Wednesday, 5 December 2018

World Travel Awards Honours Sandals Resorts International

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) says it is thrilled to have been recognized at the prestigious 25th Annual World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony.

According to the resort, this demonstrates the brand’s continued commitment to excellence.

Most notably, Sandals Resorts International took home the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company award for the 23rd consecutive year, SRI said in a news release Tuesday.

The Luxury Included® resort company noted that it rose above other highly acclaimed hotel brands throughout the world with recognition across award categories.

They included – World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company 2018 – Sandals Resorts International World’s Leading All-Inclusive Family Brand 2018 – Beaches Resorts World’s Leading All-Inclusive Resort 2018 – Sandals Grenada Resort & Spa.

General Manager Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort Chris Elliott, was quoted as saying that it is customary for the resort to win awards.

We invest in training for our team members and we are on a constant mission to upgrade our resorts. In fact, right now, we are excited to have just added a world class pool which is by all accounts the longest meandering pool in the Caribbean.

Our Honeymoon Hideaway Village has been totally upgraded to a world class level for our Guests. This is why we will continue to win accolades. We understand our guests, and how to take care of them, Elliott explained.

The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 with the purpose of acknowledging and celebrating achievements in all areas of the world’s travel and tourism industry.

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is globally recognized as the ultimate hallmark of quality, the SRI release noted.


Tourism Observer

ST. LUCIA: Butler In Sexual Assault Law Suit After Hugging Guest

John & Ashley Reid Pascarella
Former Sandals butler, Moral Adderley, who is at the centre of a sexual assault lawsuit against the resort in the Bahamas, said in a weekend interview that the bride to be who is his accuser asked him for a hug.

In the exclusive interview with Eyewitness News in the Bahamas, Adderley suggested that the $30 million lawsuit filed by America nationals Ashley Reid Pascarella and her husband John Pascarella against Sandals was part of a gimmick.

According to the news reports, court documents allege that Adderley entered the couple’s bedroom and proceeded to take sexual liberties with her, including fondling and groping the woman.

The husband to was said to have been in the bathroom at the time.

The incident allegedly took place on the night of April 15, 2016, the eve of the couple’s wedding.

Adderley has denied he claims made against him.

He told Eyewitness News that the couple always commended him on the service he provided as a butler and introduced him to their entire family who were in the Bahamas for the wedding to let them know what a ‘wonderful butler’ he was.

Adderley, who had a number of awards he had been given by Sandals for outstanding work on display during the television interview, recalled that after a cocktail party, the couple said they would turn in for the night.

He said the husband to be asked him to bring a couple of bottles of water.

Adderley said after obtaining the water he observed protocol by knocking on the door to the couple’s room and asserting his name as the butler.

“Within a few seconds, if there is no answer, then you enter the room,” the former butler disclosed.

He told the television station that in this case, the husband to be opened the door.

“I then asked him where would he like me to place the bottles of water. He said I could place it on both ends of the bed.”

According to Adderley, the wife to be was laying on the bed, awake.

He said he asked her whether she was happy about getting married, to which she replied in the affirmative.

He said before leaving the room he asked her whether she wanted to place a breakfast order which she did.

“As I proceeded to take the breakfast order she said ‘Moral, you are the best. Can I have a hug before you leave?'” Adderley disclosed.

He explained that the husband to be was in the bathroom area at that time.

Adderley observed that the butler suite at Sandals is small.

“It’s really small so one can see what another one is doing at all given times and like I said, he was in the bathroom area and when I hugged her, he walked out and when he walked out I said ‘Mr. Reid, would you like to place a breakfast order as well?’ He said ‘Sure’.”

“After I took his breakfast order, he let me out of the room. There was never any issue.”

Adderley told Eyewitness News that as he was completing his duties that night, he heard a big commotion outside the butler lounge.

“I walked out and I saw Mr. Reid. I said ‘Mr Reid, is everything okay?’ He said ‘No. Everything is not okay. My wife said you touched her butt’. I said ‘That’s obscene. Your wife asked me for a hug.”

Adderley pointed out that it would be hard for him to touch someone’s butt while they were sitting on a bed and he is hugging them.

He said the next morning he was asked to see the General Manager of the resort.

Adderley told Eyewitness News that the resort told him to make a report to the police station, not knowing that when he left Sandals he had been fired ‘immediately’.

“They never took a statement from me. I was fired immediately.”

He recalled that the driver manager and the butler manager drove him to the police station.

“I never made a report. I got arrested immediately after walking into the station. I never had a fair opportunity,” the former butler told Eyewitness News.

He lamented that Sandals took the oath of their guests over one of their star employees who had won numerous awards and did the best he could for the resort.

Adderley is reported to have pleaded guilty to indecent assault in a Magistrate’s court.

Explaining why, he told Eyewitness News that his initial plea was not guilty.

“I made a hasty, unwise decision at the time by not taking a lawyer with me to court because I didn’t know the extent of this case,” he stated.

He explained that he was remanded to prison for three months.

Adderly explained that he is the sole provider for his family, just three months into his marriage and his father had passed away around the same time, being cremated by mistake in a body mix-up.

“There was so much going on at the time – his funeral would have been that Saturday which I initially explained to the Judge and she could not have given me bail,” he told Eyewitness News, explaining that he would have missed his father’s memorial service.

“My wife and my daughter would have been by themselves for three months because I would have been remanded,” he stated.

He observed that even if he had applied for bail he would have missed his father’s memorial, since there was never a body.

“When I made the not guilty claim and she remanded me to Her Majesty’s Prison, I asked her if I was to change my plea,” Aderley said, at this point becoming emotional and wiping away tears.

He said the Judge informed him that should he change his plea it would go on his record and he would have to pay a fine.

He said his family told him not to go that route.

But he told Eyewitness News it was easier for him to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, pay the fine and walk.

He said he pleaded guilty for the sake of his father and his family.


Tourism Observer


SOUTH SUDAN: Female Pilots Of South Sudan

Women in Africa are taking over the skies, and the latest woman to set her eyes on this prize is Amel Ajongo, South Sudan’s second female pilot.

At just 20, Ajongo went to aviation school in Nairobi, Kenya, where she spent two and a half years training.

Ajongo says she ended up as the only woman in her class even though it had started out with eight women in a class of eleven.

Although she successfully completed her courses, she is yet to start piloting as she is working on a different project that might take months.

The daughter of the country’s former defence minister, James Ajongo Mawut, has also encouraged other women not to limit themselves and continue to work harder to achieve their goals.

Ajongo now joins the ranks of the first female pilot of South Sudan, Captain Aluel Bol, who made history in 2011. She had worked at Ethiopian Airlines and Fly Dubai before joining Delta Airline.
The first South Sudanese pilot, Captain Aluel James Bol is on a history making spree after she became a pilot at Delta Airlines, a leading global airline company.

Captain Aluel first made history in 2011 when she graduated as the first female pilot in the whole of Sudan.

"I feel extremely delighted especially at the mere thought of achieving my dream. As a child growing up, I always wanted to be a pilot and my late dad made sure that he did all what it takes to make me succeed,” said the 34-year old from Lakes State at a State reception held in her honour.

The reception was also used as a platform to encourage Sudanese women to ‘get out of the kitchen and fly high.’

Aluel worked with Ethiopian Airlines after graduation and later Fly Dubai where she was a first class pilot.

After her stint at Ethiopian Airlines, she took up an advisory role with the Ministry of Transport and Roads in South Sudan government.

Aluel got her aviation training in the United States through the support of her government.

She is the daughter of the late Justice James Bol.


Tourism Observer

JAMAICA: Bob Marley Museum

One Love

The museum is situated on the site of the legendary musician’s home, which he purchased in 1975. This house, featuring 19th-century architecture, was Marley’s home until his transition in 1981. It was converted into a museum six years later by his wife, Mrs Rita Marley. The main museum displays Marley’s personal treasures.

The property also features a well-equipped 80-seat theatre, a photographic gallery, a record shop and a gift shop filled with a wide array of Bob Marley memorabilia.

