Monday 27 May 2019

TANZANIA: Plastic Bags Banned In Tanzania

On the 16th May 2019, the Tanzanian Government announced the ban on the entry of all plastic carrier bags.

According to this statement, "The Government of Tanzania wishes to make an official note to travelers planning to travel to Tanzania that from 1st June 2019 all plastic carrier bags, regardless of their thickness will be prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in mainland Tanzania."

If you are worried about the plastic bag you use for your toiletries, you don't need to because, as the Government states, "plastics carrier items known as "ziploc bags" that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country".


The Government of Tanzania wishes to make an official note to travelers planning to visit Tanzania that from 1st June 2019 all plastic carrier bags, regardless of their thickness will be prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in Mainland Tanzania.

However, plastic or plastic packaging for medical services, industrial products, construction industry, agricultural sector, foodstuff, sanitary and waste management are not prohibited.

Visitors to Tanzania are advised to avoid carrying plastic carrier bags or packing plastic carrier bags or items in plastic carrier bags in the suitcase or hand luggage before embarking on visit to Tanzania.

Special desk will be designated at all entry points for surrender of plastics carrier bags that visitors may be bringing into Tanzania.

Plastics carrier items known as “ziploc bags” that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country.

The Government does not intend for visitors to Tanzania to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban.

However, the Government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from the plastic bags ban.

In a historic conservation move the government of the United Republic of Tanzania has announced the ban on plastic bag use from the first of June this Year.

In his speech during a budget session in the National Parliament of Tanzania the Prime Minister His Excellency Kassim Majaliwa announced that the last day to use plastic bags in Tanzania will be 31st May 2019 and from the 1st June no one will be allowed to produce, import, sell or use plastic bags.

He called on the plastic producing industries in the country to diverse some other technology for carrying bags instead of plastics.

He said he has directed the minister for environment and union from the Vice President’s office to include the ban in the existing environment law and make it a legal ban.

WWF Country Director Dr. Amani Ngusaru has congratulated the government for stepping up the fight against plastic pollution in the country.

He said WWF Tanzania is impressed with the Tanzania government’s decision to ban the use of plastic bags and carriers which will be a big bust in the bid to protect the environment and natural resources.

Plastic is a number one polluter of environment and a silent killer of our natural environment and resources than most people understand. This is because it takes more than a hundred years for a single plastic bag to decay.

We are happy that Tanzania is among the very few African countries to ban the use of plastic bags and we will work hard toward supporting the government in the fight against plastic pollution.

We understand that the control of plastic pollution calls for all stakeholders’ participation in raising awareness and making sure that the ban is being effectively observed, we are therefore ready to work with the government to give expert advice whenever needed.

Our initiatives will also be directed towards raising awareness to the Tanzania community as we believe an educated man is a wealthy man, he said.

Tanzania joins about 13 countries in Africa that have either banned or introduced a levy on plastic bags to control and eventually stop its use.

In East Africa Kenya introduced a complete ban on plastic last August while in Uganda In 2007, a ban of lightweight plastic bags was introduced and came into effect that year. However, the ban was never implemented. Plastics even the countries with bans are still using them illegally.

Plastic which was introduced in Africa a generation ago has been reported to pollute both the seas and land at an alarming rate.

According to EcoWatch Plastics affect all biological spectrum, including posing risks to human health and wildlife, the accumulation of these products has led to increasing amounts of environmental pollution around the world including Africa.

About 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean's surface is believed to be emanating from plastics.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), half of all plastic produced is designed to be used just once and then discarded, resulting in mass amounts of chemically-laden debris landing in oceans and littering landscapes.

Another dead whale has washed ashore with a belly full of plastic.

This week, the carcass of the young sperm whale, estimated to have been 7 years old, was found on a beach in Cefalù, Italy. Investigators aren’t certain whether the plastic killed the whale. But it’s part of a gruesome pattern that’s become impossible to ignore.

In April, a pregnant sperm whale washed up on a beach in Sardinia with nearly 50 pounds’ worth of plastic bags, containers, and tubing in her stomach. Biologists in Florida last month euthanized a baby rough-toothed dolphin with two plastic bags and a shredded balloon in its stomach.

The dolphin was very young and emaciated said Michelle Kerr, a spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in an email. Due to a poor prognosis, the decision was made to humanely euthanize the animal on scene.

In March, a 1,100-pound Cuvier’s beaked whale was recovered in the Philippines filled with 88 pounds of plastic bags, fishing line, and rice sacks. A beached sperm whale was found in Indonesia last year with more than 1,000 pieces of plastic inside.

As the quantity of plastic humans dump in the ocean has reached obscene proportions, we’re seeing more and more sea life including birds, otters, sea turtles, and fish choking on it.

But the impact on whales is particularly alarming. After centuries of whaling and overfishing, the survival of many whale species is already precarious. Now, just as their numbers are starting to recover, whales are consuming our toxic waste.

And their deaths aren’t just about biodiversity loss: Whales play a critical role in marine ecosystems, which provide 3 billion people with their primary sources of protein.

To find out more about why whales are so vulnerable to plastic waste, Lars Bejder, director of the Marine Mammal Research Program at the University of Hawaii Manoa said there are multiple mechanisms at work here and that dying isn’t the only plastic hazard for whales, and explained why the problem will only get worse.

The root cause of these stranded, plastic-filled whales is that plastic is cheap and easy to produce but almost impossible for nature to destroy. Chunks of plastic linger for decades, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. This waste then churns in the ocean in massive gyres.

Roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic, a mass greater than that of the Great Pyramid of Giza enters the ocean each year.

Meanwhile, we’re still trying to figure out how much plastic waste has already accumulated in the ocean. A study published this week in the journal Scientific Reports estimated that 414 million bits of garbage weighing 238 tons have been deposited on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands 1,300 miles off the coast of Australia.

It’s a sign that even the most remote regions of the world are now contaminated with the detritus of civilization.

Sadly, the situation on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is not unique, with significant quantities of debris documented on islands and coastal areas from the Arctic to the Antarctic, researchers wrote.

Global debris surveys, the majority of which are focused solely on surface debris, have drastically underestimated the scale of debris accumulation.

And the amount of plastic waste in the ocean is surging. Our current trajectory puts us on track to have more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight by 2050, according to the World Economic Forum.

So for the largest, hungriest animals in the ocean, plastic is becoming an unwelcome part of their diets.

Whales are among the more intelligent creatures in the ocean, so why aren’t they smart enough to avoid eating plastic?

Well, one reason is that often plastic is in their food.

Small crustaceans like krill and tiny fish like anchovies often end up inadvertently consuming microplastics. Whales, the largest animals ever known to have existed, have a voracious appetite for these critters. A blue whale eats between 2 and 4 tons of krill per day.

Whales like the blue whale have baleen plates in their mouths that act as filters, trapping their small prey as well as small bits of plastic. This means they are less likely to ingest larger plastic waste items like bottles and containers, but the small plastic bits they consume quickly pile up.

These baleen whales filter hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of water per day, Bejder said. You can imagine all these microplastics they encounter through this filtration process that then become bioaccumulated.

Microplastics are unlikely to obstruct the digestive tract of a baleen whale, but as they build up inside an animal’s tissues, they can leach toxic chemicals like endocrine disruptors that make the creature sick. This problem can affect all ocean filter feeders, including manta rays and whale sharks.

That means there could be large whales dying of plastic poisoning without obvious culprits like flip-flops and food containers in their stomachs, according to Bejder.

A study published this week in Royal Society Open Science also reported that plastic pollution is more dangerous to baleen whales than oil spills. Particle capture studies suggest potentially greater danger to baleen whales from plastic pollution than oil.

Toothed whales like sperm whales and dolphins normally catch bigger prey, like squid. But since they can swallow larger animals, they are vulnerable to larger chunks of plastic, like bags and nets.

They might be seeking those out because they’re thinking they might be prey, Bejder said. A plastic container in murky waters could resemble a fish to a toothed whale, or a sperm whale may inadvertently swallow plastic garbage as it hunts for a meal.

