Updates and comments on activities by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) and other global association close to Travel & Tourism.
Professor Geoffrey Lipman President International Coalition of Tourism Partners President SunX The launch of Africa Lung, the most ambitious travel & tourism climate response program with its central focus on Africa.
Reaching out to Overseas Markets
THE US MARKET POTENTIAL: NOT ONLY NEW YORK OR LOS ANGELES
Juergen Steinmetz, president eTN Corporation Inbound markets from USA
CHINESE TOURISTS: HOW TO DO IT
Doris Woerfel, CEO Southern Cross Experience, South Africa China inbound market for Africa
TRAVELERS FROM ISRAEL: A HUGE POTENTIAL
Dov Kalmann, Israel Israel inbound market for Africa
WHY INDIANS WANT TO EXPLORE AFRICA
Arjun Mukund, T&A Consulting, Delhi, India Indian inbound market for Africa
The Road Forward for African Tourism Board
I HAVE A DREAM!
Alain St. Ange, Seychelles Former Minister of Tourism Seychelles President St. Ange Consulting
The World Travel and Tourism Council just finished their annual summit 2019 in the Spanish City of Seville last Friday.
A record number of delegates listened to presentations from fellow top leaders of the largest industry in the world. All of this was streamed live to the world. However, the conversation everyone had waited for with former US President Barak Obama was excluded. Perhaps the $4,000.00 price tag for non-members required the organizer to shield the former popular American president from public listeners.
eTN reached out to about 100 of the CEO’s, delegates and ministers that attended the 2-day event last week and everyone said the networking opportunities at WTTC summits was the real value for them to attend such a high profile event. See and to be seen is the true perk here. Top travel- industry people meet with other top CEO’s in the hallways and coffee shops or hotel suites. Some delegates only attended the opening ceremony and the Obama session but were roaming to shake hands with business partners, ministers and even heads of state.
Big business is done this way. It starts often with an exchange of ideas and can trickle down to billion-dollar transactions.
A WTTC summit is also the place a CEO can have a cup of coffee with a fellow CEO from a competing company.
Former Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of Seychelles Alain St. Ange, who now leads his own consulting company, met with Kenya Tourism Minister Najib Balala consolidating the working cooperation between the two tourism personalities.St.Ange and Balala have been friends for a number of years and both men are seen as continent leaders in the field of tourism. Alain told eTN about his exchange with the First Lady of Kenya who delivered her speech at the WTTC summit.St.Ange said: “Minister Najib Balala of Kenya and me are expected to meet again in Nairobi shortly to discuss tourism and the development of tourism in Africa.”
This is a typical opportunity only such Summit offers.
WTTC is a different type of event. Changemakers meet behind the facade of top-notch presentations. Attending is a priceless opportunity.
However, reporting about the Seville summit was expensive for publications having to invest their own money to send a journalist and therefore had minimum results when it comes to instant and detailed news coverage. eTN sent freelance writer Elisabeth Lange from Munich and commissioned her for one day.
Strangely there was no hosting support for journalists by the organizer according to PR consultant David Tarsh.
Hosting the WTTC Summit is expensive and seems to have a short life span as well unless the host destination is also willing to spend marketing Dollars to reach out to media and get the desired attention of the world.
This did not happen in Seville. Many requests from eTurboNews for example to include a series of interviews and destination coverage was never responded to by Seville Tourism Officials. Seville as a destination could have easily shined with global visibility.
Drew Barrett, a Chicago based African American tourism expert and consultant, thinks the newly founded African Tourism Board(ATB) is very important and potentially valuable to the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The nations of Sub-Saharan Africa are very hungry for and in need of growth of their inbound international tourism business. Most, however, have a steep learning curve, over which they must overcome to achieve any measurable incremental results. Most are steeped in best practices of a bygone error of global tourism marketing if they are doing anything at all. Most are not.
Nations like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa have significant global brand equity for leisure tourism. Others like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and again South Africa; are a compelling destination for business tourism. Yet on the extreme opposite end of the attractiveness spectrum others, due to conflict and a total lack of internal security are not in the running.
