Friday, 14 June 2019

INDIA: Hotel Paraag Limited And InterContinental Hotels Group Sign Agreement For Two Hotels In Bangalore

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has entered into an agreement with Hotel Paraag Limited in Bangalore, for two hotels – the newly built InterContinental Bengaluru Whitefield and Crowne Plaza Bengaluru Raj Bhavan Road, which will be a conversion hotel.

This development will mark the debut of the globally renowned luxury brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in Bengaluru and expansion of IHG’s upscale brand, Crowne Plaza in the country.

The development marks the debut of the globally renowned luxury brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in Bengaluru and expansion of IHG’s upscale brand, Crowne Plaza in the country. Both hotels are expected to be operational by Q1 2022 and will increase IHG’s system size in India by over 400 rooms.

Already under advance stages of construction, InterContinental Bengaluru Whitefield will feature 265 aesthetically designed rooms.

The luxury hotel will be will be centrally located in Whitefield. The hotel will offer unrivalled amenities including a large banqueting/meeting space and a large lawn.

Post extensive renovation and upgrades to the existing property, on opening in 2022, Crowne Plaza Bengaluru Raj Bhavan Road will boast of 140 well-designed rooms featuring modern amenities. The hotel will feature a large banquet/meeting space, a business centre, pool and other world class facilities.

Commenting on the announcement, Sudeep Jain, vice president, development, South West Asia (SWA), IHG said, We are delighted to partner with Hotel Paraag Limited to strengthen the presence of two of our globally renowned brands – InterContinental and Crowne Plaza in India.

This signing is a significant milestone for us as we debut our iconic brand, InterContinental in Bengaluru and mark the growth of the brand in SWA. This is our sixth InterContinental property, opened or signed in the region and the third in the country.

InterContinental has been receiving great response in the region and we are in a number of active discussions to further expand the brand footprint.

He added: Bengaluru serves as a host to many leading conferences and seminars attracting global business visitors in large numbers. We therefore see great potential in this market for our brand, Crowne Plaza which is known to offer business ready services to corporate guests and excellent MICE facilities.

With 11 open hotels in SWA and 7 in the pipeline, the brand is gaining popularity in the region and has proved to be a great choice for our guests and owners alike.

Ramesh Srinivas Jannu, managing director, Hotel Paraag Limited said, We are delighted to partner with IHG as they debut their iconic global brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in the city and continue to strengthen the presence of Crowne Plaza, a well-received brand in the upscale segment.

Given the rising demand in the city for high quality hospitality from renowned brands, we see this partnership as a great opportunity to offer our guests quality experiences for various needs and occasions.

InterContinental Bengaluru Whitefield and Crowne Plaza Bengaluru Raj Bhavan Road will offer an excellent combination of strategic location and IHG’s signature hospitality.

We couldn’t be more confident of the success of these properties as we prepare to host our guests in the near future.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: Sarovar Hotels & Resorts Signs New 49 Room Hotel In Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Sarovar Hotels and Resorts has signed a new hotel in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The 49-rooms property will be Sarovar’s second hotel after Rivera Sarovar Portico in Ahmedabad and its fifth hotel in Gujarat. Besides this, the brand has presence in Bhavnagar, Gandhidham and Rajkot.

The new hotel titled as Sarovar Portico, Ahmedabad-Kalupur Station is slated for opening in August 2019 and will offer enhanced guest experience, including 24-hours room service, international cuisine, valet laundry, conference hall and travel desk.

Located in one of the most iconic trading hubs of the city, Kapasia Bazaar, Sarovar Portico, Kalupur station is conveniently located minutes away from the Ahmedabad railway terminus and fifteen minutes away from the Airport.

Commenting on the development, Anil Madhok, executive chairman, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, said We are delighted to expand our presence into western India.

The hotel is located in the historic Kalupur district, the ancient trading hub of Ahmedabad. We foresee increased travel to Gujarat and Ahmedabad and look forward to welcoming patrons to our new hotel there.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: Gorav Arora Appointed General Manager At Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach

Gorav Arora

Gorav Arora has joined Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach as the general manager of the property.

He brings 18 years of hospitality experience to the beach hotel. In his leadership role, he will be responsible for spearheading operations at Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach.

Over the course of his career, Arora has worked with leading international hotel brands like The Hyatt Hotels and The Oberoi Group.

Further, he has also been associated with Accor for the past 9 years.

He was heading the sales and marketing function for Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre for over 3 years.

Later he was appointed as the resident manager where he was assisting the general manager in ensuring smooth and profitable operations, enhanced guest experience and service excellence.

Tourism Observer

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

KENYA: SGR Madaraka Express Train, How To Get On It.

The SGR, Standard Gauge Railway is a railway line that connects two major cities in Kenya that is Nairobi and Mombasa. It is operated by the Kenya Railways Corporation and there are two trains that run making two round-trips a day. The two SGR trains include the Madaraka Express and the inter-county train.

Like its name, the Madaraka Express does not make a stop during the course of the journey and takes 5 hours to reach its destination. The inter-county passenger train, on the other hand, makes a stop at respective stations including Athi River, Email, Kibwezi, Mtito Andei, Miasenyi and Mariakani county stations.

The train takes 5 hours 55 minutes to reach its destination and if you would like to see the exact schedule, click here to find out more on arrival and departure times, between Mombasa and Nairobi and vice versa.

When it comes to booking, there are three options.

- Either going to the station of departure and booking manually,

- Booking online through the website or

- Dialling the USSD code (*639#) and following the prompts. This service is available 24/7 and you can buy a maximum of 5 tickets in one transaction. You can book 7 days in advance and a return ticket as long as it is within 7 days window period.

The advance ticket-booking window is 30 days, your options depending on availability. You can book the train 30 days to the date of travel, any day in between the 30th day and the date of travel or on the date of travel itself. For group bookings, use these contacts to make your reservation. You can also opt to visit the respective terminus any day between 6.30 AM to 4.00 PM.

After you have received confirmation (a text/email with a unique code pertaining to your booking), pay for your ticket through Mpesa. Similar rates apply if you are purchasing the ticket over the counter. In this case, you will find the pay bill number in use at the station, to facilitate your purchase.

After completing the purchase, you will get an Mpesa confirmation and account number. This information will be useful when printing out your ticket at the terminus on the day of travel or any day at your convenience.

For international travellers with no Mpesa here’s a Kenyan alternative method you can use to buy a ticket.

Below are the rates for the tickets depending on the coach type you prefer and the age of the traveller.

On the day of departure, it is recommended you arrive at the terminus an hour before your departure time to avoid missing the train due to delays at the security check.

In Nairobi, the main terminus is at Syokimau while in Mombasa its at Miritini.

Take note of these ticketing terms and conditions to avoid any possible delays at the terminus.

However, in case you miss a train you are entitled to 80% of your ticket fee as refund only if you had alerted the train attendants before the train left.

Note that refunds are not issued after the journey has commenced or if the ticket is lost/damaged. You are also required to keep your ticket safely throughout the journey for it serves as your only proof of the right to be in that particular train.

The SGR train hosts 1260 passengers with cabin crew services and other essentials like comfortable seats, and a place to charge your phone for first class travellers. It is currently the only direct train that ferries passengers between Nairobi and Mombasa.

When it comes to travelling Here’s what you need to know when you’re travelling with a big family.

Travelling with a big family can be its own version of hell if not handled well. Coming from a big family myself, I know that even something as simple as getting ready to get to church takes hours of preparation ( and we rarely get there on time).

So what should you do when you want to take the family on a road trip?

Leaving things until the last minute is asking for disaster when it comes to a large family. You should start planning for your trip at least a week in advance.

That gives you time to sort out everyone’s clothes, find missing shoes trust me, there are always missing shoes, sort out any disputes about who gets to wear what and divide up the responsibilities.

The ideal setup is that you are all set to go two days before the actual event. Know exactly where you’re going and have an itemized itinerary, whenever possible, during the trip to avoid nasty surprises on the way and to make the best use of your time.

It may seem obvious, but this is a step that is sometimes overlooked when one family member feels like they can shoulder the whole burden.

It is best to get everyone in the family involved in planning the trip from start to finish as each member will feel a personal responsibility to make sure that the trip is a success. This is also the best way to find out what everyone thinks or if anyone is opposed to going for the trip.

Even if you’re guaranteed food when you get there, always have some edibles and water with you for the trip.

It could be each person favourite snack but stay away from fatty foods as these may trigger motion sickness. Always ensure you have antacids and sweets, just in case. Health: Things to consider before you travel

Road trips can be fun, but when you’re in a big family they can also get loud and annoying. Playing simple games helps keep everyone distracted and the younger children from asking the dreaded, Are we there yet?

Things may not always go according to plan but always make sure you have a camera to help you remember and keep the memories. Travel: 18 Tips For Taking Great Holiday Photos

Don’t leave anyone behind, speaking from experience, and also from watching Home Alone movies, I know how easy it can be to lose count and leave one or two family members behind.

Establish a buddy system within the family so that everyone is looking out for someone and it will be easy to keep track of everything.

It may be crazy trying to keep everyone busy and on the same page, but make having fun a priority.

With a large family, a road trip is a perfect opportunity to create new family memories and rediscover all the beautiful and fun things you love about each other.

Tourism Observer

CHINA: Chinese Citizens Warned Against Traveling To US, Airlines Face Hard Times

China has issued a travel warning against the U.S. through the end of 2019, the latest shot amid the worsening trade war. While the overall impact on the U.S. tourism would be manageable, it could pose a threat to some airline companies as well as casinos.

While Chinese tourists spend heavily around the world, contributing to $270 billion abroad last year alone, they only accounted for 3% of the $1.1 trillion U.S. travel market in 2018, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

In a worst-case scenario, the number of Chinese tourists to the U.S. could drop by nearly 50%, resulting in an $18 billion hit to travel spend, Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimated.

Chinese tourism is a big prize in global trade. On this front, the U.S. has more to lose than China, Robin Winkler, foreign exchange strategist at Deutsche Bank, said in a note.

The trade war would likely take a severe dent to household income growth to squash the new middle class’s appetite for passports and foreign travel. A weaker exchange rate could make foreign travel somewhat less affordable, Winkler added.

Chinese travel to the U.S. has already declined by 5.7% in 2018 from a year ago, compared to a 4% gain in 2017 and a 15% increase in 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

The number is only going lower after the Chinese government issued an alert for Chinese tourists traveling to America, citing shootings, robberies and theft that have occurred frequently in the U.S.

Since only legacy airline companies offer flights to China, the negative impact from declining Chinese tourists would fall mostly on United Continental, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, according to Bank of America.

United carries the most flights to China with 47% of U.S. airline capacity, compared to about 25% for American Airlines and Delta, Bank of America analyst Andrew Didora said.

In the bank’s worst case scenario which involves a 50% drop in Chinese tourists, United’s unit revenues could see a 140 basis point drag and the impact would be 70 basis points for American Airline and Delta, Didora said.

Chinese travelers, who are big customers for casinos, might now turn their backs on gaming in the U.S. amid the travel advisory and intensified trade tensions. The casinos in Las Vegas are already feeling the pinch.

Las Vegas has already noted weaker Asian gambling trends. Baccarat gross gaming revenues are often a barometer for the health of the Asian consumer and are down 26% year to date, Didora said.

