathlands and large areas of cool temperate rainforests and moorlands in the rest of the state.

Many flora species are unique to Tasmania, and some are related to species in South America and New Zealand through ancestors which grew on the super continent of Gondwana, 50 million years ago.

The island of Tasmania was home to the thylacine, a marsupial which resembled a Fossa (animal) or some say a wild dog. Known colloquially as the Tasmanian tiger for the distinctive striping across its back, it became extinct in mainland Australia much earlier because of competition by the dingo, introduced in prehistoric times.

Owing to persecution by farmers, government-funded bounty hunters and, in the final years, collectors for overseas museums, it appears to have been exterminated in Tasmania. The Tasmanian devil became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936, and is now found in the wild only in Tasmania.

Tasmania was one of the last regions of Australia to be introduced to domesticated dogs. Dogs were brought from Britain in 1803 for hunting kangaroos and emus. This introduction completely transformed Aboriginal society, as it helped them to successfully compete with European hunters, and was more important than the introduction of guns for the Aboriginals.

Tasmania's population is more homogeneous than that of other states of Australia, with many of British descent. Approximately 65% of its residents are descendants of an estimated 10,000 founding families from the mid-19th century. As of 1996, more than 80% of Tasmanians were born in the state and almost 90% were born in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, or Ireland. The ethnic homogeneity makes it an attractive location to study population genetics.

Until 2012, Tasmania was the only state in Australia with an above-replacement total fertility rate; Tasmanian women had an average of 2.24 children each.By 2012 the birth rate had slipped to 2.1 children per woman, bringing the state to the replacement threshold, but it continues to have the second-highest birth rate of any state or territory behind the Northern Territory.

Major population centres include Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie, and Ulverstone. Kingston is often defined as a separate city but is generally regarded as part of the Greater Hobart Area.

To foster tourism, the state government encourages or supports several annual events in and around the island. The best known of these is the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, starting on Boxing Day in Sydney and usually arriving at Constitution Dock in Hobart around three to four days later, during the Taste of Tasmania, an annual food and wine festival.

Other events include the road rally Targa Tasmania which attracts rally drivers from around the world and is staged all over the state, over five days. Rural or regional events include Agfest, a three-day agricultural show held at Carrick (just west of Launceston) in early May and the Royal Hobart Show and Royal Launceston Show, both held in October annually.

Music events held in Tasmania include the Falls Festival at Marion Bay (a Victorian event now held in both Victoria and Tasmania on New Year's Eve), MS Fest is a charity music event held in Launceston, to raise money for those with multiple sclerosis, the Cygnet Folk Festival is one Australia's most iconic folk music festivals and is held every year in January, the Tasmanian Lute Festival is an early music event held in different locations in Tasmania every two years and directed by Susan King.

Recent additions to the state arts events calendar include the 10 Days on the Island arts festival, and MONA FOMA, run by David Walsh and curated by Brian Ritchie.

Tasmania has a cool temperate climate with four distinct seasons.

- Summer December - February. Average maximum temperature is 21°C, average low 12°C.

- Autumn March - May. Very changeable weather.

- Winter June - August. Average maximum temperature is 12°C, average low 5°C. Most high lying areas receiving considerable snowfall.

- Spring September - November. Snowfall is common through to October.

The West Coast and the South West recieve a significantly higher amount of rainfall than anywhere else in the state. The number of rainy days per year in Tasmania is much greater than anywhere else in Australian. The saying four seasons in a day is very true here.

Daylight

- Summer: approximately 15 hours of daylight. (05:30-20:50)

- Winter: approximately 9 hours of daylight. (07:40-16:40)

Tasmania has produced an abundance of well-received literary works, far out of proportion to its size, and those interested in visiting the island, moving there or just learning about its people and culture will do well to explore some famous Tasmanian literature.

Tasmania's main industries are mining including copper, zinc, tin, and iron, forestry, agriculture, fresh produce,fruit, vegetables, dairy, seafood, beer and wine, and tourism.

National Public Holidays

- 1 January: New Years' Day

- 26 January: Australia Day, marking the anniversary of the First Fleet's landing in Sydney Cove in 1788.

- Easter weekend "Good Friday", "Easter Saturday", "Easter Sunday" and "Easter Monday" a four day long weekend in March or April set according to the Western Christian dates.

- 25 April: ANZAC Day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps), honouring military veterans

- Second Monday in June: Queen's birthday holiday.

- 25 December: Christmas Day

- 26 December: Boxing Day

Tasmania is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 18 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). Daylight Saving is observed from the first Sunday of October to the first Sunday of April the following year.

AEST - Australian Eastern Standard Time UTC+10

AEDT - Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time UTC+11

Tasmanian Devil
Although Tasmanian devils are nocturnal, they like to rest in the sun. Scarring from fighting is visible next to this devil's left eye.

The Tasmanian devil is a carnivorous marsupial found only in Tasmania. The size of a small dog, it is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world. It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, extremely loud and disturbing screech, and ferocity when feeding. Despite its appearance, the devil is capable of surprising speed and endurance, and can climb trees and swim across rivers.