Relax and enjoy a sumptuous meal from the One Love Café after you’ve completed your tour which offers a peek into every aspect of Bob Marley’s life.

Tour Availability

Combo “One Love” Tour reservations are valid for same day tours of Bob Marley Museum and Tuff Gong International. Tours are offered every half hour from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM at both iconic locations. When you arrive on-site for check-in, your group will join the next available tour.
Please note that transportation from one location to the other is not included in our package. We are however happy to assist you with procuring transportation from a reputable taxi service.

Bob Marley Home Tour

Starting at $25 | Explore the home of reggae legend Bob Marley!

Tour Duration

1 hour and 15 minutes (including a 20-minute video presentation)

Tour Availability

Tours are offered Monday through Saturday, every half hour from 9:30 AM until 4:00 PM.

Please note: The museum is closed on Sundays and some major public holidays.

Tour Summary

The Bob Marley Museum is the former home of the reggae legend. Bob’s home is filled with rich memories and treasured mementos, which seek to preserve the life and accomplishment of this great Jamaican and outstanding musician.

Enter the Museum and allow us to envelop you with the sights and sounds of Bob, as you take a guided tour of this Jamaican Heritage Site. Our friendly, charming and knowledgeable guides will escort you through the grounds, which include the main house, exhibition hall, theatre, gift shops and the One Love Café.

All the original rooms have been kept as they were when Bob lived here to ensure authenticity. The displays include a life size 3-dimensional hologram of Bob from the One Love Peace Concert in 1978, his Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, his personal recording studio, his bedroom, favourite clothing, a vast array of gold and platinum records received from all around the world, as well as the costumes of his back-up singers, the I-Threes.
The air-conditioned theatre boasts modern state-of-the-art projection equipment, where live performances of Bob are showcased to each guided tour. The One Love Café serves Marley inspired recipes and juices, and you will find a variety of Bob Marley souvenir items available at the Bob Marley Gift Shop.

Tour Accessibility and Activity Level

This 75-minute cultural excursion is a leisurely walk and is partially handicap accessible for guests with collapsible wheelchairs and walkers. Please be mindful, however, that the house itself is a two-storey building with narrow stairs.

Three restrooms are available to patrons along the tour pathway. We suggest international guests wear comfortable clothing including walking shoes. As with all tropical climes, insect repellent, sunscreen and attention to hydration are encouraged.

Bob Marley’s “Making of the Music” Tour

Starting at $20 | Tour the legendary Tuff Gong recording studio.

Tour Duration

1 hour

Tour Availability

Tours are offered Monday through Saturday, every half hour from 9:30 AM until 4:00 PM.

Please note: Tuff Gong is closed on Sundays and some major public holidays.

Tour Summary

Experience Bob Marley’s visionary legacy via Bob Marley’s “Making of the Music” Tour; an “edutaining”, 60-minute interactive behind the scenes look at the record-making process, from rehearsal to album, in the Caribbean’s most famous state-of-art facility.

As the springboard in the preparation and perfection of an artiste’s performance and recording, our rehearsal room is the first stop on this guided, interactive revelation of music making intricacies.

Replete with stage, microphones, keyboards, drums, control board and other instruments to include one of Bob’s very own grand pianos, our rehearsal room has been the ideal honing space for many of the greatest names in the world’s music industry.

Along your musical journey, you will see and hear about “Ride Natty Ride” the tour transport truck purchased by the Legend himself. Follow internationally famous footsteps into our artiste’s lounge, engineer’s room and our recording studio, one of the Caribbean’s largest live recording spaces.

View photographs and learn about the family, the band, and the many other international icons in the company of the great man himself.

Globetrotting mega-stars consider the validation of any credible resume in reggae must include a recording in this space, so steeped in the Legend’s history. Discover first-hand how records are made, from the original acetate disc and vinyl pebbles, to the final pressed 45 or LP.

See automatic and manual pressing equipment and learn how they work.

Secure those must have gift items including vinyl records or compact discs. Sign our visitor’s book and enjoy some great reggae music.

Uncover your own island identity during this “One Love” excursion.

Tour Accessibility and Activity Level

This 60-minute cultural excursion covers about 1,380 feet in an easy leisurely walk and is handicap accessible for guests with collapsible wheelchairs and walkers. There are only three steps or stair like fixtures of which only one is greater than one step up.

Three restrooms are available to patrons along the tour pathway. We suggest international guests wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes, and use insect repellent and sunscreen.

Museum Attractions
Museum Gift Shop

The gift shop supplies a wide variety of Bob Marley paraphernalia, including a vast selection of Marley clothing, footwear, keychains, posters, postcards, mugs and more!

Museum Record Shop

Stop by our record shop and you’re sure to find your favourite Marley albums from our extensive vinyl and CD collections.

Tuff Gong Record Shop

The Tuff Gong Record Shop offers one-stop shopping for all Marley and Tuff Gong merchandise. Check out our selection of books, apparel, posters, CDs, DVDs, headphones and classic vinyl records including:

• Products from House of Marley
• Marley coffee
• Books on Bob Marley
• Cedella Marley’s children’s books

Bob Marley Foundation
The museum continues to honour Bob Marley’s life and legacy through the Bob Marley Foundation which implements social intervention projects. These projects aim to preserve the spiritual, cultural, social and musical ideals that guided and inspired Bob Marley throughout his life. Since its inception, the Foundation has successfully implemented several projects all geared towards transforming lives.

Marley for Education

To date, the Marley for Education programme has awarded scholarships of school books, school fees and school uniforms to approximately 2,000 students, aged 3-17, from depressed inner-city communities such as Seaview Gardens, Trench Town and Tivoli Gardens.

Help us to continue to educate our youths.

Marley for Music

Through the Music in School programme, the Foundation has renovated and outfitted music rooms at the world renowned Alpha Institute, and in the inner-city community of Paradise Gardens, downtown Kingston. These music rooms will assist talented youths to realize their musical dreams.

Help us to continue this mission.

Marley for Youth Empowerment
The Bob Marley Foundation has, since 2015, partnered with Partners for Youth Empowerment and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to host the One Love Youth Camp. Each year, the camp brings 50 at-risk youths and facilitators together for a five-day life-changing and empowering residential camp experience.

The Bob Marley Foundation also partners with Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation to provide computers to facilitate distance learning for girls living in rural Jamaica.

Help us to continue to empower our youths.

Marley for Health

The Marley for Health programme, has donated over JA$15.4M in equipment to the Bustamante Hospital for Children, The Victoria Jubilee and St. Ann’s Bay Hospital and the Women’s Health Network to boost healthcare delivery across Jamaica.

Help us to continue this mission.

Bob lived true to the words, “My life no important to me, but other people life important. My life only important if me can help plenty of people.” Join us as we seek to fulfill the vision of The Honourable Robert Nesta Marley O.M. while reaching those in need through love and brotherhood.

Bob Marley Museum’s Address

Come join us for your tour at

56 Hope Road in Kingston, Jamaica

Tuff Gong’s Address

Come join us for your tour at

220 Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston, Jamaica

Tourism Observer

Sunday, 25 November 2018

BOTSWANA: Nearly 90 Elephants Murdered, Ivory Stolen

Nearly ninety elephants have been killed close to a famous park in the southern African country of Botswana, conservation group Elephants Without Borders have disclosed.

Almost all of the dead animals had their tusks removed stressing the view that the incident was directly connected to the activities of poachers.

Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population but according to Dr Mike Chase from Elephants Without Borders, the incident could have a devastating effect on its tourism industry. He is the scientist carrying out an extensive survey of the deaths.

I’m shocked, I’m completely astounded. The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I’ve seen or read about anywhere in Africa to date,Dr Mike Chase said

When I compare this to figures and data from the Great Elephant Census, which I conducted in 2015, we are recording double the number of fresh poached elephants than anywhere else in Africa, he added.

He also linked the incident to the disarming of Botswana’s anti-poaching unit since the coming into office of President Eric Masisi. The current deaths are said to have happened weeks back and further in the country close to the protected Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary.

