Thursday 30 August 2018

MEXICO: 196-room Holiday Inn Ciudad Juarez Hotel Opens In Mexico

HG the InterContinental Hotels Group has announced the new opening of the 4-story, 196-room Holiday Inn Ciudad Juarez hotel.

Located on Juarez Tecnologico Avenue 3620, Partido Iglesias neighborhood, and a few minutes from the Abraham Gonzalez International Airport serving Ciudad Juarez, the hotel opens following an investment made by its franchisee Fibra Inn of more than MX$ 211 million pesos.

Gerardo Murray, Regional Vice President, Marketing, Commercial and Revenue Strategy Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, IHG said: We are very proud to have franchisees such as Fibra Inn who continue to demonstrate their confidence in IHG´s family of brands with the opening of the first Holiday Inn hotel in Ciudad Juarez.

The Holiday Inn brand is recognized worldwide for its commitment to providing warm and friendly stays for all guests.

The Holiday Inn Ciudad Juarez property features a contemporary design, making it the ideal property for any traveler visiting this destination.

Guests can find facilities to help them work and play, including the El Refugio Bar and the full-service Las Misiones Restaurant serving both regional and international dishes and where Kids Eat Free.

Other hotel amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, 24-hour business center, free parking, meeting rooms, as well as fast, reliable Wi-Fi with IHG® Connect.

The Holiday Inn Ciudad Juarez hotel joins five other IHG properties open in Chihuahua state: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ciudad Juárez -Las Misiones hotel; Holiday Inn® Hotel & Suites Chihuahua hotel; Holiday Inn Express Chihuahua hotel; Staybridge Suites® Chihuahua hotel and the Holiday Inn Express® & Suites Chihuahua Juventud hotel.

Guests visiting Ciudad Juarez on leisure will find the Holiday Inn hotel conveniently close to La Rodadora interactive museum with exhibitions in science, technology, art and culture.

The newly opened property is also near the renowned Museo de la Revolucion en la Frontera (Museum of the Revolution on the Border) showcasing the history of Juarez and the Mexican revolution as well as the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts National Institute).

For ecotourism enthusiasts, the majestic dunes of Samalayuca are only 45 minutes away.

Owned by Fibra Inn and managed by Grupo Hotelero Prisma, the Holiday Inn Ciudad Juarez hotel is franchised by an affiliate of IHG.

Fibra Inn, who currently has 15 hotels under the IHG family of brands, is one of the longest-standing owner groups in Mexico.

The Holiday Inn brand is part of IHG's diverse family of brands in nearly 100 countries and territories.

Tourism Observer

COLOMBIA: Grand Hyatt Bogota Hotel A 372-room Luxury Property Opens, Its First Hyatt In Bogota

Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the opening of Grand Hyatt Bogota, marking the first Hyatt hotel in the Colombian capital and the first Grand Hyatt branded hotel in Colombia.

The 372-room luxury property is located in the heart of Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo commercial district, up the road from the Corferias and Agora Bogota convention centers, and minutes from the ultramodern Gran Estacion Mall, El Dorado International Airport, and Bolívar Square.

We are thrilled to announce the opening of the first Grand Hyatt hotel in the country and are confident that Grand Hyatt Bogota will exceed expectations of all who visit the hotel, said Myles McGourty, senior vice president, Latin America & Caribbean, Hyatt.

The hotel offers an iconic experience for worldly guests who seek first-class hospitality, best-in-class food and beverage and a luxurious stay.

Grand Hyatt Bogota reflects and celebrates what makes Bogota a vibrant capital city rich in history, iconic sites and countless attractions for all types of visitors, while also being the governmental and financial center of Colombia.

In addition to offering first-class accommodations and luxury amenities and services, the hotel brings to life Colombian culture through its innovative architecture, distinctive interior design and multicultural culinary offering.

I feel honored and proud to be part of the more than 350 colleagues who have made this great achievement possible, said Philippe Frey, general manager, Grand Hyatt Bogota.

With the opening of Grand Hyatt Bogota, we are committed to further elevating the standard of hospitality in this cosmopolitan capital in South America and delivering an extraordinary experience every day.

Designed with bold and vibrant features, the hotel has 372 beautifully decorated guestrooms, including 50 suites, that invite guests to wake up in open, airy rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lush inner atrium garden, multicolored lights of the metropolis, or the cloud-topped majesty of the Andes Mountains.

Additionally, suites and club room guests have exclusive access to the Grand Club Lounge, which provides an elegantly designed space with personal concierge services and culinary highlights throughout the day.

Discover great dining inside Grand Hyatt Bogota with some of the best Japanese and Colombian food in the city.

At the upscale Ushin Japanese & Grill, umami flavors pair with stellar views from the 14th floor for an exclusive and unforgettable experience.

Capitalino Restaurant crafts casual eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, blending international tastes with Colombian traditions.

Ilustre Bar is the place to go in the evening to share small plates and sip creative cocktails. Guests craving an expertly balanced cup of Colombian coffee, can head to Aldeana Market and grab delicious baked goods.

The hotel invites guests to schedule time for themselves at Zaitania Spa, one of the largest urban spas in Latin America, where experienced aestheticians and massage therapists work to refresh and soothe guests in 11 spacious treatment rooms.

After indulging in relaxation and beauty treatments that highlight native products from Colombia, guests can head to the relaxation area, three hydrotherapy pools, steam room, or dry sauna to extend their spa experience.

Located on the third floor with over 32,000 square feet (3,000 square meters), Zaitania Spa also features a beauty salon, an indoor pool acclimatized to 82°F (28°C) and a fully equipped fitness center.

Nestled in striking architecture, Grand Hyatt Bogota sets the perfect scene for incredible meetings, events, conferences, galas or wedding festivities magnificently illuminated by natural daylight and modern light fixtures.

Expert planners create bespoke events in 24,434 square feet (2,270 square meters) of meeting and event space ranging in scale from the opulent Grand Ballroom, which can hold up to 1,000 people approximately, to 269 square foot (25 square-meter) conference rooms where small teams can work efficiently.

Tourism Observer

CHINA: Huazhu Hotels Looses Guest Records In Data Breach

A Chinese hotel group is investigating the possible leak of millions of customers' records, which appear to be for sale on the internet.

An advert is offering the 140 gigabyte data trove in exchange for Bitcoin on a dark web forum.

Security experts believe the firm's database may have been accidentally uploaded to the internet.

Huazhu Hotels said it called the police without any delay.

Shanghai Police is investigating the potential breach.

It is one of China's largest hotel chains, operating more than 3,500 properties across 13 brands including Ibis and Mercure.

Cyber security firm Zibao told a local news outlet that it believed the breach was a result of the hotel group's software developers accidentally uploading a database to Github, a service where developers can collaborate.

The group said they had paid significant attention to this matter and immediately implemented an internal audit to guarantee the safety of our guests' information.

It added that it was using external companies to verify whether a leak had happened.

Data breaches are nothing new for China, but the scale of customer data involved has led to international press attention for the hotel group.

Huazhu Hotels Group Ltd is a hotel management company in China. It was previously known in English as China Lodging Group Limited.

The company head office is in Changning District, Shanghai.

The China Lodging/Hanting Inns business was established in 2005. The original company, Powerhill, was established in 2005, and the current Huazhu company was established in 2007.

Ji Qi the founder, stated that he got the idea to start the chain by reading a book discussing Accor Hotels.

In 2012 the company had four brands and about 1,000 properties in China.

In May 2015 the company announced that former President Jenny Zhang was to be appointed Chief Executive Officer.

In 2017, Huazhu Hotel Group acquired Crystal Orange Hotel Group for CNY3.65 billion.

The company brands include Hanting Inns and Hotels including Hanting Express, Hi Inn,JI Hotel, Starway Hotel, Joya Hotel and Manxin Hotels and Resorts.

The company classifies Joya and Manxin as upscale brands, JI and Starway as midscale, and Hanting and Hi Inn as economy brands.

Previously the sub-brands of Hanting Inns and Hotels were Hanting Seasons Hotel and Hanting Express Hotel, and Hanting Hi Inn.

Jiazhen Huo and Zhisheng Hong, authors of Service Science in China, wrote that the Hanting brand is promoted to be similar to youth hostels so as to meet the customer demands lower than its former market positioning

Tourism Observer

MALAYSIA: W Kuala Lumpur Hotel Opens, Features 150 Stylish Guest Rooms

W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International, Inc., has announced the opening of W Kuala Lumpur, marking the brand's first-ever hotel in Malaysia.

Owned by Tropicana Corporation Berhad, W Kuala Lumpur opens its doors in the heart of the capital, steps from the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers.

Kuala Lumpur is known for its fast paced spirit which emerged from modest beginnings.