All nations of Sub-Saharan Africa with any viable tourism product are seeking to up their game, but have to reconcile a penchant, if not add to investing, and in many cases, mis-investing in energy, data +telecommunicationss, and transportation infrastructure to achieve modern global standards. They are missing there real opportunity.
The most readily available economic growth engine for all nations of Sub-Saharan Africa is their adventure, art, community, cultural, ecological (flora + fauna) and handicraft tourism products; in which they should invest in both development and marketing. The immense profit potential of such well planned and implemented investments, will return profits; which will pay for everything else.
I have two Sub-Saharan African nations, Kenya and South Africa, digress from World Class Tourism Marketers, not having a clue as to what to do; because they forsake a focus on their indigenous roots, attempting to promote being global business meeting and conference destinations; a playing field on which they cannot compete, for so many reasons.
I have just last week, submitted a comprehensive, preliminary strategic tactical concept proposal to a Northwestern Sub Saharan nation. I had developed similar proposals for three other nations. In each case, I have been working with someone who has strong connections to government decision makers; but not with any preconceived disposition toward action. In the most recent case, my contact is a division of the Ministry of Tourism.
Nigeria, a few years ago, invested in the development of a Culture and Music festival which it could market globally. The problem with some post colonial nations is, they are addicted to seeking the help of postcolonial consultant intermediaries of European and North American multinationals, for expertise. The problem is those consultants do not have the expertise necessary to enable the success of such an undertaking.
The consensus is to invest in building grand hotels, great roads, and transportation; and tourists will come. Wrong, they just end up with choking foreign debt and no tourist.
Again, the African Tourism Board, can be the way forward for the Nations of Sub Saharan Africa to be able to monetize their most readily available natural resource, as previously stated.
African Tourism Board brings to those nations both internal and external subject matter experts, professional practitioners, industry resources and massive implementation capabilities; in a unified platform which can teach the leadership of the nations of Sub Saharan Africa how to successfully market their destinations and tourism assets, to the billions of ready, willing and able international tourist.
The African Tourism Board Launch at the World Travel Market in Cape Town on April 11 will be the place Brussels based Professor Geoffrey Lipman will reveal his Climate Friendly Travel initiative.
Professor Geoffrey Lipman was the first president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) from 1989 to 1999. WTTC revealed earlier this month that African Tourism is booming. It is important for Professor Lipman to launch his new global initiative in Africa.
Lipman shared the logo to promote his new program today with eTurboNews
Lipman explained the logo will pick up the Greta Thunberg message for the Travel & Tourism sector. Lipman added the logo will be the symbol of Climate Friendly Travel measured to manage: Green to Grow: 2050 Proof to Innovate.
It shows the late Maurice Strong, the father of sustainable development and the inspiration for his plan to put 100,000 STRONG Climate Champions across all UN States by 2030, to help in the essential transformation to the New Climate Economy.
Professor Lipman noted the symbol for SDG 17 “Partnerships for Change”, saying that the only future is a shared one, with the public sector, private sector and civil society joining the existential war on climate change together. This will go country by country: community by community.
Lipman also revealed that SUNx will be unveiling an icon project at the African Tourism Board launch on April 11, that will help to support a global scale climate resilience initiative, that links rainforest preservation, biodiversity conservation and sme entrepreneurship, with the latent potential of African Travel & Tourism.
A Panel discussion is ongoing and a packed program are planned today for delegates in Sai Island, Cabo Verde attending the First UNWTO/ ICAO Ministerial Conference Tourism and Air Transport.
Air Transport and Tourism Policies: Regulatory convergence to maximize and balance their benefits
Air Transport and tourism depend heavily on each other and are essential engines of trade and economic growth for both developed and developing countries.
Despite the synergies, there can be conflicts between aviation and tourism policies due to the difficulties of States in balancing the interests of their airlines and the optimum development of their tourism industries. Separate sectorial policies result in a fundamental disconnect, which constitutes a severe deterrent towards the development of both sectors. How do we enhance policy coherence between the two sectors, harmonize the regulatory frameworks, and prevent separate sectoral policies? How can we strike a balance to maximize the overall benefits of tourism and air transport in the national economy?