The weakness could weigh on casinos including MGM, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts that have an exposure to baccarat, the analyst noted.

Luxury retailers could also take a hit. Tiffany & Co. on Wednesday blamed disappointing quarterly results on a sharp decline in Chinese tourism
because of the trade war.

Tourism Observer

UGANDA: Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Sets Tough Conditions For AIrline Licence Applicants

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has set tough conditions to airline companies that applied for licenses to operate local and regional flight services.

According to the aviation body’s Managing Director, Mr David Kakuba, the tough conditions are intended to ensure safety and high standards because worldwide, the industry is highly regulated.

The sector manages risk at almost 100 percent. Therefore, if you want to come and fly in the air space of this country, you must go through very many procedures to be cleared, he said.

He was speaking on Thursday in Kampala, during the Civil Aviation Board Air Services Licensing Committee public hearing session where six companies were defending their applications.

A public hearing session is one of the conditions, where companies have to defend their proposals.

The public is free to raise any objections against the companies that have applied for either new license or renewal of license with the aviation body.

According to David Kakuba, the managing director for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), 48 operators are currently licensed to access Uganda’s airports.

Upon the arrival of Uganda’s aircraft Bombardier CRJ900 into the country on April 23, Lilly Ajarova, the Chief Executive Officer for Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), expressed optimism at the benefits, the carrier was to bring to Uganda’s tourism industry.

Likewise, several aviation operators revealed plans aimed at tapping into Uganda’s improving tourism potential, saying the number of tourists visiting the country, is increasing day by day.

Anthony Njoroge the country manager of AeroLink, noted that the company currently operates three aircraft which fly within different national parks in Uganda.

World over, tourism numbers are increasing and Uganda is one of the key tourist destinations. We, therefore, want to position ourselves for such a viable market, intimated Njoroge.

He added that the planes are chartered to fly tourists to Semuliki national park, Kidepo, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest.

This was during a public hearing of applications for air services licensing which was conducted at Mestil hotel in Kampala, on Thursday where aviation operators were subscribed to public scrutiny, as one of the processes for renewing or acquiring an aviation operating license.

According to David Kakuba, the managing director for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), 48 operators are currently licensed to access Uganda’s airports.

He also noted that some operators have already expressed interest in increasing the number of flights into Uganda, for there carriers.

Every operator must, however, embrace competition which is very stiff in the aviation industry, advised Kakuba.

He, however, intimated that Uganda airlines will be accorded preferential treatment like free office space and exemption from parking charges. As a national airline, its screens shall be used to market Uganda’s tourism sites and destinations, stated Kakuba.

McKenzie Ongwen the chairperson for the licensing board revealed that licensing process has been eased for air service operators in the interest of promoting Uganda’s tourism sector.

When an airplane is fit for flying and has competent and qualified personnel, as well as a certificate of regular maintenance, other processes are easier.

He called upon more air service operators to join Uganda’s aviation industry, saying, there are ongoing expansion works being carried out at Entebbe, Arua, Kabale and Gulu airports.

Meanwhile, Godfrey Kitagenda of AirServ company said, their operations are centered to humanitarian works among which include medical services. He, however, acknowledged the booming tourism industry in Uganda, saying it’s tempting.

According to Ephraim Kamuntu, the minister for tourism, wildlife, and antiquities, Uganda has seen steady growth in tourism, in terms of tourists arrivals, foreign exchange earnings and tourism contribution to Gross Domestic Product(GDP).

Kamuntu said the sector accounted for 7.3 percent of GDP, foreign exchange earnings worth US$1.45bn and more than 600,000 jobs in the year 2017.

Six companies have been shortlisted for licensing to operate local and regional flight services, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has revealed.

Among the airline companies shortlisted is Sun Guru Limited which applied for new licenses to operate private and domestic non-scheduled passenger flight service and Misk Air Limited which applied for domestic non-scheduled passenger flights.

Four companies applied for license renewal and they include; Aero Link, Air Serv Uganda, Premier Services East Africa, and Jobihani Investments. Speaking during the Civil Aviation Board Air Services Licensing Committee public hearing session, where the six companies were defending their applications on Thursday in Kampala, CAA’s Managing Director, David Kakuba said they have set tough conditions for the applicants to ensure safety and high standards because worldwide, the industry is highly regulated.

The sector manages risk at almost 100 percent. Therefore, if you want to come and fly in the air space of this country, you must go through very many procedures to be cleared, he said.

According to Kakuba, a public hearing session is one of the conditions, where companies have to defend their proposals and the public is free to raise any objections against the companies that have applied for either new license or renewal of license with the aviation body.

He said companies interested to operate in Ugandan must have aircrafts which have a valid certificate of air of worthiness, qualified and competent personnel, regular maintenance records, the economic viability of the operation among other requirements.

The shortlisted companies will give competition to the recently revived government-owned Uganda Airlines in the provision of flight services.

On April 23 two Bombardier CRJ900 jets touched down at Entebbe International Airport, marking the official revival of Uganda’s national carrier, which was grounded in 2001.

Vule Airways

Vule Airways Limited, is a privately owned airline in Uganda. Established in March 2017, the airline expects to begin scheduled commercial flights in November 2017.

According to the company website, the corporate headquarters are at 515 Mbogo Road, Kibuli Hill, Kampala, Uganda.

The airline maintains a sales office in the central business district of Kampala, at 13-15 Kimathi Avenue, and another office in southwest London, in the United Kingdom.

As of August 2017, the company is waiting for the award of an air operator's certificate by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA).

The company plans to hire 60 employees initially and lease 6 aircraft to provide domestic, regional and international passenger and cargo services.

In August 2017, Ch-aviation reported that Vule Airways had secured an Air Services Licence (ASL) from the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority.

The company's shares are owned by Ugandans (55 percent) and non-Ugandans (45 percent).

Vule Airways expects to start services to 6 domestic airports. Services will then expand to the regional airports, within the countries of the East African Community.

The company also expects to serve Johannesburg, Tunis and London; services will be expanded as demand grows.

According to the company website, the company expects to lease 6 aircraft, including a one 40-seater Bombardier Dash 8-200, one 78 seater Bombardier Dash Q400, three 128-seater Boeing 737-700 and one 300-seater Boeing 777-200ER.

The six-person board of directors includes the following individuals:

- Robert Mwesigwa Nviiri, the Chairman and Managing Director

- Lameck Nsubuga Mukasa, Company Secretary

- Fixon Akonya Okonye, Director Finance and Administration

- Jones Yosiya Kyazze, Director Public Relations

- Margaret Anne Mazzi Wampamba, Director Marketing

- Perpetua Kabaitira Biraaro, Director Internal Audit.

Tourism Observer

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NEW ZEALAND: SkyCity To Construct Five-star Hotel In Queenstown

SkyCity has purchased just over a hectare of land at 633 Frankton Road, Queenstown, for $16m for a five-star hotel.

SkyCity is paying $16 million for a big site in Queenstown for a new five-star hotel.

The Overseas Investment Office has approved SkyCity's purchase of 1.015 hectares of land at 633 Frankton Road, Queenstown from Passion Cove.

That company's directors and shareholders include Queenstown real estate agent Kelvin Collins and businessman Bob Perriam.

The land is about half way between the tourist town and Queenstown airport at Frankton.

The OIO decision document said SkyCity's was an investment in sensitive land.

It intended to use the land for a five-star hotel that would complement its existing entertainment facilities in Queenstown and help attract international visitors to Queenstown.

The investment was likely to benefit New Zealand through the creation of hospitality jobs, additional investment for the hotel, and increased export receipts from high net worth international visitors.

SkyCity owns Queenstown's two casinos in the centre of town at Steamer Wharf and at Beach St. They contributed 1 per cent of its nearly $1 billion turnover last year.

A burgeoning number of hotel rooms are being planned and under construction in Queenstown by various developers.

They include a second Holiday Inn near the airport to be run by the world's largest hotel operator IHG, and completed in two years.

SkyCity's other main hotel developments include a Horizon hotel at its Auckland convention centre development, and expansion in Adelaide.

It is also making progress on its Hamilton casino hotel plan.

Five per cent of SkyCity's $1b revenue and $169 million profit in 2018 came from its hotel businesses, 38 per cent from electronic gaming machines, 25 per cent from table games, with the balance from other forms of betting.

Tourism Observer

BOLIVIA: Salar de Uyuni Flat Accident Claims Two British Teenagers

Two British teenagers have been killed in Bolivia after their speeding car flipped on the world's largest salt flat.

Freddie Michael McLennan and George Joseph Atkins, both 19, were named as victims in the horror crash at the famous Salar de Uyuni flat.

The mangled wreckage of a car that flipped on a salt flat in Bolivia, killing two British teenagers.

A third victim, 22-year-old Bolivian driver Alberto Barco, was also killed, local police announced last night.

Traffic police commander Col. Bernardo Isnado said their car was apparently travelling over the speed limit when it overturned.

Photos and footage posted online showed the mangled wreckage of a black 4x4.

Four other people - believed to be from the UK and Argentina - were injured in the accident on Sunday night.

The Sun Online has contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for comment.

The Salar de Uyuni - roughly meaning "flat enclosure" - is about 186 miles south of the Bolivian capital of La Paz.

At 4,086 sq miles, it is the world's largest salt flat and the main tourist destination in southern Bolivia.

Due to its vast size, the flat is a major transport route and cars are permitted to travel across it.

The car flipped after apparently speeding across the vast salt flat in southern Bolivia on Sunday.

Two British teens and the Bolivian driver were killed in the horror crash, police said.

Tourism Observer

UAE: Dubai Airport Crash Kills 17 Holidaymakers

An airport bus crash in Dubai has killed 17 people of different nationalities, Dubai Police have said.

Three people were also severely injured in the incident on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road. Officers said the bus, driving a route between Muscat, in Oman, and Dubai, crashed into an overhead sign.

The driver of the bus, believed to be in his 50s, survived the crash and is receiving treatment for his moderate injuries at Rashid Hospital. Dubai Police Chief Maj Gen Abdullah Al Marri described the crash as a tragic incident.

He said: Sometimes a simple error or negligence during driving leads to serious consequences, as happened this evening, and resulted in the deaths of 17 people of different nationalities.

Mwasalat, a government owned bus company in Oman, said the crash happened at 6pm local time on Thursday.

Mwasalat family expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured. The service has now been suspended until further notice.

Police previously stated that 15 of the 31 people on-board the bus had died in the crash. They later corrected this to 17, confirming that two more passengers, including an unnamed woman, had died.

Dubai Police said the general directorate of Dubai Police extends its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased in the unfortunate accident.
Fiona Geraghty, 28, from Balbriggan, Co Dublin, was taking a year-long career break in the capital city, when the bus crashed into an overhead sign at 5.40pm local time.

Fiona Geraghty, from Co Dublin was killed during the Dubai Airport bus crash.

She had been taking a year long career break with her boyfriend, when the bus crashed into an overhead sign on Thursday.

She was travelling with her boyfriend, also a teacher in his 20s, when the disaster unfolded.

He was left with serious injuries and suffered internal injuries, but is recovering at Rashid Hospital.

Fiona and her boyfriend, were about to extend their stay in Dubai for another year.

They had both had been teaching at the School of Research Science in Al Warqa, Dubai.