Nestled between the Klang and Gombak Rivers, Kuala Lumpur boasts a sunny tropical climate, flourishing jungle, soaring buildings and traditional Malaysian architecture a meeting of old and new, nature and humankind, on every street.

Even within the city center, nature is juxtaposed against architecture with towering skyscrapers emerging from the canopy of green. Beyond the city's juxtapositions, Kuala Lumpur is home to a multicultural mix of world-class cuisine and creativity, the perfect spot for the brand's debut in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur is one of the most modern cities in Asia. Skyrocketing from its humble heritage as a mining town to a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers, it's clear that, like W, the city has a passion for embracing what's new and next in the world , a natural fit for the W Hotels brand, said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide.

We are blown away by how the city is moving towards the future while still maintaining its traditional and cultural roots.

It's a precise balancing act that we have brought to the intricate, vibrant design of W Kuala Lumpur to show guests from across the globe all the magic this city has to offer.

W Kuala Lumpur combines an inexhaustible mix of old and new colors, aromas and sounds that blend effortlessly together in a cultural festival for the senses. A distinct design feature at W Kuala Lumpur is the pixel or dot.

It is cleverly integrated throughout the hotel and is used to create a bigger picture inspired by a broader multicultural Malaysia made up of many ethnicities.

Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by larger-than-life traditional batik motifs, a nod to ancient artwork of the region, blended with sleek metal accents.

The city's abundant plant life is pulled into the space via bamboo inspired chandeliers set against an ever-changing wall of lights, a representation of the new technology that is enhancing the cityscape.

At the Welcome area, guests check in among modern nods to the jungle.

Streaming LED lights hang from above, playfully mimicking waterfalls, spotlights alternate along the floor like a flowing river while the ceiling patterns depict an artistic interpretation of Kuala Lumpur's topography, and chandeliers show off the shapes of spinning Malay toys known throughout the country.

Extending from the Living Room, the hotel's grand staircase plays with light and space in a towering geometric cascade of steel-mirrored panels.

Reflecting the vibrant colors and native designs found throughout the room and floors above, the staircase shifts each guests' view of both color and spacial dynamics as they move through the creatively extroverted mirroring.

W Kuala Lumpur features 150 stylish guest rooms and suites, including two WOW suites and the lavish Extreme WOW Suite, the brand's take on the traditional presidential suite.

With a living space of over 520 square meters, the Extreme WOW Suite brings a new level of eclectic luxury to the city.

All W Kuala Lumpur rooms and suites embody both the traditional and modern elements of the Jungle City, teaming W essentials like signature W beds with traditional accents like indigenous Wau tassels commonly featured on Malaysian kites and pixelated versions of batik designs.

W Kuala Lumpur brings a flawless synergy to Kuala Lumpur's booming, multicultural food and drink scene with six diverse beverage and food venues.

YEN offers an imperial ambience with a contemporary take on traditional Cantonese recipes and a wide selection of fresh seafood.

The energetic all-day dining restaurant, FLOCK, showcases an extensive open kitchen where expert chefs serve up Australian, farm-to-flock dishes featuring organic produce and a focus on sustainable eats.

For inventive bar bites and meticulously crafted cocktails, WOOBAR is a chic all-day social space perfect to fuel up and stay longer.

Set to be the best spot to see and be seen in Kuala Lumpur, the WET® Deck pool bar features creative concoctions, with breathtaking views of Petronas Twin Towers as its stunning backdrop.

W Kuala Lumpur will also offer two privately managed dining and entertainment venues including SAINT PIERRE, a 70-seat French eatery that has already earned a Michelin star at its Singapore location, and WICKED, the city's newest VIP club, further amplifying Kuala Lumpur's buzzing nightlife.

W Kuala Lumpur adopts a bold approach to elevate events from ordinary to extraordinary.

Featuring over 1,500 square meters of function space including the sprawling 1,000-square-meter GREAT ROOM, W Kuala Lumpur is setting the stage for lively and vivid presentations, conferences, weddings, and product launches.

Guests and staycationers looking to get pampered can treat themselves to luxe indulgences at AWAY®Spa. With five treatment rooms, this 1,100-square-meter oasis offers massages and treatments, vitality pools, chroma-therapy steam baths and bio infrared saunas.

For complete head-to-toe pampering, the Beauty Bar, a local elite beauty house by 176 Avenue, offers manicures and pedicures, as well as hair and eyelash extension services.

For those wanting to detox before they retox and repeat, guests can sweat it out at the hotel's FIT gym which features state-of-the-art equipment and views of the city skyline.

To celebrate the debut of W Kuala Lumpur, guests are invited to experience W and detox in style.

Book a stay with W Kuala Lumpur and revel in the signature Whatever/Whenever® experience. Rates start from MYR850+ per room per night, subject to availability at the time of reservation. Terms & conditions apply.

Prices are subject to prevailing taxes.

Tourism Observer

AUSTRALIA: St. Regis Melbourne Openning 2022 With 168 Luxuriously Appointed Guestrooms And Suites

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the signing of The St. Regis Melbourne, marking the first hotel in Australia for the luxury brand. Owned by Century Group Aus, this new-build hotel is slated to open in 2022 and will be located in the heart of Melbourne.

Melbourne's vibrant mix of world-class dining, art galleries and rich history makes it an ideal destination for the debut of the iconic St. Regis brand in Australia, said Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts.

We are delighted to be working with Century Group Aus to open The St. Regis Melbourne and offer our guests impeccable service and exquisite experiences in Australia.

Located in the luxury mixed-use precinct Flinders Bank on the corner of Spencer and Flinders Streets, the new St. Regis Melbourne will serve as a landmark gateway to the city's bustling Central Business District.

Guests will also be within walking distance of Collins Street, known for its historic Victorian architecture, prestigious boutiques and high-end retailers, as well as the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

We are honoured to be bringing this iconic brand to Australia, said Connie Wu, Executive Director of Century Group Aus. From the outset, we knew we wanted to create a hotel for today's discerning and sophisticated traveller and the St. Regis brand's timeless, tasteful and luxurious offering is the perfect fit.

We are confident this hotel will become an architectural benchmark in the region and the jewel in the crown at Flinders Bank.

The 33-storey Flinders Bank will house the St. Regis Melbourne across levels 2 to 11 and include 168 luxuriously appointed guestrooms and suites, all of which will offer sweeping views of the Yarra River or city skyline.

With interiors created by world-leading interior design studio, Chada, and the building designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects, The St. Regis Melbourne will be an instant icon and stylish addition to the city's skyline.

Refined food and beverage offerings will include a specialty restaurant in addition to a sophisticated Drawing Room space and the St. Regis Bar, which will serve up the local rendition of the brand's signature cocktail, the Bloody Mary.

Guests will also be able to immerse themselves in unparalleled leisure facilities, such as a fitness and wellness center with a 25 metre indoor swimming pool and an exceptional Iridium Spa and beauty salon.

Guests of The St. Regis Melbourne will also experience the renowned hallmarks of the St. Regis brand, including the legendary St. Regis Butler Service that personalises each stay according to guests' unique tastes and preferences.

The hotel will also be an ideal setting for exclusive corporate gatherings, special events and weddings.

This signing is an indication of the investment community's confidence in the Australian hotel market, where we are seeing a growing demand for premium lodgings, said Richard Crawford, Senior Director, Hotel Development, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific at Marriott International.

The St. Regis Melbourne will be an outstanding addition to our strong and growing footprint in the region, where we are on track to boast the largest portfolio of upper upscale and luxury hotels and resorts, with two-thirds of the new supply pipeline.

Tourism Observer

USA: Pilot Hotels Brand Has Been Introduced By Marcy Holthus

American private investor Marcy Holthus, launches an exclusive boutique luxury hotel brand: Pilot Hotels.

Incorporating the unrivaled 12-room Washington School House Hotel in Park City, Utah and the soon-to-launch Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé in France's Loire Valley, Pilot Hotels elevates authentic, curated, destination-defining properties to an extraordinary level.

With a background in finance and real estate, and a discerning eye for design, Marcy Holthus, CEO, is charting a path in the development of historically and architecturally significant properties around the globe. Pilot Hotels will continue Holthus' quest to deliver unapologetic luxury for the elite traveler.

Holthus became an accidental hotelier with the opening of the Washington School House Hotel in 2011.

Built for her and her family, and crafted with alacrity and precision in a historic limestone school house, it became evident that this stunning gem was a beacon to the international traveler searching for compelling design, novel locations and unparalleled service.

The Pilot Hotels brand is bold and innovative delivering a luxe experience that exceeds expectations in curated destinations for the well-informed traveler.