The Okavango Delta is a vast inland river delta in northern Botswana. It’s known for its sprawling grassy plains, which flood seasonally, becoming a lush animal habitat. It is described as Africa’s last eden.

The government at the time of disarming the anti-poaching unit did not give a reason for the move and has also yet to respond to the latest report. The survey is still underway and it is feared that the final figure could be higher.

This requires urgent and immediate action by the Botswana government. Botswana has always been at the forefront of conservation and it will require political will.

Our new president must uphold Botswana’s legacy and tackle this problem quickly. Tourism is vitally important for our economy, jobs, as well as our international reputation, which is at stake here as being a safe stronghold for elephants. said Mr Chase.


ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian Airlines Expanding Routes In Africa

Ethiopian Airlines is accelerating its strategy of weaving a patchwork of new African routes to soak up traffic on the continent and fly customers towards its more lucrative flights to rapidly expanding Asian markets.

With a long-delayed African “open skies” revolution still mired in red tape, Ethiopian has been snapping up stakes in small carriers around the continent to pre-empt potential rivals and become the dominant pan-African airline.

The carrier is in talks with Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Republic and Djibouti about either launching airlines or securing landing spots, CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said.

He also said in May the airline was looking to set up carriers in Equatorial Guinea and Guinea through joint ventures.

The task of African integration is not easy, Tewolde said in an interview. The context is the need for air transport. There is huge demand. We are responding to it.

Ethiopian’s push comes as Middle Eastern rivals who expanded heavily in Africa are feeling some pain from overcapacity, while African carriers such as South African Airways and Kenya Airways are on the back foot after losing money for years.

The success or failure of Ethiopian’s plan is being watched by long-haul competitors such as Turkish Airlines and suppliers led by Boeing and, more recently, Airbus.

Ethiopian’s fortunes are also important for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government, which has said it plans to sell a minority stake in the airline to domestic and foreign investors as part of broad economic reform pledges.

Ethiopian unveiled its 15-year expansion strategy in 2010, and started small. First it helped launch ASKY Airlines in the West African country of Togo and then acquired a 49 percent stake in Malawi’s flag carrier in southern Africa in 2013.

Since May, Ethiopian has announced plans to launch an airline in Mozambique, relaunched Zambia’s flag carrier, established a new airline in Chad to cover West and Central Africa and resumed flights to Somalia after a 41-year hiatus.

The prize is growing fast. Air traffic in Africa is forecast to grow 6 percent a year, twice as quickly as mature markets and faster than any other region over the next two decades.

Ethiopian is hoping to snare a greater share of capacity on flights between cities in Africa, which are already 90-percent controlled by African carriers.

In most cases so far, Ethiopian has taken minority stakes in start-up airlines and tried to implant its management culture, often in nations haunted by costly failures of state carriers.

Tewolde also wants to claw back market share on routes to and from the continent, dominated by Turkish and Gulf carrier Emirates. This year, 61 percent of capacity to or from Africa has been controlled by non-African carriers.

There are big risks.

Ethiopian is spending tens of millions of dollars in some of Africa’s toughest markets and the strategy of buying minority stakes to get a foothold abroad has failed spectacularly for some, such as Abu Dhabi’s Etihad.

Analysts worry accelerated expansion may spread Ethiopian too thinly if traffic doesn’t pick up fast enough at its new hubs in Togo, Malawi and Chad.

The regional hubs are designed partly to channel customers to Ethiopian’s main hub in Addis Ababa and so fill its direct flights to the Middle East and Asia.

Open skies?

There are also concerns that none is in a major African city. Lome is far smaller than west African cities such as Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos, or Abidjan in Ivory Coast, while Chad’s dusty desert capital is even smaller.

You want to build (a hub) in a place where you are going to get local traffic and connecting traffic, said Craig Jenks, president of consultancy Airline/Aircraft Projects Inc

Tewolde said the new airline in Chad would draw in passengers from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Niger, northern Nigeria and Sudan.

Yamlaksira Getachew, a management professor at Loyola Marymount University, warned Zambia’s relaunched flag carrier could steal traffic from Ethiopian’s existing southern African hub in neighbouring Malawi.

Ethiopian has been forced to adopt the piecemeal approach to expansion because full air transport liberalisation has failed to materialise, despite several attempts.

In 1999, 44 African countries signed the Yamoussoukro Decision in Ivory Coast’s capital giving airlines freedom to ferry passengers between two foreign countries.

But the agreement was barely implemented as governments moved to protect domestic carriers.

To try to revive the stalled process, 23 African governments signed another deal this year to forge a single aviation market.

So far, Ethiopian’s plan appears to be working. It says it has clocked average growth of 25 percent a year since 2010 and expects to carry nearly 10.6 million passengers this year, up from 3.7 million eight years ago.

Unlike many African rivals, it is also making money. Net profit rose 2 percent to $233 million in its 2017-18 fiscal year.

It says Western banks are helping to fund plans to boost its fleet of 108 planes, with 66 more on order.

Highlighting the potential riches at stake, Chinese banks are involved too, partly reflecting Beijing’s drive to build a new trade corridor to the Middle East and Africa, bankers said.


Tourism Observer

BOTSWANA: Tourist Visa On Arrival Introduced In Botswana

In an effort to improve the ease of doing business in Botswana,Botswana will offer TOURIST VISA at point of entry effective 24th November 2018. This announcement was made by HE, The President of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi at the HLCC meeting held today( 15-Nov-2018)

Botswana has become the latest African nation to relax visa requirements in a bid to improve tourism and the ease of doing business in the country.

The Southern African nation will offer tourist visas on arrival effective November 24, the president announced.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who is expected to attend this weekend’s extraordinary African Union summit in Ethiopia, announced the new visa development on Thursday.

While the African Union (AU) set a 2018 deadline for the removal of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries, a recent AU report found that Africans can travel without a visa to just 22% of other African countries.

Rwanda, Benin and recently Ethiopia, are some of the African nations that relaxed visa requirements for all African citizens this year.

It is exactly 53 days before the year comes to an end and we usher in 2019. Many of us made resolutions in the beginning of the year, well we have a few days left to accomplish our goals. With this in mind I would like to go back to a major goal that encompasses our continent.

The African Union set a 2018 deadline for the removal of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries.

The Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport policy was adopted by the African Union at the 27th ordinary session held in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2016.

African states were expected to adopt the African passport and work closely with the AU Commission to facilitate its issuance at the national level based on international, continental and national policy provisions and continental design and specifications.

How far along have we come one may ask? A recent AU report found that Africans can travel without a visa to just 22% of other African countries.

What is Visa?

A visa is the authority given to foreign nationals to enter Botswana.

Who is eligible to apply for this service?

All Citizens of Commonwealth countries do not require visa except those from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Foreign nationals whose countries have signed a Visa Abolition Agreement with Botswana are also not required to apply for a visa.

N.B. Those who have permits but decide to stay outside the country for more than six months are required to apply for a visa when they come back to Botswana.

What is required for application of this service?

- Covering letter from the host.

- Certified copies of permits (work and residence) from the host or the National Identity Card (Omang).

- Application form filled by the applicant.

- Itinerary or flight schedule

- Copies of business documents (if the host is running a business).

- Copies of marriage certificate, birth certificate, and ordination certificate (pastors)

- Bank statements and hotel bookings.

Where can I apply for a visa?

There are 20 diplomatic missions in 17 countries around the world where visa applications can also be made: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Japan, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa (Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town), Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United Nations(New York), Zambia and Zimbabwe.

List of countries whose nationals/citizens do not require a visa for entry into Botswana.

- All Commonwealth countries (except for Bangaldesh,Cameroon,Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka).