Fiona’s parents were in Lanzarote celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary when they got the call yesterday that their pride and joy was gone.

She was a lovely, bright, young, intelligent girl, who loved life. I’m just devastated. I feel for her family, I’m numb.

Police Chief Maj Gen Abdullah Al Marri said people lost their lives because of a simple error or negligence during driving.

Officials later said the bus drove straight into a low-clearance sign, forcing the sign to sweep straight into the driver's side of the vehicle.

He is among seven passengers, and the driver, recovering from their injuries at Rashid Hospital.

His condition is believed to be stable.

The bus, which had 31 passengers on board, was travelling from Oman to Dubai when it crashed into the height restriction sign while come off a main highway.

Dubai police said that the incident occurred on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road.

The government-owned bus company Mwasalat, expressed their condolences.

It said in a statement: "Mwasalat family expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured."

The bus was full of holidaymakers returning from Oman after the Eid holidays when it crashed on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road around 6pm local time.

Relations were said to be desperately trying to get information on passengers' conditions from Rashid Hospital officials.

Police said that the unfortunate incident is being investigated, and thanked the competent authorities involved for helping at the scene.

The force said after the tourist bus collided with a directive sign, the bodies and the injured have been transferred to authorities.

Dubai Police added: "The general directorate of Dubai Police extends its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased in the unfortunate accident.

The Oman-registered bus was carrying passengers between Dubai and Muscat.

The bus drove straight into a low-clearance sign in the Rashidiya district.

The Consulate General of India, Dubai, tweeted that eight Indians had died in the bus crash.

Tourism Observer

Monday, 10 June 2019

USA: Chinese Tourists Shun US Preferring More Welcoming And Friendly Countries

Chinese travel to the US is falling after more than a decade of rapid growth. And that has cities, malls and other tourist spots scrambling to reverse the trend.

Travel from China to the US fell 5.7 per cent in 2018 to 2.9 million visitors, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. It was the first time since 2003 that Chinese travel to the US slipped from the prior year.

Trade tensions with the US as well as economic uncertainty in China are among the reasons for the slowdown.

China commands some of the highest tourism traffic to the US and any fall-off will be felt by destinations that rely on Chinese spending power. Experts say the tourism industry must do more to keep up with Chinese travellers and their changing needs.

The number of Chinese visitors to the US has fallen for the first time in 15 years, after more than a decade of rapid growth, but friction between the two countries is just one reason for the slowdown, according to travel industry insiders.

Travel from China to the US fell 5.7 per cent in 2018 to 2.9 million visitors, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office, which collects data from US Customs forms. It was the first time since 2003 that Chinese travel to the US slipped from the previous year.

But because China commands some of the highest tourism traffic to the US, any fall-off will be felt by destinations that have come to rely on Chinese spending power. In 2017, the country had the fifth highest number of US-bound tourists, behind Canada, Mexico, Britain and Japan.

China did not crack the top 10 list until 2011 and has been climbing ever since. Spending by Chinese visitors – which does not include students – ballooned more than 600 per cent between 2008 and 2016, to nearly $18.9 billion.

In 2017, that fell by 1 per cent to $18.8 billion, or about 12 per cent of overall tourism spending.

To hold on to those dollars, experts say the tourism industry must do more to keep up with Chinese travellers and their changing needs.

Last summer, China issued a travel warning for the US, telling its citizens to beware of shootings, robberies and high costs for medical care. The US shot back with its own warning about travel to China.

Wang Haixia, who works at an international trade company in Beijing, travelled to the US in May for her sister’s graduation. She and her family planned to spend 10 days in Illinois and New York.

Wang says she might have stayed longer but did not want to contribute to the US economy amid the trade war.

I cannot cancel this trip because I promised my sister I would go to her commencement, she said. My relatives will contribute more than 100,000 yuan (US$14,500) to America just staying for 10 days, and that’s enough, she said.

Another reason for the fall in Chinese visitors to the US is economic uncertainty in China which has led travellers at the lower end of the market to holiday closer to home, according to Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute.

A study by the institute found that 56 per cent of travellers leaving China in the last three months of 2018 went to Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan compared with 50 per cent in 2017. Those who do travel further are seeking out more exotic destinations like Croatia, Morocco and Nepal.

Chinese travel to the US had already been moderating from its breakneck pace earlier this decade. In 2000, 249,000 Chinese visited the US.

That tripled to 802,000 by 2010, then tripled again by 2015, in part because of higher incomes, better long-haul flight connections and an easing of visa restrictions, according to US consulting firm McKinsey.

The US welcomed more than 3 million Chinese visitors in 2016 and 2017. But year-over-year growth edged up just 4 per cent in 2017, the slowest pace in more than a decade.

Most industry-watchers agree that any downturn is temporary, since China’s middle class will only continue to expand. The US government forecasts Chinese tourism will grow 2 per cent this year to 3.3 million visitors, and will reach 4.1 million visitors in 2023.

Even if the Chinese economy cools, it’s still going to continue to be a very good source of growth for the travel industry, said David Huether, senior vice-president of research for the US Travel Association.

In general, international travel to the US has been declining. Overall data for 2018 has not yet been released, but international travel fell 2 per cent in 2016 and was flat in 2017.

Larry Yu, a professor of hospitality management at George Washington University, notes that Chinese tourists – particularly younger ones – are increasingly planning trips using social media apps like WeChat and are less likely to book through big tour groups.

They have also rapidly adopted smartphone based payment systems.

Destinations should invest in those technologies now if they want to continue attracting Chinese tourists, says David Becker, former CEO of Attract China, a New York-based travel consultancy.

A lot of companies looked at the Chinese market as easy money, but we have to be relevant to the Chinese, Becker said. Attract China, for instance, has helped luxury stores in Manhattan incorporate Jeenie, a live translation app, and add Alipay and WeChat Pay for mobile payments.

Alipay is owned by Alibaba.

Others have also been stepping up their efforts. The Beverly Centre mall in Los Angeles used to cater to busloads of Chinese tourists. Now, it is focusing on small groups of less than 10 VIP shoppers, says Susan Vance, the mall’s marketing and sponsorship director.

The mall has also pushed stores to offer China UnionPay, a digital payment service. More than 100 stores now have it, Vance says, up from three in 2014.

Tourism officials are also catching on to WeChat. In late 2017, Washington DC became the first US city to launch an interactive guide in the app.

Chinese travellers can use it to get directions to attractions, access audio tours in Mandarin and find dining and shopping outlets. The city’s marketing office has one staff member dedicated to WeChat.

Washington also recently launched a Welcome China program that teaches hotels, restaurants and other venues about Chinese customs and encourages them to offer things like Chinese-language menus or in-room slippers. So far 44 hotels and a handful of restaurants have signed on.

Chinese tourists are shunning the US amid the trade war and opting for more welcoming destinations in Europe, according to Jane Sun, chief executive officer of Asia’s largest online travel platform Ctrip.

When the China-US trade war started last year, there was a slowdown in Chinese tourists travelling to the US during China’s October golden week holiday in the fourth quarter, which eased when the two countries made progress in their trade talks.

The US slid to tenth spot in the list of China’s top overseas destinations in the week-long holiday in 2018 from fifth the previous year, according to Ctrip.

In the recently-concluded Labour Day holiday in early May, the US ranked as the ninth most popular travel destination for Chinese tourists, down from fifth spot last year. Thailand and Japan remained the top choices for holidaymakers in the country.

Sun is clear about the reason why Chinese tourists are taking their money to European countries such as Italy and the UK because they feel welcomed.

People like to travel to countries that welcome them, she said. When Chinese consumers have the buying power, if they are not going to the US then they are going to the UK, Europe, Australia or New Zealand, they’ll find an alternative.

The US really needs to be very careful if it wants to attract affluent travellers.

China is the world’s largest outbound travel market in terms of numbers and expenditures, according to a report from McKinsey and Company in September, with Chinese tourists expected to make 160 million overseas trips by 2020 and spend over US$315 billion next year.

Ctrip has broadened its reach in recent years to cater to this powerful force, which has grown by a double digit percentage number each year from 2002 to 2013, according to the World Tourism Organisation.

One of the biggest recent beneficiaries of the Chinese tourism boom has been Croatia, which saw a more than fourfold surge in visitors during the May holiday this year as fans of the hugely popular fantasy TV show Game of Thrones flocked to the show’s filming location, according to latest statistics from Ctrip.

Malta and Iceland, which are also featured in the show, saw the number of Chinese tourists rise 300 per cent and 140 per cent respectively over the Labour Day holiday.

Based on our observation, countries which have easier visa applications and direct flights, and have demonstrated hospitality to travellers, will win.

Travel itself is very international we designed our network to cover places that Chinese people are going to travel to.

Revenue generated from international business made up 30 to 35 per cent of Ctrip’s total revenue in 2018, according to the Shanghai-based company’s annual report.

The company, which has a market value of US$22 billion and is increasingly applying AI technology to personalise more trips, will continue to expand globally by serving Chinese outbound tourists, as well as bringing non-Chinese travellers onto Ctrip’s platforms and products.

Ctrip has targeted the international travel market with a string of investments and acquisitions in recent years. In 2016, Ctrip bought UK-based travel search engine operator Skyscanner for US$1.7 billion to complement Ctrip’s positioning on a global scale, according to a statement.

It acquired Silicon Valley based start-up in 2017 and relaunched it in the same month as the company’s global brand non-Chinese markets.

In April Ctrip increased its stake in MakeMyTrip, an Indian online travel agency, to 49 per cent through a share swap deal with Naspers, a South African company and the biggest investor in Chinese tech giant Tencent, and has also gobbled up three Chinese travel agencies which operate in the US in the past few years.

Such international M&A expands Ctrip’s addressable market and increases the likelihood that Ctrip turns these overseas markets into earnings drivers over the long run, JP Morgan analyst Alex Yao said in a May research note.

We think Ctrip has an established leadership position in traditional outbound China to overseas, and pure outbound overseas to overseas is likely to play an increasingly important role in driving group growth.

Apart from deals, Ctrip is also developing its own products for non-Chinese markets. TrainPal, a project under Ctrip’s Baby Tiger program that incubates new products, is an online train ticketing service for UK and other parts of Europe.

The rail ticketing app helps customers find the best-priced train fares for their journey by offering split-ticketing, a service which can look through the various price combinations over the same route.

By February this year, ticket sales on TrainPal had grown almost 100 times year-on-year since soft launch of the app last February, according to Ctrip.

Sun believes organic growth, such as self-developed products like TrainPal, should always be a priority for Ctrip though. We have a lot of initiatives internally to make sure everything our customers need will have a Baby Tiger program to incubate it, Sun said.

Sun accepts that Chinese companies face a learning curve when expanding overseas. Beijing based ByteDance has faced regulatory hurdles for its popular TikTok short video app while Chinese bike-sharing firms Mobike and Ofo are retreating from many foreign markets after breakneck growth previously.

Organisational design and talent recruitment represent big challenges for any company that wants to expand abroad, said Sun, adding that finding the right talent that understands overseas markets is the key for smooth expansion.

When you move abroad and talk to train or airline partners, you need people who understand the local market very well.

Tourism Observer

Sunday, 9 June 2019

PAKISTAN: Pakistan International Airlines Tells Obese Cabin Crew Trim Weight Or Get Sucked

Currently, flight attendants, who are 13.6 kgs over are still eligible for flight duty.