Once ingested, the plastic piles up in the whale’s stomach. It can then obstruct bowels, preventing whales from digesting food and leading them to starve to death.

It can also give a whale a false sense of being full, leading the whale to eat less and get weaker. That leaves it vulnerable to predators and disease.

We’re only seeing a tiny fraction of the whales being harmed by plastic.

Part of the reason we pay so much attention to whales killed by plastic is because the whales themselves are very big and the plastic culprits are startlingly obvious.

Large animals decay slowly, giving people plenty of time to figure out the cause of death, whereas smaller fish and crustaceans dying from plastic decompose quickly and are rarely investigated.

Even for casual observers, a dead whale blocking a beach vacation photo is pretty hard to ignore.

The ones that land on the beach that are killed through ingestion, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. They’re just the ones that we see, Bejder said. I’m sure that many, many marine mammals have some levels of plastic bags and plastic items in their stomachs.

Many more whales could be dying from plastic poisoning without our knowledge. Around the Gulf of Mexico for example, 2 to 6 percent of whale carcasses end up on a shoreline. That means the vast majority sink to the ocean floor. This is likely the case for most of the world’s waters.

And the fact that whales are suffering shows that our marine ecosystems in general are in peril. Whales, baleen whales, these larger dolphins species are pretty much at the top of the food chain, Bejder said. They are sentinels of ocean health.

But with more plastic waste pouring into the ocean, the prognosis for the most mega of megafauna is grim.

Tourism Observer

Thursday 23 May 2019

CHINA: Spring Airlines What About

Spring Airlines Co., Ltd. is a low-cost carrier with its headquarters in the Homeyo Hotel in Changning District, Shanghai, China.

While the company adopted the English name "Spring Airlines", the Chinese name literally means "Spring Autumn Airlines."

Spring Airlines is the aviation subsidiary of Shanghai Spring International Travel Service. It reported a net profit of 950 million yuan ($143 million) in 2016

The airline was given approval to be established on 26 May 2004. Its first aircraft, an Airbus A320 formerly of Lotus Air, was delivered on 12 July 2005, at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.

Spring Airlines started operations on 18 July 2005 and the first flight on that day was between Shanghai and Yantai. Daily flights to Guilin were also initiated.

To keep operating costs low, Spring sells tickets exclusively from its website and some designated ticket offices, bypassing travel agents.

Spring no longer offers complimentary on-board meals nor complimentary water; however passengers are able to purchase meals and beverages on board. In December 2006, the airline offered a 1-yuan promotional price which caused trouble with government officials.

In late July 2009, Spring's plan to establish overseas routes was granted by the General Administration of Civil Aviation of the People's Republic of China, making it the first budget airline in China to explore the international market.

The airline plans to operate short-distance routes linking mainland Chinese cities to Hong Kong and Macau, as well as neighboring countries such as Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.

On July 29, 2010, Spring Airlines launched its first international route linking its home city Shanghai and Japan's Ibaraki Airport, about 80 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.

2 months later, on September 28, the airline successfully introduced its first flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong with almost full passengers on board.

Spring's daily flights from Shanghai to Macau commenced on 8 April 2011 with further international destinations following in the second half of 2011.

Since January 2015, the company has been listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Spring Airlines also operates a subsidiary in Japan and is the first Chinese airline to do so.

In 2015, Spring announced plans to build a 250-300 room hotel at Chubu Centrair International Airport in Nagoya, Japan, a rare instance of a low-cost carrier entering the hotel business.

As of May 2019, the Spring Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:

- Airbus A320-200: 80

- Airbus A320neo 06

On June 6, 2014 at Xiamen Airport, an Airbus A320 operated by Spring Airlines experienced a runway excursion on the right side of the runway and struck a runway light.

The pilot then attempted to go around, causing a tail strike. There were no injuries, but the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

Tourism Observer

Tuesday 21 May 2019

THAILAND: More Than 320,000 Tourists Flock To Watch King Cobras

The popular Ban Koke Sa-nga in Khon Kaen has been an established cobra capital for years, but a lack of proper food for the fussy eaters is threatening not only their existence, but that of the village.

The villagers have raised and domesticated king cobras, originally collected from the nearby forests, for decades, attracting tourists who come in droves to see the pets in action.

The rearing of king cobras for public display is found only in Ban Koke Sa-nga village," said Plang Phramuang, 51, the third head of the King Cobra Club of Thailand based in the village.

Born in the village 50 years ago, Mr Plang, who raises three king cobras of his own, is serving a five-year term as the club leader. He said villagers mainly earn income from farming rice and sugarcane.

Raising the cobras for recreational purpose and putting them on a show helps supplement their income.

But now the feared creatures are under threat, although not by locals or visitors but a shortage of food. Their food is harder and harder to come by these days, he said.

Feeding the reptiles is tough task. Normally, we treat them with all kinds of small snakes, frogs and small green frogs, Mr Plang said. He said normally the king cobras eat smaller snakes.

So, raisers must go out to catch or trap the small snakes in the wild.

But water sources around the village are drying up, disrupting the ecology and driving away the small snakes and creatures the cobras feed on.

The prolonged drought and the vanishing water sources mean fewer fish for the small snakes. Also, wide areas where there used to be creeks and swamps have been turned into sugarcane farms.

The drought is causing a problem of fish shortages. Hopefully, after April, there should be some relief with the coming rains. Then, we might be able to trap more small snakes, he said.

Sometime, we have to venture some twenty kilometres to find the small snakes in other places or in the forests, Mr Plang said, adding that when the situation becomes desperate, the villagers buy small snakes at 50 baht per kilo.

The small snakes, such as the ngoo kinpla and ngoo sairung, find their habitats in the creeks or swamps, he said.

The small Ban Koke Sa-nga has a population of 735 people, most of them king cobra raisers. The snakes are kept in wooden boxes on the lower floor of the house and fed every three to four days.

King cobras mostly reach maturity in five years with a life expectancy of between 30 and 40 years and they can grow to between 3.7 and 5.5 metres in length.

King cobras are put on show in the 24 rai of land in the village club. Admission is free and donations are welcome.

The villagers established the King Cobra Village and Club of Thailand, the first of its kind in the country, in Nam Phong district of Khon Kaen.

It is where all the action can be can be witnessed of king cobras fighting with men, women flaunting the snakes coiled around their necks, as well as exhibitions of king cobra nurseries.

The club was set up in 1951 but it was not fully functional and integrated until 2002. Ken Yongla, the first club chairman, pioneered king cobra raising in the village. He was 91 years old when he passed away in 2010.

Back in 1951, Ken brought in some traditional medicines from his relatives in Roi Et and introduced them to the villagers. This was regarded as the first club activity.

Ken cultivated more knowledge about traditional medicine derived from the natural plants in the forest, which helped treat handlers who suffered from snake bites. In 1953, Ken started catching some ordinary cobras in the wild and kept them for show.

The local residents later decided to operate the show in one specific place in the village. However, they must ensure the audience sat a good distance from the cobras which are known to spit venom capable of blinding spectators.

In 1956, Ken switched to catching king cobras instead of cobras because they do not spit poison. His method of showing king cobras to promote herbs proved a success.

The show and the sale of herbal medicines and souvenirs have generated a steady income for many villagers, who have taken up snake raising instead of farm work.

Every Thai traditional New Year on April 13 sees "World King Cobra Day" to coincide with the popular Songkran water festival. This is a reflection of the close ties that bind local customs and the people living at one with nature, according to cultural experts.

World King Cobra Day is celebrated with contests and parades of snakes representing the 13 king cobra-raising villages in the Nam Phong area. Mr Plang said in Ban Koke Sa-nga alone, 342 king cobras are domestically raised. He has 12 of them.

The village's history associated with the snakes goes back over a hundred years. Ban Koke Sa-nga was founded around 1897 when cobras and king cobras roamed the surrounding forests.

But it was not until The village's history associated with the snakes goes back over a hundred years.