Since 1996 devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has drastically reduced the devil population and now threatens the survival of the species, which in 2008 was declared to be endangered. The disease is a transmissible cancer, which means that it is contagious and passed from one animal to another. Individual devils die within months of infection. Programs are currently being undertaken by the Tasmanian Government to reduce the impact of the disease, including an initiative to build up a colonies of healthy devils in captivity, isolated from the disease. As of 2008 there is an estimated 10,000–15,000 remaining in the wild.

Tasmania regions

- Southern Tasmania (Hobart, Bruny Island, Cygnet, Dover, Huonville, Kingston, New Norfolk, Port Arthur, Richmond)
The most populous region of Tasmania. Hobart is Tasmania's capital and largest city. Hobart is also the second oldest city in Australia.

- Northern Tasmania (Launceston, Ben Lomond, Bridport, George Town)
This area encompasses the city of Launceston and the Tamar Valley, the mountainous region of Ben Lomond, the Midlands, and the North East.

- North West Coast (Smithton, Stanley, Wynyard, Somerset, Burnie, Penguin, Ulverstone, Devonport, Waratah, Cradle Mountain, Mole Creek, Sheffield, Latrobe)
Small coastal townships and cities following the coast. And some very scenic inland areas.

- East Coast (St Helens, Bicheno, Scamander, Swansea, Freycinet Peninsula, Maria Island)
Stunning beaches including the Bay Of Fires and Wine Glass Bay, voted some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

- West Coast (Queenstown, Strahan, Zeehan, Rosebery, Tullah)
The West Coast has long been the center of mining in Tasmania. This region has the smallest population of any region in Tasmania.

- South West (Maydena, Strathgordan, Melaleuca)
This whole region is protected inside the Southwest National Park.

- Bass Strait Islands (King Island, Flinders Island)
The two secluded but very scenic islands in the Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia.

Cities & Townships

Bicheno - beach town on the east coast

Burnie - the fourth largest city in Tasmania

Devonport - home to the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, third largest city

Hobart - the state capital

Launceston - the second largest city

Queenstown - historic mining town on the west coast

Richmond - home to many old buildings dating back to the 19th century as well as the oldest bridge in use in Australia

Ross - another of Tasmania's historic towns with many of the oldest buildings in Tasmania as well as one of the oldest bridges.

Scottsdale

Strahan

St Helens

Swansea

Wynyard

Other destinations

- Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula

- The Huon Valley

- Bruny Island

- The Nut at Stanley

Tasmania has some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery not just in Australia but also the world. Over 45 percent of Tasmania is protected in national parks so you can't make a visit here without checking at least a couple of national parks out. There's a park for every season and for every person.

Discover spectacular landscapes from highlands carved by glaciers, to quiet solitary beaches, from cool and silent rainforests, to colourful alpine wilderness wildflowers. Tasmania's 19 national parks encompass a diversity of unspoiled habitats and ecosystems which offer refuge to unique, and often ancient, plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth.

- Ben Lomond National Park

- Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

- Douglas-Apsley National Park

- Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

- Freycinet National Park

- Hartz Mountains National Park

- Kent Group National Park

- Maria Island National Park

- Mole Creek Karst National Park

- Mt Field National Park

- Mt William National Park

- Narawntapu National Park

- Rocky Cape National Park

- Savage River National Park

- South Bruny National Park

- South West National Park

- Strzelecki National Park

- Tasman National Park

- Walls of Jerusalem National Park

Tasmania's main air carriers are Jetstar Airways and Virgin Australia; Qantas, QantasLink and Regional Express Airlines have services from Tasmania. These airlines fly direct routes to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.

Major airports include Hobart International Airport and Launceston Airport; the smaller airports, Burnie (Wynyard) and King Island, serviced by Regional Express; and Devonport, serviced by QantasLink; have services to Melbourne. Intra-Tasmanian air services are offered by Airlines of Tasmania. Until 2001 Ansett Australia operated majorly out of Tasmania to 12 destinations nationwide.

Flights to Hobart from Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast.

Flights to Launceston from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Flights to Burnie and Devonport from Melbourne.

Flights to King Island and Flinders Island from Melbourne.

Tasmania is served by two Spirit of Tasmania Ferries from mainland Australia. They depart daily from Station Pier in Port Melbourne,a bayside suburb of Melbourne and arrive at Devonport taking the full night or the full day during peak summer periods for the crossing.

The crossing can be a little rocky at times, but provides beautiful views. You have the option of booking one of a range of a cabins or a reclining chair for the journey. The large ferries take vehicles, bikes, foot passengers and pets.

Crossings are also part of Cruise ship itineraries.

Rental car companies usually have restrictions on taking vehicles into or out of Tasmania on the ferry. If you have hired a car on the mainland and need a car to hire in Tasmania, it's best to drop the car off in Melbourne CBD,there is no hire car dropoff at Station Pier, then take the 109 tram out to Station Pier,the terminus is across the road from the ferry terminal; car hire is available at the Devonport terminal.

Getting around Tasmania by car is by far the most convenient way to see what the state has to offer. Cars can be brought into Tasmania from the mainland on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, or hired upon arrival by the major operators such as Redspot, Hertz and Avis.