- Agentina

- Angola

- Austria

- Bahrain

- Belgium

- Brazil

- Bulgaria

- Chile

- Czech Republic

- Costa Rica

- Croatia

- Cuba

- Denmark

- Dominican Republic

- Estonia

- Federal Republic of Germany

- Finland

- France

- Greece

- Holy See

- Iceland

- Israel

- Italy

- Japan

- Kuwait

- Latvia

- Liechtenstin

- Luxembourg

- Mexico

- Monaco

- Netherlands

- Norway and Colonies

- Oman

- Paraguay

- Peru

- Poland

- Portugal

- Qatar

- Republic of Ireland

- Romania

- Russian Federation

- San Marino

- Slovak Republic

- Slovania

- South Arabia

- South Korea

- South Sudan

- Spain

- Sweden

- Switzerland

- Turkey

- United Arab Emirates

- United States of America

- Uruguay

- Venezuela

- Zambia

- Zimbabwe

NB: All countries that are not listed require visa for entry into Botswana.

Applicants can also submit applications at Regional and District Offices around the country.

How long does it take to get a visa?

7 - 14 days

NB: Customers are expected to collect their passports within seven days and if they don’t they are phoned to come and collect them. Those who applied at the Regional and District Offices are posted back to the responses at their respective offices.

Downloadable Form


Visas for Botswana

IMMIGRATION AND VISAS

Passport Requirements
A passport is required by all travellers except the following:
1. Travellers with a 'Laissez Passer' that is issued by the United Nations.

2. Travellers with a document issued to people without nationality or citizenship and refugees according to the UN Convention.

Document Validity

Passports and alternative papers, or either of them, must be valid on arrival.

Visa Issuance

Before arrival: A visa may be issued, if necessary, by the Immigration and Passport Control Office (Post Office Box no. 942, Gaborone); or by representations of Botswana abroad; or by British embassies or consulates in countries where Botswana hasn't representation. However, applicants from South Africa may apply directly to the Immigration and Passport Control Office (Post Office Box no. 942, Gaborone, Botswana).

Visa Exemptions

All travellers must hold a visa except the following:
1. Citizens of Botswana.

2. Travellers staying for no more than 90 days for the following travellers:

2.1. Travellers with British passports regardless of endorsement in passport concerning their citizenship.

2.2. Travellers with passports issued by Hong Kong (A Special Administrative Region of China).

2.3. Citizens of Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Samoa San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, United States of America, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

2.4. Travellers with United Nations travel documents so long as such documents are issued by the Botswana Government and endorsed with a return clause; other travellers with United Nations travel documents need an entry visa.

2.5. Travellers with documents issued to refugees and people without nationality or citizenship according to the UN Convention. However, a visa before arrival is required if those travellers are not visa-exempted according to their nationality.

3. Travellers with a residence permit that is issued by Botswana.

TWOV (Transit Without Visa)

TWOV is permissible for travellers continuing their trip via the same or first connecting plane without leaving the airport.

Additional information

1. Travellers must have enough money for their stay in Botswana and return or onward tickets.

2. Any traveller, whether requiring a visa or not, who wants to stay in Botswana for more than 90 days should apply for a prior permission for an extended period. This permission should be applied to the Immigration and Passport Control Office (Post Office Box no. 942, Gaborone). No visitor is allowed to work or to look for work.

CUSTOMS AND FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Import regulations

Travellers are allowed free import of:
- 50 millilitres of perfume and 250 millilitres of toilet water.
- One litre of alcoholic drinks and two litres of wine.
- Gift articles up to a total value of BWP 500.
- 250 grammes of tobacco, 50 cigars and 400 cigarettes.

Export regulations

Free export of souvenirs and presents up to a value of BWP 500.

Pets

Pets are allowed to enter. As for cats and dogs, they must be accompanied by an import permit from the Director of Veterinary Services (located at Private Bag 0032, Gaborone, Botswana). Furthermore, a health certificate is required indicating that the animal was immunized with the Flury or Kelev vaccine against rabies not less than 30 days and not more than 3 years before importation for dogs; and not less than one month and not more than one year before importation for cat.

Baggage Clearance regulations

A traveller's luggage should be cleared at the airport of final destination in Botswana.
* Exemptions:
Luggage of transit travellers whose destination is outside Botswana.

Airport tax

Travellers are not required to pay any airport tax upon their departure from the airport.

Currency Import regulations

There are no restrictions on importing local currency (Botswana Pula-BWP) and foreign currencies provided imported sums are declared.

Currency Export regulations

Travellers are allowed to export local currency (Botswana Pula-BWP) up to BWP 50.

Travellers are allowed to export foreign currencies up to the amount that is imported and declared.

Additional Information on regulations

Travellers have to declare all articles with serial numbers by means of form no. DA65. On their departure day, travellers have to endorse that form by the Customs Officer on duty. On the other hand, all valuable commodities without serial numbers have to be declared via an NEP-form, which travellers can acquire, fill in and stamp at any commercial bank. On their departure day, travellers have to endorse that form by the Customs Officer on duty.

Arms and Ammunition regulations

Ammunition and firearms have to be declared upon arrival. If goods are re-imported, the traveller must show the DA65 form or the NEP form that was issued on his/her departure.



a href="http://www.tourismobserver.com">Tourism Observer

Saturday, 24 November 2018

ESWATINI: Prime Minister Bans Lavish Travel For Officials

The newly-appointed prime minister of the tiny kingdom of eSwatini on Friday banned first-class air travel for top government officials as part of a slew of measures to control spending.

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, who took office a month ago, also announced that he will not buy a new car for himself but inherit the old one used by his predecessor as the economy battles slowing growth.

Following the current economic challenges facing the kingdom, the cabinet has decided to implement major interim fiscal decisions to enhance financial prudence and controls so as to spend as little money as possible, he said in a statement.

Dlamini said all senior officials including himself and ministers will no longer travel first class but in business class when flying on national duties.

All other public servants will fly in economy class.

All foreign trips by government officials would be vetted to ensure they were of national importance.

A former banker and national executive of Africa’s leading mobile operator MTN, Dlamini was last month named prime minister by King Mswati III, to replace Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini who died in September.

Dlamini said he was preparing an economic recovery plan for the country which suffers dire poverty and has struggled to lift its economy.

The World bank says that eSwatini’s GDP is projected to contract by -0.6 per cent this year mainly as a result of worsening fiscal challenges and the government’s fiscal consolidation efforts.

Declining government revenue and high expenditure have resulted in high fiscal deficit and cash flow problems.

The king, Mswati, one of the world’s last absolute rulers, who has 14 wives and more than 25 children, has a reputation for lavish spending on private planes and royal palaces while 63 per cent of his subjects live in poverty.

Without warning in April, Mswati III marked 50 years since his country’s independence from British colonial rule by announcing that it would now be known as eSwatini meaning land of the Swazis.

The landlocked kingdom, which has close economic ties with South Africa, faces international criticism that the government stifles dissent, jails its opponents and denies workers’ rights.


Tourism Observer

Sunday, 18 November 2018

UAE: Dubai Safari Park Welcomes New Animals

Dubai Safari will soon open its doors to public with scores of new animals, an Adventure Village and many more attractions.

Spanning 12.8 million square feet of landscaped land, Dubai Safari was home to more than 2,500 animals when it welcomed visitors on December 12, 2017.

The wildlife park that closed on May 15 to undergo an upgrade has welcomed several new animals over the summer months, a top executive said.

Spanning 12.8 million sqft of landscaped land, Dubai Safari was home to more than 2,500 animals when it opened last year. Dubai Safari

These include a group of moon bears, African elephants, chimpanzees, otters, a young Komodo dragon, and a range of new birds for our aviary and new bird show, said Frank Rietkerk, general manager.

Four African elephants, three females and one male, were flown in from Zimbabwe in late April.

Komodo dragons are the largest and heaviest lizards in the world.

The animals are in the process of adapting to their new environment and cohabitants, said Rietkerk.

He said the park has been undergoing a programme of upgrades to expand and improve visitor experience, education, animal diversity and welfare since May, and considerable progress has been achieved.

The park was scheduled to reopen on October 1. While there has been a delay, the park announced on October 10 that it had decided to do a little more upgrade to create the best experience for everyone.

Whilst the new opening date will be revealed in due course, Rietkerk said members of the public can keep up-to-date on Dubai Safari Park’s enhancements and opening via its website and social media channels.