But it was not until 1995 that the king cobra show was unveiled to the general public for the first time. As more visitors came to see the show, more king cobras were domesticated to keep up with the rising demand from spectators.

The live show and raising of snakes allows the villagers and visitors to become educated about the nature of king cobras and to learn to live with one of the world's most poisonous snakes.

The residents have also expanded their knowledge on the raising of other breeds of snakes, including constrictor pythons.

Khon Kaen University specialists often visit the village to observe the snakes and take samples of venom for closer study.

It might be useful to learn more about the king cobra's life, as well as how how people can save their own lives after being bitten by poisonous snakes, Mr Plang said. Also, the show is a significant employer.

There's no longer any need for most villagers to move to the cities in search of work, he said, adding the whole family can sometimes join in the work of preparing and conducting the show.

He noted the show draws an increasing number of Thai and foreign tourists, some of whom buy traditional medicines concocted from herbs.

Last year, around 320,000 visitors arrived in the village to catch the show,up from the peak of 200,000 visitors in previous years.

Most visitors are Thais, and around 15% are foreigners, said Mr Plang, adding the visitors also learned about the basic features of the poisonous snakes and how to treat a snake bite.

Since the show began, four handlers have died after being bitten. The last victim was Por Heang in 2012. Last year, one person was bitten and the victim fell unconscious for three days.

The club receives financial support from the Khon Kaen Provincial Administration Organisation and the Saimool Tambon Administration Organisation. The club current has 170 members who are the villagers who are also king cobra raisers. More people have subscribed to the club.

We look after them in the most natural way possible, placing them in wooden boxes and sometimes under our beds, Mr Plang said.

The king cobra conservation is encouraged by the Khon Kaen provincial governor,the Kohn Kaen PAO, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The agencies also send representatives to act as honorary advisers to the village and the club.

Tourism Observer

Sunday 19 May 2019

UGANDA: Hotel Guest Dies At Speke Hotel Kampala

Police in Kampala is investigating the death of an Indian national at Speke hotel in Kampala.

Deputy Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire says Naland Natsha, 53, was found dead in his hotel room 101 on Saturday under unclear circumstances.

Owoyesigyire says Naland’s lifelessly body was discovered by hotel staff when they checked his room and immediately notified police.

Police retrieved the body and took it to Mulago hospital morgue for postmortem, which showed a blood clot in his lungs.

Preliminary postmortem results show there was a clot in his lungs that caused difficulties in breathing, Owoyesigyire said.

Owoyesigyire said Naland arrived into the country on May 5 and was representing Mahindra Consulting Engineers.

We have recovered Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage and recorded statements that will help us in investigations, Owoyesigyire said.

Close to 10 foreign nationals have died in Uganda's hotels and apartments in the last one year.

These include Jurgen Gallant, a German national who died at Nsambya hospital where he was rushed in critical condition, Eric Yvomr, a Belgian national who died in his apartment in Muyenga, Nordlander Andreas, a Swede who died at Sheraton hotel and Tuomas Petteri Terasvuori, a Finish died at Pearl of Africa hotel.

Preliminary findings released by the police indicated that their mysterious deaths were likely to have resulted from an overdose of narcotic drugs.

Two other foreigners who were tourists also passed away mysteriously including Montie Guy Watson, whose body was recovered in a hut in Bwana Tembo Safari Camp Lodge in Nwoya district and Rita Charlotte who died at Pakwach hospital where she was rushed after allegedly collapsing during a nature walk in Murchison Falls national park.

Police informed the country that its preliminary findings indicated that they could have died of natural causes.

Tourism Observer

RWANDA: RwandAir Goes To Guangzhou In China Begining June 18th 2019

National carrier RwandAir is expected to commence flights to Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong and the third largest city in China, effective June 18, 2019.

RwandAir will fly to Guangzhou three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Guangzhou will be tagged to the existing Mumbai route and will be operated by Airbus A330, the national carrier said.

The long-haul flight will bear features such as triple class cabin and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, Wi-Fi onboard, inflight entertainment and extra legroom in an attempt to make the long flight bearable.

Yvonne Manzi Makolo, the Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir, said that the route was informed by the growing traffic between Africa and China in the recent past.

With the increasing volume of trade between African countries and China, the need to meet the high demand of businessmen and traders travelling between Africa and Guangzhou is strongly felt.

The new route will open new business opportunities and increase RwandaAir passenger and cargo traffic.

Guangzhou, popularly known as the Canton City, is an expansive port city northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River.

The city, which is one of the major shopping destinations for merchants, also features popular tourist attractions such as the iconic Canton Tower and Guangzhou Chimelong Tourist Resort, which offers an amusement park, international circus, water park, safari park, a bird park and a hotel.

Guangzhou will be RwandAir’s second destination in Asia following Mumbai, which has been operational since April, 2017.

This new route will extend RwandAir’s network to 28 destinations. Last month, the airline began flights to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa.

SOUTH AFRICA: Student Flukes And Eats At KFC Free For A Year

A 27 year student was been arrested for eating at KFC free for a year by lying that the head office sent him to taste if the food is up to standard.

The 27-year-old University of KwaZulu Natal student fooled KFC employees around Durban, South Africa into thinking he was sent from KFC headquarters for quality assurance.

He was so convincing that it took them almost two years to realise he was robbing them.

When he arrived we all try to act our best so that we don’t piss off the man from head office, he was so convincing because he was so confident and even colleagues from other KFC’s knows him, a KFC staffer said

The man would arrive in a limousine driven by his friend, very smartly dressed with a name tag labelled “head office”.

The anxious KFC workers would be at his beck and call, giving in to all his demands with no suspicion whatsoever.

When he comes in he rushes to the kitchen and checks everything taking notes and then asks for samples of whatever he wants. He probably worked for KFC before because he knows everything, said one of the employees.

But now KFC has denied claims that a UKZN student got free meals for a year by posing as an inspector from head office.

The story has gone viral, with several international publications reporting on it - but KFC South Africa is calling it fake news.

Tourism Observer

USA: Seaplanes Collide Midair Over Alaska, At Least 5 Passenger Killed

Two seaplanes carrying cruise ship tourists have collided midair over southeastern Alaska, killing at least five and injuring 10, while one person is missing.

The accident occurred on Monday afternoon over waters about 40 kilometres northeast of Ketchikan town, said Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios, a coastguard spokesperson.

The seaplanes collided under unknown circumstances, Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said .Weather conditions in the area on Monday included high overcast skies.

Seaplanes have pontoons mounted under the fuselage so they can land on water.

Local emergency responders worked with state and federal agencies and good Samaritan vessels to help rescue victims.

The passengers were from the cruise ship Royal Princess and were on sightseeing flights.

The ship left Canada's Vancouver city on May 11 and was scheduled to arrive in the city of Anchorage in Alaska on Saturday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and the families of those impacted by today's accident. Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved, Princess Cruises said in a statement.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.

The Washington DC-based investigative team from the National Transportation Safety Board is expected to arrive in Ketchikan on Tuesday afternoon, agency spokesman Peter Knudson said.

He said board member Jennifer Homendy is also travelling with the so-called "Go Team", which investigates major accidents.

The crash site, which the FAA said was at Coon Cove near George Inlet, lies in the vicinity of a popular tourist lodge that runs excursions to the nearby Misty Fjords National Monument, about 480km south of Juneau, Alaska's capital.

One of the aircraft involved was a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver with five people on board and the other was a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 carrying 11 people, FAA spokesperson Allen Kenitzer said in an email message, citing information from local authorities.

The Ketchikan-based operator of the larger plane, Taquan Air, said its pilot and nine passengers were rescued and they were receiving medical attention, but one passenger's fate remained unknown.

That group was returning from a sightseeing tour of Misty Fjords when the crash occurred, Taquan said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Taquan Air, the operator of the Otter, said the company had suspended operations while federal authorities investigate the deadly crash.

It is not the first time a major plane crash has occurred near Ketchikan, a popular tourist destination.