Pakistan’s flag carrier PIA has asked some of its cabin crew with “excess weight” to shed some kilos within six months or risk being grounded, in a bid to make them “slim, smart and fit”, a media report said.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) also issued a suggested weight chart for differing height and body types.

Those already “on weight check” need to report monthly to a “grooming cell” to receive clearance to fly, it said.

The carrier’s general manager of flight services Aamir Bashir issued an order on the first day of 2019, saying official excess weight limits would be cut back by five pounds (2.26 kgs) a month, the report said.

In a memo distributed to approximately 1,800 cabin crew, PIA said they must trim down or face being grounded, the report said.

The airline said it is cracking down on what it terms the “excess weight” of some of its cabin crew.

Currently, flight attendants, who are 13.6 kgs over are still eligible for flight duty, the report said.

According to the airline’s weight chart, for a “medium-frame” woman of 5 feet 7 inches height, for example, the guide is 60-66 kgs.

“Weight check of all the cabin crew will be carried out at their base stations respectively and comprehensive data will be maintained for perusal of management,” the news report quoted the memo as saying.

Around 100 more than five per cent of the crew would need to lose weight by July 1 to avoid grounding, Mashhood Tajwar, a PIA spokesman was quoted as saying in the report.

He described the crackdown on overweight flight crew as a “regular, routine matter,” and suggested that the memo was issued as standards for weight had lapsed over time.

It was issued to ensure that the flight attendants were “slim, smart and fit”, Tajwar said.

No one would like to have shabby crew in the aircraft, he said, adding that PIA had received complaints about “obese” flight attendants.

Tajwar said the initiative was put in place for reasons of appearance and health, and insisted that PIA was not alone in insisting their cabin crews hit weight targets, the report added.

PIA has been in losses for years but successive governments have failed to improve its financial situation.

Its accumulated losses surged to Rs360 billion (Dh9.49 billion) by the end of June last year, which, according to the finance ministry, speaks volumes about the persistently deteriorating performance of the carrier.

Tourism Observer

UNITED KINGDOM: Pakistan Airlines Passenger Mistakes Emergency Door For Toilet, Opens It

A female passenger on board a PIA flight opened an emergency exit door thinking it was the door to the toilet.

The PIA flight, PK 702, from Manchester to Islamabad was delayed by seven hours. The departure was delayed on Friday night when a passenger erroneously opened the emergency exit causing the emergency chute to activate, said a PIA spokesperson.

During the investigation, the woman said she believed it was the door to the toilet.

The incident happened as the plane was parked on the runway ready to take off. All the passengers were offloaded from the flight and their luggage was removed

The passengers were offloaded as was their luggage. The PIA spokesperson said passengers were all put up in hotels.

As per standard operating procedure, the PIA had to offload nearly 40 passengers and their luggage, PIA spokesperson told media.

The spokesperson said that PIA chief executive Air Marshal Arshad Malik had ordered an inquiry into the incident.

According to an aviation industry expert, deploying an emergency slide is not a small incident. It actually costs an airline between $6,000 and $30,000 (Dh22,038 and Dh110,190) whenever the emergency chute is deployed.

Tourism Observer

IRAN: Air France Plane Landed Safely After Declaring Emergency And Going Off Radar Over Iran.

The flight from Paris to Mumbai was tracked on radar flying through Europe and into western Asia before disappearing over central Iran.

It started to descend unexpectedly over Isfahan.

The pilot issued a '7700 squawk', which indicates a general emergency before it lost contact, it was reported.

The plane left Paris at 11:21am and was due to arrive in Mumbai at midnight.

Panic began on social media with the news of the planes disappearance.

One Twitter user wrote: "Just disappeared off the map, any updates?"

Tourism Observer

UNITED KINGDOM: EasyJet Flight From Newcastle To Bristol Diverted To Birmingham Due To Technical Problems.

The 6am flight from Newcastle to Bristol had to land in Birmingham after a “technical issue” on board.

It had only been in the air for several minutes before passengers were told the plane was diverting.

One passenger, who did not want to be named, said it was believed smoke had entered the cockpit.

The traveller said: "I heard someone mentioning smoke in the cockpit but other than that we weren't told what was happening and couldn't smell smoke of anything.

"But the staff were absolutely brilliant. One or two people were nervous but they kept everyone totally calm throughout.

"The flight was packed but the pilots and flight attendants did really well."

An EasyJet spokesman said the diversion was to ensure the safety of passengers.

An EasyJet spokesman confirmed the diversion, saying: easyJet can confirm that flight EZY565 from Newcastle to Bristol diverted to Birmingham due to a technical issue.

Upon landing the aircraft was met by the fire brigade as a precaution only.

All passengers were disembarked normally and engineers are investigating. Passengers were transported to Bristol by coach.

At no point of was the safety of the passengers and crew compromised and the diversion was a precautionary measure only.

The safety of its passengers and crew is easyJet's top priority and easyJet operates its fleet of aircraft in strict compliance with all manufacturers' guidelines.

We apologise for any inconvenience experienced due to the diversion and resulting delay.

Tourism Observer

USA: Air Canada Flight From Toronto To LAX Diverted To Salt Lake City After Passenger Was Found Dead

A plane flying to Los Angeles had to be diverted after a passenger was taken ill onboard and later died.

The Air Canada service from Toronto, Canada, to LAX was diverted to Salt Lake City after a passenger reportedly suffered a medical emergency.

He could not be revived and sadly died.

The Air Canada service from Toronto, Canada, to LAX was diverted to Salt Lake City after a passenger reportedly suffered a medical emergency.

He could not be revived and sadly died.

Speaking to US media, Air Canada confirmed flight AC795 left Toronto International bound for Los Angeles when it was diverted to Salt Lake City in Utah.

The plane left Toronto at 4.35pm local time on Monday afternoon (9.35pm BST).

It was expected to land at LAX at 6.53pm Pacific Summer Time (2.53am Tuesday BST).

The plane was expected to touch down at LAX in Los Angeles last night

But instead, it was diverted to Salt Lake City.

It finally landed at LAX at 9.24pm local time (5.24am BST).

According to Air Canada, the aircraft was met by medical services after landing.

The airline didn't give an update on the passenger's status.

Tourism Observer

QATAR: Qatar Airways’ Inaugural Flight From Doha To Malta Lands At Malta International Airport

Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight from Doha to Malta landed at Malta International Airport on Tuesday 4 June 2019, marking the launch of the airline’s newest gateway to Europe.

Operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, flight QR383 was welcomed with a celebratory water cannon salute upon arrival at the historic Mediterranean island’s international airport.

This was followed by a welcome ceremony attended by the Charges d'Affaires of the State of Qatar to Malta, Mr. Abdulla Khalid A A Al-Derham; Malta’s Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Dr. Konrad Mizzi; and Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Europe, Mr. Sylvain Bosc.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: We are delighted to launch direct services to Malta, the latest addition to Qatar Airways’ rapidly expanding European network.

Set against the incredible backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta, with its stunning natural attractions and breathtaking architecture, is one of Europe’s most historic and culturally significant destinations.

“With the flexibility of seasonal daily flights in summer, and four-times-weekly services in winter, we look forward to welcoming business and leisure travellers alike on board so that they may experience this charming destination for themselves.”

Malta International Airport Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Alan Borg, said: We are delighted to welcome this award-winning flag carrier to our airline family and to grow our route network further with the addition of Doha.

The convenient flight schedule which will be operated by Qatar Airways throughout the year, will certainly strengthen our connections to the rest of the world and allow tourists from new markets outside Europe to discover Malta’s rich history, unique traditions and spectacular underwater world.

The new direct services to Malta will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class.

As well as enjoying the award-winning in-flight service on board, passengers travelling to Malta will also have access to Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system, offering the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more.

Malta is the third new destination to be introduced by the airline this summer following the launch of flights to Izmir, Turkey, and Rabat, Morocco, in May; with Davao, the Philippines, and Lisbon, Portugal, joining the network later in June; followed by Mogadishu, Somalia, on 1 July; and Langkawi, Malaysia, on 15 October.

A multiple-award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax.

It was also named ‘Best Business Class Seat’, ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA) to more than 160 destinations worldwide.

Current Flight Schedule:

Doha (DOH) to Malta (MLA) QR381 departs 01:25 arrives 06:45 (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun)
Malta (MLA) to Doha (DOH) QR382 departs 09:20 arrives 15:55 (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun)

Doha (DOH) to Malta (MLA) QR383 departs 08:05 arrives 13:25 (Tues, Thurs, Sat)
Malta (MLA) to Doha (DOH) QR384 departs 17:45 arrives 00:20 +1 (Tues, Thurs, Sat)

Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is celebrating more than 20 years of Going Places Together with travellers across its more than 160 business and leisure destinations on board a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft.

The world’s fastest-growing airline will add a number of exciting new destinations to its growing network this year, including Lisbon, Portugal; Malta; Rabat, Morocco; Langkawi, Malaysia; Davao, Philippines; Izmir, Turkey; and Mogadishu, Somalia.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax.

It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’ and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite.

Qatar Airways has been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, four times.

Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, features the industry’s first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry.

Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 160 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.

Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more.

Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.

Qatar Airways proudly supports a range of exciting international and local initiatives dedicated to enriching the global community that it serves.

Qatar Airways, the official FIFA partner, is the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the FIFA 2022 World Cup, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s own brand message - Going Places Together.

Qatar Airways Cargo, one of the world’s leading international air cargo carriers, serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight to more than 160 key business and leisure destinations globally on more than 250 aircraft.

The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters, 16 Boeing 777 freighters and five Airbus A330 freighters.

Tourism Observer

Saturday, 8 June 2019

ETHIOPIA: Gay Tourists Wishing To Visit Ethiopia Rejected

News that a group of gay tourists will be visiting Ethiopia has been met with outrage and death threats from the nation’s religious leaders.

Toto Tours, an American LGBTQ travel company, is promoting a 16-day ‘Treasures Of Ethiopia’ package to the country in October and November.

It promises travellers “an historical and cultural journey to some of the most remote areas of Ethiopia for the adventure of a lifetime.”

Religious groups heard of the plans through social media and are now calling for the government to block the visitors. They are especially incensed that the itinerary includes some religious sites.

The trip was condemned by Tagay Tadele of the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia, who said that “tour programmes and dating programmes that try to use our historical sites and heritage should be immediately stopped by the Ethiopian government.” Tadele also urged Ethiopians to “stop supporting these sinful and evil acts.”

Dereje Negash, from the Sileste Mihret United Association, SAID that “Homosexuality is hated as well as being illegal in Ethiopia. Toto Tours are wrong to plan to conduct tours in our religious and historical places.”

He warned that “If Toto Tours comes to Ethiopia where 97% of Ethiopians surveyed oppose homosexuality, they will be damaged, they could even die.”

Dan Ware, the president of Toto Tours, appears determined to go ahead with the trip. “We come with only the greatest respect and humility,” he said, adding that when the tour group arrives in October, “the eyes of the entire world will be on the people of Ethiopia to see what happens to us.”

Countries that criminalise and reject LGBTQ people risk losing out on the burgeoning LGBTQ travel market. In 2016, this was estimated to be worth over US$211 billion in consumer spending per year.