With the exception of Highway 1 between Devonport, Launceston and Hobart, travel times by car will be much longer than you think. The state limit is 110km/h, though achieving that speed on some of the coastal or inland highways is not often possible, and the speed limit of some of those roads may only be up to 90km/h anyway. Many major roads wind their way through mountain passes and along coastlines, with few overtaking lanes, and some major sections of more remote road may be in need of minor repair.

Seek local advice if timing is critical, or just allow more time. What appears the most direct road can add hours to your journey time. Again, seek local advice on the quickest route if timing is critical. Also be aware that on some of the winding roads, or on B roads, some locals who are used to driving those roads may try to overtake on inappropriate stretches of road or start to tailgate you if you aren't travelling at the speed limit.

Tasmania uses an alphanumeric system for road references, and all roads are generally well marked with references and destinations. Attractions are generally well signposted from the nearest main road. As a result, it is quite possible to navigate most of Tasmania using only a rudimentary map. Exploring the forests can often lead to a maze of forest roads. A GPS can come in handy for finding your way out, but beware GPS maps are not always up to date and following them blindly can add unnecessary time to travel.

Some indicative travel times, not including any rest periods:

- Hobart to Launceston: 2h20m (199km)

- Hobart to Devonport: 3h30m (279km)

- Hobart to Cockle Creek: 2h10m (117km)

- Hobart to Stanley: 4h30m (402km)

- Hobart to Queenstown: 3h40m (259km)

If you have plenty of time in Tasmania, buses can be an option, but you would be advised to study timetable carefully and to do an extra bit of planning, as services can be infrequent.

Two major companies which provide services around the state are:

- Redline Tasmania

- Tassielink

The main population centres are serviced by local bus networks provided by:

Metro Tasmania provides intra-city bus services for Burnie, Hobart and Launceston.
Merseylink provides services to Devonport and Latrobe.

There are no public passenger trains in Tasmania, the rail network is solely for for freight and industry.

The West Coast Wilderness Railway is a tourist train which runs between Strahan and Queenstown on the West Coast. The trip takes about 3 hours with lunch included.

- Par Avion offer scenic flights across the state and services into Melaleuca in the Southwest National Park.

- Airlines of Tasmania offer flights between Launceston and Cape Barren Island.

- Sharp Airlines offer flights to Flinders Island from Launceston and flights to King Island from Launceston and Burnie.

Bicycle touring is a popular way to see Tasmania.

Anyone who spends a little time in the Tasmanian bush country is likely to see such animals as the following: Kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons or small marsupials, ringtail and brushtail possums and wombats which are short-legged, stubby-tailed marsupials.

Though the odds of a sighting are less than with the animals listed above, you might also catch sight of any of the following: A duck-billed platypus, a spiny anteater, a Tasmanian Devil, a bandicoot or potoroo small, jumping marsupials or a carnivorous marsupial called a quoll.

If you spend any time in the bush you are very likely to see:

- Kangaroos, Wallabies, and Pademelons are everywhere throughout Tasmania.

- Wombats can be found in many national parks. Be quiet while walking to increase your chances.

- Ringtail and Bushtail Possums only come out at night. If you stay the night in a national park you will be sure to encounter one.

Less common wildlife include:

- Echidnas are rarely seen in the bush. They're more easily spotted when crossing roads.

- Bandicoots and Potoroos are at the small end of the jumping marsupial scale.

- Platypus are very elusive. If you are persistent and very quiet and still you may find one rummaging the bottom of a creek.

- Eastern and Spotted-tail Quolls very rarely seen.

- Tasmanian Devils are rarely seen in the wild. They can sometimes be spotted along roadsides eating roadkill at night.

Most popular landmarks of Tasmania:

- Bay of Fires: The blue waters, red rocks, and white-sand beaches along the Bay of Fires has made it a popular retreat area for camping, boating, fishing, swimming, surfing and bird watching. Even just walking along its scenic coast is a major tourist draw.

Cataract Gorge: "The Gorge" is a mere two-minute drive, or 15-minute walk, from downtown Launceston. You can follow a foot path down the cliff-side and into this unique, natural formation to enjoy its beauty. You will also find restaurants, swimming pools and a beach.

Hastings Caves: This site has a number of caves you can explore, including the biggest dolemite tourist cave in all Australia — Newdegate Cave. You will see flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites, columnar formations and unusual helictites, which have tiny filaments of calcite growing in every direction. You can also relax in an on-site thermal pool.

- Cradle Mountain

- Freycinet Peninsula and Wineglass Bay

- Gordon River

- Mole Creek Karst

Australia's only national park featuring caves. Among many features are the King Solomon and Marakoopa Caves, both of which can be viewed with Tasmania Park Service guides leading you. Both caves are distinctly different and a separate entry ticket is required for each. Tour times are staggered throughout the day.