In June 2015, a pilot and eight passengers had died when a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter, operated by Promech Air Inc, crashed into mountainous terrain about 39km from Ketchikan.

The NTSB later determined that pilot error and lack of a formal safety programme were behind the crash.

Tourism Observer

CHINA: Chinese Woman Delays Spring Airlines Takeoff Because Of Her Mising Daughter

A woman from China stopped a flight with 160 flyers from taking off while she waited for her daughter.

Passengers were left outraged on a recent international flight after a woman allegedly stopped cabin crew from closing the doors for takeoff.

In footage provided by witnesses, the woman can be seen sitting on the jet bridge while being spoken to by a member of staff.

An eyewitness on the flight, travelling from Bangkok to Shanghai, has claimed that the woman was holding up the flight because her daughter had not arrived yet.

The daughter is believed to have been late for the flight because she was shopping in duty free.

She also alleges that the daughter who was shopping called airport police to stop the plane from taking off without her.

Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines has since confirmed the incident did occur, however, did not disclose details of the genders of the people or their relation.

The flight, which was meant to take off at 3:30 was delayed by 30 minutes.

The passengers are believed to have agreed to sacrifice their journey following the incident.

According to media reports, some of which included a video clip posted on Wednesday, flight 9C8892 of China's Spring Airlines from Suvarnabhumi to Shanghai was delayed for 30 minutes.

They said a mother lay down on an aerobridge to prevent the flight carrying 160 other passengers from closing its door and taking off because her daughter was still shopping inside the Bangkok airport.

The flight eventually took off after the pair agreed to switch to another flight.

The video clip was initially distributed through China's social media. Reports said many local people condemned the behaviour and demanded aviation organisations blacklist the two people.

Tourism Observer

Thursday 16 May 2019

SAUDI ARABIA: Child Reunited With Parents After Getting Forgotten In Taxi

A Saudi family had forgotten to pick her sleeping child during a taxi journey in the holy western city of Makkah.

The family took at dawn the taxi near the Grand Mosque in Makkah after they performed the Umra (lesser pilgrimage) and headed to their hotel in the suburban town of Al Azazia.

During the journey, the three-year-old girl fell asleep on the back seat of the car.

The family left the taxi outside a restaurant, oblivious of the sleeping child.

After the car left, they found out that the child was still inside.

They reported the incident to security authorities that alerted patrols in the area about the taxi.

The car was spotted hours later at a checkpoint on a road leading to the holy city of Al Madina, about 400 kilometres from Makkah.

The driver, a foreign worker, was astonished at discovering the presence of the child whom police later handed over to her joyous family.

Tourism Observer

SAUDI ARABIA: 1 Killed, Four Injured After Camel Collides With Car In Taif

A stray camel collided with a family car in western Saudi Arabia, killing a woman and injuring four others, local media reported on Thursday.

The collision occurred on the Nakhal Road in the direction of the city of Taif late Wednesday, the news portal Sabq quoted spokesman for the Red Crescent in the area, Emad Mansi.

"The operations room received a report about casualties in the incident. Three ambulatory teams from the Red Crescent as well as a health [ministry] team were sent to the scene," he added.

One of the victims was seriously injured while the rest sustained medium injuries, the official said without details.

In recent years, Saudi authorities have stepped up protection measures after a series of road mishaps blamed on stray camels. The accidents often occur when the unattended-to camels cross highways.

Last year, the Saudi government vowed heavy fines against owners of camels, who leave their animals in the vicinity of car roads mainly at night. Saudi authorities have also set up fences along the roads where stray animals pasture in an attempt to stop them from crossing the routes.

Tourism Observer

UAE: Iftar Conversations Without Tea Are Like A Night Sky Without The Moon Try, The Market In Dubai

The Market is the neighbouring restaurant of the popular Huqqa lounge. Both venues are a bit of a walk to get to, but you’ll understand why they are located all the way at the edge of the mall when you get there.

They have an incredible view of the city, the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall Fountain. Sit outside if you’re okay with the warm weather. But we found that in the night time, with a little help from their air conditioners that it was quite pleasant to sit on their terrace.

If you’ve booked an iftar, then expect to arrive to a table full of a selection of cold Turkish mezze dishes including fresh honey, dates, dried fruits, milk-jam, cheeses, vegetable muhamara babaganuj, mashed grilled eggplants, probably the most requested dish at The Market, as well as a toasted bread basket.

There was also some Yaprak Sarma, stuffed grape leaves with seasoned rice and pine nuts and olive oil. And the centerpiece, the king of traditional Turkish salads, the Gavurdagi Salatasi, a combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, parsley and walnuts, served with pomegranate sauce.

In addition to a table full of food, you get to choose between tomato and lentil soup. You will devour the cheese platter and have some honey to go along with it. You will then enjoy the tomato soup with a piece of toasted Turkish bread.

The next course was a selection of warm Turkish appetisers, including cheese and leak pide, a thick doughy pastry stuffed with leaks and feta cheese or Turkish kashar cheese and a plate of stuffed mushrooms, which may be your favourite of all the apart from the cheese.

The mains come by as a large sharing platter, which includes Turkish steaks, Kasap Kofte a mixture of ground beef and lamb seasoned with spicy peppers, tomatoes and Kuzu Pirzola, which are lamb chops with herbs, and some tender grilled chicken with a side of bread, rice and vegetables.

For dessert share something called, Irmik Helvasi, a traditional semolina dessert shared and cooked in every household in Turkey, and the dessert for weddings and birth celebrations and the Firin Sutlaç rice pudding with ice cream and crushed pistashios.

The desserts are served with famous Turkish “Çay”, a rich black tea that accompanies almost every meal in Turkey.

There is a famous quote in there that says Conversations without tea are like a night sky without the moon. Tea culture is clearly huge in Turkey.

At both Huqqa and the Market the tea is imported from the Turkish city of Rize, an area known as the jewel of the black sea.

The dessert is not overly sweet. Both dishes were light and a perfect way to finish up iftar.

They have a selection of 40 different tobaccos that you can use with your shisha post, or during iftar, and a shisha sommelier who can make you the perfect shisha to wind down with after ending your fast.

Location Dubai Mall, Fashion Avenue, Downtown Dubai

Cost Iftar set menu Dh187 per person

Timings Open Daily from sunset onwards

Tourism Observer

UAE: Alitalia Passenger Suddenly Dies Mid Flight, Plane Makes Emergency Landing In Abu Dhabi

A plane belonging to Italy’s national carrier was forced to make an emergency landing in Abu Dhabi on Monday following the death of a passenger.

Kailash Chandra Saini, 52, was travelling with his son, Heera Lal, 26, from New Delhi to Milan when he suddenly fell ill and died.

Pilots on the Alitalia flight were forced to divert to Abu Dhabi International Airport, where Mr Saini was transferred to Mafraq hospital.

Officials said his body was expected to be repatriated to his home state of Rajasthan, India, on an Etihad flight on Wednesday.

Embassy officials have been assisting the family with the formal process of repatriation.

His son, Heera Lal Saini, who was also travelling with his father to Milan, was in Abu Dhabi and talked briefly with the press but was not in position to share any further details.

The Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi is helping Heera repatriate his father's body to India.

The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi has issued a death certificate on Tuesday to help repatriate the body.

The son will be carrying the body of his father to India on Wednesday from Abu Dhabi.

Alitalia – Società Aerea Italiana (Alitalia – Italian Air Company), operating as Alitalia, is the flag carrier of Italy.

The company has its head office in Fiumicino, Rome, Italy. Its main hub is Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, Rome, and a secondary is Linate Airport, Milan.

Other focus airports are Catania-Fontanarossa Airport, Milan-Malpensa Airport, Palermo Airport and Naples Airport.

In 2018, it was the twelfth-largest airline in Europe. The name "Alitalia" is an Italian portmanteau of the words ali (wings), and Italia (Italy).

On 2 May 2017, the airline went into administration after the Italian government formally approved the move.

Between 2009 and 2011, Alitalia renewed its fleet with 34 new aircraft, while 26 older planes were retired. The renewal process ended in early 2013.