Visitors can also look forward to an enhanced attraction with new additions such as a streamlined hop on-hop off bus service that will take them to each area of the park, as well as an upgraded Adventure Village and a range of new restaurants and kiosks, he added.

Earlier this year, Meraas signed an agreement with Dubai Municipality to manage Dubai Safari.

The company then appointed Parques Reunidos, a world-renowned operator of animal parks, to oversee the day-to-day running of the destination in line with international best practices.

Visit Dubai Safari Park


Tourism Observer

UAE: American Tourist Raped In A Dubai Marina Hotel

An employee has been jailed for six months for engaging in sexual intercourse with a tourist, who claimed that she was raped in her hotel room after inviting him over for a drink.

The 24-year-old American tourist was in town for a three-day holiday when she met the 29-year-old Moroccan employee on board a Dubai-bound flight in December.

The 29-year-old defendant and the American woman became friends and she invited him over for a drink at her hotel room in Dubai Marina.

Having obtained prior permission to bring over his cousin, the two Moroccans visited the tourist at her luxurious hotel room where they drank liquor all night.

When the 24-year-old woman woke up in the morning, she claimed to have realised that she had been raped.

Once she went out of her bed and walked into the main hall, the two men left the hotel immediately.

The American woman complained to the police and alleged that the accused had asked her for a phone charger and, when she took him to her room, he punched her and forced himself on her.

The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the accused of having sex with the 24-year-old American.

Presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi said the accused, who contended that he had consensual sex with the victim, will be deported.

The 24-year-old tourist testified that she invited the accused over to her room after they became friends on the aircraft.

He took permission to accompany his cousin and we drank liquor all night. When he asked me for a phone charger, I accompanied him to the bedroom to give him the charger … he punched me and I lost consciousness. As I woke up in the morning, I noticed that I had been undressed and raped.

There were traces of semen on my thigh … once I walked out to the room, they both left instantly. I went out of the room and alerted the hotel’s security about what had happened. I also told them that my Dh5,500, earrings and passport were stolen, she testified.

A policeman said the hotel’s front desk manager notified them that a problem happened between the tourist and her Moroccan visitors after they got drunk.

The ruling remains subject to appeal.


Tourism Observer

UAE: Emirati Off-duty Pilot Threatens To Blow Plane

An air hostess waived her assault and cursing complaint against an off-duty pilot, who will be sentenced next month in his case of drinking and threatening to have an aircraft shot down.

The Emirati off-duty pilot had pleaded not guilty before the Dubai Court of First Instance where he was being tried for drinking, threatening to blow up an Emirates aircraft, assaulting a stewardess, wrecking parts of the plane, gesturing indecently in front of passengers and behaving disruptively.

The suspect’s lawyer argued before the court that prosecution witnesses’ statements were full of inconsistencies and asked the presiding judge to acquit his client and dismiss the charges.

In his defence argument, the lawyer contended that the witnesses’ statements before the court contradicted their original testimonies before prosecutors.

He further provided the court with a written waiver that his client had obtained from the Romanian air hostess, whom he was accused of assaulting and insulting.

In an earlier hearing, the Romanian hostess testified in court that the suspect joked when he was first brought on to the aircraft in June.

Four staff from the UAE embassy in Spain escorted him to the plane. I was told that he could not stay anymore in Madrid because of residency issues. When he first walked into the plane, he addressed me jokingly by saying - I haven’t smoked in 15 minutes. I replied that smoking was not permitted on the plane.

He acted rowdily and ran towards the aircraft’s kitchen, took two beers without permission. He disturbed the passengers, shouting at them and cursing. He also threatened to kill me and claimed that he would blow up the plane because he was carrying explosives, the hostess testified in court.

Her Uzbek co-worker testified: The suspect had been behaving in an unruly manner. He took four beers without permission. When we were cruising above Iraq, he said that he had called his friend in Baghdad and asked him to shoot down the plane with a missile. He shouted that we were all going to die.

During her statement before the three-judge bench, the Romanian witness requested permission to imitate how the suspect committed an indecent gesture — that had a sexual connotation — on-board the aircraft.

She also told the court the exact curse words he used.

The defence lawyer asked the court to acquit his client or treat him with leniency when it hands out a judgement.


Tourism Observer

Thursday, 15 November 2018

UAE: Abu Dhabi Food Festival Coming, December 6 To 22

Abu Dhabi Food Festival (ADFF) will return this year from December 6 to 22.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi initiative will see visitors entertained with food trucks, markets, movies, photography workshops and celebrity chef appearances.

Events include World of Food Abu Dhabi at the Corniche, Big Grill on Yas Island, the Abu Dhabi Food Festival Scavenger Hunt, Festember and Abu Dhabi Restaurant week.

This year there will be a Vegan Market that will feature plant-based cuisines from the UAE’s hotspots, along with activities promoting a holistic and healthy lifestyle, such as yoga and reiki sessions, as well as food photography sessions.

Art studio workshops will also be on offer to this year’s attendees with activities where Art Studio will adapt its drop-in workshops on these dates for adults, juniors and children.

Abu Dhabi Food Festival is undoubtedly one of the premier culinary events in the region, said Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, executive director of the tourism sector at DCT Abu Dhabi.

Events such as Abu Dhabi Food Festival position the emirate as a culinary attractive destination for tourists to visit and have a positive impact on our industry growth in terms of the number of visitors arriving.


Tourism Observer

IRAQ: Iraq Rail Service Is Back

At Baghdad’s grand but half-empty railway station, a single train is sputtering to life. It is the newly revived daily service to Falluja, a dusty town to the west once infamous as a Sunni insurgent stronghold.

The driver and conductor assure that the tracks running through Anbar province are now clear of mines planted by Daesh and of collapsed bridges the group blew up when it marauded through western and northern Iraq in 2014.

The rapid advance of the militants shut down the line, before US-backed Iraqi forces drove them out of Falluja in 2016 and defeated them in Iraq in late 2017.

After a four-year hiatus, hundreds of rail passengers now travel the 50km between Baghdad and Falluja in just over an hour. By car, the journey can take several.

The train saves time. The Baghdad-bound leg arrives at 8am, which suits my schedule. It’s also cheaper than by car at 3,000 Iraqi dinars ($2.50) for a ticket.

The revival in July of the daily service, once a feature of an extensive rail network dating back to the Ottoman Empire, is a vivid example of Iraq’s attempts to recover from decades of unrest.

Passengers see it as a metaphor for the country’s state: security has improved enough to allow unhindered passage through countryside dominated for years by Daesh and Al Qaida militants. But the train is dilapidated and shudders as it gathers speed.

The state of the tracks allow a steady pace of up to around 100km/h, but no more. Dozens of windows have been smashed by children who play in the dirt in poor Baghdad districts and pelt carriages with stones as they cruise by.

I hope the service will keep running, but in the last few days there have been delays. Sometimes it runs out of fuel on the journey, or has technical failures, Mohammad said.

Abdul Sittar Mohsin, a media official for the national operator Iraqi Republic Railways, said the company was in dire need of funding to keep the service running.

We did this with the company’s money and we’re operating at a loss, he says.

Regular passengers include unemployed youth looking for work, a perennial problem in Iraq where demonstrations over lack of jobs, water and power turned violent in the southern city of Basra in September.

I had a job interview with an NGO today in Baghdad, but I’m not holding out much hope, said Yassin Jasem, a recent graduate with a degree in medicine. I try to get casual work in Falluja, but there’s little and it’s low pay.

Jasem and his family moved to the relative security of Erbil in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq while Daesh held Falluja.

The city and fertile countryside along the Euphrates river suffered a series of bruising battles after the US invasion in 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussain. Falluja became infamous in 2004 when four American security contractors were killed and their bodies hung from a bridge in the city.

Everywhere are reminders of a delicate security situation.

Armed police patrol the train, which runs past a scrapyard of cars destroyed during fighting and the remains of a road bridge blown up by militants.

Railway officials hope to restore services all the way to the Syrian border. Iraq’s rail network, developed during the British mandate period and under Baath Party rule in the 1960s, used to stretch to Istanbul and Aleppo in Syria via Mosul in northern Iraq.