- Port Arthur is the best preserved convict site in Australia. Many years ago, this site was a key role in the colonial system of convict discipline. During your experience, you will have the chance to take guided tours of the Commandant's House, Parsonage, Trentham Cottage, Junior Medical Officer's quarters, historic buildings and ruins of the Penitentiary, Barracks, Guard Tower and military precinct, Hospital, Paupers' Depot and Asylum. Port Arthur is surrounded by beautiful bushland and trails available to explore the land around you.

- Salamanca Place in Sullivans Cove, is Hobart's favourite hang out. Salamanca is lined with a long row of sandstone buildings built in the 1830s. You can wander under the heavy stone arches to find craft and design shops, jewellers, coffee shops, restaurants, bookshops, fashion boutiques, and the Salamanca Arts Centre and artists’ galleries. Every Saturday there’s the Salamanca Market, where you can buy anything from a handmade wooden toy or a hand-spun, hand-knitted sweater to fresh fruit and vegetables or a 50-year-old china plate.

- The Nut is located at the historic village of Stanley, in far north-west Tasmania. The Nut, a sheer-sided bluff is all that remains of an ancient volcanic plug. A walking track climbs to the summit of The Nut, or you can take the chairlift, with spectacular views across Bass Strait beaches and over the town. There is accommodation and an excellent campground in Stanley, and the town is a good base for exploring the forests and coastlines further west.

- Tahune Forest Airwalk

- Mt Wellington

Most popular parks in Tasmania are:

- Mole Creek Karst: A national park in Tasmania, at Mole Creek Karst you will find two tour-able caves: King Solomon and Marakoopa Caves.

- Port Arthur: In the midst of beautiful bushland traversed with foot trails, you will find the best-preserved convict site in all Australia. You can take a guided tour of the Commandant's House, Parsonage, Penitentiary, Barracks, Guard Tower, Hospital and Paupers' Depot and Asylum.

- The Nut: "The Nut" is a sheer-sided bluff, near the village of Stanley, that is the only remains of an ancient volcano. You can climb walking trails to the summit or get there the easy way — using the chairlift. At the top, you can look out over Bass Strait, its sandy beaches and the town of Stanley.
Some of the most popular man-made attractions include:

- Salamanca Market: This is a street market in Hobart held every Saturday at Salamanca Place. It is overflowing with arts, crafts, fresh produce, and thousands of tourists.

- Museum of Old and New Art: This is the top Hobart tourist attraction and has a huge inventory, but be aware it has many controversial exhibits.

- Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens: This immensely large garden has been in Hobart since 1818.

Tourists are as diverse in their interests as Tasmania is in its offerings. The rugged terrain lends itself to a wide array of outdoor adventure activities, such as the following:

Bushwalking, also known as trekking, is very popular. Two of the most famous bushwalks are the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair and The South Coast Track from Melaleuca to Cockle Creek, a six-day walk.

Bike touring is one of the most scenic ways to familiarize yourself with the Tasmanian landscape. Also consider mountain biking; there's plenty of rough terrain on the island to facilitate it.

Four-wheeling off-road in an all-terrain vehicle is common in this rugged Australian state. Partly this is simply for the pleasure of the ride and the up-close look at the scenery, but there are also many places you simply have a hard time accessing, especially in the woodlands, unless you have an ATV.

- Trout fishing can be facilitated by local professional guides who specialize in finding you the best trout spots, with due regard for seasonal and weather factors. However, there is more to fish for in Tasmania than just trout, and deep sea fishing is very popular offshore.

- Scuba diving finds one of its most ideal temperate diving environments in the world in Tasmania. There are gigantic kelp forests, numerous shipwrecks, reefs, unique marine life (both plants and animals) and dive sites dotting the whole coast — some of the best are in the Bay of Fires, near the Tasman Peninsula, and by Flinders Island. And you can also, of course, swim, dive and surf at the same beaches where much of the scuba diving goes on.

- Kayaking is an adventurous way to explore the Tasman coastline, entering tiny coves as you ply along the rugged shore, and you'll find many kayak guides in both Hobart and elsewhere. You can also rent jet boats, cruise the coast in a sailboat or yacht or arrange for whitewater rafting in the inland region.

- Hang gliding and zip-lining are two great ways to fly over the canopy of Tasmania's thick forests and see them in a way you never otherwise would. There are tours of this sort that last as long as three hours and are headed up by highly-trained professionals. Another way to get a "bird's eye view" of the landscape is to go on scenic airplane or helicopter flights.

- Other activities you may also wish to take part in include: spelunking in Tasmania's cavernous caves, rock climbing, skiing the high inland slopes in the winter (same months as summer above the Equator), camping in its pristine woodlands and horseback riding.

Adventure Activities

- Abseiling
- All Terrain Vehicles
- Bicyle Touring
- Caves and Caving
- Diving
- Jet Boats
- Kayaking
- Mountain Biking
- Rock Climbing
- Skiing
- Sky Diving
- Swimming
- Surfing
- Whitewater Rafting
- Outdoor Activities
- Bushwalking/trekking
- Camping
- Coastal and River Cruising
- Fishing
- Golf
- Horse Riding
- Scenic Flights
- Sailing and Yachting
- Wildlife Watching
- Adventure Tasmania has a growing list of tour operators for Adventure and Outdoor activities.