These new planes are not owned by Alitalia itself, but are leased mostly from Aircraft Purchase Fleet, an Irish leasing company created by former Air One owner Carlo Toto primarily to purchase the new Alitalia fleet.

Following the Air One merger, the entire fleet that was not already leased from other lessors, plus the former Air One fleet that was owned by Air One outright, came under the ownership of APF, a subsidiary of Toto's Italian conglomerate Toto Holding.

The entire fleet, except the two new A330s, is now on the Irish registry instead of the Italian registry.

Alitalia codeshares with the following airlines:

- Aeroflot

- Aerolineas Argentinas

- Air Corsica

- Air Europa

- Air France

- Air Malta

- Air Serbia

- Air Seychelles

- airBaltic

- All Nippon Airways

- Avianca Brazil

- Azerbaijan Airlines

- Bulgaria Air

- Blue Air

- China Airlines

- China Eastern Airlines

- China Southern Airlines

- Croatia Airlines

- Czech Airlines

- Delta Air Lines

- Etihad Airways

- Flybe

- Gol Transportes Aéreos

- Hainan Airlines

- HOP!

- Kenya Airways (Resumes 12 June 2019)


- Korean Air

- Kuwait Airways

- Luxair

- Middle East Airlines

- Montenegro Airlines

- Pegasus Airlines

- Royal Air Maroc

- Royal Jordanian

- Saudia

- SriLankan Airlines

- TAP Air Portugal


- Uzbekistan Airways

- Vietnam Airlines

- Virgin Australia

Incidents and accidents since Alitalia-CAI's launch of operations on 13 January 2009:

On 24 April 2011, an attempt was made to hijack Alitalia Flight 329, en route from Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France to Fiumicino Airport, Rome and divert it to Tripoli International Airport, Libya.

The hijacker, reported to be an advisor to the Kazakhstan delegation to UNESCO, was subdued by cabin crew and other passengers. He was arrested and taken into custody after the aircraft made a safe landing at Rome.

On 29 September 2013 at 20:10, an Alitalia Airbus A320 flying from Madrid–Barajas Airport to Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport failed to lower the landing gear during a storm on landing and the aircraft toppled, skidded off the runway and crashed.

10 passengers suffered minor injuries and all 151 passengers and crew were evacuated and taken to the hospital.

Tourism Observer

Wednesday 15 May 2019

KENYA: Radisson Group To Open More Hotels In Kenya

Brussels-based global hotels group, Carlson Rezidor, is set to open an additional four hotels in Kenya in the next three years creating an estimated 1,000 jobs.

Carlson Rezidor currently employs about 400 people at the already operational Radisson Blu outlet in Upper Hill and construction workers at Park Inn, and Residence hotels in Nairobi.

The firm expects to open the upper mid-market Park Inn, and Residence hotels by the end of April and December, respectively.

Park Inn was initially scheduled to welcome its first guests in the fourth quarter of 2013, but the date has been postponed several times.

The hotel group is also eyeing two additional outlets at the coast and Nairobi regions.

We are looking for space along the coast for our next project, and we are looking into having it in Mombasa or Diani beach, said senior Vice President, Business Development, Africa and Indian Ocean, Andrew McLachlan. The RED brand introduced two years ago blends music, art, fashion and technology.

It deviates from the traditional hotel set-up and operations by allowing clients to book through an app, use their phones as keys to access rooms and other gadget to order for services.

In Nairobi, we are planning on setting up our latest brand, the Radisson RED, that targets tech savvy and young people. We feel that the city is ready for a smart hotel and the market would most definitely understand the casual brand, he said.

The firm, which has two hotels under the RED brand and is set to open the third outlet in Cape Town in September, also has interest in bush tourism.

It sees Kenya as a key target for its hospitality business as it remains a hub for companies setting up operations in the region.

Nairobi is an alternative to Johannesburg. The city’s security has improved making it a good place for leisure and business. It is a great Mice - meetings incentives conferences and exhibitions destination which drives a lot of business for us.

Africa is currently our most important emerging market and we are looking to grow to 23,000 rooms from the current 16,400.

Carlson Rezidor was named the fastest-growing hotel company in Africa in a recently published hospitality report.

The group boosts of 75 hotels in 29 countries, where 8,400 rooms in 37 hotels are already operational. The group first entered Africa 16 years ago when it opened the Radisson Blu in Cape Town.

Other brands under the group include the Radisson, Country Inns, Park Plaza and Hotel Missoni.

Tourism Observer

USA: Hyatt And Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ To Collaborate In More Than 200 Hotels

Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) today announced the ongoing expansion of Hyatt's and SLH's existing loyalty alliance, celebrating a milestone of over 200 participating SLH hotels around the world for World of Hyatt members to earn and redeem points and enjoy on-property benefits.

This latest expansion has quadrupled the number of participating SLH properties since the alliance launched in November 2018, and its expansion is expected to continue throughout 2019.

We encourage World of Hyatt members to explore these luxurious destinations around the globe, from Croatia to New Zealand, said Amy Weinberg, senior vice president, World of Hyatt.

The rapid growth of this strategic loyalty alliance is a testament to our commitment to delivering unique experiences wherever our members travel and continuing to extend the genuine care they have come to expect from Hyatt to more locations around the world.

World of Hyatt members now have access to more than 200 of SLH's luxury boutique hotels that offer new locations across growth markets for Hyatt, including Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Kenya, Mozambique, New Zealand, Portugal, St. Vincent and The Grenadines and Turks and Caicos and more.

Through this exclusive relationship, World of Hyatt members can explore sought-after destinations like Monkey Island Estate, an 18th century estate turned boutique retreat on a private island on the Thames, Berkshire; Ovolo The Valley Brisbane, a boutique oasis located in the center of Fortitude Valley, Brisbane's ultra-hip entertainment district.

Mykonos Riviera Hotel and Spa, a sun-drenched luxury resort tucked against the rocky backdrop of centuries-old Aegean cliffs; Enso Ango Fuya II, an artful Kyoto escape set across five Zen-inspired buildings; and Hotel Nantipa, a Costa Rican paradise retreat immersed in the surf culture of Santa Teresa.

This alliance has proven to be a perfect match. We are seeing a positive impact on reservations for our hotels from World of Hyatt members, said Jean-François Ferret, chief executive officer, Small Luxury Hotels of the World™.

Exposure to more than 16 million World of Hyatt members has not only helped increase reservations, but also allows us to expand our brand awareness while providing more luxury boutique hotels options for World of Hyatt members to choose from on their travel journey.
Since the World of Hyatt and SLH alliance launched in November 2018, the countries members have most visited include Italy, the UK, France, China and Greece.

World of Hyatt members can take advantage of the following loyalty benefits when booking a participating SLH hotel through a Hyatt channel:

Earning and Redemption

- World of Hyatt members earn five Base Points per $1 USD spent on eligible room revenue

- World of Hyatt members will receive their standard tier Bonus Points on eligible room revenue spend (10% Discoverist, 20% Explorist, 30% Globalist)

- Qualifying nights at participating SLH hotels will count toward earning World of Hyatt elite-tier status

- World of Hyatt members can redeem points to use for free night awards on SLH hotel reservations; each participating SLH property has been categorized into Hyatt's existing hotel award chart.

Member Benefits

Participating SLH properties will provide the following on-property benefits to all World of Hyatt members, regardless of status:

- Complimentary Wi-Fi

- Daily complimentary continental breakfast for two guests

- Room upgrade with one category at check-in if available.

- Early check-in (noon, based upon availability at check-in)

- Late check-out (2:00pm, based upon availability at check-in)
The term "Hyatt" is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates.

About Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) is the most desirable community of independently minded travellers and independently spirited hotels in the world.

We turned the luxury boutique hotel into a phenomenon and selected the distinctive, the diverse and the downright delightful. People, places and experiences with individual character, intimate charm and inherent class.