The concept, according to Holthus, is design-driven and intuitive: The hotels themselves are works of art. The design team starts with an incredible property saturated in history that transcends centuries.

Awe-inspiring spaces for the modern luxury traveler are created, while preserving and restoring authenticity. The restoration is then layered with carefully curated art and furnishings, with splendid finishes, delivering over-the-top, chic, sophisticated interiors, said Marcy Holthus, founder and CEO of Pilot Hotels.

Once construction is completed, Holthus taps Michael Gregory, Managing Director, to craft an experience commensurate with the property. Holthus adds that, Michael is masterful in directing execution of every detail with aplomb and remarkable savior faire.

The result — A Pilot Hotel is the destination, wherever the location.

The management team at Pilot Hotels has been constructed with the same exacting excellence as the properties. With the launch of Pilot Hotels, Michael Gregory has been promoted to Managing Director.

Having been with the brand since the development of the original concept for Washington School House Hotel in 2011, Gregory is able to interpret Holthus' concepts with perfect élan.

Other team members include Director of Real Estate, Michael Elliott, Director of Sales and Marketing, Megan Witt, Creative Directors Paul and Shannon Wehsener - of Paul Allen Design Group, and Project Manager, Benoit Dussault.

Notably, the Pilot Hotels team brings varied experience from outside the boutique hotel industry, with ambition and savvy, breaking molds and creating new travel expectations that have been exceedingly well-received.

Tourism Observer

MADAGASCAR: 10,000 Radiated Tortoises Impounded After Stinking In Madagascar

Soary Randrianjafizanaka set out with police, colleagues, and others earlier this month to investigate a rancid smell coming from a two-story house in Toliara, a town on the southwestern coast of Madagascar.

She arrived at a scene unlike any she’d seen before in her role as a regional head of Madagascar’s environmental agency: thousands of tortoises of varying sizes covering the floors, jammed up against one another with no room to move.

Randrianjafizanaka said the stench of feaces and urine was overwhelming.

You cannot imagine. It was so awful, she said. They had tortoises in the bathroom, in the kitchen, everywhere in the house.

In total the house contained 9,888 live radiated tortoises, a rare species found only in Madagascar—and 180 dead ones.

Randrianjafizanaka helped count them as rescuers loaded them onto six trucks that made several trips to Le Village Des Tortues (Turtle Village in French), a private wildlife rehabilitation facility in Ifaty, 18 miles north of Toliara.

It took until early the following morning to transfer all the tortoises to the rescue center.

The vast majority of the animals are alive and doing relatively well, according to Na Aina Tiana Rakotoarisoa, a veterinarian who’s taking care of them.

But a week after their discovery, 574 tortoises had died from either dehydration or infection.

Authorities have leads on those responsible. Three suspects—two men and a woman, the owner of the house—were arrested. According to Randrianjafizanaka, the men were in the process of burying dead tortoises on the property when her team arrived.

Rick Hudson, president of the U.S.-based Turtle Survival Alliance, which has been helping with the rescue efforts, believes that the small and mid-size tortoises—easier to conceal than the big ones, which can weigh 35 pounds with shells 16 inches across—would have been smuggled out of the country.

Randrianjafizanaka thinks the sheer number of tortoises indicates an organized effort. We don’t know exactly who the big person is, but we know there’s a big boss, she said.

Taking radiated tortoises from the forests is illegal in Madagascar, and a treaty signed by 182 countries and the European Union bans commercial trade of the species.

Nonetheless the animals are increasingly targeted by poachers, who either sell them locally as bush meat or smuggle them live to Southeast Asia or China, where they’re sold to reptile collectors.

Radiated tortoises are especially prized because of the intricate yellow star patterns on their upper shells.

Forest loss has also taken a toll on the population of radiated tortoises. A 2013 estimate put their numbers at six million, down from 12 million in the 1990s.

Today the population is likely closer to three million, Hudson said. In 2008 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which assesses the conservation status of animals in the wild, changed their designation from of least concern to critically endangered a rare, four-category jump that puts them one step away from extinct.

Hudson said he was shocked by the scale of the seizure. But he also found it totally believable that so many tortoises would be snatched from the wild. They’re being harvested at what I’d call an alarming, catastrophic rate, he said.

Wildlife poaching intensified in Madagascar after 2009, when a political coup sent the country into a downward economic spiral that weakened environmental protection efforts.

In recent years seizures of radiated tortoises—as well as of ploughshare tortoises, also native to Madagascar and even rarer—have become routine.

In 2015 authorities confiscated 453 live radiated tortoises from Madagascar’s Ivato International Airport, for example, and 316 were seized in southeast China in 2016 as part of a scheme involving an airport employee who snuck them to his apartment after they arrived from Madagascar.

It’s unlikely that the 10,000 tortoises will be released into the wild anytime soon, according to Jordan Gray, communications and outreach coordinator for the Turtle Survival Alliance.

Rampant poaching, he said, means that keeping them in captivity is their best chance for survival.

Tourism Observer

KENYA: Ndere Islands,The Meeting Place And Wonder In Lake Victoria

The smell of fish hangs in the air at Kaloka beach, in the northern shore of Lake Victoria. Fresh fish.

And these fish, hundreds of them are laid out in the sun to dry on white polythene. Their glassy eyes stare up at the sky; stunned by death.

Robust women as most women in this part of the country are in headscarves and khangas wrapped around their waists chatter and guffaw.

They scale, clean and salt the fish to preserve them, before laying them out in the sun to dry. Flies buzz everywhere.

And their men, the fishermen, bare-chested, dark, tall, sinewy and louder than the women as men from these parts are known to be mill around mending their fishing nets.

Beyond the hustle and bustle of this scene lies what brings most people together in this part of Kenya: Lake Victoria. After all, this is Ndere, which means meeting place in Dholuo. The lake sparkles blue in the midmorning sun.

If you look farther across the lake you will see Ndere Island which was declared a National Park in November 1986.

It covers an area of 4.2km square and is home to a variety of bird species, hippos, baboons, crocodiles including the lesser known Spotted Crocodile, and lately impalas.

Plans are underway by the Kenya Wildlife Society to translocate zebras and giraffes to the park.

The island looks lush and serene from the mainland and that’s where we are headed.

The wonders of Kenya are sometimes hidden in corners like this. The board is running a campaign to open up and market Kenya’s western circuit as a tourist destination.

To get to the island, we take a motorboat lasts the ride to the island lasts 10 minutes.

The KWS official accompanying us called our tour of the island “nature walk,” but most in my group thought it world be more a serene stroll in the park smelling flowers and feeling the sun in our faces. Hardly.

To get to the top of the island we huffed and puffed — in a long single file — up a gentle hillside, for two kilometres.

As we walked through the grassland, hundreds of birds circled above and around us.

When you walk through the grass you disturb insects in the grass which the birds feed on, the park warder explains.

Finally we get to the top, panting. The view is spectacular, and the cool breeze tickles our faces. A ship from Tanzania sails by in the distance. Homa Hills tower close by.

The warder finds it appropriate to point east and says, “That is Obama’s home,” as the jaded and still breathless lot looks around eagerly. “Where?” we ask in almost unison curiosity.

“Well, you cannot see it from here, it’s way over those hills,” he smiles. I bet “way over those hills” could also be Illinois, I think to myself.

The KWS, we are informed, is planning to throw top dollar at revamping some national reserves in Western Kenya, Ndere Island being one of them.

The warder points out a spot on the shore where Serena Hotels is planning to build a hotel.

The island attracts campers some of whom stay out here for even a week exploring or just fishing.

Ndere, which means meeting place, thus seems like the ideal place to get together with nature.

Ndere Island is a small island (4.2 km2 or 1.6 sq mi) in Winam Gulf of Lake Victoria in Kenya. It was gazetted as the Ndere Island National Reserve in November 1986 and has since that time been uninhabited.

Ndere means "meeting place" in Dholuo. According to Luo folklore, early tribal migrants rested up near Ndere after their long journey south up the Nile River Valley. They found the lush shoreline so pleasing that they stayed.

Notable fauna associated with the island include African fish eagles, swifts, hippopotamus, and Nile crocodiles. About fifty impalas have been introduced to the island.

Tourism Observer

MEXICO: Interjet Airlines Enters Interline Agreement With Emirates

Agreement with Dubai based airline provides Emirates customers flying to Mexico convenient connections to Interjet’s 55 destinations in Mexico, the U.S., Canada, Central and South America.

Interjet customers now have greater connectivity to the more than 150 destinations where Emirates flies.

Interjet Airlines today, announced yet another interline agreement, this time with Emirates, providing customers convenient connections between the networks of Interjet and Emirates.

Now customers have the convenience of purchasing a single ticket for flights on either airline, checking baggage at their origination to their final destination, and easy connections at the airports served by both carriers.