Conflict with Iran in the 1980s, UN sanctions in the 1990s and violence since then have wrecked most of the old network, apart from regular services to Basra and now Falluja.

Plans to extend beyond Falluja might be ambitious — tracks are buried in sand and Iraqi forces have been reinforced at the border after recent Daesh counter-attacks in Syria.

For now, the Falluja line is a big step forward.

It’s great, I can regularly see my daughter now who is marrying a man from Falluja, one woman said. At the moment, things are very okay.


Tourism Observer

Sunday, 11 November 2018

BOTSWANA: Over 400 Stampeding Buffaloes Drown


More than 400 buffaloes believed to have been chased by lions drowned in a river in northern Botswana this week, the government said.

The mass drowning occurred on Tuesday night in Chobe River on the border with Namibia.

Investigations by authorities in both countries suggest that an exceptionally large buffalo herd was grazing in Namibia when they stampeded into the Chobe River, Botswana's Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said in a statement late Wednesday.

Initial indications are that they were being chased by a pride of lions, it said.

It is estimated that more than 400 animals drowned due to the massive movement of buffalo trampling, and falling from steep river banks.

Buffalo river drownings are not uncommon in the region, but the numbers are usually small.

Namibia's Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta said that the incident was unfortunate but due to natural causes.

About 1,000 buffalo had struggled to get over a river bank when the stampede started, he said. Three lions were seen in the area.

Namibia said the buffalo meat would be donated to the local community and carcasses were being collected.


Tourism Observer

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

KENYA: Kenya Airways Commences Non Stop Flights From Nairobi To New York

The long-awaited direct flight between Nairobi and New York City became a reality last night with the flagging off of the first Kenya Airways non-stop trip.

The national carrier’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner touched down at the John F. Kennedy International Airport on 29th october.

The maiden flight departed from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at around 10:55pm and was expected to land on Monday at JFK International Airport at 6:55 am (1:55 pm Kenyan time).

Kenya Airways has now reduced the more than 24 hour long journey and it will be the fastest connection from East Africa to New York City, with a 15-hour duration eastbound and 14-hours westbound.

Flights to the United States are usually characterised by long stopovers in Europe and Middle East.

While flagging off the maiden flight, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the non-stop flight to the US was a confidence boost to Kenya’s economy and a positive signal for increased foreign direct investments.

The non-stop flight between Nairobi and New York City is set to provide a seamless experience for business and leisure travellers alike. It will open up Kenya and the region to the world to enjoy our hospitality and diverse culture, he said.

Kenya Airways group managing director and chief executive Sebastian Mikosz termed it as a great milestone, adding that it will act as a catalyst for attracting corporate and high-end tourism traffic around the world to Kenya and Africa.

This will also boost the economic growth of not only Kenya but the African continent, he said. The flight had a crew of four pilots and 12 flight attendants.

The national carrier will operate its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with a capacity of 234 passengers on the route.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) said the launch was a culmination of processes, audits and assessments by US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, that has authority over security of travelling public in the United States.

This led to JKIA achieving Last Point of Departure status, setting the stage for Kenya’s national carrier to fly directly to the US.

KAA termed the flight as an endorsement by the international aviation community on the investment they have made at JKIA in improving infrastructure and enhancing security, safety and passenger experience at the airport.

Kenya Airways flights will be departing every day from JKIA at 11:25pm arriving at JFK Airport at 6:25am the following day.

From New York, the plane will depart at 12:00pm and land at JKIA at 10:30am the following day. The national carrier said the schedule will enable connections to and from over 40 African destinations through Kenya Airways hub in Nairobi.

The national carrier is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, flying to 52 destinations worldwide, 43 of which are in Africa and carries over four million passengers annually.

It has modernised its fleet with its 32 aircraft being some of the youngest in Africa, including its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Monday, 29 October 2018

LION Air Jet With 189 Passengers And Crew On Board Crashes Into Ocean

A LION Air jet has crashed into the ocean after taking off from Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta.

The plane with a seating capacity of 210lost radio contact just 13 minutes into the flight which was headed to Pangkal Pinang, an island east of Sumatra.

The aircraft disappeared near Karawang in West Java province, said Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency confirmed.

Lion Air flight JT610 requested to return to base, with air traffic control losing contact with the pilots after approving the request, Yohanes Sirait, a spokesman for the country’s air navigation authorities said.

A tugboat crew in Karawang has now reported seeing debris of a plane in the water, and a vessel belonging to Indonesia energy firm Pertamina official has reported seeing more debris, including plane seats, near its offshore facility in the Java Sea.

Indonesia transport ministry official says it was carrying 189 people — including two infants and its crew.

Pictures and video released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency appear to show personal items including a bag, phone and documentation among suspected debris from the crashed plane.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief, M Syaugi said the agency had already found other debris from the aircraft including mobile phones and buoys.

He said the aircraft lost contact at 34 nautical miles from the Basarnas office in Jakarta and the agency had immediately deployed boats and a helicopter to search.

Once we arrived at the co-ordinates we found aircraft debris, buoys, handphones as well as some other pieces. It was around two nautical miles from the co-ordinates given by air traffic control, Mr Syaugi said.

We are there now, our vessels and helicopter, to give assistance.

The water there is around 30 to 35 metres deep. We are now still trying to dive to find the aircraft. Hopefully the process would not take long.

Friends and relatives prayed and hugged each other as they waited at Pangkal Pinang’s airport.

At the National Search and Rescue Agency headquarters in Jakarta, family members turned up, hoping desperately for news.

We are here to find any information about my younger sister, her fiance, her in-law to be and a friend of them, Feni said.

We don’t have any information, she said, as her father wiped tears from reddened eyes.

No one provided us with any information that we need. We’re confused. We hope that our family is still alive, she said.

Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyanialso arrived at the agency and met with its chief, seeking information about 20 finance ministry staff who were on the flight.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) spokesman, Yusuf Latif, said the aircraft has crashed near Tanjung Karawang in the waters off West Java.

It has crashed in the waters in West Java. Our team has been deployed, Mr Latif said.

The Lion Air plane lost contact with air traffic controllers at 6.33am. Flight JT-610 took off from the Jakarta airport at 6.20am local time and lost contact at 6.33am. The Boeing 737 was originally scheduled to arrive at Pangkal Pinang at 7.20am.

A shipping traffic officer in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, Suyadi, said that he has received a report from a tugboat, AS Jaya II, that the crew had seen a downed plane in Tanjung Bungin in Karawang, West Java.

At 7.15am the tugboat reported it had approached the site and the crew saw the debris of a plane, Suyadi said.

Two other ships, a tanker and a cargo ship, near the location were approaching the site, he said, and a Basarnas rescue boat was also on the way.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief, M Syaugi said the agency had found debris. He said the aircraft lost contact at 34 nautical miles (63km) from the Basarnas office in Jakarta and the agency had immediately deployed boats and a helicopter to search.

Once we arrived at the co-ordinates we found aircraft debris, buoys, handphones as well as some other pieces. It was around two nautical miles (4km) from the co-ordinates given by air traffic control, Mr Syaugi said.

The Flightradar website tracked the plane, showing it looping south on takeoff and then heading north before the flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.

It says final telemetry from the aircraft indicates it was in a rapid descent.

The plane involved was a Boeing Co 737 Max-8 model. The aircraft is believed to be just two months old, and a significantly updated version over older 737 models.

Lion Air said the pilot and co-pilot of the plane had a combined total of 11,000 hours flying time.

Boeing said in a statement it was deeply saddened by the loss of Flight JT 610.

We express our concern for those on board, and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones, the statement read.

Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation.

Weather is unlikely to have contributed to the accident. There were thunderstorms in the general area, there were none close to where the plane apparently vanished from radar.

The Australian Embassy in Jakarta is making urgent inquiries with local authorities to determine if any Australians were affected, a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman told News Corp.

Indonesian authorities say the 737 was carrying 178 adults, 1 child, two infants, six flight attendants and the captain and co-pilot. Indonesia’s finance ministry says 20 of its officials were among the passengers.