Both male and female homosexuality is illegal in Ethiopia and those found ‘guilty’ face between 7 to 15 years in prison. According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 97% of Ethiopians believe that homosexuality is not acceptable.

It is said to be among the countries with the highest anti-gay sentiment in the world.

Chicago-based Toto Tours organizes sightseeing vacations around the world. It was founded in 1990 primarily catering to all-male, gay clientele but has since expanded to include men and women, regardless of sexual orientation.

Company owner Dan Ware said the controversy began in May when the group posted plans on social media for a tour of Ethiopia, including the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. The post included a light-hearted play on words, saying, "We will rock you," in reference to the song by music group Queen.

"Just trying to be clever. Just to have a saying. It didn't mean anything other than this experience of seeing this incredible place will change your life," Ware says. "We're not going to do any kind of activism."

Before long, members of Ethiopia's Orthodox Christian community were holding protests. Ware said he has been inundated with angry messages and even death threats.

"It's been spiraling out of control for about 10 days now, ever since May 25 and the blogger's post, and it has gotten worldwide attention. And this has not been by design," Ware said.

In a protest in Addis Ababa, religious leaders said the travel would be an insult to Christianity and to Ethiopian culture.

"All religions and their followers must stand together to save this generation. We are asking the government to stop them (travelers with Toto) from visiting our historical places, and we are warning those Ethiopians who are cooperating with this evil thing," said Tiguhan Kesis Tagay Tadele, secretary general of the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia outlaws homosexual acts, which carry penalties of up to 15 years in prison. Critics say the American group would be openly defying this law.

"We hate homosexuality; they can't come to Ethiopia and visit Lalibela and other historical places. Because homosexuality is a crime — so if they come here, they will be damaged," said Dereje Negash, the vice chairman of Sileste Mihret United Association, an Orthodox Christian organization.

Ware pointed out it is not illegal to be gay in the country, only to act on it. He also said, despite the vitriol, he has been heartened to hear from many gay Ethiopians who encouraged him to come and thanked him for standing up for gay rights.

Ware has also been in touch with officials at the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa. He said they told him they know of no history of violence against gay foreigners traveling in the country.

Ware is now weighing his options and waiting to hear from the Ethiopian government on whether they will be allowed in the country, but said he is inclined to go forward with the trip.

"It has been saddening," Ware said. "It's not my intent to harm anyone to cause this controversy. I want it to be resolved."

Ware added that he believes Ethiopia should come to terms with the fact that gay travelers are here to stay. In fact, he said, gay people have long been traveling together and visiting the world's great sites; this fact just hasn't been advertised.

"If the people of Ethiopia think that there has never been a gay group that has come and visited the holy sites or that there will never be one again in the future, they're mistaken," he said. "We have nothing on our foreheads that says, 'He's gay,' and we blend very well."

Tourism Observer

GHANA: Hotel Destroyer Jerry Rawlings Does Not Regret And Would Do It Again

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has stated that he has no regrets demolishing a $5-million hotel which belonged to Entrepreneur and Executive Chairman of the Dara Salaam Group, Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim, decades ago.

He said he had the urge to demolish the hotel again if he could reverse the hand of time.

“If time were reversible, I would do it again and again and I would take along their new gargantuan structures in the watercourses. The structures were reported by his own respectable, law-abiding neighbours,” the former President stated.

In 1999, a five-million-dollar hotel which was owned by Alhaji Ibrahim was demolished because it was built on a watercourse.

Recently, however, the CEO and former owner of the hotel which was located around the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, at an event said he had forgiven the former President for ordering the demolishing of his multi-million-dollar hotel.

Alhaji Ibrahim said he had long forgiven former President Rawlings under whose administration his hotel was demolished.

Speaking about the issue publicly for the first time in nearly 20 years in an interview on Good Evening Ghana during the launch of his autobiography, the business magnate stated that he had forgiven Mr Rawlings for his wrongs against him.

"I’m not angry with Rawlings. I’m never angry with anybody. I know that whatever happens to me is determined by God, or God says it will happen. So, I don’t have anything against Rawlings. I’ve no choice but to forgive him; the Qur’an says we should forgive and forget,” he stated. Alhaji Ibrahim later took the matter to court and was subsequently awarded a GH¢6.13-million judgement debt which was paid by the Prof. J. E. A. Mills administration in 2009.

But addressing supporters to climax the 40th anniversary of the June 4 Uprising yesterday, Mr Rawlings said Alhaji Ibrahim “is in no position to forgive anyone or anything, not even the bush rat in his hometown. God had nothing to do with unlawful structures; neither did he have anything to do with enforcing the law. Governments appear to exercise no restraint when it comes to breaking down poor people’s structures in watercourses or unauthorised areas”.

Contrary to Alhaji Ibrahim’s belief about why his hotel was demolished, Former President Rawlings said, “a couple of months ago, my name was all over the news as one Alhaji Yusif reportedly forgave me for the demolishing of his hotel because he believed I thought he co-owned it with Sam Jonah and also that he was financing an opposition party. Far from the truth.”

He continued, “ the first place, he is in no position to forgive anyone nor anything or even the bush rat in his own hometown.”

The former President further emphasised that the indiscriminate use of his name by Alhaji Ibrahim would not bring him any sympathy, citing the location of the hotel as the reason behind his call for its demolishing.

“God has nothing to do with unlawful structures, neither did he have anything to do with enforcing the law. Governments appear to exercise no restraints when it comes to breaking down poor people’s structures in watercourses and in unauthorised areas. Big people, however, seem to be above the law and are untouchable,” Former President Rawlings added.

Tourism Observer

NIGERIA: 85 Room Dantinajo Gold Resort Is Now Open

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently inaugurated Dantinajo Gold Resort Limited, a world class hotel in Delta State

Recently, it was a gathering of who is who, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, at the inauguration of Dantinajo Gold Resort Limited, a world class hotel in Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The multimillion naira hotel facility features an endless wave of sophistication, style and glamour and has swelled the tourism and economic value of the oil rich Delta State.

At the formal opening on a certain Saturday, it started with a special red carpet reception where the hotel played host to creme-de-la-creme of the society, top executives in the corporate world, hospitality industries, politicians and traditional rulers.

A multi-purpose hotel, Dantinajo houses a gym, spa, presidential apartment, royal apartment, suites, apartments, standard rooms, restaurant, bar, conference halls and boasts of the best comfort guests and customers can get in major cities in and outside the country.

Declaring the facility open, Obasanjo expressed joy that the hotel was established in a rural setting and would create employment for the youths who hitherto might have been roaming the streets in the city.

The elated former president used the occasion to charge government at all levels in the country to see the private sector as the engine for economic development noting that the industrial mindset of the owners of the hotel was an example of mobilising resources for national development.

He urged government to ensure to do its part in developing the country by providing the right kind of environment for the operators of the private sector to bring the right kind of investment to the country.

Chief Obasanjo, who had earlier delivered the 2019 Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in Oleh, however, commended the owner of the hotel, Engr. Daniel Omoyibo, for mustering the will and resources to put up the investment.

“Coming here, when you talk of mobilising human and material resources for development, this is a practical example of what we talked about in the church. In the church we talked about it in theory and spiritually, now we have come here and we are seeing it in practical terms.

“The point is this; the private sector must been seen as the engine of development. In my address in the church, I made the point that the job of the public sector is to provide the conducive atmosphere for the private sector to thrive and of course to regulate because knowing human beings as they are”, he said.

Speaking to journalists at the commissioning ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer of Dantinajo Gold Resort, Engr. Daniel Omoyibo, said his vision for establishing the hotels is to reduce unemployment in the country, calling on other well-to-do Nigerians to tow his path.

“I give thanks to God and to my spiritual father, Prophet T.B Joshua because he’s the one that God used to build me to this level. My main reason for putting up this edifice is to make sure I bring out the unemployed youths out there, empower them, and reduce unemployment in Nigeria, Delta, Isoko and Oleh.

“I am praying and hoping that other people of means who have the resources will also come out to do more of things like this; factories, industries, it doesn’t need to be a hotel. They should just come out to build and empower the Nigerian youth.

“The hotel has 85 rooms; 53 standard rooms, 12 suites and 20 apartments. Some of the facilities here are a swimming pool, a gym, a conference hall, a restaurant and a bar. This Dantinajo Gold Resort is the best hotel in the entire Niger Delta”, he said.

Speaking at the colorful event, Hon. Eta Enahoro, chairman and chief executive Skyworld Company Limited, who was the chairman of the ceremony, urged Isoko sons and daughters to emulate Engr. Daniel Omoyibi, CEO DANMOTECK LTD, by investing in Isoko land to provide employment for Isoko people.

He noted that the development of the area is through big investments of this magnitude, which according him is key to sustainable development of the individual and the larger society. He also urged Isoko people to be self reliant through personal investment adding that, “I am totally committed towards the development of Isoko land even as most of my staff and personal assistant are from the area”.

Enahoro commended Omoyibo for the giant strides in building a world class hotel, just as he appealed to Isoko people in diaspora to come home and invest.

The Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by Mr. Steve Ebiogbe, director of protocol, commended Omoyibo for the successful completion of the project, noting that children yet unborn will grow to meet the edifice due to it’s modern structure and equipment. He further assured them of constant patronage of government officials and others will encourage Omoyibo in other areas of investment.

Also, Prophet T.B. Joshua, represented by Apostle Omohoro I.E., Lokoja area superintendent of the National Apostolic Church Nigeria, urged everyone to give their lives to God in whom all blessings come. He emphasised that it can only be better when God is involved in whatever we do even as success in inevitable.

Engr. Daniel Omoyibo, in his usual magnanimous way of life at the occasion, empowered 48 graduands of various vocations and he personally sponsored them with N1 million each, to enable them establish and live a normal life, a move that was received with rapturous joy by the beneficiaries.

Tourism Observer

UGANDA: Elephant Collides With Bus

Eight people have sustained injuries following a bus accident that took place along the Pakwach – Karuma highway, in Nwoya district.

The accident occurred last night, when a Kampala-bound Gaagaa bus, registration number UAL 158Z from Paidha hit an elephant that was crossing the road, from Murchison Falls National Park.

The injured were identified Karim Twaha, the bust driver, Ismail Ramadhan, Aweka Sandra, David Tibito and Dr Christine Mpora. The other passengers include Derrick Rwothongeyo, Muhammad Ssegirinya and Oroma Francisca.

They were all rushed to health facilities in Nwoya and Pakwach for treatment.

The Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson ASP Patrick Jimmy Okema told this publication that other passengers aboard the bus continued their journey on a rescue bus that was sent by the company.

In January this year, one person was killed and nine others were critically injured in an accident involving a Gaagaa bus in Nakasongola district along the Kampala-Gulu highway.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: Airforce Plane Goes Missing With 13 On Board

An Indian Air Force transport plane that took off from Assam's Jorhat with 13 people onboard on Monday has gone missing over over hilly terrain in the Northeast.

The Antonov An-32 took off at 12:27 pm for a remote military landing strip in Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh.

The aircraft last had contact with ground crew at 1 pm, sources have told NDTV. The normal flight time between Jorhat and Mechuka is about 50 minutes.

The Air Force has launched a search operation and spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel P Khongsai said every effort was being made to locate the missing plane.