Visitors to Tasmania are greeted with a wide variety of shopping opportunities, including an abundance of outdoor markets and quaint little antique shops. There are also many art galleries with for-sale items and small boutique shops with unique stock. You can find shopping malls and standard Australian stores selling trinkets like boomerangs and koala Teddy bears, but this will concentrate on some of the more distinct places to shop in Tasmania:

In Hobart, you should check out two main areas: the Central Business District and the small side-streets and lanes where some of the more unusual shops tend to be hidden away. Some of the best places to shop in Hobart include the following:

For high-fashion clothing, try the suburb of Sandy Bay just south of the CBD or any of the major shopping malls lining Murray and Liverpool Streets in Hobart.

Go to Art Mob on Hunter Street if you want a souvenir shop that specializes in Aboriginal handicrafts/artwork.

Try Mason Studio Jewelers or Emily Snadden at Salamanca Arts Centre for handcrafted jewelry with elaborate, original designs, some of them in an Aboriginal style.

The Coin and Stamp Place is the only shop in Hobart specializing in coin and stamp collecting as well as in all things military-related.
Kent & Kent Antiques by Constitution Dock gives you both a wide range of authentic antiques and a great view over the bay.

In the same building as Kent & Kent Antiques, you'll find Astrolabe Booksellers, which has a large stock of Tasmanian, Australian, Antarctic, and maritime-themed books, besides more general fare. Many of the books are out of print and rather rare finds.

Salamanca Market is a must-see stop in Hobart. It is open every Saturday morning and has numerous stalls offering everything from cheeses and jam to hand-knit beanies and other handicrafts to woodwork and glassware.

Saddlers Court Gallery in Richmond, just 16 miles north of Hobart, is an arts and crafts gallery with works on display and for sale by over 100 local Tasmanians. You will find paintings, prints, woodwork, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry and more.

In Launceston, Tasmania's second-largest city, and in other parts of the island's northern half, you will find all of the following and more:

At Design Tasmania Center in Launceston, you can find all manner of handmade wares, but its Tasmanian Wood Design Collection is particularly popular for its woodcrafts carved out of locally grown timber, including products of myrtlewood, blackwood, pine and sassafras.

Penguin Market is the largest outdoor market in north Tasmania, having over 100 stalls that wrap around the Penguin Primary School. The town is set on the scenic northwest coast and offers everything from furniture to collector's coins, to homewares. Local musicians perform at the market on Sundays, and the kids may enjoy face-painting activities or some time in the on-site jumping castle.

In the north Tasmanian town of Latrobe, you may wish to visit Reliquaire for a unique shopping experience. Toys, candles, handbags, puppets, games, cook books, and Venetian masks compete for attention.

Tasmania now has a wide range of restaurants, in part due to the arrival of immigrants and changing cultural patterns. Scattered across Tasmania are many vineyards, and Tasmanian beer brands such as Boags and Cascade are known and sold in Mainland Australia. King Island off the northwestern coast of Tasmania has a reputation for boutique cheeses and dairy products. Tasmanians are also consumers of seafood, such as crayfish, orange roughy, salmon and oysters, both farmed and wild.
Tasmanian salmon on a pea and corn fritter
One of the most fun parts of experiencing a new place as a visitor is partaking in the local food culture and Tasmania has plenty to offer in this regard:

Fruits and vegetables and all manner of organic foods are abundantly available. One of the island's nicknames is, in fact, "Apple Isle." You will find markets with fresh produce and restaurants that convert it into farm-fresh dishes.

Chips and gravy, (french fries with rich gravy poured over them) is an extremely popular seller, and you can find them at a local "milk bar" (small cafe).

More Wild abalone — a shellfish that flourishes along the storm-tossed, Tasmanian coastline — comes from Tasmania than anywhere else on the planet. Also look for scallops, oysters, mussels and crayfish.

The Atlantic Salmon that is farmed in Tasman waters is much-sought by top chefs for its flavor and texture, even if it's quite a long way from the Atlantic.

Leatherwood honey, produced by beekeepers working in the forested valleys of western Tasmania, has a unique flavor, a deep-yellow coloration, and is unusually thick and creamy.

Cheeses produced in Tasmania are famous throughout Australia, mainly due to the efforts of King Island Dairy. You can try hard, soft, cheddar and blue cheeses, or even cheese from goat's or sheep's milk.

Black truffles were discovered in Tasmania in 1999, and since then, the industry has attracted the attention of European chefs who prize them for the fact that they grow during Europe's truffle off-season. The size ranges from a finger's width to a hand's breadth.

Beef grown in Tasmania is free from the antibiotics and hormones used in most other regions, and the cattle are all grass-fed. In the northwest corner of the island, you can find Wagyu beef grown for export to Japan and for tourists. Other meats to look for include: venison, quail and wallaby,a small kangaroo-like marsupial.

Ball and Chain Grill in Salamanca Place. Here, you will find fresh Tasmanian beef, poultry, seafood and more, all grilled over charcoals.

Blue Eye Seafood Restaurant, also in Salamanca Place, brings together virtually all of Tasmanian seafood under one roof. The Bruny Island oysters and Spring Bay mussels are especially well-known here.