Just six months ago, a Lion Air plane skidded off the runway at Djalaluddin Airport in Gorontalo, Indonesia. None of the 174 passengers and seven crew members suffered injuries, with the incident destroying the plane’s landing gear.

In 2013 a Lion Air jet with a rookie pilot at the controls undershot the runway and crashed into the sea in Bali, splitting the plane in two. Several people were injuredin the crash, although no one was killed.

The last major accident in Indonesia was in December 2014 when AirAsia Indonesia’s Airbus A320 aircraft crashed into the waters after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.

Indonesia relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands but has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered several fatal crashes in recent years.

A 12-year-old boy was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed eight people in mountainous eastern Indonesia in August.

In August 2015, a commercial passenger aircraft operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana crashed in Papua due to bad weather, killing all 54 people on board.

The European Union banned Lion Air from entering the airspace of any member state in 2006 after being deemed unsafe due to a poor safety record.

The EU lifted the ban in 2016, and in September this year, the International Civil Aviation Organisation gave the airline a top safety ranking.

Global airline rating agency AirlineRatings.com also moved the Indonesia-based carrier to its top safety tier.


Tourism Observer

Sunday, 28 October 2018

UAE: Guest Checks In Hotel With A Dead Mans ID

A jobless man has been accused of using a dead man’s Emirates ID to rent a room at a hotel and stay for free, heard a court on Thursday.

An Indian concierge was said to have checked in the 27-year-old Emirati man and his friend at a room in the hotel at Al Ghusais in September.

Two days later when the concierge called up the room to check if the Emirati resident wanted to extend his stay, according to records, no one responded.

The concierge then called up the number that he had been provided before he was told that the person he was asking about had died three years ago.

Prosecutors charged the suspect with using a dead man’s Emirates ID, forging the dead man’s signature while signing on the hotel’s check-in papers.

The Indian concierge reported the matter to the police.

Primary interrogations led to the arrest of the 27-year-old Emirati while his accomplice remained at large.

Prosecutors charged the 27-year-old suspect with using a dead man’s Emirates ID, forging the dead man’s signature while signing on the hotel’s check-in papers.

According to the charge sheet, prosecutors said the suspect committed the crime with another suspect, who remains at large.

The 27-year-old suspect pleaded not guilty when he showed up before the Dubai Court of First Instance.

Presiding judge Habib Awad will hand out a judgement on November 22.

The Indian witness testified to prosecutors: The suspect and his friend came to the reception and wanted to check in. The suspect handed me the Emirates ID and I registered the details.

He then signed on the check-in form for two nights. Two days later, I called up the room to check if they wanted to extend their stay nobody responded.

When I called up the provided mobile number, I was told that the person whose name was on the ID had died three years back. Then I reported the matter to the police.

Tourism Observer

UNITED KINGDOM: Helicopter Crash In Leicester

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
The Leicester City owner's helicopter has crashed in a car park outside the club's ground as it left the stadium following a Premier League match.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was in the helicopter when it came down at about 20:30 BST on Saturday.

One witness said he saw Leicester player Kasper Schmeichel run out of the stadium towards the scene of the crash.

It is not known how many other people were on board the helicopter.

Leicester had drawn 1-1 against West Ham United at the King Power Stadium.

The game kicked off at 17:30 and finished about one hour before the helicopter took off.

Under Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's ownership, Leicester City won the Premier League in 2016, having started the season as 5,000/1 outsiders.

Leicestershire Police said officers were working alongside the other emergency services, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Leicester City FC to establish the circumstances of the collision.

In the early hours of Sunday the force tweeted that the AAIB, which said it had sent a team to the stadium, was leading the investigation.

Leicester City said the club was assisting police and emergency services and would issue a more detailed statement in due course.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

- Father of four

- Bought Leicester City in 2010 for £39m

- Billionaire and founder of duty-free consortium King Power International

- Ranked as the fifth richest person in Thailand by Forbes Magazine

- Under his ownership, the club won the Premier League in 2016 and reached the Champions League quarter finals a year later

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha born on 4 April 1958, is a Thai billionaire businessman, founder, owner and chairman of King Power Duty Free. He has been the owner of Premier League football club Leicester City since 2010.

Srivaddhanaprabha is the founder and CEO of King Power Duty Free, an operator of duty-free shops. In December 2009, King Power received the royal warrant from the King of Thailand in a ceremony attended by Raksriaksorn.

He is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 7th richest man in Thailand, reportedly worth US$3.3 billion.

In August 2010, the Asia Football Investments consortium including Srivaddhanaprabha and his son Aiyawatt purchased English Football League Championship club Leicester City.

He succeeded Milan Mandarić as chairman of the club in February 2011 while continuing as owner, and Aiyawatt became the vice chairman. In July 2011, the club's formerly named Walkers Stadium was renamed the King Power Stadium.

Leicester City went on to win the 2015–16 Premier League title. Shortly before the 2016–17 season, Vichai gifted 19 BMW i8s to the players of Leicester City at £100,000 each as a gift for winning the title.

In May 2017, he bought his second football club, OH Leuven in Belgium.

In his spare time he is an avid polo player, and owns the VR Polo Club in Bangkok. He was the president of Ham Polo Club in London from 2008 to 2012.

Srivaddhanaprabha was born into a Thai Chinese family. He is married to Aimon Srivaddhanaprabha, with whom he has four children: Voramas, Apichet, Arunroong, and Aiyawatt.

In 2012, the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej bestowed the family new surname of Srivaddhanaprabha. The name means 'light of progressive glory' in the Thai language.

On 27 October 2018, Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium, shortly after taking off from the pitch.

It is confirmed by sources close to the family that Srivaddhanaprabha was inside the crash Helicopter.


Tourism Observer

PHILIPPINES: Boracay Reopens, But Boozing At The Beach Banned

Say goodbye to beach parties and water sports when the white-sand resort of Boracay Island in the central Philippines reopens to tourists on Friday after a six-month shutdown.

Our guests can expect a better Boracay when it comes to maintaining a high environmental standard, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said via Facebook messenger. Please manage your expectations, she added in a word of advice to tourists expecting the same Boracay.

Drinking and smoking in public places will be banned, along with the late-night parties that have made the island one of Asia's top tourism destinations.

Jet skis and other water sports will be banned until further notice, and sand castle making will be regulated, according to a Twitter advisory by Cebu Air Inc. Confirmed bookings with accredited hotels will be required before being allowed entry to the island.

The number of visitors will be capped at 6,405 arrivals per day while only 19,000 tourists will be allowed on the island at any given time, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

The Philippines opens the doors on Friday (Oct 26) to a spruced up and newly regulated Boracay, its famous holiday island that was shuttered to mend decades of harm caused by unchecked tourism.

The white sand idyll was closed to visitors in April after President Rodrigo Duterte called it a "cesspool" tainted by raw sewage flowing from hotels and restaurants straight into the sea.

But the re-christened resort has a slew of new rules that restrict boozing on the beach, limit the number of tourists and hotels, all while a renovation spree is ongoing.

Among the first visitors to land just after dawn on Friday were first-timers attracted by the prospect of a cleaner, less crowded island.

Once a quiet hideaway favoured by backpackers, the tiny island was transformed by overdevelopment into a mass destination seeing some two million visitors per year.

Even if there are many renovations and it's not yet perfect, when you go to the beach you realise that closing it for six months was worth it.

Under the new rules, the beachfront is cleared of the masseuses, vendors, bonfires and even the builders of its famous photo-op sandcastles it was once crowded with.

Buildings were bulldozed and businesses pushed back to create a 30m buffer zone from the waterline.

Construction is everywhere with road repairs, hotels and resort renovations happening around the island.

All water sports, save for swimming, are also banned for the time being, while Boracay's three casinos have been permanently shut down in line with Duterte's wishes.

Boracay, which major tourist magazines consistently rate as among the world's best beaches, measures a mere 1,000 hectares.