The Indian Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the state disaster relief force joined the search along with planes and helicopters.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted about the incident.

Located in a picturesque and sparsely populated valley, Mechuka has one of the many rudimentary landing strips run by the Air Force near the Line of Actual Control with China.

The terrain under the flight's route is mountainous and heavily forested. The landing and take-off approaches to Mechuka are extremely difficult. Coupled with erratic weather, the region is among the most inhospitable for air transport.

The aircraft may have got entangled in low clouds. Flying in these areas is fraught with a measure of uncertainty, Air Commodore Prashant Dikshit (Retired) said.

The An-32 is a Soviet-designed twin engine turboprop transport aircraft used extensively by the Indian Air Force for over four decades. Since it joined the IAF fleet, the rugged planes used to ferry people and air-drop supplies have undergone several rounds of upgrades.

In 2016, an Indian Air Force An-32 disappeared while flying over the Bay of Bengal after taking off from Chennai for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The search and rescue operation became India's largest such operation for a missing plane on the sea in history but the aircraft was never found. All 29 people onboard were presumed dead.

Tourism Observer

SPAIN: Tourist Falls Off Balcony And Dies

A 20-year-old British tourist was killed on Friday morning after falling from the second floor of the Wave House Hotel in Magalluf.

Emergency services were called at around 3am. Medics were unable to do anything; he was comfirmed dead at the scene.

The Briton was staying with three friends. They were asleep at the time of the incident.

The Guardia Civil have concluded that the death was as the consequence of an accidental fall.

The 20-year-old was found lying on the ground close to death by a tobacco shop around 3am Friday morning.

Police and emergency services tried to save his life but he passed away at the scene.

A British man died after he fell from the second floor of the Wave House hotel in Magaluf around 3am on Friday

He was staying in a room with friends at the hotel near to where he was found called the Wave House.

Well-placed sources said Civil Guard officers woke up his pals to tell them the bad news because they were sleeping and knew nothing about the tragedy.

The incident is now being investigated to see if the man jumped or fell by accident.

A police source confirmed: The dead man is a British 20-year-old.

Investigations are on going.

The man was discovered badly injured outside a tobacco shop below the hotel. Medics were called but he died at the scene. Police say it is unclear if he jumped or fell

No-one was immediately available for comment at the Sol Wave House Hotel, part of the prestigious Sol Melia Group of hotels.

The four-star hotel overlooks the beach and sea front promenade in Magaluf.

It is home to an outdoor surf simulator and pool with artificial waves.

The hotel boasts on its website of offering guests an elegant stay packed with fun.

Tourism Observer

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Miracle Medicinal Neem Tree

Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem, has attracted worldwide prominence in recent years, owing to its wide range of medicinal properties.

Neem has been extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathic medicine and has become a cynosure of modern medicine. Neem elaborates a vast array of biologically active compounds that are chemically diverse and structurally complex.

More than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of neem. All parts of the neem tree- leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots and bark have been used traditionally for the treatment of inflammation, infections, fever, skin diseases and dental disorders.

The medicinal utilities have been described especially for neem leaf. Neem leaf and its constituents have been demonstrated to exhibit immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycaemic, antiulcer, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties.

This review summarises the wide range of pharmacological activities of neem leaf.

Many people have never heard of it, but could an evergreen tree from India offer powerful health benefits… including the ability to fight cancer?

The Neem Tree whose biological name is Azadirachta indica also known as Indian Lilac is an evergreen tree that belongs to the mahogany family. While neem is often used to make furniture, this tree also offers powerful anti-cancer and healing benefits.

Neem grows freely in the tropical and semi-tropical regions of India and the Indian subcontinent, including Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. A. indica can also be found growing in Africa, the Americas, Australia, and the South Pacific islands. Its fruits and seeds are the source of medicinal neem oil.

In the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, the neem tree is called “Aristha” or “reliever of sicknesses.” In the Vedas (a large body of texts originating in ancient India, which make up the oldest known scriptures of Hinduism), neem is known as “Sarva Roga Nivarini” meaning “One that cures all ailments and ills.”

Neem is referred to as the “Miracle Tree” and because of its tremendous medical properties, the neem tree is also considered to be a “village pharmacy” in India. Extracts of neem leaves, twigs, bark, seeds, and flowers are integral components of many traditional remedies in the Indian medical system of Ayurveda.

These remedies date back, by some accounts, nearly 5,000 years.

More than 60 different biologically active neem tree compounds have been identified and used for a wide variety of health and medical applications. Some of these include nimbin, nimbolide, azadirachtin A, nimbidiol, quercetin, and nimbidin.

Neem leaves are dried in India and placed in cupboards to prevent insects eating the clothes, and also in tins where rice is stored. These flowers are also used in many Indian festivals like Ugadi.

A vegetable

The tender shoots and flowers of the neem tree are eaten as a vegetable in India. A souplike dish called Veppampoo charu (Tamil) made of the flower of neem is prepared in Tamil Nadu. In Bengal, young neem leaves are fried in oil with tiny pieces of eggplant (brinjal).

The dish is called neem begun bhaja and is the first item during a Bengali meal that acts as an appetizer. It is eaten with rice.

Neem is used in parts of mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in Cambodia, Laos where it is called kadao, Thailand where it is known as sadao or sdao, Myanmar where it is known as tamar and Vietnam where it is known as sầu đâu and is used to cook the salad gỏi sầu đâu.

Even if lightly cooked, the flavour is quite bitter and the food is not enjoyed by all inhabitants of these nations, though it is believed to be good for one's health.

Neem gum is a rich source of protein. In Myanmar, young neem leaves and flower buds are boiled with tamarind fruit to soften its bitterness and eaten as a vegetable. Pickled neem leaves are also eaten with tomato and fish paste sauce in Myanmar.

Traditional medicinal

Products made from neem trees have been used in India for over two millennia for their medicinal properties. Neem products are believed by Siddha and Ayurvedic practitioners to be anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive, and sedative.

It is considered a major component in siddha medicine and Ayurvedic and Unani medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin diseases. Neem oil is also used for healthy hair, to improve liver function, detoxify the blood, and balance blood sugar levels.

Neem leaves have also been used to treat skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, etc.

Insufficient research has been done to assess the purported benefits of neem, however. In adults, short-term use of neem is safe, while long-term use may harm the kidneys or liver; in small children, neem oil is toxic and can lead to death.

Neem may also cause miscarriages, infertility, and low blood sugar.

Neem oil can cause some forms of toxic encephalopathy and ophthalmopathy if consumed in large quantities.

Neem is a key ingredient in non-pesticidal management (NPM), providing a natural alternative to synthetic pesticides. Neem seeds are ground into powder that is soaked overnight in water and sprayed onto the crop. To be effective, it must be applied repeatedly, at least every ten days.

Neem does not directly kill insects on the crop. It acts as an anti-feedant, repellent, and egg-laying deterrent and thus protect the crop from damage.

The insects starve and die within a few days. Neem also suppresses the hatching of pest insects from their eggs. Neem-based fertilizeres have been effective against the pest southern armyworm. Neem cake is often sold as a fertilizer.

Neem oil has been shown to avert termite attack as an ecofriendly and economical agent.

Applications of neem oil in the preparation of polymeric resins have been documented in the recent reports. The synthesis of various alkyd resins from neem oil is reported using a monoglyceride (MG) route and their utilization for the preparation of PU coatings.

The alkyds are prepared from reaction of conventional divalent acid materials like phthalic and maleic anhydrides with MG of neem oil.

The juice of this plant is a potent ingredient for a mixture of wall plaster, according to the Samarangaṇa Sutradhara, which is a Sanskrit treatise dealing with Silpasastra or Hindu science of art and construction.

- Cleaning teeth by chewing stick

- Hair Comb, Wood of neem tree is used to handcraft hair combs and it is believed that regular use can control hair loss, dandruff and other scalp problems.

- Toiletries: Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics such as soap, shampoo, balms, and creams as well as toothpaste

- Animal Treatment: Used to treat sweet itch and mud fever in horses

- Toothbrush: Traditionally, slender neem twigs called datun are first chewed as a toothbrush and then split as a tongue cleaner. This practice has been in use in India, Africa, and the Middle East for centuries.

It is still used in India's rural areas. Neem twigs are still collected and sold in rural markets for this use. It has been found to be as effective as a toothbrush in reducing plaque and gingival inflammation.

- Tree: Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine, the neem tree is of great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a good carbon dioxide sink.

- Neem gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose foods.
Neem blossoms are used in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka to prepare Ugadi pachhadi. A mixture of neem flowers and jaggery or unrefined brown sugar is prepared and offered to friends and relatives, symbolic of sweet and bitter events in the upcoming new year, Ugadi.
Bevina hoovina gojju a type of curry prepared with neem blossoms is common in Karnataka throughout the year. Dried blossoms are used when fresh blossoms are not available. In Tamil Nadu, a rasam or veppam poo rasam made with neem blossoms is a culinary speciality.

- Cosmetics: Neem is perceived in India as a beauty aid. Powdered leaves are a major component of at least one widely used facial cream. Purified neem oil is also used in nail polish and other cosmetics.

- Bird repellent: Neem leaf boiled in water can be used as a very cost-effective bird repellent, especially for sparrows.

- Lubricant: Neem oil is non-drying and it resists degradation better than most vegetable oils. In rural India, it is commonly used to grease cart wheels.

- Fertilizer: Neem extract is added to fertilizers urea as a nitrification inhibitor.

- Plant protectant: In Karnataka, people grow the tree mainly for its green leaves and twigs, which they puddle into flooded rice fields before the rice seedlings are transplanted.

- Resin: An exudate can be tapped from the trunk by wounding the bark. This high protein material is not a substitute for polysaccharide gum, such as gum arabic. It may, however, have a potential as a food additive, and it is widely used in South Asia as Neem glue.

- Bark: Neem bark contains 14% tannin, an amount similar to that in conventional tannin-yielding trees such as Acacia decurrens. Moreover, it yields a strong, coarse fibre commonly woven into ropes in the villages of India.

- Honey: In parts of Asia neem honey commands premium prices, and people promote apiculture by planting neem trees.

- Soap: 80% of India's supply of neem oil now is used by neem oil soap manufacturers. Although much of it goes to small-scale speciality soaps, often using cold-pressed oil, large-scale producers also use it, mainly because it is cheap.

Additionally it is antibacterial and antifungal, soothing, and moisturising. It can be made with up to 40% neem oil. Generally, the crude oil is used to produce coarse laundry soaps.

- Animal feed: Neem leaves can be occasionally used as forage for ruminants and rabbits.

Neem leaf or bark is considered an effective pitta pacifier because of its bitter taste. Hence, it is traditionally recommended during early summer in Ayurveda that is, the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu Calendar which usually falls in the month of March – April.

In the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana, Neem flowers are very popular for their use in 'Ugadi Pachhadi' soup-like pickle, which is made on Ugadi day.

In Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana, a small amount of Neem and Jaggery (Bevu-Bella) is consumed on Ugadi day, the Telugu and Kannada new year, indicating that one should take both bitter and sweet things in life, joy and sorrow.

During Gudi Padva, which is the New Year in the state of Maharashtra, the ancient practice of drinking a small quantity of neem juice or paste on that day, before starting festivities, is found.