Authentic Asian Gourmet on the Pier, looking over Hobart's Sullivan Cove, is just that — an authentic taste of Asia on a pier a bit far from it.

Amigo's, in North Hobart on the famous restaurant strip known as Elizabeth Street, has been serving up high-quality Mexican food along with local Tasman dishes for three decades.

Annapurna Indian Cuisine is also on Elizabeth Street, but a second location is found in Salamanca Place. Those unaccustomed to Indian food might think Tasmania an unusual place to first taste it, but Asian immigrants to Australia have brought their culinary skills along with them.

Travelers to Tasmania who are interested in sampling some unique, locally produced beers, whiskies, fruit ciders and fine wines will find plenty to choose from. In fact, the island has quite a long history of brewing/distilling, and many of the traditional techniques are still employed.

Boags beer of Launceston and Cascade beer of Hobart are by far the two major beers produced in-state, and you can tour both Cascade Brewery and J. Boag & Sons Brewery for an up-close look at the manufacturing process and some samples. Boag beer is traditionally the favorite of north-islanders, while Cascade fills that role to the south, but that distinction is now fading as islanders re-locate more frequently and bring their beer preferences with them.

Smaller, boutique, breweries are also found scattered all over the state, including: Seven Sheds in Railton, Van Dieman Brewing in Evandale, Iron House Brewery in White Sands, Moo Brew in Hobart and Morrison Brewery in Launceston.

You can also tour the Tasmanian whiskey-making industry with such groups as Tasmanian Whiskey Tours or Whiskey Trail, and you will learn much about the people, stories and methods involved from an expert tour guide.

Three major whiskey distilleries in Tasmania are:

Overeem Distillery, a family-owned business that makes Overeem Single-Malt Whiskey.

Sullivan's Cove Whiskey, a luxury brand done in small batches only, by traditional methods only, and using Tasmanian ingredients only.

Lark Distillery in Hobart, another single-malt whiskey producer, which offers a grand selection of whiskies in both old casks and new and with a unique character that makes them proudly Tasmanian.

Due to Tasmania's location further south than the Australian mainland and to its cooler climate, the wines produced on the island are distinct in flavor from those made further north. The main wines produced are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

There are many tour groups that will take you, step by step, through the various Tasmanian wine-producing regions, though you could also opt to simply drive through the vineyards and visit the wineries on your own. Some of the main grape-growing areas on the island are: the Tamar River Valley just north of Launceston, the Southern Wine Route, which includes the Derwent, Coal and Huon River Valleys not far from Hobart, and the more far-flung wine routes of the northwest corner and along the eastern coast.

Tasmanian travelers will find a wide array of accommodations where they can rest and recover from the day's activities. The options are very extensive indeed, but here are a few exemplary choices within four major categories:

Camping and Caravanning

Tasmania has one of the least-touched natural environments in all of Australia. For this reason, camping at state parks and nature reserves, staying in upscale but close-to-nature cabin accommodations and "caravanning" at any of the state's over 50 caravan (RV) parks are all popular ways to tour the island.

Some of the best such places to camp or caravan throughout Tasmania include:

- Discovery Holiday and Seven Mile Beach in Hobart

- Launceston Holiday Park in the north

- Crayfish Creek Cabin Park in the northwest

- Hillcrest Tourist Park & Market on the "sunshine (east) coast"

- Strahan Holiday Park on the west coast

Hotels and Motels
Tasmanian hotels/motels cover the full range from budget-conscious to five-star luxury living. Many of them are located in major tourist hot spots, and they frequently include Wi-Fi, swimming pools, game rooms, childcare centers and gymnasiums.

Ten of the most popular hotel chains include: Accor, Best Western, Budget, Grand Chancellor, and Rydges on the more economical side; and on the more upscale side of things, Innkeepers, Pure Tasmania, Stay Tasmania, Tassie B&B Pubs, and TasVillas Group.

Bed and Breakfasts

Tasmania is famous for its numerous, locally owned bed and breakfast establishments. Some are set in-town inside of colonial-style buildings, while others are located on the edge of the wilderness or near popular beach strips. All of them, however, offer first-rate service and a memorable Tasmanian breakfast.

Exemplary B&B establishments are:

Hobart Horizon is located in the beach-side Hobart suburb of Sandy Bay. You stay in a private apartment with access to a fully stocked kitchen, laundry room and private balcony overlooking the Derwent River. The Hobart CBD is only five minutes away.

Red Rooster Host Farm is a B&B in a traditional Tasmanian farm setting and is set in the woodlands not far north of Launceston. You can relax in peace and quiet, view wildlife, stay in a quaint but well supplied country cottage and enjoy a farm-style Tasmanian breakfast.
Resorts and Lodges

Tasmania's many resorts and lodges are often set amid natural beauty, such as on the edge of a state nature park or on a cliff-side overlooking the ocean, and they offer the highest level of luxury accommodations. You can expect a full experience,including things like guided tours, spa treatments and fresh local foods and wines.