Yet, it was seeing up to 40,000 tourists at peak times, with tourists spending US$1 billion a year but also leaving mountains of garbage and an overflowing sewer system.

The new rules say 19,200 tourists will be allowed on the island at any one time, with the government aiming to enforce that by controlling the number of available hotel rooms.

Nearly 400 hotels and restaurants deemed to violate local environmental laws have already been ordered closed and airlines as well as ferries were told to restrict service to the area.

Drinking and smoking are banned on the beach and the huge multi-day beach parties dubbed LaBoracay that drew tens of thousands of tourists during the May 1 Labour Day weekend will be a thing of the past.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said last week she hopes the new Boracay will be the start of a "culture of sustainable tourism" in the Philippines, adding other tourist destinations will be next.

The Boracay Foundation, the main business industry group on the island, has not commented on the restrictions but welcomed the return of tourists.

Everyone, big and small, has sacrificed a lot during the six-month closure, its executive director Pia Miraflores said.

Tens of thousands of workers were left unemployed when the island's tourism machine was deprived of visitors.

Other places in the region strained by mass tourism have also used closures as a tactic to protect the sites from destruction.


Tourism Observer






USA: Marriott Workers On Strike

Marriott International hotel employees on strike in Chicago have been joined by thousands of workers in San Francisco and Boston, who are picketing the company in a bid for higher wages and improved benefits.

Marriott has 850 company-managed hotels in the U.S. and Canada. It has 140,000 managed employees in the USA.

Workers at all seven of Marriott’s hotels in Boston—an estimated 1,500 employees—have walked away from their positions as part of what Unite Here Local 2 union organizers are calling the first ever hotel strike in the city.

The hotels affected by the strike include the Ritz Carlton, Boston; the Westin Boston Waterfront; and the Sheraton Boston.

The company declined to address the union’s specific demands but said in a written statement that it is disappointed that Unite Here has chosen to resort to a strike instead of attempting to resolve these disputes at the bargaining table.

While the union is not opposed to technology, it is asking for workers to be involved in discussions over how automation is adopted.

We want to be equal partners so we have a voice in how that technology can be supportive of workers rather than disruptive.

“During the strike our hotels are open, we have contingency plans in place and are activating those plans. We stand ready to serve our guests,” the company said. “While we respect our associates’ rights to participate in this work stoppage, we also will welcome any associate who chooses to continue to work.”

Leaders of Unite Here Local 26 claim its members can no longer afford to live and work in Boston due to stagnated wages, and argue that Marriott can afford to increase worker pay.

The union claims many workers are forced to take on more than one job, and new contract proposals from Marriott fail to improve the situation. In a statement, Marriott said its new contract proposal for union workers is in line with what was expected.

We are disappointed that Unite Here has chosen to resort to a strike at this time. Marriott’s current economic proposal matches the economic terms in the parties’ last contract, which included the largest increases in the parties’ bargaining history, a spokesperson from Marriott said in a statement.

During the strike our hotels are open, and we stand ready to provide excellent service to our guests. While we respect our associates’ rights to participate in this work stoppage, we also will welcome any associate who chooses to continue to work.

In Northern California, Unite Here Local 2 is leading roughly 2,500 Marriott hotel workers in picketing outside of seven hotels in downtown San Francisco.

These properties are the Marriott Union Square, the Palace Hotel, the W San Francisco, the Westin St. Francis Union Square, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, the Courtyard San Francisco Downtown and the St. Regis San Francisco.

Workers at the San Jose Marriott have also joined in the strike.

For too long Marriott workers have struggled to get by, forced to work multiple jobs, sustaining workplace injuries, and having their hours cut, just to get by, D. Taylor, president of the Unite Here union, said in a statement.

Today, thousands of Unite Here workers are in the streets striking Marriott across the country because Unite Here workers believe one job should be enough to live on.

Meanwhile, strikes are ongoing at nine downtown Chicago hotels nearly a month after workers walked out. Marriott reached an agreement with the union early in the process, but workers continue to picket at three Hyatt Hotels Corporation hotels and several others.

From Unite Here’s comments, the root of these strikes lie in economic discrepancies that the hotel industry is well aware of.

In mid-September, members of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association said the labor market remains a major challenge for hotel operators, with rising labor costs and a need for skilled workers an ongoing concern.

These concerns were echoed at last month’s Lodging Conference, where Trump Hotel Group CEO Eric Danziger said the industry has failed to create positions that are attractive to U.S. workers.

The main reason these positions remain unattractive, he said, can be attributed to long hours, low pay and a lack of competitive benefits.

Furthermore, as of April 2018 the U.S. unemployment rate reached 3.9 percent, meaning dissatisfied employees have the option of seeking new positions, and labor unions likely believe unemployment figures place them in a favorable position to bargain.

In a statement, Ted Waechter, a spokesman for San Francisco’s Unite Here union, said the city’s workers have no plan to capitulate.

We’re going to stay on the lines until workers no longer have to work two or three jobs, Waechter said in a statement. This is not a limited-duration strike. We’re in it for the long haul.

CANADA: Air Canada Signs 15 Year Lease Worth C$19 Million For Multi Tenant Facility.

Air Canada broke ground today on a new facility that will house its ground support equipment service and cargo teams at Edmonton International Airport (YEG). The new, 4,645-square-meter facility being built by Terracap Group is set to open in September 2019.

Air Canada signed a 15-year lease for the multi-tenant facility, worth C$19 million by the airline over the term of the lease. Air Canada Cargo will occupy a 1,858 square meters, while Air Canada’s ground support team will occupy the remaining 2,787 square meters.

In 2017, Air Canada Cargo handled 3.2 million kilograms of goods, including pharmaceuticals, mail, art, and oil and gas industry equipment through its Edmonton cargo facility.

Apart from the cargo facilities, the ground support portion of the new warehouse has five maintenance bays to facilitate Air Canada’s approximately 167 vehicles in use at YEG.

Edmonton is a strategic distribution point for the oil and gas industry here in the province, in this cargo facility, Kevin Howlett, Air Canada senior vice president, regional markets & government relations, said.

All of the necessary ground equipment that we use in the course of our airport operations, including our cargo operations, will be supported in this facility.

There will also be dedicated areas for specialized electrical repairs, year-round equipment painting, welding, hazardous material handling and training.

Cargo is a really important component of even the passenger flights. The more revenue per aircraft, the more additional flights we get over time.

Air Canada said its cargo handled 3.2 million kilograms of goods in 2017 through its Edmonton facility, including pharmaceuticals, mail, art and oil and gas industry equipment.

EIA said Air Canada is offering more than 290 flights each week to 12 destinations in North America this fall, including direct flights to Las Vegas and San Francisco.

In March, Air Canada announced it was launching daily, direct flight options to Las Vegas from the EIA. The flights are scheduled to begin this Sunday onboard an Air Canada Rouge A319.

In late 2017, the airline launched a plan to provide daily non-stop, flights between Edmonton and San Francisco.

There’s been a lot of development at the EIA this year, including the opening of a Costco warehouse in August, the opening of the Premium Outlet Collection EIA mall in May and a new five-storey, 135-room and suite Fairfield Inn by Marriott is under development and scheduled to be complete in early 2019.

The Supreme Court of Canada cleared the way for a class-action lawsuit against Air Canada and British Airways to proceed by dismissing an appeal by Canada's largest airline.

Air Canada had sought to overturn an October 2017 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that the class action could include foreign claimants despite playing out in Ontario courts.

The decade-old lawsuit from three companies alleges price fixing by major airlines involved in air freight shipping between 2000 and 2006.

Linda Visser, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, says they have reached settlements totalling more than $29 million with all 14 defendants except Air Canada and British Airways.

Visser says the lawsuit involves up to tens of thousands of class members, many of them exporters and freight forwarders that handle shipments ranging from flowers to zoo animals.

The plaintiffs are Ontario's Airia Brands Inc., Britain's Startech.Com Ltd. and Germany's Quick Cargo Service.

The airline signed a 15-year lease for the facility, which is expected to open in Sept. 2019.




Tourism Observer