We are very excited to announce another important interline agreement between Interjet Airlines and Emirates, said Jose Luis Garza, General Director for Interjet.

Our commitment has been to offer our business and leisure travellers everywhere we fly, our unique brand of lower prices with free checked bags on select fares, more legroom between seats and great service that differentiates us from our peer competitors.

Now with our Emirates agreement, along with recent interline agreements with Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, and EVA Air, we can offer our customers greater connectivity to more of the world, he added.

Emirates launched operations in 1985 with just two aircraft and today, flies the world’s biggest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, to more than 150 destinations worldwide.

The airline is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is a subsidiary of The Emirates Group.

Interjet - official legal name ABC Aerolíneas, S.A. de C.V. is a Mexican airline headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico’s third largest airline after Aeromexico and Volaris.

The airline operates scheduled flights to and from various destinations within Mexico, as well as to and from the Caribbean, Central America, North America and South America out of Mexico City International Airport.

The airline is a family business: the president and CEO is Miguel Alemán Magnani, son of Miguel Alemán Velasco, who is president of the group that owns the airline, Grupo Alemán. Alemán Velasco is son of ex-president Miguel Alemán Valdés, who amassed a fortune while in office 1946–1952, thus building the family fortune.

The airline described itself as the JetBlue of Mexico. However by 2018 the airline had moved to a hybrid model, with low prices but high costs and extras such as extra legroom, free legroom, and a more generous luggage policy, associated with traditional carriers.

Interjet also operates several charter flights throughout the American continent, mainly in the Caribbean.

Interjet started operations on December 1, 2005, with one Airbus A320 aircraft. The airline placed an order for 25 new A320 aircraft to replace the second-hand ones, which was increased by another ten aircraft on January 10, 2010.

Initially most Interjet flights were to and from its hub in Toluca International Airport, which it branded Mexico City - Toluca Airport and which was widely seen at the time as a viable base for low-cost carrier service for the Mexico City market.

By 2008 it had 14 routes in and out of Toluca and 3 between other cities. After the demise of Mexico City-based competitor Aero California in August 2008, Interjet took over the vacant slots and established flight services to Mexico City International Airport.

On July 21, 2011, Interjet made the first flight in North America and the fourth worldwide using biofuel, on the Mexico City – Tuxtla Gutierrez route, with an Airbus A320-200, registration XA-ECO.

In 2012 the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) sold for about a half of a comparable Bombardier Aerospace or Embraer aircraft. Interjet CEO Jose Luis Garza says it was the best choice for hot and high Mexico City, a bold bet on Russia’s first major airliner since the Soviet Union collapse.

On March 2, 2015, Interjet firmed 10 SSJ100 options valued at $350 million.

In January 2018, Four out of 22 of Interjet's SSJ100s were cannibalized for parts to keep others running after having been grounded for at least five months because of SaM146 maintenance delays.

This was later refuted by InterJet.

Interjet flies between locations in Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Peru, and the United States from its bases in Cancún, Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Monterrey.

Interjet has also become a popular choice for surfers traveling to Mexico because of its baggage policy of not charging extra fees for those passengers transporting a surfboard on domestic flights.

On July 1, 2011, Interjet began flights to its first international and Central America destination; to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City from Mexico City International Airport.

On February 23, 2012, Interjet started flights to its first U.S. destination; to Miami International Airport from Benito Juárez International Airport.

On June 21 that year the airline began flights to its second Central America destination; to San José de Costa Rica from Benito Juárez International Airport.

On August 2, 2012, Interjet began flights to its second U.S. destination to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City from Benito Juárez International Airport.

On August 27 the same year the airline received permission to fly to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California; from Guadalajara International Airport in Guadalajara and Benito Juárez International Airport.

The airline began daily scheduled flights six weeks later on October 11. On June 13, 2014, Interjet announced that it would end John Wayne Airport flights on July 20, 2014.

Interjet intended to serve flights from Toluca to various cities in the United States, including O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and San Antonio International Airport in San Antonio.

As of 2013, only flights to Las Vegas and San Antonio had begun, with flights to Las Vegas from Lic. Adolfo López Mateos International Airport in Toluca beginning on November 15, 2012.

On July 10, 2013, Interjet began service to El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá from Mexico City International Airport.

On June 10, 2014, Interjet and Iberia began a codeshare agreement on their flights.

On October 23, 2014, Interjet began service to Houston - George Bush Intercontinental Airport from Monterrey International Airport.

On February 18, 2016, Interjet began service to Los Angeles International Airport from Guadalajara International Airport.

On May 5, 2016; Interjet began its first ever service to Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru from Mexico City.

On October 20, 2016, Interjet launched service to Los Angeles International Airport from Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City.

On May 15, 2017, Interjet announced its first routes to Canada, with thrice weekly flights to Montreal from both Cancun and Mexico City with Airbus A320 aircraft.

On July 28, 2017, Pearson International Airport in Toronto became the airline's second Canadian destination. On October 26, 2017, Vancouver became the airline’s third Canadian destination.

On March 14, 2018, Interjet began flights to San Francisco International Airport from Cancun and Guadalajara.

In 2015 several airlines began codeshare agreements with Interjet.

It was announced in 2015 that Interjet would join the OneWorld airline alliance but as of March 2018, this had not happened.

However Interjet has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

- American Airlines

- Iberia

- LATAM Airlines

Interjet has a distinctive frequent-flyer program, called Club Interjet, in which it rewards its members with cash instead of with points or miles.

As of June 2018, the Interjet fleet consists of the following aircraft:

- Airbus A320-200 47

- Airbus A320neo 3

- Airbus A321-200 6

- Airbus A321neo 6

- Sukhoi Superjet 100 22

Total 84

Tourism Observer

Wednesday 29 August 2018

INDONESIA: Aeroflot Starts Moscow To Denpasar Direct Flights

Aeroflot and Rossiya Airlines are to launch direct flights to Denpasar, the capital of Bali, under a codeshare agreement.

Starting from 28 October 2018, the flights on Boeing 777 aircraft will operate three times weekly on the following schedule:

Moscow-Denpasar all times local:

– flight SU 6295 will depart Sheremetyevo on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 15:05 and arrive in Denpasar at 8:20.

– return flight SU 6296 will depart Denpasar on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:05 and arrive at Sheremetyevo at 17:50.

Flights will operate under the winter timetable effective from 28 October 2018 through 30 March 2019.

Ticket sales for the flights have opened.

Denpasar is the largest city on the island of Bali. It is famous for its ancient temples, palaces and museums, and is also the main transit hub for tourists visiting Bali.

Tourism Observer

SENEGAL: Corsair Suspends Seven Weekly Flights Between Paris Orly And Dakar In Favour Of Air Sénégal.

From 31 January 2019, Corsair is forced to suspend its seven weekly flights between Paris Orly and Dakar in favour of Air Sénégal.

French holiday airline, a subsidiary of German TUI Group, part of TUI Airlines, has been notified by the Senegalese aviation authority ANACIM - Agence nationale de l’aviation civile et de la météorologie.

ANACIM has decided to grant the traffic rights to Air Senegal, who plans to operate between Dakar and Paris from 1 February 2019 with one of the two Airbus A330neo that the airline ordered in February 2018.

Since 2012, Corsair linked Paris with Dakar and according to the Senegalese authorities, in perfect collaboration with Senegal: During these six years Corsair supported the economic and tourism development in our country, we noticed an increase of passenger traffic and a strong reduction of ticket prices.

Corsair sincerely thanked the Senegalese authorities for the collaboration during the past six years. The company has taken note of the decision of the Senegalese authorities and regrets to have to suspend its flights.

Tourism Observer

UNITED KINGDOM: easyJet Starts Plan To Recruit Female Pilots

easyJet has started a national campaign to inspire more girls to become airline pilots.

In a recruitment film released today, the airline reimagined a famous scene from Hollywood movie Catch Me If You Can where Leonardo DiCaprio impersonated a high-flying pilot in an airport.

By re-shooting the movie scene easyJet hopes to correct misconceptions forwarded by Hollywood movies like Top Gun, The Aviator and Flyboys that being a pilot is a man’s job.

easyJet surprised holiday-goers and business travellers at London Southend Airport by reshooting the famous scene with a cast of children, aged between five and nine years-old, putting a girl front and centre.

Leading the cast was nine-year-old Hannah Revie, the daughter of real easyJet captain Emily Revie.
In the short film dubbed - Catch Up, If You Can - Hannah adopted DiCaprio’s swagger in full easyJet uniform and was flanked by an entourage of boys, playing the role of the cabin crew, aptly played by children of easyJet staff, to inspire young girls to pursue a pilot career.