What is the current status of Africa’s regulatory framework and what is its impact on tourism and air transport (the Lomé Declaration and the related Action plans both for Air Transport and for Tourism?
How can Africa benefit from and implement the joint UNWTO and ICAO Medellín Statement on Tourism and Air Transport for Development? How can the African Governments promote cooperation and compatible decision-making among transport and tourism authorities and other ministries in charge of related portfolios, including finance, economic planning, energy, environment and trade?
What are the challenges encountered by tourism stakeholders in reflecting tourism business interests in national and regional air transport policies?
Connectivity and Seamless Travel: Best practices to serve tourists and passengers
Aviation and tourism are a customer-focused economic sector.
While there is no single definition of air connectivity, it can be viewed as the ability of a network to move passengers involving the minimum of transit points, which makes the trip as short as possible with optimal passenger satisfaction at the minimum price possible. The realization of seamless travel can improve overall travel experience, which in turn fuels tourism demand.
With the recent launching of the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM), open skies over Africa may soon be a reality, building the necessary regulatory framework to increase international intra-Africa travel.
How do we optimize the flow of passenger traffic through the air transport system? How can we generate sufficient demand for direct air services between African sub-regions, especially between the East-West coasts?
How well do current air service agreements (ASAs) contribute to connectivity and what are the prospects of air transport liberalization? What constitute the bottlenecks and slowdowns of seamless travel in the air transport system? What regulatory schemes can be used or developed to assure essential air services to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)?
What are the existing best practices and how could they be extended and adapted to other regions? What are the factors influencing airline choices for different market segments (the intercultural dimension)?
Funding and Financing for Development: Pragmatic measures to build a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate
Infrastructure deficiencies in the aviation and tourism sectors have long been an issue in Africa. While plans are in place to develop and modernize aviation infrastructure, relief is years away at best.
In the meantime, there will be lost opportunities for creating jobs and spurring economic growth. Another issue is the proliferation of taxes on tourism and air transport despite the fact that the industry recovers a vast majority of its own infrastructure costs through payments of user charges, rather than being financed through taxation.
Revenue raised by taxes can often be outweighed by the relinquished economic benefits as a result of dampened demand for air travel.
This Session will focus on
a) the creation of good governance and enabling the environment to build business confidence and encourage investments, and
b) the consolidation of planning and development efforts for aviation and tourism infrastructure in multi-modal and urban planning initiatives. What are the challenges of financing development projects related to the tourism and air transport sectors, particularly in LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS?
What are the success stories in financing tourism and air transport projects? How do consumers perceive taxes, charges, and others levies and how to ensure transparency of taxes and charges to passengers and tourists?
Why is the limited volume of international public finance and assistance for development currently available for aviation and tourism infrastructure projects?
Travel Facilitation: Advancing visa facilitation in supporting economic growth
Travel facilitation aims at maximizing the efficiency of border clearance formalities while achieving and maintaining high-quality security and effective law enforcement. Allowing passengers/tourists to cross international borders safely and efficiently contributes significantly to stimulating demand, enhancing the competitiveness of States, creating jobs and fostering international understanding.
In spite of the great strides made in recent decades in facilitating tourist travel in Africa, there is still room for considerable progress. For example, electronic visa processes and delivery could make travel more accessible, convenient, and more efficient without a diminution of national security.
States should also look into increasing cooperation on bilateral, regional and international travel facilitation regimes. How can new technologies be used to make travel more accessible, convenient and efficient? How to define and implement policies which facilitate international travel and tourism while ensuring the security and integrity of traveler identification and border controls?
How well do e-passports, e-visas and other documentation deal with emergent threats to security? How could the African States learn from other effective best practices?
Ethiopian Airlines, has been chosen as the Official Carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference to be held in Addis Ababa from May 1-3, 2019.