Exemplary resorts/lodges are:

The Lodge on Elizabeth in North Hobart, located on the restaurant-rich Elizabeth Street just five minutes from the CBD. Some suites come with personal spas, and all guests get a continental breakfast.

Aspect Tamar Valley Resort Grindelwald just 15 minutes north of Launceston is surrounded by lakes, mountains, and vineyards. It offers guests golf, tennis, saunas, a heated pool, a plush and fully stocked room and near-at-hand fine dining and shopping.
Respect

Tasmanians are generally more laid back and friendly than their mainland counterparts. They are usually very willing to help you out or give advice when asked.

Jokes are occasionally made at the expense of Tasmanians by mainlanders about being inbred or have two heads. This is highly offensive. While this joke may slide in other parts of Australia it will not go down well here.

Vacationing in Tasmania is an experience that many enjoy and remember for a lifetime, but unless your tour of Tasmania is a safe one, you may find yourself remembering it for all the wrong reasons. Even on vacation, safety must still be put first. Here are 10 travel safety tips that tourists to Tasmania should heed:

Carefully adhere to all traffic regulations while touring Tasmania's scenic countryside or exploring the streets of Hobart and other island municipalities. Speed limits are normally 50 km/hr (30 mi/hr) in town and 100 km/hr (60 mi/hr) out of town, but watch closely for posted limits and school zones.

Drive for conditions. Tasmania is the most mountainous state in Australia and has numerous winding, hilly roads that must be maneuvered with care. Be on the lookout for flocks of sheep, horseback riders and tractors as you drive, and be aware that ice can unexpectedly appear on the highway due to notoriously unstable daily weather patterns.

Look for wildlife on the roads from dusk till dawn, and expect to see plenty of roadkill all day long. Wallabies and wombats can mess up your vehicle quite a bit if you hit one, but never swerve around them unless you are sure no other vehicles are in your path.

When at the beach, never swim out of designated swim zones, dive where you are not sure of the water depth or wander too far out where dangerous rip currents can catch you away. Especially if children will be with you, be sure a lifeguard is on duty when/where you will swim.

If you go bushwalking, bring full gear, a map, a compass and plenty of water to drink. Be sure to sign the logbook before/after each walk, and don't rely on there being constant Wi-Fi coverage. Rain and cold can strike suddenly, so bring a rain poncho and some warm clothing even if it is sunny out.

Be wary of three species of venomous snakes that live on the island: copperheads, white-lipped snakes and tiger snakes. The same anti-venom works for all three species, no one has died of a snake bite in Tasmania since 1977 and most snakes will flee at the sound of people approaching, but still be on your guard.

Boil water before consuming it if you need to refill your water supply while hiking or camping. Even though the water is sometimes safe to drink in remote wilderness areas, you don't want to take any chances.

Never go without mosquito repellent when walking in the woods or other rustic areas because Tasmanian mosquitoes carry various harmful diseases, including Ross River Virus.

Beware of Jack Jumpers, which are a Tasmanian ant species capable of jumping onto passersby and delivering fiery, stinging bites. Locally known as "jumping-jack firecrackers," these ants are responsible for one fatality every four years.

Avoid contact with unknown plant species. There are over 1,000 poisonous plants in Australia, and their toxins can cause things like diarrhea, rashes and vomiting.

When driving observe the speed limits. The rules are simple. 50km/h on all Tasmanian streets, and 100km/h on highways and country roads unless otherwise signposted. Many of Tasmania's country roads are narrow and windy, use common sense and drive to the conditions - not the speed limit.

Always slow down at school zones and crossings when in operation or you may be surprised by a waiting police car and receive a fine.

Be especially careful driving between dusk and dawn as this is when the wildlife is most active. Be prepared to see a lot of roadkill. Wallabies and wombats can make a mess of your vehicle if hit. Drivers swerving to avoid wildlife have caused many accidents.

Bushwalking can be a truly breathtaking experience in Tasmania, but be sure to obtain the right gear, local advice and maps. Always sign the logbook at the beginning and end of each walk. Be aware that mobile coverage is limited in wilderness areas. The main dangers of bushwalking are getting lost and/or suffering from hypothermia.

Tasmania's weather is notoriously changeable. Be sure to take a good raincoat and warm clothes with you even on a sunny day because an hour or two later it could be pouring with rain. If undertaking more serious bushwalking a map and compass is a must, as is a good sleeping bag and tent for multi-day walks.

There are three species of snake in Tasmania: copperhead, white-lipped, and tiger. The tiger snake is one of the most venomous snakes in the world, but don't let that deter you. No one has died in Tasmania by snake bite since 1977, almost 40 years ago! All three use the same anti-venom so identification of the snake if bitten is not important. Most snakes will slither away as soon as they hear you coming.

While in wilderness areas the water may be good to drink, but it is still highly recommended that you boil before consumption. If in touristy areas, such as The Overland Track, always boil your water.

Mosquitoes are present all year round. There are mosquitoes-born viruses. Numerous cases of Ross River Virus are on record with the State Health Department .A good repellent is advisable if going into the bush.



Tourism Observer

Thursday, 17 August 2017

QATAR: Qatar Waives Entry Visa Requirements For Citizens Of 80 Countries

Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MoI), Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar Airways announced that Qatar will allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries, effective immediately.