The stunt was initiated on the findings of easyJet research. Its poll of 500 easyJet pilots found that as children, the boys were more likely than girls to consider a career as a pilot.

More than half (55%) of male pilots knew they wanted the job by the age of 10. Women were less keen, as only half (50%) had only thought about the career by the time they were 16 – or even older.

Startlingly, over one fifth (22%) of male pilots were already sold on the job by the age of five.

easyJet is championing female pilots of the future in anticipation of the first day back to school for UK students next week, as many children return to a new term considering their future career options.

The airline wants to encourage new talent into the cockpit to address an industry gender imbalance through its Amy Johnson Initiative, which it launched in 2015.

The Initiative has been linked with an influx of female talent to the airline, new entrant female pilot numbers at easyJet have grown from 6% (2015) to 13% (2017).

easyJet has set a target for 20% of new pilots joining the airline to be women by 2020 at a time when only 5% of all pilots worldwide are female, as benchmarked by the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.

easyJet’s research found that positive childhood role models, like TV and movie stars, family members, and meetings with real pilots, were vital to inspiring young people to consider the career and so the airline is continuing its campaign to increase the visibility of pilots outside of airports.

In the three years since launching the Amy Johnson Flying initiative easyJet pilots have visited more than 150 schools and colleges to promote the career. The airline is now also working with Girlguiding to offer an Aviation badge for Brownies.

Hannah’s mum, easyJet captain Emily Revie who comes from four generations of pilots and also features in the film, said: When I was at school being a pilot was definitely considered a career for the boys and I was told to think about what else I could do as a job.

This misconception isn’t helped by Hollywood producers who have a habit of always putting male actors in the cockpit. I’m really pleased to be taking part in an initiative to encourage more girls like Hannah to consider the career. I love my job and would recommend it to anyone.

Chris Browne, easyJet’s Chief Operations Officer, said: It is clear from our research that changing perceptions and ambitions for women starts in school. We wanted to create an entertaining but thought provoking take on this famous movie scene, to inspire more girls to pursue this rewarding career.

We hope that our campaign inspires a new generation of pilots, challenges gender stereotyping and encourages more women to take to the skies.

Daughter Hannah said: I think girls can do any job they want. I really enjoyed taking part in the film and it felt so exciting to wear a real pilot uniform like my mummy. One day I could be a pilot just like her and also the fifth pilot in my family.

In FY 2018 easyJet will recruit 460 new pilots to meet record demands for the airline for a third consecutive year, as its European network continues to grow.

Opportunities range from cadet pilots starting their career to experienced co-pilots and captains from other airlines and the military.

The Generation easyJet Pilot Training Programme is open from the 3rd September for aspiring pilots to apply.

Tourism Observer

Tuesday 28 August 2018

MACAU: Beijing Capital Airlines Damaged At Macau Airport As It Landed

On 28 August, a Capital Airlines Airbus A320 (B-6952) suffered severe damage on nose gear and left hand engine during a hard landing at Macau Airport.

Flight JD5759 was scheduled from Beijing International Airport to Macau but during the approach – the weather at Macau at the time of landing consisted of rain and wind with gusts up to 30 knots – the aircraft hit the runway very hard.

One of the gears that got detached, hit the left hand engine.

Due to the failure of the communication system and a lack of satellite phone, the aircraft was communicating with the ground using the ACARS onboard.

After declaring an emergency (Mayday), the pilots entered a holding pattern Northeast from the airport and then decided to divert to Shenzhen Airport.

On approach the pilots first did a low pass over the field for a visual check on the landing gears.

Beijing Capital Airlines confirmed the accident, in total, there were 166 passengers and 9 crew members on board.

After the landing at Shenzhen Airport an emergency evacuation was initiated, five of the passengers were slightly injured, most likely during the emergency evacuation.

On Sunday, another company Airbus A320 aircraft had a decompression, forcing the pilots to descend rapidly.

Tourism Observer

KENYA: SafeBoda Starts Nairobi Business

Uganda-based motorbike hailing service SafeBoda has launched in Nairobi as it moves to tap into the mode of transportation popular for its convenience within the city.

Customers will pay a minimum fare of Ksh30 ($0.30) per trip. For longer journeys, users will be required to pay Ksh25 ($0.25) base fare, Ksh30 ($0.30) per kilometre and Ksh1(0.01) per minute.

The bodaboda hailing service is available in Westlands, Parklands, Mbagathi Way, Madaraka, Lavington, Upper Hill, Kilimani, Kileleshwa and Riverside.

Our aim is to improve the industry for both riders and passengers by increasing the number of safe trips taken per day and by making travel around cities convenient and stress-free, SafeBoda said in a statement.

SafeBoda’s value propositions for customer include well-trained riders, fast response upon request as well as credit and cash modes of payment.

To ensure safety is maintained, the riders come equipped with two helmets, two visible reflectors for ride and passenger and disposable hair-net for every passenger for hygiene purposes.

The mobile application founded in Kampala four years ago, boasts of over 5,000 trained and professional SafeBoda’s serving more than a hundred thousand customers weekly in the city.

It connects riders to passengers in need of convenient transport at the click of a button and is among the most frequently downloaded in Uganda alongside WhatsApp and Facebook in August.

The rise in private car owners in East African cities has brought with it traffic snarl-ups, a challenge that has opened up a market for boda boda riders.

SafeBoda joins Estonian ride-hailing company Taxify in the emerging market that has improved convenience for passengers keen on saving time.

Boda boda riders in the city have in the paced faced tough regulations as the county government moves to maintain law and order.

In June, the Nairobi County gazetted new drop off points for motorcycle taxis operating within the city in a bid to restrict their movements in the Central Business District.

The regulations were passed after consultations between county officials and the Boda Boda Association of Kenya require riders to drop their passengers off at Railway area, OTC, Uhuru Park procession area and Globe Cinema.

In addition, the riders are required to give the CBD a wide berth and only use roads such as University Way, Haile Selassie and Kirinyaga Road.

Tourism Observer

SOUTH SUDAN: Fly540 Stopped From Landing At Juba Airport Over Unpaid Landing Fees

South Sudan has stopped operations of Fly540 at Juba airport over allegedly dubious landing fees, leaving travellers with only two direct flights between Nairobi and Juba.

On August 14 a Fly540 flight with 40 passengers on board left Nairobi for Juba at 4:45pmw was denied landing at Juba Airport.

With a flight time of one hour and 35 minutes, the passengers expected to land at 6:20pm. But this was not allowed.

Within half an hour into the flight, the pilot was informed by the airline’s Juba airport manager that he no longer had landing rights, forcing him to fly back to Nairobi.

We were surprised when the airline had to turn back almost half an hour into the flight. We were told that the South Sudan government had denied it entry.

Passengers were told that the airline had cancelled all its flights to Juba, hence our refunds would be processed given that the airline staff could not tell when they would be getting back the landing rights.

Funny enough, Fly540 staff South Sudan government had cancelled the landing rights for the carrier earlier that day, over what it called accumulated landing fees.

It is now two weeks since the airline suspended its operations in Juba.

The Fly540 Juba airport manager only discovered this cancellation when he went to file the flight plan with Juba’s civil aviation authority.

He learned that the authority’s director-general had issued an internal memo suspending the airline's landing rights.

The cancellation of landing rights was as a result of the management of Fly540, South Sudan’s national security intelligence, the Ministry of Interior and the civil aviation agency fighting since April.

On April 16, the South Sudan administration asked Fly540 to temporarily stop paying its landing fees following discovery of fraud within the civil aviation agency.

As a consequence some of the civil aviation agency's staff members were suspended from work and arrested.

This investigation continued and the airline complied with the instructions.

However, the suspended staff from the aviation authority kept threatening the airline's Juba staff, which saw it seek protection services from South Sudan police.

On August 7, the Fly540 management was surprised to receive a letter from Juba's Intelligence agency (NISS) requesting payment of $27,000.

The letter asked that the money be given to some of the Intelligence agency employees who were in Nairobi on assignment.

The Fly540 management asked for a letter from the civil aviation agency to support the request.

This was, however, met with another demand letter now from South Sudan’s Interior Ministry on the same day, demanding payment of the full arrears, which had accrued to $123, 000.

The Fly540 management offered a payment plan, but this was declined.

South Sudan security officers on the same day raided the airline's Juba office and held staff hostage, demanding the payment.

An agreement was reached that the airline would pay $50,000 upfront and the Juba office released $28,300 to the South Sudanese officials, upon which the staff members were released, with a promise to pay the balance in cash via a flight from Nairobi.

The Fly540 flight, which was turned away on Tuesday last week, had the balance on board.

The matter of fraud is still under investigation. The airline has no problem settling the arrears but is questioning the process because it is being faced with funny and unofficial requests from different agencies.