We've personally visited, vetted and verified over 500 hotels in more than 80 countries. We are envisioning a future where people experience the world with intention, experience its intensity and protect its integrity. Be part of the community and join us at INVITED or visit us at

About Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 19 premier brands. As of March 31, 2019, the Company's portfolio included more than 850 properties in over 60 countries across six continents.

The Company's purpose to care for people so they can be their best informs its business decisions and growth strategy and is intended to attract and retain top colleagues, build relationships with guests and create value for shareholders.

The Company's subsidiaries develop, own, operate, manage, franchise, license or provide services to hotels, resorts, branded residences, vacation ownership properties, and fitness and spa locations, including under the Park Hyatt®, Miraval®, Grand Hyatt®, Alila®, Andaz®.

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt®, Destination®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Ziva™, Hyatt Zilara™, Thompson Hotels®, Hyatt Centric®, Hyatt House®, Hyatt Place®, Joie de Vivre®, tommie™, Hyatt Residence Club® and Exhale® brand names, and operates the World of Hyatt® loyalty program that provides distinct benefits and exclusive experiences to its valued members. For more information, please visit

Tourism Observer

AFRICA: Radisson Blu Is The Leading Individual Hotel Brand In Africa

Radisson Blu has for a second year in a row, secured the leading position as the hotel brand with the most hotels under development and the most hotel deals in its pipeline in Africa, according to the recently published 2019 W Hospitality Pipeline Report.

Radisson Blu, part of the Radisson Hotel Group™ took over as the fastest growing hotel brand in Africa last year and has for a second year claimed the title with the recent release of W Hospitality Pipeline Report 2019, the most authoritative source on the growth of the hotel industry in Africa.

The report has ranked Radisson Blu as the leading individual hotel brand with the highest number of hotel deals and within this pipeline, the largest number of rooms and proportion of its pipeline actually under construction, in Africa.

The Group's upper midscale brand, Park Inn by Radisson, has also entered the same top 10 brand list, securing the fifth position.

We are thrilled to see our flagship brand, Radisson Blu, continuing to lead the way in Africa with the most hotel deals signed and the most hotel rooms under construction, than any of the other 120 hotel brands it was ranked against.

This is a true testament of our agility as a hotel group, as we can move quickly from deal signing to hotel opening. As referenced in the report, we had several hotels which were signed and opened within the same year.

This is aligned with our development strategy, as we expect our future growth to arise from existing hotel take-overs and new build hotels.

With economic headwinds in some African markets, we have identified further opportunities to exploit our vast knowledge and experience in converting unbranded, underperforming hotels, offices or apartment buildings and re-position them to the right brand and market segment within the Radisson Hotel Group brand portfolio, says Andrew Mclachlan, Senior Vice President, Development, Sub-Saharan Africa, Radisson Hotel Group.

This growth has spiked Radisson Hotel Group's portfolio in Africa to 99 hotels (20,500+ rooms) in operation and under development across 32 countries.

We aim to add a further 12 hotels to our African portfolio this year, which will take us well over the 100 hotel mark by year end and confidently on our way to securing 130 hotels by the end of 2022.

Our five-year development strategy focuses on creating scaled hotel growth in key cities and resort locations across Africa.

With a focus on scaled growth in key locations across Africa, we can offer guests multiple hotels across different brands and market segments, at various price points and improved local hotel performance with strong local procurement and cluster select services in the same city.

Cape Town, Johannesburg and Lagos are our three gateway cities in sub-Saharan Africa where we aim to have scaled growth and an ambition of up to ten hotels within the same city.

Dakar, Abidjan, Douala, Luanda, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Addis Ababa are cities where we aim to have between three and five hotels due to the size of the economy, market, long-term fundamentals and supply and demand opportunities.

In addition, we are not ignoring the smaller cities and larger towns across Africa where we've identified potential to penetrate the market with either our midscale Park Inn by Radisson brand or upscale Radisson, concludes Mclachlan.

USA: Orthodox Jewish Couple Banned On Spirit Airlines For Life Sue The Airline

An Orthodox Jewish couple’s lawsuit against Spirit Airlines opens with words that will attract plenty of attention.

In a civil rights and defamation suit filed May 2 in the U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Yechezkel Rodal and Thomas Patti of the Fort Lauderdale firm Rodal Law, wrote: Those ‘Retarded Jews’ Yisroel Sternberg and Chana Beck sue defendant Spirit Airlines.

The complaint continues: These so-called ‘Retarded Jews’ simply wanted a peaceful flight to Fort Lauderdale and to enjoy the start of their family vacation. What began as Spirit’s misunderstanding about a car seat, ended with Yisroel and Chana being forced to endure old-fashioned anti-Semitism and racism at the hands of Spirit, Spirit calling the police — on the Strernbergs, their return tickets rescinded, and to top it off — a lifetime ban from Spirit.

Their crime? Being visibly religious Jews.

At heart of the suit is the epithet Sternberg, 28, and Beck, 25, say another passenger, whom the suit did not identify, told them he heard the flight crew refer to them as the retarded Jews.

They had flown on Jan. 8 from Newark to Fort Lauderdale with their three daughters — ages 6 weeks, 2 and 3.

The couple, along with their children, had been escorted off the plane by two Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies who, the suit says, had responded to a 911 call by Spirit that said the couple were being disruptive and cursing at the flight attendants and stuff like that.

It’s at that point they learned what the crew had allegedly called them, from the fellow passenger.

At that point, it all becomes very clear to the Sternbergs. The flight crew of the flight was discriminating against them because the Sternbergs were Jewish, according to the suit Rodal filed on behalf of the family.

Spirit Airlines, with headquarters in Miramar, said through its media relations manager Derek Dombrowski: Spirit Airlines strives to maintain a welcoming environment for all of our guests, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination. Because of pending litigation, we will not be commenting further.

The lawsuit said the chain of events began when the couple bought an FAA-approved Doona Infant Car Seat for their youngest daughter, the 6-week-old.

They say they purchased a ticket for a seat on the plane to strap in the seat even though they could have held their child on one of their laps.

A ticket agent and the gate agent told the Sternbergs they could not bring the car seat onboard, the suit said.

But after convincing both agents that the seat was FAA-approved and could be folded from a wheeler-stroller into a carriage for an airplane seat, a Spirit staff supervisor told them they could board the plane with the car seat.

But then, they say, the flight crew irately told them they could not use the car seat aboard the flight.

Once again, they explained the seat was approved. A complaint resolution official (CRO) from Spirit intervened and told the flight crew the Sternbergs could, indeed, use the seat during the flight.

That’s when things devolved, the suit says.

Perhaps even more upset that these Jews had her contradicted by the CRO, the flight attendant became even more antagonistic toward the Sternbergs, the suit continued. “

After the CRO left, the lead female flight attendant responded that she did not care what anyone else said regarding the car seat because she was not allowing it on her plane.

The Sternbergs, at this point, had to have the car seat stowed below and the baby’s mother held her daughter in her lap for the duration of the flight.

But when her husband swapped places to sit in an empty seat adjacent to his wife’s seat to help with the children, another flight attendant ran over to berate Yisroel for sitting in a row with a lap child because, purportedly, the row did not have enough oxygen masks for everyone, the suit said.

Sternberg moved back to his original seat and asked for the flight attendant’s name. The man refused, according to the suit, which names him as Jose.

Allegedly, Jose told Sternberg to shut up and that there would be law enforcement waiting for the couple in Fort Lauderdale.

According to the suit, the Sternbergs were told their return flight to Newark was canceled by the airline and that they were forever banned from all flights Spirit Airlines flies.

The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for personal humiliation, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life, mental anguish and embarrassment. The suit also asks for a jury trial.

The suit says the retarded Jews statement allegedly applied to the couple was picked up by the media around the world causing them further embarrassment.

Tourism Observer

MEXICO: 13 Feared Dead After Aircrash

Pieces of a private jet that disappeared while flying from Las Vegas to Monterrey, in northern Mexico, was found Monday, with no sign that any of the 13 people on board survived, officials said.

Air-traffic controllers said they lost contact with the Bombardier Challenger 601 jet Sunday evening, after it abruptly lost altitude over the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico.