Citizens of those countries wishing to visit Qatar will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa; instead, a multi-entry waiver will be issued free-of-charge at the port of entry, upon presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.

Depending on the nationality of the visitor, the waiver will either be valid for 180 days, from the date of issue, and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar (multiple-entry waiver); or it will be valid for 30 days from the date of issue and entitle the visitor to spend up to 30 days in Qatar with the possibility of applying for an extension of the waiver for an additional 30 days (multiple-entry waiver).

These developments come as part of a series of measures that Qatar has taken to facilitate visitor access to the country. Last month, Qatar launched an e-visa platform, www.qatarvisaservice.com, through which travellers of all nationalities can apply for tourist and visitor visas with more efficiency and ease.

The country is also considering further enhancements to its visa policy, such as waiving visa requirements for holders of a residence permit or a valid visa from the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Schengen countries.

This waiver would allow eligible visitors to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation by completing a simple online application at least 48 hours prior to travel.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: Today’s announcement places the State of Qatar as the most open country in the region. This is a momentous occasion for Qatar, making the number of nationalities eligible to enter our country without a visa the highest in region, which is something that we are very proud of.

Qatar Airways is the patriotic flag carrier for the State of Qatar and as such we are extremely honoured to bring millions of people each year to our beautiful, welcoming and historic country.

This important initiative from the Ministry of Interior and Qatar Tourism Authority will provide an opportunity to welcome even more visitors, from even more countries, to experience the many exciting attractions that await them.

According to Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development officer at QTA, visa facilitation is a critical component of the national tourism sector strategy, which QTA is currently reviewing in partnership with stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

With renewed focus by the country’s leadership on diversifying the national economy, a revised strategy which empowers various players to boost the growth of tourism is set to be launched on 27 September 2017, when Qatar hosts the official celebrations of World Tourism Day.

Easing entry to Qatar is a key enabler for the growth of Qatar’s tourism industry. With this announcement we are already turning the pages of the Next Chapter of Qatar’s journey towards 2030, commented Al Ibrahim.

Together with our partners in the public and private sectors, we have examined all of the elements needed to create a smooth and enticing experience that can attract visitors from around the world.

There is no doubt that facilitating and streamlining access at all ports of entry are key factors in creating a positive first and lasting impression of Qatar.

Al Ibrahim added, With 80 countries eligible for a visa waiver, Qatar is now the most open country in the region and we are delighted to invite visitors to discover our renowned hospitality, cultural heritage and natural treasures.

Brigadier Mohammed Al Ateeq, Director General of the Department of Passport and Expatriates Affairs at MoI, commented, We are very pleased to announce that nationals of 80 countries are now eligible for a visa waiver and can enter Qatar without requiring any prior visa arrangements.

Together with our partners at QTA and Qatar Airways, we have been working to enhance our country’s visa policies and implement solutions to better facilitate travel to Qatar. Further enhancements are being studied and we look forward to announcing them in due course.

In November 2016, Qatar introduced a free transit visa, which allows passengers of all nationalities transiting in Qatar for a minimum of five hours to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours (four days).

In May 2017, QTA launched +Qatar, an initiative to promote the country as a stopover destination, with the national carrier, Qatar Airways.

These measures, along with intensified international marketing, have resulted in a 39 per cent increase in the number of stopover visitors during the first six months of 2017, compared with the same period last year.

As part of Qatar Airways’ and QTA’s combined efforts to boost tourism in the country, the award-winning airline has accelerated its global expansion plans, and recently announced the launch of a number of new destinations that it is adding to its network by the end of August including Kiev, Ukraine and Prague, Czech Republic.

Also, the airline launched Sohar, in the Sultanate of Oman. Qatar Airways also recently launched a direct service to Dublin, Republic of Ireland; Nice, France and Skopje, connecting even more people to more places, and making it easier than ever for passengers to visit Qatar as part of their journey.

The below section details the new visa waiver eligibility for citizens of the 80 countries.

Entry to Qatar is approved at the sole discretion of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior.

A) Nationals of the following 33 countries will not require prior visa arrangements and can obtain a visa waiver upon arrival in Qatar. The waiver will be valid for 180 days from the date of issuance and entitle its holder to spend up to 90 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips.

Austria
Bahamas
Belgium
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Seychelles
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey

B) Nationals of the following 47 countries will not require prior visa arrangements and can obtain a visa waiver upon arrival in Qatar.

The waiver will be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and entitle its holder to spend up to 30 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips. This waiver may be extended for a further 30 days.


Andorra
Argentina
Australia
Belarus
Bolivia
Brazil
Brunei
Canada
Chile
China
Colombia
Ecuador
Panama
Costa Rica
Georgia
Guyana
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Japan
Kazakhstan
Lebanon
Azerbaijan
Macedonia
Malaysia
Maldives
Mexico
Moldova
Monaco
New Zealand
Paraguay
Peru
Russia
San Marino
Singapore
South Africa
South Korea
Suriname
Cuba
Thailand
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Vatican City
Venezuela