It is something the Kenyan government and embassies are well aware of and are trying to resolve, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

It is understood that Fly540 and the Juba civil aviation agency have been in discussions since the suspension but nothing concrete has come out of the discussions.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director general, Captain Gilbert Kibe, confirmed that his office was aware of the matter.

Yes this is something that has been brought to my attention and we are investigating the issues Fly540 are having. I don’t think I will comment beyond that, Captain Kibe said.

William Mwadime, a Kenyan consular official at the Kenyan Embassy in Juba confirmed that his office had reached out to the Juba authorities to try to resolve the matter.

We had an informal session with Fly540 Juba management over the issue in the week of their flight suspension. We told them to file a formal letter on their concerns, which they did on Thursday.

This was then shared with the Juba authorities and we expect feedback from them on Tuesday, Mr Mwadime said.

South Sudan, however, maintain that the decision to cancel landing rights was taken after the airline went into default on the payment of its landing fees, which according to Juba authorities had accumulated significantly.

You can seek the amount and default period from the airline management. What we want is these unpaid fees settled so that they can continue with their normal frequencies to Juba, an official at the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority, who requested anonymity said.

Fly540, which operates two daily flights to Juba, suspended its services in July 2016 when the fresh fighting broke out, citing the deteriorating security situation.

The Nairobi-Juba route is now served by two daily direct flights by Kenya Airways, with RwandAir making a stop-over at Entebbe and Ethiopian Airline going through Addis Ababa.

Five Forty Aviation Ltd, trading as Fly540, is a low-cost airline which commenced operations in 2006 and is based in Nairobi, Kenya, that operates domestic and international passenger and freight services.

The airline had two subsidiary airlines, Fly540 Ghana which was suspended in May 2014 and since sold and Fly540 Angola which was also suspended in May 2014, but has since focused its business expansion plans on East Africa.

Fly540 started operations between Nairobi and Mombasa on November 24, 2006. The service initially operated twice daily using 48-seat ATR 42 aircraft.

The airline's name refers to its price of Sh5,540 per adult return fare between the above-mentioned cities.

Lonrho Africa was a major investor in the company, paying US $1.5 million for a 49% stake.

In May 2007 the airline introduced two de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 aircraft to increase the airline's capacity, allowing it to develop new domestic routes.

Passenger numbers rose by 93% to 171,160 in the year ended 30 September 2008, from 88,571 in 2007. At the same time, the load factor amounted to 63%, down from 65.8% in 2007.

The original scheduled flights included freight and passenger services between Nairobi and Mombasa, while Kisumu became a destination in January 2007.

Daily flights on the Nairobi-Malindi-Lamu route were added to its domestic services in February 2007.

International operations commenced in October 2007 with flights to Juba in South Sudan and Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Entebbe in Uganda was added in February 2008.

It was planned to expand the Nairobi hub's destinations to Rwanda, Mozambique and Burundi in 2009. The company's ambition was to become a pan-African carrier, through an expansion to an additional two regional hubs:

Fly540 said they will open up Kigali and then head to West Africa. Ghana will be the hub for West African region. In Southern Africa, we shall use Angola as our hub, so it will become a pan African low cost airline.

Fly540 received authorisation to start operations in Angola in April 2009. The initial plans include domestic flights to Cabinda, Luanda, Soyo, Benguela, Huambo and Malanje, but an expansion within the region will take place as soon as the domestic market has proven its success.

In June 2009, it was reported that Fly540 was working to set up a regional franchise in Zimbabwe.

Fly540 Tanzania launched direct flights between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza, on the western shores of Lake Victoria. Initially the company operated 11 flights a week and it was hoped that in time its Fokker 28 aircraft, which carrie 28 people, would be upgraded to a 50-seater CRJ 100.

In 2015 Fly540 Ghana that had been suspended in May 2014 was sold by former owner Fastjet, to UK-based DWG-G and is due to resume operations as Royal Fly540.

In June 2012 Fly540 was sold for $85.7 million (Sh7.3 billion) to British investment firm Rubicon Diversified Investments - now Fastjet Plc, who purchased the airline from Lonrho group.

Rubicon said it had chosen to acquire Fly540 as its platform for the launch of a budget airline in Africa, to be modelled on Europe's second largest low cost carrier EasyJet.

The first flights were transferred to the new airline, Fastjet, from 29 November 2012. These were two domestic routes in Tanzania.

It had been expected that all Fly540 flights would quickly be transferred to Fastjet, in turn, as the various arrangements and permissions required for each route are agreed.

Following the acquisition of Lonrho's 49% interest in Five Forty Aviation Ltd, and a further 49.98% economic interest in the company approved at a Fastjet General meeting on 29 June 2012 and completed on 2 July 2012, it became apparent that the vendor did not consider the additional acquisition had completed.

The dispute led to legal claims by both parties over the ownership and other matters.

A Memorandum of Understanding was reached on 23 April 2013 where both parties agreed to stop legal proceedings against each other, but because Fastjet now considered they did not have control or significant influence, Five Forty Aviation Ltd has since been treated as an investment in their accounts.

The Fly540 operations in Tanzania, Angola and Ghana, however, are fully incorporated within Fastjet's accounts.

Since the acquisition of Lonrho (BVI) Ltd's interest on 29 June 2012, Fastjet has owned 49% of Five Forty Aviation Ltd.

On 13 August 2008, a Fokker F27-500 cargo aircraft crashed about 20 km (12 mi) from the Namber Konton airport near Mogadishu, Somalia.

All three crew members died. The aircraft was said to be carrying a shipment of khat. The aircraft had departed from Wilson Airport in Nairobi.

On January 27, 2011, a Fokker 27 plane on test flight departing Wilson Airport failed to take off and ran through the perimeter fence into a maize field. The plane had four persons on board, and no injuries resulted.

Tourism Observer

USA: Man Arrested After Jumping Fence At LAX, Heading To Delta Air Lines Plane

Los Angeles International Airport police took a man into custody after he scaled a fence and approached a Delta airplane as it prepared to depart, officials said.

The man scaled an outer perimeter fence near Lincoln and Sepulveda boulevards Monday shortly after 2 p.m.

Officers spotted the man climb the fence and took him into custody as he appeared to be getting closer to a Delta plane that was staging for departure.

A passenger on the Delta flight said it appeared the man was doing pushups before he was apprehended.

He got underneath the plane. He was jumping up, trying to touch the wings.

He ran to the other side of the plane, was touching the engines. He got down on the ground, started doing some push-ups. By that time, all the police and security got down on him.

Police later identified the man as Luis Aguilar, 23, of Los Angeles.

Police said Aguilar appears to be a transient with mental health issues. Aguilar was booked for trespassing.

He will receive a mental health evaluation when he is released by police.

Tourism Observer

PUERTO RICO: Visit Aguadilla, The Garden of the Atlantic

Aguadilla Garden of the Atlantic is a city on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, a protectorate of the United States of America.

Aguadilla founded in 1775 by Luis de Cordova, is a city and municipality located in the northwestern tip of Puerto Rico, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, north of Aguada, and Moca and west of Isabela.

Aguadilla is spread over 15 wards and Aguadilla Pueblo, the administrative center of the city. It is a principal city of Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastian Metropolitan Statistical Area.

According to the 2010 Census, there were 60,949 people in the city. This represents a decrease of more than 3,000 from the 2000 Census.

The population density was 1,668.5 inhabitants per square mile (644.2/km2). There were 20,821 housing units. 23.7% of residents were under the age of 18 and 15.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender make up was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.

As a whole, Puerto Rico is populated mainly by people from a Creole born on the Island of European descent or Spanish and European descent, with small groups of African and Asian people.

Statistics taken from the 2000 census shows that 83.6% of Aguadillanos have Spanish or white origin, 5.0% are black, 0.2% are Amerindian, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 8.2% were Some other race, 2.8% Two or more races.

Aguadilla was the site of the U.S. military's Ramey Air Force Base for almost five decades. During this period, Aguadilla was home to the Strategic Air Command 72d Bombardment Wing, Heavy equipped with B-52s, an important strategic facility during the Cold War.

Though the infrastructure still exists, the airport was handed over to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1973. The aerial facilities are now controlled by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and comprise the Rafael Hernandez International Airport.

The barracks now host the Faro Inn Suites, a 79-room hotel. The Officer's Club now hosts the Faro Conference Center, a 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) meeting facility.

The hospital is now the Courtyard by Marriott Punta Borinquen Resort & Casino, a 150-room hotel with a casino and the first Marriott in Puerto Rico out of the San Juan Metropolitan Area.