On an overflight of the area officials sighted the remains of the aircraft in a mountainous, difficult-to-access area in the municipality of Ocampo, Coahuila, the state public security ministry said in a statement.

No survivors were observed.

Images of the wreckage on Mexican TV showed the badly charred and shattered remains of the fuselage, with only the wings and tail left intact.

A state aviation official had initially said there were 11 passengers on board the plane, but the ministry corrected the figure to 10, plus three crew: the pilot, the copilot and a flight attendant.

According to Mexican media reports, authorities believe the charter jet was flying a group of passengers back from Saturday night's middleweight title fight in Las Vegas, in which Mexican boxer Saul "Canelo" Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs of the United States.

Its destination was the wealthy industrial city of Monterrey, in Nuevo Leon state, which borders Coahuila.

It is a three-hour flight from Las Vegas, in the US state of Nevada, to Monterrey.

Authorities said bad weather could have played a part in the crash.

There has been a lot of atmospheric activity and instability recently. Over the past four days, we've had rain storms, hail and winds with gusts of more than 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour, Francisco Martinez, Coahuila's deputy public safety minister, said.

Tourism Observer

COSTA RICA: Argentine Pilots Survive Plane Crash In San Jose

Two Argentine pilots survived when their light aircraft crash landed Friday in a heavily populated area of the capital of Costa Rica, officials said.

The pilots climbed out of the wreckage of the plane after it came down in the Pavas neighborhood of San Jose, in an area full of homes and schools, witnesses and officials said.

The pilots are well, they managed to get out of the plane on their own, said the head of Costa Rica's civil aviation authority, Guillermo Hoppe, speaking at the scene.

It was a complicated situation, the plane lost all power, said Damian Barreira, one of the two pilots, in a video clip shot on a local resident's cell phone and broadcast on news channels.

Hoppe said Argentine authorities had informed him that the men had bought the plane in the United States and were flying it back to their home country in short-distance flights, a journey that had been expected to take a month.

Shortly after taking off from an airfield in San Jose, the plane lost power and the pilots looked for an open space in the residential district to make an emergency landing.

As it came down, the plane hit a large tree which cushioned the impact of the crash.

Tourism Observer

MEXICO: 13 Killed In Private Jet Crash In Mexico

Mexican authorities found Tuesday human remains that confirm the death of the 13 people on board a luxury jet that crashed over the weekend in the north of the country.

The private plane took off Sunday from Las Vegas and was traveling to the Mexican city of Monterrey but crashed in a mountainous area difficult to access, where forensic experts had to arrive by helicopter.

The experts recovered all the bodies, there are 13 of them Coahuila state attorney general Gerardo Marquez said.

He explained that seven of the bodies were practically intact but burned, while the other six were reduced to very small fragments due to the impact.

The remains were identified thanks to the positions in which the bodies were found among the debris of the aircraft. Further identification will take place by analyzing teeth and bone fragments.

Air-traffic controllers said they lost contact with the Bombardier Challenger 601 jet late Sunday, after it abruptly lost altitude over Coahuila.

Only the wings and the tail were left intact while the fuselage was badly charred and shattered.

Aboard the plane were two executives of the Mexican oil services company Typhoon Offshore, along with eight relatives, according to a company statement.

The group had come to Las Vegas to attend a fight in which Mexican boxer Saul "El Canelo" Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs of the United States.

On Twitter, the athlete expressed sorrow over the incident, saying "my prayers are with their relatives."

The other three people who died were the crew of the plane, a twin-engine Bombardier Challenger 600 series.

Coahuila Undersecretary of Civil Protection Francisco Martinez pointed to changing weather, with storms, hailstorms and strong winds as a possible cause of the crash.

Tourism Observer

USA: Boeing Plane With 143 On Board Slides Into River

A Boeing jetliner with 143 people aboard from the US outpost at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, slid off a runway into a shallow river in Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday while attempting to land at a military base there during a thunderstorm, injuring 21 people.

There were no reports of fatalities or critical injuries. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said on Twitter that all 21 of the injured were taken to a hospital, where they were listed in good condition.

The plane, a chartered Boeing 737-800 arriving from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba with 136 passengers and seven crew members, crashed into the St Johns river at the end of the runway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville at about 9:40 pm local time, a spokesman for the Florida air base said.

The plane was not submerged. Every person is alive and accounted for, the sheriff's office said on Twitter.

The sheriff's tweet was accompanied by two photographs showing the plane, bearing the logo of Miami Air International, resting in shallow water and fully intact.

The mayor of Jacksonville, Lenny Curry, said on Twitter that US President Donald Trump had called him to offer help. No fatalities reported. We are all in this together, Curry said in a separate tweet.

We came down, the plane literally hit the ground and bounced. It was clear the pilot did not have total control of the plane. It bounced again, she said, adding that the experience was terrifying.

Bormann said she hit her head on a plastic tray on the seat in front of her as the plane veered sideways and off the runway. We were in the water, we couldn't tell where we were, whether it was a river or an ocean.

The military base is situated on the western bank of the St Johns River about 8 miles south of central Jacksonville, in the northeastern corner of Florida about 350 miles north of Miami.

Bormann described emerging from the plane onto the wing as oxygen masks deployed and smelling the jet fuel that she said was apparently leaking into the water.

Bormann, from Chicago, said that most of the passengers were connected to the military and helped each other out of their seats and onto a wing, where they were assisted after some time into a raft.

Miami Air International is a charter airline operating a fleet of the Boeing 737-800, different from the 737 MAX 8 aircraft that has been grounded following two fatal crashes involving that plane.

The charter company is contracted by the military for its twice-weekly rotator roundtrip service between the US mainland and Guantanamo Bay, said Bill Dougherty, a spokesman for the Jacksonville base.

It flies every Tuesday and Friday from the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia to the Jacksonville air station and on to Cuba. It then flies back to Virginia with a stop again at Jacksonville, he said.

The rotator service typically flies military personnel, family members, contractors and other civilians traveling from the United States to Guantanamo Bay.

But officials said the mix of civilians and military personnel on the plane that crash-landed was not immediately known.

A Boeing spokesman said that the company was aware of the incident and was gathering information.

Tourism Observer

KENYA: Jambojet Gets 2018 Bombardier Reliability Award

Mr Allan Kilavuka(middle), CEO, Jambojet and Maureen Okomo, Chief Engineer, Jambojet receive the Bombardier 2018 Airline Reliability Award from Todd Young, Vice President and General Manager, Head of the Q Series Aircraft Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
Jambojet, has been awarded the 2018 Bombardier Reliability Award for outstanding performance.

Jambojet was the only African airline among the thirteen airlines from around the world that were recognised. The award recognizes operators of Bombardier Q Series turboprops who achieve the highest rates of dispatch reliability.

Jambojet Chief Executive officer Mr Allan Kilavuka said the award is an endorsement and acknowledgement of Jambojet’s performance in its operations and aircraft maintenance procedures.

This has been a big year for Jambojet with major milestones in the five years since our establishment. The Bombardier Award further attests to our commitment to deliver on our core values on safety and reliability as the region’s affordable airline, he said.

The Bombardier Reliability Award rewards airlines based on their dispatch reliability. This is the percentage of flights that depart within a specified time of the scheduled departure time.

Airlines global standard uses a 15-minute margin between actual and scheduled departure time for a flight to be considered as having departed on time.

Jambojet’s On-time performance (OTP) currently stands at 81%, one of the highest in Kenya.

We are delighted to congratulate this year’s award recipients for their outstanding performance, said Todd Young, Vice President and General Manager, Head of the Q Series Aircraft Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

We are proud of the strong collaboration between Bombardier, our operators and suppliers and the success it delivers in providing efficient, reliable air service to communities worldwide.

Low-cost carriers have entered the African market in recent in recent years to ensure travellers don’t have to rob banks in order to afford flights.

Travelling by Air is the best and safest mode of transport today. However, despite its perks and comforts Air travel does not come cheap, it is one of the most expensive mode of travelling.