As in many Hindu festivals and their association with some food to avoid negative side-effects of the season or change of seasons, neem juice is associated with Gudi Padva to remind people to use it during that particular month or season to pacify summer pitta.

In Tamil Nadu during the summer months of April to June, the Mariamman temple festival is a thousand-year-old tradition. The Neem leaves and flowers are the most important part of the Mariamman festival.

The statue of the goddess Mariamman will be garlanded with Neem leaves and flowers. During most occasions of celebrations and weddings the people of Tamil Nadu adorn their surroundings with the Neem leaves and flowers as a form of decoration and also to ward off evil spirits and infections.

The Tamil people traditionally consider that the various diseases of pox and measles are caused directly by the deity Mariamman herself and use the Neem leaves alone to relieve from infection.

In the eastern coastal state of Odisha the famous Jagannath temple deities are made up of Neem heart wood along with some other essential oils and powders.

Ayurveda was the first to bring the anthelmintic, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral constituents of the neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists. The process of extracting neem oil involves extracting the water-insoluble components with ether, petrol ether, ethyl acetate, and dilute alcohol.

The provisional naming was nimbin (sulphur-free crystalline product with melting point at 205 °C, empirical composition C7H10O2), nimbinin with similar principle, melting at 192 °C, and nimbidin cream-coloured containing amorphous sulphur, melting at 90–100 °C.

Siddiqui identified nimbidin as the main active antibacterial ingredient, and the highest yielding bitter component in the neem oil. These compounds are stable and found in substantial quantities in the Neem. They also serve as natural insecticides.

Neem-coated urea is being used an alternate to plain urea fertilizer in India. It reduces pollution, improves fertilizer's efficacy and soil health.

According to Ayurveda, the neem tree offers numerous health benefits. Let’s take a look at the specific uses and health benefits offered by various parts of the neem tree.

Neem leaves are reputed to possess antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-malarial properties – which is why their extracts are used to treat skin infections, acne, boils, burns, and many other skin problems.Some traditional uses for neem leaves include:

Skin cleanser – Neem stops the growth of the acne-causing bacteria P. acnes, along with suppressing P. acnes-induced inflammation.

Wound healer – a paste of neem leaves is applied on wounds, skin eruptions, and insect bites. When combined with turmeric, this paste is also used to treat skin itching, eczema, ring worm, and other mild skin diseases.

Hair conditioner – Neem leaf extracts and paste are used to condition the hair and scalp and are believed to strengthen hair and promote hair growth.

Anti-dandruff agent – water in which neem leaves have been boiled is applied to hair after regular shampooing to rid the scalp of dandruff.
Eye cleansing and soothing – extract of neem leaves in water is used to wash the eyes and is said to offer relief from irritation, tiredness, and redness.

Immune booster – consuming extracts of neem leaves and bark again, made by boiling in water are believed to increase overall immunity. These extracts also reputedly lower blood sugar levels and heal ulcers.

Unlike the rest of the neem tree which is bitter, the white and delicate neem flowers possess a sweet, almost jasmine-like scent. They are used fresh, dried, or in a powdered form as food and as garnish in some Indian cooking traditions.

Neem flowers are used medicinally to treat anorexia, nausea, and intestinal worms. They are also used in aromatherapy because of their calming effect.

Neem Twigs, before toothbrushes became common, people in India would traditionally chew away at neem twigs in the morning. In Indian villages, many people still do this.

This habit helps to fight germs, maintain alkaline levels in saliva, keep bacteria away, heal swollen gums, and leads to whiter teeth. Finally, the twig also shreds into bristle-like threads that help to remove and prevent plaque.

Neem oil extracted from fruits and seeds of the neem tree is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids. This makes it an ideal ingredient in cosmetics and beauty products such as soaps, hair oil, hand wash, and soap.

Traditional uses of Neem oil include:

Skin cleanser – 2-3 drops of neem oil diluted with water and applied on the skin helps to keep the skin clear, removing acne, blackheads, and helping to heal skin diseases.

Skin toner and mosquito repellent – Neem oil contains high levels of vitamin E and is very nourishing for the skin, helping to maintain a balanced tone. When added to face packs, it helps to tone aging skin and relieves irritation and itching. It is also an excellent mosquito repellent.

Natural shampoo – Rubbing neem oil into the scalp can strengthen hair, prevent hair fall, and remove dandruff.

Anti-Cancer Benefits of Neem, excitingly, naturally-occurring bioactive compounds obtained from various parts of the neem tree have been shown to induce “apoptosis” or programmed cell death in different types of tumor cells in laboratory conditions.

Some of these compounds stimulate the immune system to fight cancer cells better. Neem compounds may also prevent cancer development by generating high levels of antioxidants and carcinogen-detoxifying enzymes.

Overall, neem compounds show impressive anti-cancer potential against many human cancer cell lines and animal models for human cancers. Among these are colon, stomach, pancreas, lung, liver, skin, oral, prostate, and breast cancers.

Anti-Carcinogenic and Anti-Mutagenic Effects of Neem, over the last two decades, cancer researchers have convincingly shown that cancer formation as a result of exposure to certain specific mutagens and pro-carcinogens can be prevented by neem extracts.

As a result, these extracts and bioactive neem compounds may one day play a key role in the future development of chemopreventive anti-cancer agents.

Neem Stops Cancer Cell Growth and Migration, Researchers in India, Europe, and Japan have shown that bioactive compounds present in neem bark, leaves, and seed oil could be used to treat a wide variety of cancers.

For instance, a recently published study showed that nimbolide – a bioactive neem compound – was able to induce apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells, to the extent that the size and number of cancer cell colonies was reduced by 80%.

Apoptosis or programmed cell death is a genetically driven process that happens naturally all the time in the body. It’s a safe way to get rid of diseased and dying cells without affecting nearby healthy cells and tissues.

Anti-cancer practitioners are also trying to eliminate cancer cells by inducing apoptosis selectively in them, without affecting normal cells. In this regard, neem is an excellent choice as neem extracts as well as purified neem compounds have been shown to cause apoptosis in cancer cells.

Nimbolide also reduced the ability of pancreatic cancer cells to migrate and invade other areas of the body by an astonishing 70%. Migration and invasion – known scientifically as “metastasis” – of cancer cells to other areas of the body is the main reason why pancreatic and other cancers are so lethal.

Pancreatic cancer is the most lethal of all, with 94% of patients dying within the first five years of diagnosis, with no conventional treatment in sight.

One of the most promising aspects of this study was that nimbolide did not harm healthy cells. In other words, using nimbolide to treat pancreatic and perhaps other forms of cancer in the near future may not result in the toxic side effects that chemotherapy and radiation typically do.

Neem Potentiates Anti-Cancer Drugs and Protects Against Their Toxicity, Neem preparations have been shown to potentiate or enhance the effect of the actions of anti-cancer agents. They also provide protection against the life-threatening side effects of some of these very toxic drugs.

For instance, Cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) are well-known anti-cancer drugs with devastating side effects, especially because they also massively kill normal blood cells. Normally, another drug known as granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF) is given along with these two anti-cancer drugs to try and minimize their toxic side effects.

Interestingly, pretreatment with neem leaf preparation (NLP) has been found to protect blood cells in laboratory mice treated with Cisplatin and 5-FU.

This means NLP could potentially be a safer and cheaper substitute than granulocyte colony stimulating factor. GCSF is not only expensive, but is also known to promote angiogenesis and tumor development on its own!

Neem Enhances the Actions of Detoxifying Enzymes, extracts of neem leaves have been shown to enhance the actions of so-called “phase-II hepatic enzymes” such as Glutathione S-transferases and DT-diaphorase. Both these enzymes are known to be involved in detoxification of chemical carcinogens.

Additionally, neem leaf extracts enhance the activity of various liver antioxidant enzymes. Amongst these are glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase, which are known to help in detoxifying the body.

Neem: Bioimmunotherapy Against Cancer, boosting the body’s own immune system to target specific health risks is known as bioimmunotherapy. Anti-cancer practitioners have begun to incorporate this strategy to fight cancer. Recent studies show that neem may exert some of its anti-cancer effects by enhancing the body’s immune response.

Recently published peer-reviewed studies carried out at the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Kolkata, India, showed that a bioactive protein from leaves of the neem tree prevents cancer cells from growing in mice by doing exactly this.

Instead of targeting the cancer cells directly, this protein – known as Neem Leaf Glycoprotein (NLGP) – acts on immune cells present within the tumor’s immediate surroundings, known as the “tumor microenvironment”.

Normally, immune cells attack and destroy cancer cells. However, as some tumors grow, immune cells in their microenvironment become “enslaved” by cancer cells. In a bizarre role-reversal, these immune cells now begin to promote the growth and proliferation of cancer cells in the tumor instead of fighting them.

In a dramatic twist straight out of a thriller, NLGP seemingly returns immune cells in the tumor microenvironment to a more normal state. It makes them hostile again to cancer cells and prevents them from growing any further.

A good example can be found in one group of cancer-killing immune cells known as the CD8+ or “killer” T cells. When triggered by NLGP, the number of these T cells was seen to rise significantly, helping to restrict cancer growth.

What’s more, these killer T cells also showed a greater cancer cell killing capacity when compared to killer T cells that were not treated with NLGP.

Various parts of the neem tree and its extracts have been used by humans for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years.While the uses of neem seem limitless, precautions need to be taken and neem products should be used with care. Indiscriminate consumption of higher than necessary doses may sometimes cause unpleasant side effects.

Some people are allergic to neem compounds – leading to itching, swelling of the mouth and throat, wheezing, and breathing difficulties. In very rare instances, some neem compounds may also damage the liver and kidneys.

Therefore, it is always advisable not to medicate yourself with any products containing neem extracts or neem compounds. Always consult a trustworthy alternative healthcare provider first, and be sure to apply or consume these products under properly qualified supervision.

The neem tree has been a source of safe and powerfully effective solutions for human health problems for many hundreds of years.

Over the past few decades, modern scientific researchers have purified some of the active ingredients from this ancient “reliever of sicknesses” – and they are gradually beginning to understand their healing mechanisms.

There is now compelling scientific evidence that many neem compounds possess promising anti-cancer properties. In the near future, combinations of bioactive neem compounds, either on their own or given along with anti-cancer drugs, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy seem likely to become a reliable standard treatment of choice for many cancer patients.

Live your life without the threat of cancer.

Tall, with dark-green pointy leaves, the neem tree of India is known as the "village pharmacy." As a child growing up in metropolitan New Delhi, Sonia Arora recalls on visits to rural areas seeing villagers using neem bark to clean their teeth. Arora's childhood memories have developed into a scientific fascination with natural products and their power to cure illnesses.

Now an assistant professor at Kean University in New Jersey, Arora is delving into understanding the curative properties of the neem tree in fighting the virus that causes AIDS.

She presented her data at a poster session on April 22, at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego. Her preliminary results seem to indicate that there are compounds in neem extracts that target a protein essential for HIV to replicate.

If further studies support her findings, Arora's work may give clinicians and drug developers a new HIV-AIDS therapy to pursue.

Extracts from neem leaves, bark and flowers are used throughout the Indian subcontinent to fight against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. "The farther you go into the villages of India, the more uses of neem you see," says Arora.

Tree branches are used instead of toothpaste and toothbrushes to keep teeth and gums healthy, and neem extracts are used to control the spread of malaria.

Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, a form of traditional Indian alternative medicine, even prescribe neem extracts, in combination with other herbs, to treat cardiovascular diseases and control diabetes. The neem tree, whose species name is Azadirachta indica and which belongs to the mahogany family, also grows in east Africa.

Arora's scientific training gave her expertise in the cellular biology of cancer, pharmacology, bioinformatics and structural biology. When she established her laboratory with a new research direction at Kean University in 2008, Arora decided to combine her knowledge with her long-time fascination with natural products. The neem tree beckoned.

Arora dived into the scientific literature to see what was known about neem extracts. During the course of her reading, Arora stumbled across two reports that showed that when HIV-AIDS patients in Nigeria and India were given neem extracts, the amount of HIV particles in their blood dropped.

Intrigued, Arora decided to see if she could figure out what was in the neem extract that seemed to fight off the virus.

She turned to bioinformatics and structural biology to see what insights could be gleaned from making computer models of HIV proteins with compounds known to be in neem extracts. From the literature, she and her students found 20 compounds present in various types of neem extracts.
When they modeled these compounds against the proteins critical for the HIV life-cycle, Arora and her team discovered that most of the neem compounds attacked the HIV protease, a protein essential for making new copies of the virus.

Arora's group is now working on test-tube experiments to see if the computer models hold up with actual samples. If her work bears out, Arora is hopeful that the neem tree will give a cheaper and more accessible way to fight the HIV-AIDS epidemic in developing countries, where current therapies are priced at levels out of reach of many people.
And, of course, she notes, there is the potential of discovering new drugs based on the molecules present in neem.

Neem Tree, also known as 'Azadirachta indica' is a tree native to India. In Sanskrit, neem is arista, which means something that is perfect, imperishable and complete. Not only its leaves, but the tree's seeds, roots and bark also contain important compounds that have many medicinal and beauty properties. The tree is supposed to denote 'good health' in our Ayurveda.

Neem is best known for its anti-aging properties. Due to its antioxidant properties, neem protects the skin from harmful UV rays, pollution and other environmental factors. The vitamins and fatty acids in neem improve and maintain the elasticity of the skin, reduce wrinkles and fine lines. This make you and your skin look rejuvenated and youthful.

Neem is also beneficial in fighting against fungal infection. Its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties keep the harmful bacteria and fungi at bay. Thus, it protects the skin and keeps the skin related diseases away.

Ayurveda, which follows the natural ways for treatment and medicine, has been using extracts of neem tree as a key ingredient, for good health and well being. Here are some of the herbal remedies, health benefits and magical properties of neem.

Neem Herbal Remedy and Benefit : One tree pharmacy
Not only in Ayurvedic medicines, neem tree extracts have been a part of many home remedies that Indians have been following since time immemorial. We use neem to treat hair and skin issues.

Neem Herbal Remedy and Benefit : Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Neem leaves are used to treat fungal and bacterial infections. They are used to treat warts as well as chicken pox. Either the paste is applied on the affected area or the person is made to bathe in neem water. It can also treat foot fungi.

You can keep neem soaked cotton near your windows or burn neem leaves to ward off insects. It is extremely effective and is used to fight mosquito menace.

Neem Herbal Remedy and Benefit,Increases immunity. Many Ayurveda experts recommend daily intake of neem capsules. Neem tea is also widely prescribed to reduce fever, especially the malaria one. Since neem tastes bitter, the tea acquires a similar taste but works magically.

Neem Herbal Remedy and Benefit. Nature's toothbrush Chewing neem twigs for dental hygiene and care is an age-old Indian tradition. In Indian households, people used to brush their teeth using twigs of neem. And these days you find neem-based toothpaste to ensure good dental health.

Due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, it keeps away all sorts of dental infections and diseases.

Neem Herbal Remedy and Benefit Strong and long hair. Neem also helps in strengthening hair quality and promotes growth of hair. Neem paste is also used as a hair conditioner. Due to its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, neem is an excellent way to curb dandruff.

This makes hair follicles stronger, thus encouraging hair growth too. It provides the required nourishment and conditioning to the roots, making them stronger and shinier.

Neem Herbal Remedy and Benefit Treat skin disorder. There are many formulations in Ayurveda that are used to treat skin issues. It is because it has a detoxifying property. It is used to treat sczema and other skin infections.

Neem can heal wounds without leaving any ugly scars. It also prevents septic infections. Neem is commonly used to heal wounds because of its antiseptic properties. Apply a little amount of neem oil onto the wounds and on scars, daily. Neem Oil contains the necessary fatty acids, which also promote wound healing and make your skin healthy.

Acne relief. Neem also has anti-inflammatory property that reduces acne. The neem oil is believed to relieve skin dryness, skin itchiness and redness. It also prevents pimples and skin blemishes.

Neem is also used in organic farming. The popular neem seed cake, which is basically a neem seed residue which is left after oil extraction, is extremely beneficial for enriching the soil. It also brings down nitrogen loss and works as a nematicide.

Neem is also an excellent source of moisturizer for the skin. By applying neem oil, the fatty acids and vitamins in it moisturize and condition your skin, making it clearer and youthful. The vitamin E in neem oil repairs the damaged skin and also limits the effect of environment changes that can lead to skin damage.

You will commonly find neem used in products such as bath powders, shampoos, skin lotion, toothpaste and many companies have even started marketing neem leaf capsule for better immunity.

With the dengue menace round the corner, it also works as a brilliant source to repel insects.

Medicinal uses of the tree of life – Neem Plant

Cardiac Problems: Infusions of leaves in HOT water when taken removes bad sugars and toxins from blood, dilates blood vessels, improves blood circulation and balances heart pumping rates.

High Blood Pressure: It relaxes erratic heart beats and balances blood pressure. Research shows that the intravenous administration of neem leaf alcohol extract significantly reduces blood pressure.

Eczema: Dried leaves are burnt on red hot charcoal and covered to cure eczema.

Pesticides/Insecticide: Pound a few handful of seeds, add water, mash and filter out solution with a clean sieve. Use to spray your crops.

Contraceptive: Neem is a natural contraceptive; it blocks spermatogenesis or production of sperm cells without affecting the production of testosterone. It is thus believed to be an ideal contraceptive for birth control as it is natural, available, nontoxic and affordable to almost all.

Neem Oil: It can be used as a spermicide. It’s applied deep in the vagina or intra-vaginally before sexual intercourse. It kills sperms and prevents pregnancy.

Cancers: Leaves are rich in antioxidants. They help prevent cancers and also used against developing cancers.

Digestion: Take teas of neem leaves or barks to treat digestive problems.

Typhoid & Malaria: Neem leaves tea is an effective cure for Typhoid and Malaria (fevers), Blood Purification, Circulation and Enhancement. Neem leaves tea is just excellent.

Beautiful & Glowing Skin: Regular use of the paste of need leaves helps the skin. Adding turmeric gives better results and adding cucumbers makes it better. Applying on the face when going to sleep works wonders. The mixture of leaves, turmeric and cucumber can also be used for skin whitening.

Chronic Wounds & Ulcers: A paste of neem leaves and turmeric are effective for Skin infections/ Rashes/ Skin Dryness. Mash or pound neem leaves and apply green juice on skin. Also use smashed leaves as a skin scrub. Diluting a little neem seed oil in water and bathing with also works against skin infections/diseases.

Skin Toner: Boil about 20 to 25 leaves in 1 liter of water in a closed vessel over a gentle flame for about 20 minutes. Then filter and put in a clean bottle and always use with the aid of a cotton to clean face with every night before going to bed. It removes dead skin, treats acne and rejuvenates skin.

Cholesterol: Neem Leaves tea lowers cholesterol

Improved Eye Health: Wash eyes with cold tea of leaves

Muscles and Joint Pains: Tea from leaves and flowers jointly boiled is a good detoxifier and anti-inflammatory

Breast, Prostate and all Cancers: Neem leaves detoxify the system, improve immune response, eliminate free radicals and inhibit inflammatory reactions. It destroys cancer cells more especially prostate cancers growth and inhibits spread

Blood Cleanser: Neem leaves tea cleanses the blood and is more effective when taken with honey

Sore Throat: Gaggle neem leaves tea several times a day

Dandruff & Hair Fall: Wash hair regularly with neem leaves tea

Painkiller: Extract of leaves and seeds together give a good anti-inflammatory effect which relieves pains, heals cuts, wounds, headaches, sprains and ear aches

Antibiotics: Leaves, barks, and almost all parts of neem have antibiotic effects, BUT the TWIGS have highest antibiotics effect

Works against dangerous bacteria like S mutans, S aureus and E Faecalis

Hair Treatment: Boil a handful of neem leaves in a little water and use to wash your hair after shampooing. It’s antifungal, antiparasitic, antibacterial and antiviral properties will help to heal your scalp of dandruff, hair fall problems and from lots of diseases

Injuries & Burns: Neem leaves juice or tea applied on them works faster. Neem leaves/bark teas prevent mouth diseases like cavities, tooth decay and gingivitis

Neem Seed Oil: Used as a mouth wash heals gum diseases. It inhibits the growth of streptococcus mutants in the mouth, a bacteria that causes oral problems

* Neem bark is effective in the treatment of gastritis and ulcers

Chicken Pox:

Drink regularly neem leaves tea and also take regular baths with it

Delays Signs of Skin Ageing: Neem oils and leaves rejuvenate skin, fights against underneath pathogens, thus keeping the skin supple and young for a long time. Add neem leaves powder to your face packs. Also dilute seed oil and use on face and body

Psoriasis: Neem oil works miraculously on psoriasis. Neem oil helps to get rid of the itches and irritation. It moisturizes skin and works against dryness and itching

Blackheads: Applying diluted Neem seed oil regularly prevents the reoccurrence of blackheads

Liver Health: Neem flowers (edible ones) detoxify, heal and protect the liver against cancers and many diseases

Leprosy:: Need seed oil when taken in appropriate amounts works against Leprosy. NB: Neem oil may be toxic when taken in large amounts into the system

Nail Diseases: Neem seed oil cures more than sixty types of nail fungus

Under-Eye Dark Circles/Bags: Mix powder from leaves with little water and apply paste with care under eyes. Only wash after 15 to 30 minutes period

Baldness: Regular application of Mashed leaves on scalp, massaging and allowing for about 30 minutes before washing, will trigger the growth of hair on bald head. Always add a little water on mashed leaves

Weak Legs: Dip legs in neem leaves solution or tea for about 30 minutes. Repeat regularly

Viral Infections: Herpes, HIV, Hepatitis, Influenza, Common Colds, Chicken Pox etc. Take neem leaves tea regular to treat symptoms, detoxify system, build immunity and possibly eradicate the disease

Tooth Ache & Teeth Treatment: Neem twigs relieve toothache and also brighten teeth when used as a chewing stick to brush teeth

Asthma: Neem oil in small dozes works against Asthma

Scars & Pigmentations: Neem is effective in lightening scars and pigmentations caused by acne and rashes or scabies. Use as prescribed above under skin problems

Poisonous Bites/Stings: Apply neem leaves juice or seed oil

Piles/Hemorrhoids: Take neem leaves tea regularly

With all these health and beauty benefits, please plant this TREE OF LIFE around your compound.

Tourism Observer