Ramey also hosts the University of Puerto Rico – Aguadilla Campus and the Friedrich Froebel Bilingual School (K-9). The High School became Ramey Job Corps Campus and the elementary school became the Esther Feliciano Mendoza Middle School.

Centro de Adiestramiento y Bellas Artes (CABA) since 1979 has been the only public school of arts in Puerto Rico (7–12). Ramey is also the site of the new Ramey Skating Park and a new mariposario or butterfly farm and the Ramey Shopping Center.

There is still an active part of the base that hosts the Coast Guard Borinquen Air Station. There are also other government agencies based at Ramey.

They include the United States Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs & Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine and Office of Border Patrol, the Fuerzas Unidas de Rapida Accion - United Forces for Rapid Action of the Puerto Rico Police Department and the Puerto Rico National Guard.

There is also a post office, the Centro de Servicios al Conductor - Driver's Services Center, a bakery, and a Banco Popular de Puerto Rico location.

The beginning of San Antonio Village was back in the mid-19th century. It was composed by 60 families. Originally the place where these families were located was known as Bajura de Vadi, place later to be known as San Antonio.

In 1918, as a consequence of the 1918 San Fermín earthquake, the village was totally destroyed by a tsunami. The families suffered the struggles cause by this natural disaster, due by the proximity of the village to the shore.

The residents of the village decided re-localize the village in a higher area further from shore. The new location was what today is known as Ramey.

At this new location prosperity was not to be delayed. Various leaders and commercial owners of the time, took a step to carry the village forward. Most of the poor houses disappeared.

The village's infrastructure started its evolution. Luis R. Esteves and Juan Garcia established the first two theaters in the area. A new was social club form, known as Luz del Porvenir or Light of the Future.

A new school system was the pride of the village because it offered them the opportunity to give their children an education without having to go 9 miles (14 km) south downtown. There was also a new bakery and a post office, among other facilities. At this time, the village also began its Patron Festival.

The clothing industry was a major source of employment.

In September 1939, some 3,796 acres (15.4 km2) covered by sugar cane, was expropriated for the military at the cost of $1,215,000, in order to build an air base that came to be known as Ramey Air Force Base.

Since the foundation, the village has suffered three expropriations as a result of expansions to Ramey Air Force Base. This expropriations delayed and ended the plans to turn San Antonio into a town.

Today, the population of San Antonio consists of approximately ten thousand people. It has a modern square, a Puerto Rico State Police Station, a coliseum, an industrial park, public housing, a baseball park, a public school system, shops, and many other, charasteristics of a small town.

Also, as a characteristic of a town, has a flag and an emblem. The creation of the flag and emblem was done by Roberto Roman Acevedo.

Aguadilla is located in the northwest coast of the island of Puerto Rico, in the Western Coastal Plains. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the north, the municipalities of Isabela on the east, and Moca and Aguada in the south.

The area of the municipality is 35.5 square miles. It is mostly plain, with some notable hills being Jiménez (728 feet) and Viñet (689 feet). It has only one river, the Culebrinas, which separates Aguadilla from Aguada. Also Cedro Creek which separates Aguadilla from Isabela in the north.

Aguadilla is part of the Porta del Sol touristic region in Puerto Rico. The Porta del Sol website highlights Aguadilla's beaches for surfing.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, Aguadilla has the most beaches in the island, with nineteen. Some of the beaches are considered among the best for surfing, like Surfer's Beach, Gas Chambers, Crash Boat, Wilderness, among others.
Because of this, Aguadilla has served as host to surfing competitions, like the ISA World Championship in 1988.

Other attractions of the town are Las Cascadas Water Park and the Aguadilla Ice Skating Arena, which is the only ice skating complex in the Caribbean.

Tourist Landmarks and places in Aguadilla

- Aguadilla City Hall .Originally built in 1918. Reconstructed after the 1918 earthquake.

- Banyan Treehouse. Wooden House around a banyan tree. Any of its parts touches the tree.

- Campanitas de Cristal Fountain

- Cathedral San Carlos Barromeo

- Christopher Columbus Monument. Consists of a cross originally made of marble. It also had to be rebuilt after the earthquake.

- Cristobal Colon Park

- El Merendero

- El Parterre Jose de Jesus Esteves or Ojo de Agua

- Fisherman's Monument

- Jardin del Atlántico Square

- Las Cascadas (The Waterfalls) Water Park

- Old Sugar Pier

- Paseo Miguel Garcia Mendez

- Punta Borinquen Golf Course. Is an 18-hole golf course, originally built for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

- Punta Borinquen Lighthouse

- Punta Borinquen Lighthouse Ruins

- Rafael Hernandez Monument

- Rafael Hernandez Square

- Ramey Skate Park New

- Tribunal Supremo (Old Courthouse)

- Youth Fountain Juan Pon

Tourist Beaches in Aguadilla

- Crash Boat Beach

- Mix

- Tamarindo

- Survival Beach

- Surfer's Beach

- Wilderness Beach (Las Ruinas)

- Rompeolas Beach

- Columbus Beach

- El Canto de Las Piedras Beach

- Crash Point Beach

- Gas Chambers Beach

- Wishing Well Beach

Aguadilla has several annual celebrations and festivals

- Velorio de Reyes. Celebrated mostly in January, they are a religious ceremony held as gratitude to the Three Kings for some answered prayer. They usually consist of hymns, prayers, and other religious expressions.

- Kite Festival. Held in April, it includes kiosks, music, and kite flying.

- Fiestas San Antonio held in April

- Verbena de Corrales held in May.

- Beach Festival held in June.

- Festival del Atun. Celebrated in July, it is a festival dedicated to the fishing of the tuna.

- Festival de la Musica held in July

- Fiestas Patronales San Carlos held in October

Aguadilla is home to several professional and amateur sports teams. The most notable are the Aguadilla Divas of the Female Superior Volleyball League, and the Aguadilla Sharks of the Superior Baseball League (Double-A).

The Divas play their home games in the Luis T. Diaz Coliseum in Downtown Aguadilla from January to March, while the Sharks play their home games at Luis A. Canera Marquez Stadium from February to May.

Aguadilla also had a professional basketball team called the Aguadilla Sharks, that played for the BSN league. This team was merged into the Cangrejeros de Santurce in 1998.

Aguadilla is also a place where many famous baseball players originate from. There are plans for a future ECHL Minor League Hockey franchise for the city.

The city is currently home to a variety of industrial and pharmaceutical plants like LifeScan, Symmetricom, Honeywell, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Most of them are located at San Antonio Technological Park, the airport as Lufthansa Technik, while others like Suiza Dairy, Lockheed Martin and Productos La Aguadillana are located in Camaseyes Industrial Park.

Other industries that are based in Aguadilla are rubber, plastics, leather, textiles, steel, wood, machinery, and food processing.

The retail sector is also another source of economy in Aguadilla. Shopping malls like Aguadilla Mall, Aguadilla Shopping Center, Aguadilla Town Center, and others are some of the main commercial and retail centers of the city

Rafael Hernández Airport is located in the city of Aguadilla. In recent years, it has seen a resurgence as an international airport in the island, with several airlines planning flights to the US from Aguadilla.

You can fly directly from Newark via United Airlines, from Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando via Spirit Airlines, from New York-JFK and Orlando via jetBlue Airways, Rafael Hernandez International Airport.

Be aware, that these are major airlines which serve hundreds of destinations and as much one-stop flights to this Caribbean paradise.

JetBlue studied expansion for the 3 main airports in Puerto Rico, Aguadilla, Ponce, and San Juan and is the Airline that operates in all three airports. In the past American Airlines offered service to their hub in Miami from Rafael Hernandez Airport.

Miami, as well as other popular routes, currently lacks service from the airport. These markets include but are not limited to Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Hartford, and Baltimore.

These cities are home to some of the largest Puerto Rican communities in the United States, many of whom have ties to Aguadilla and the surrounding region.

From the airport take State-Road 107 South to Interstate PR-2. Exit towards SR-2R/Aguadilla Centro.

Blue Line offers service to and from all municipalities to the Public Transportation Terminal.

Interstate PR-2 at Rafael Henández Highway. Plans are underway for a new expressway, an expansion to existing Puerto Rico Highway 22 Jose de Diego Expressway from Hatillo and it will probably end at Puerto Rico Highway 111.

Walking along the roads of the city center, will offer you a great experience. This way you get to stop and try different foods, shop, and enjoy the beautiful bay views and beaches.

Publicos depart from the Public Transportation Terminal to all wards. There are different routes. These include Aguadilla-Borinquen, Aguadilla-Ramey, and Aguadilla-San Antonio. Price is $1.25 per trip.

Taxi service is available from the airport, hotels, and all wards.