Low-cost carriers have entered the market in recent in recent years to ensure travellers don’t have to rob banks in order to fly, offering affordable flights without compromising on quality.

Below are some of Africa’s leading low-cost airline which offers absolute comfort.

Fastjet Airlines is a British/South African-based holding company for a group of low cost carriers that operate in Africa.

The carrier entered the African space in 2012 and since then they have flown over 2,250,000 passengers to some of southern Africa’s most incredible countries from as little as US$20 one way.

Fastjet offer the lowest possible fares through an ingenious budget model where passengers who make advance booking pay less.

Passengers who want additional services such as food, baggage and seat choices pay extra making it cheaper for to fly for those seeking minimal additions.

Flyjet airlines currently flies to; Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

It was named Africa’s leading low-cost airline during the World Travel Awards, 2017.

Five Forty Aviation Ltd, trading as Fly540, is a low-cost airline based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The carrier commenced operations in 2006 and offers flights for as low as $50 one way.

Fly540 is East Africa’s premier low cost airline offering scheduled flights all year round to destinations within Kenya, South Sudan and Zanzibar.

Kulula Airlines often referred to as is one of South Africa’s leading low cost airlines based on Johannesburg.

"Kulula" means easy in isZulu and isiXhosa, which explains the airline's approach to booking and flying

It was founded in 2001 and has a fleet of about ten aircrafts.

It is a wholly owned low-cost subsidiary of British Airways Franchisee Comair and was the first privately owned low cost airline in South Africa

Precision Air Services Plc is a Tanzanian airline based at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, with a minihub at Mwanza Airport.

It was established in 1993 and started as a private charter air Transport Company operating a five-seater piper Aztec aircraft.

Its initial line of business mainly entailed providing connections to tourists visiting the rich natural attractions of Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, in northern Tanzania, the Zanzibar Island in the Indian Ocean and other parts of the country from Arusha town as its base.

In 2003 Kenya Airways acquired a minority 49% shareholding leaving majority 51% shares in the control of one local Tanzanian businessman.

Since then, Precision Air has literally turned its image into a professionally run modern regional airline.

It currently flies to parts of Tanzania, Zanzibar, Nairobi and Entebbe with its modern fleet consisting of, Five 70 seater ATR 72-500, Three 48 seater ATR 42-500 and 1 48 seater ATR 42-600.

Mango Airlines SOC Ltd, trading as Mango, is a state-owned South African low-cost airline based at OR Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg and a subsidiary of South African Airways.

Mango first launched end October 2006 with its first flight taking to the skies on 15 November 2006.

It is considered South Africa's most innovative airline and flies between South Africa’s major airports.

Mango also operates twice-weekly flights between Johannesburg and Zanzibar.

According to the airline it is the only airline globally to accept store charge cards in lieu of booking payment and the only African airline to offer on-board Wi-Fi.

Tourism Observer

Monday 13 May 2019

KENYA: Malindi Floods Worry Tourism Stakeholders

Tourism stakeholders in Malindi have raised concerns about poor drainage system and bad roads in the resort town.

They said it’s sad that they were making efforts to ensure the town is clean and green but had always gets flooded when it rains causing havoc to residents.

They spoke during Malindi's second major clean up on Saturday which brought together the business community, county and national government officials, and the youths.

Whenever it rains, Malindi gets flooded.

On Saturday, Kilifi county commissioner Magu Mutindika joined the cleanup team in the early morning rain.

The clean up initiated by tourism players, Malindi business communities, county, and national Government officials is aimed at making the resort town green so as to attract tourists.

Among those who took part in the cleanup is Kilifi County Chief officer for Environment Mariam Jenebi, Malindi Marine Park and National reserve senior warden Jane Gitau, the Italian community led by Freddie de Curatolo together with other people from different religious groups.

Others included Kenya Red Cross Society, Kenya Commercial Bank, Jambo Jet, Rotary Club of Malindi, Rotaract, Ocean beach Resort and Spa, Sandies Tropical Village, Kenya Association of Women in Tourism, Golf Club, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and industry among others.

We intend to make Malindi the Hub of Idd Celebrations just as Lamu has embraced the Maulid Celebrations, we invite people from East Africa region and the rest of the world to join us, Kate Mwikali the Chairperson of the clean-up organizing Committee said.

Mwikali said their aim is to tie the Idd Celebration, World Environment day and Malindi Clean up day as fusion cuisine celebrations together.

The seafront road shall host the three-day celebrations next month.

There have been complaints from residents and investors about the poor state of the beach road and other key roads in the resort town but nothing has been done to date.

Tourism Observer

USA: American Airlines Plane With 170 On Board Catches Fire At O'Hare International Airport

A plane caught fire just before take off at Chicago’s O’hare airport. The American Airlines jet had nine crew members and 161 passengers on board.

Seven passengers and a flight attendant who were slightly injured and taken to hospital, the airline said.

The Aviation Industry have been under huge pressure in recent months after two Boeing Max jets crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing a combined 346 people.

Some 189 people died when the Lion Air flight crashed into the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta followed by the Ethiopian Airlines disaster that killed 157 people six minutes after the plane took off from Addis Ababa.

Tourism Observer

KENYA: Kenya Airways Halts Flight From Nairobi To Mombasa Because Of A Bird Strike

A Kenya Airways flight heading to Mombasa was on Friday morning forced to make an about turn after a bird strike caused an engine glitch.

According to the airline, flight KQ604 departing from Nairobi to Mombasa at 10.15 am encountered a bird strike.

This was two minutes after take-off and as a standard precautionary measure, the pilot decided to turn back, landing safely at 10.27 am.

We are glad to report that all the 87 passengers and five crew on board are safe, the airline said.

The passengers have been redistributed to KQ 608 and 616 which have been upgraded to Boeing787.

Kenya Airways has apologised to affected passengers adding that engineers are currently assessing the damage on the affected left engine of the Embraer E190.

A bird strike - bird ingestion - is a collision between an aircraft. It is considered a significant threat to flight safety.

Although there is no absolute figure on the number of accidents caused by bird strikes, a report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows 1300 of such cases are reported annually in US alone.

Tourism Observer

Wednesday 8 May 2019

AFRICA: Taxify Operates In More African Cities Than Uber.

Ride-hailing company Taxify is taking the fight for market share in Africa with Uber to places where Uber isn’t.

The Estonian company which has grown to become Uber’s biggest rival in Africa is pursuing an expansion strategy that’s focused on not only operating in major cities across Africa, like Uber does.

Taxify has also been expanding to smaller cities and now operates in more African cities than Uber.

In Nigeria, in addition to Lagos and Abuja, the only two cities where Uber currently operates, Taxify has launched operations in Ibadan, Nigeria’s largest city by land size, and Owerri, a bustling commercial center in the southeast.

While neither city matches Lagos or Abuja as urban centers, they have sizable business districts and populations of over 1 million people each.

In Tanzania, while Uber has stuck only to Dar es Salaam, Taxify operates there as well as in Dodoma, the nation’s capital and in Mwanza, a tourism hotbed on the shore on Lake Victoria.

In South Africa, Taxify continues to compete with Uber in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth but has also expanded to Polokwane.

It is set to also launch in East London later this month—a move that will see it surpass Uber for the number of African cities operated in. It will also mean Taxify operates more cities in South Africa than anywhere else.

Much of Taxify’s expansion has been bankrolled by its recent $175 million capital raise—a funding round which valued the company at more than $1 billion.

Taxify’s backers include Daimler, the German car giant and Didi Chuxing, the dominant ride-hailing business in China which is also known for backing Uber’s rivals elsewhere.

As it continues to grow and attempt to win over riders, Taxify’s lower commissions on fares are also a tactic to win over drivers.

For its part, Uber, which has now operated in African cities for five years, is also eyeing more expansion with Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mauritius among potential targets.

And showing a willingness to adapt to local markets, it has also introduced lower cost ride-hailing options with rickshaws in Kenya and motorcycles in Uganda.

Tourism Observer