Aguadilla is service by Interstate PR-2. I-PR-2 to the East connects it with Isabela, Quebradillas, Camuy, Hatillo, and eventually to San Juan via Arecibo.

To the South, it connects it with Aguada and Anasco. Other roads include State-Road 110 and 107 to Ramey. It is also connected by State-Road 111 to Moca, San Sebastian, Lares, and Utuado and State-Road 115 to Aguada and Rincon.

- Aguadilla City Hall or Alcaldia. Originally built in 1918. Reconstructed after the 1918 earthquake.

- Banyan Treehouse or Casa del Arbol. Wooden House around a Banyan tree. Any of its parts touch the tree.

- Campanitas de Cristal Fountain

- San Carlos Barromeo Cathedral

- Christopher Columbus Monument - This monument was built to commemorate Columbus' entrance to Puerto Rico through Aguadilla Bay. It consists of a cross originally made of marble. It also had to be rebuilt after the earthquake.

- El Crashboat. A beautiful beach with white sand and crystal waters along with a ship wreck at the far corner of the beach.

- El Merendero - A beautiful view of Aguadilla Bay and site of beautiful sunsets.

- El Parterre Jose de Jesus Esteves or Ojo de Agua. Historic plaza where a natural spring and former source of water for Spanish soldiers is located.

- Fisherman's Monument

- Jardin del Atlantico Square .A beautiful square with fountains and gathering spot of local merchants

- Old Sugar Pier

- Parque Colon. A public park with an enourmous tree house, fountain, swings, playgrounds, street vendors, and a typical Puerto Rican atmosphere. It is located across the street from the beach were the first Spanish ships landed in Puerto Rico and the park is were Christopher Columbus and the Taino were said to have first met.

- Paseo Miguel Garcia Mendez

- Punta Borinquen Lighthouse - Built by the United States Armed Forces in 1920 to substitute the one built by spain and destroyed by the earthquake.

- Punta Borinquen Lighthouse Ruins - Site of the old lighthouse built by Spain in 1889 and site of beautiful pictures.

- Rafael Hernandez Monument. A monument honoring world-famous composer Rafael Hernandez-Marin.

- Rafael Hernandez Square .This is the Main Square.

- Tribunal Supremo (Old Courthouse)

- Wilderness Beach. A beautiful beach with amazing Cliffs. It was once part of the Ramey Militry base. Here you can see the old Spanish ruins. And it's secluded location is great to escpe hge crowds. This beach is only accessibly on rainy days by 4X4 Vehicles.

- Youth Fountain Juan Ponce de Leon Park

Activities to engage in while in Aguadilla

- Aquatica Dive & Surf. A scuba diving, surfing, and stand up paddle boarding shop. You can sign up for lessons, certifications, and tours here as well as rent or buy equipment. Located on PR-110 at km 10.0, Gate 5 Maleza alta.

- Aguadilla Bowling Center. A bowling alley that features 18 computerized lanes, with a bar, cafeteria, and games-room. It is located off Interstate PR-2, at Plaza Victoria.

- Aguadilla Ice Skating Arena. The only ice skating facility in the Caribbean.

- Aguadilla Skating Park. Is a skateboarding facility located in Downtown Aguadilla.

- Caribbean Cinemas 6 - Aguadilla Mall

- Cristobal Colon Park - Family Park with kiosks, a boardwalk with a beautiful view of the city, playground, and a beach.
Las Cascadas or The Waterfalls Water Park - Many water attractions.

Among them the Crazy River, Wave Pool, and lots of slides. It is the largest water park in the Caribbean.

- Pro Bowl Recreation Center. A bowling alley featuring 8 computerized lanes, with a cafeteria and games-room. It is in Ramey Village.

- Punta Borinquen Golf Course. Is an 18 hole golf course, originally built for President Eisenhower.

- Ramey Skating Park this is the only concrete skateboarding facility in Puerto Rico located in Ramey Village a former Military Base.

- Zazones Creole Cuisine Restaurant/Lounge. Is the only restaurant in Puerto Rico that servers authentic creole dishes and to top, has a touch screen bar top.

Aguadilla is the commercial district of the region. It has four strategically located commercial centers along Interstate PR-2.

- Aguadilla Mall

- Aguadilla Shopping Center

- Plaza Ferram

- Plaza Victoria

There are also stores along the highway, in the downtown area, and along State-Road 107 including Plaza Borinquen.

Where to have meals in Aguadilla

- Amanda's Restaurant.

- Chris Restaurant.

- Cocina Creativa, Carr.110 km 9.8, Aguadilla,

- Dario’s Gourmet Restaurant.

- El Contrabando.

- El Pomodoro Restaurant.

- Faro Suites Bar & Grill.

- Golden Crown.

- Molina's Restaurant, Carr. #2 Km. 117.6 Bo. Ceiba Baja. Cozy atmosphere, good service. Extensive wine list.

- Mr. Mofongo Restaurant.

- Molina Restaurant, Carr.2 km.17.6, Aguadilla.

- Novecento Italian Bistro (Pizza, Pasta, Trendy Bar), Calle Agustan Stahl #61, Aguadilla. Hip and trendy pizzeria and a bar where the locals meets.

- One Ten Thai, Road 110 Outside Gate 5, Ramey Base. Wednesday-Sunday, 5pm-10pm. A small restaurant with a large client base, started out as an experimental take out from a private residence on weekends.

The popularity grew and so did the concept. They serve mostly thai and southeast asian food, with lots of veggies, fresh herbs and vibrant flavors.

- Restaurant Verde Luz.

- Rosalinda’s Restaurant.

- Santiago's Pizzaria.

- Ta-Buren Restaurant.

- Tasca de Guillo.

- Terramar.

- The Garden Restaurant.

- Tres Amigos, IHP Hotel El Faro

- Woodhaven Restaurant & Grill.

- Zazones Creole Cuisine Restaurant/Lounge it is the only restaurant in Puerto Rico that serves authentic creole dishes and to top, has a touch screen bar top.), ((2066.5 Avenida Pedro Albizu Campos Suite 6.

- Desecheo Restaurant (Local Food), PR 107 Pedro Albizu Campos Road. 11:00 am-11:00 pm. Authentic local food, fresh seafood and steaks in a cozy athmosphere. Open daily.

- Boca Loca Restaurant, serving Latin american Cuisine, 51 Stahl Street, Aguadilla Downtown. 11:00 am-11:00 pm. Specialists in Peruvian, Argentinian, Cuban, Puertorrican and Mexican cuisine. Cocktail lounge.

There are numorous bars and clubs all over the area.

- Black & White Lounge: 110 street, outside the Gate 5 of the Ramey Base.

- Novecento Italian Bistro a Trendy Bar & Cocktail lounge, 57 Sthal Street, Aguadilla Downtown. 11:00 am - 2:00 am. Live music Fridays and Saturdays until 2:00 am. Happy Hours on Thursdays. Open daily from 11 am.

- Desecheo (Restaurant and Bar), PR 107 Pedro Albizu Campos Street. Best mojitos and margaritas in town. Local food, appetizers, beers and a full bar. Live music on Fridays from 7 pm.

Accommodations in Aguadilla

- Courtyard by Marriot Aguadilla - Now Open - Located in historical Ramey, is a hotel with on-site casino, water park, restaurants and shopping ammenities

- Faro Inn Suites. Located in historical Ramey, is a prominent hotel with beautiful beach views.

- Hotel Cielomar. Located in historical Cuesta Nueva Street, is a hotel with beautiful views of Aguadilla Harbor and the historic Old Sugar Pier.

- Hotel Hacienda El Pedregal

- La Cima Hotel

- Parador El Faro

- Hotel Las Cascadas

Other places to visit

- Aguada

- Anasco

- Camuy

- Haillo

- Isabela

- Lares

- Las Marias

- Maricao

- Mayaguez

- Moca

- Quebradillas

- Rincon

- San Sebastian

Aguadilla has its own police department, Policía Municipal Aguadilla (Aguadilla City Police Department), located in Aguadilla Pueblo. The A.C.P.D. only has jurisdiction in the municipality of Aguadilla and provide service and protection to local citizens and travelers alike.

Aguadilla also hosts the Puerto Rico Police Department Command for its Region. This region covers Aguada, Aguadilla, Isabela, Moca, Rincon and San Sebastian.

It also hosts the PRPD Highway Patrol Division for its region, the FURA Division of the PRPD, the US Army Reserve Center, PR National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Border Patrol. It is also served by another PRPD station in San Antonio Village (Precinct 203 Ramey-San Antonio).

The city has a single correctional facility, Guerrero Correctional Institution, operated by the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In recent years, Aguadilla has seen an increase in Type I crimes, which include murder, burglary, and theft.

Enjoy Your Visit To Aguadilla

Tourism Observer