This conference is not without controversy, however. According to Journalists without Border, terrorism charges have been systematically used against journalists ever since the 2009 terrorism law took effect. The charges carry long jail sentences and allow the authorities to hold journalists without trial for extended periods. There has been no significant improvement since the purges that led to the closure of six newspapers in 2014 and drove around 30 journalists into exile. On the contrary, another six-month state of emergency was proclaimed in February 2018, which the government could again use to arrest critical journalists and ban the public from watching or listening to certain broadcast media. The Internet and social networks are often disconnected while physical and verbal threats, arbitrary trials, and convictions are all used to silence the media.eTN Chatroom: Discuss with readers from around the world:
The conference is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union and the Government of Ethiopia under the theme ‘Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation’.
UNESCO Spokesperson Roni Amerlan said: ” The offer by countries to host World Press Freedom Day marks their recognition of the value of the right to press freedom and freedom of expression.
We have often held World Press Freedom Day celebrations in countries in transition and we do not think that we should restrict our support for the recognition of press freedom and their participation in this awareness-raising event to countries which rank at the top of NGOs’ rankings.
Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration(link is external) on media pluralism and independence.
At the core of UNESCO’s mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that these freedoms allow for mutual understanding to build a sustainable peace.
It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.
3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.
The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The main event will take place in Addis Ababa, on 1 – 3 May at the African Union Headquarters. This year’s theme“Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” discusses current challenges faced by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.
World Press Freedom Day will also be celebrated worldwide. Events will be organized in several countries to raise awareness about the importance of press freedom and journalists’ safety. More information of events will be available in the Events Map soon.
As the United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, UNESCO works to foster a free, independent and pluralistic media and the safety of journalists.
As the official carrier, Ethiopian will provide air transport service to the 1000-1500 participants who will be coming to Addis Ababa from around the globe.
Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, remarked, “We are honored to have been chosen to serve as the official carrier for this year’s World Press Freedom Day Global Conference. We are all the more delighted to be part of this noble cause which seeks to advance press freedom around the world.
Global, regional and national media stakeholders, high-level government officials, and journalists from across the globe will take part in the conference which will be held at the African Union Commission headquarters.
Brunei is becoming a deadly place to visit starting April 3, specially if you are member of the LGBT Community.
Next week the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) will have their annual summit in Seville, Spain. Tourism leaders from around the globe will meet and listen to keynote speaker U.S. President Obama. Will President Obama, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, or WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara say something on what is developing in Brunei?
No country in the world so far issued travel warnings against Brunei. U.S. authorities have a level 2 travel advisories against Germany or the Bahamas but find travel for Americans perfectly safe when a new law threatens citizens and visitors, including children to be subject to death by stoning for same-sex sexual acts and amputation for robbery. Such a law will come into effect in Brunei Darussalam on April 3.
Brunei is a tiny nation on the island of Borneo, in 2 distinct sections surrounded by Malaysia and the South China Sea. It’s known for its beaches and biodiverse rainforest, much of it protected within reserves. The capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, is home to the opulent Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah mosque and its 29 golden domes. The capital’s massive Istana Nurul Iman palace is the residence of Brunei’s ruling sultan
“Pending provisions in Brunei’s Penal Code would allow stoning and amputation as punishments – including for children, to name only their most heinous aspects,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei Researcher at Amnesty International.
“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations. The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”
These punishments are provided for in newly-implemented sections of the Brunei Darussalam Syariah Penal Code that are due to come into force on 3 April 2019, according to a discreet notice on the Attorney General’s website.
“To legalize such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself. Some of the potential ‘offences’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard. “These abusive provisions received widespread condemnation when plans were first discussed five years ago.”
Amnesty expressed grave concerns over the Penal Code when the code’s first phase was implemented in April 2014.
“Brunei’s Penal Code is a deeply flawed piece of legislation containing a range of provisions that violate human rights,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard. “As well as imposing cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, it blatantly restricts the rights to freedom of expression, religion, and belief, and codifies discrimination against women and girls.”
Stoning and a hunt to kill members of the LGBT community is not an isolated problem in Brunei alone. Brunei is joining countries like Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Tanzania.
Brunei Darussalam has signed but not yet ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and has rejected all recommendations to this effect in its human rights review at the UN in 2014.
Under international human rights law, corporal punishment in all its forms, such as stoning, amputation or whipping, constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, which is prohibited in all circumstances.
Acts of torture and other ill-treatment are absolutely proscribed in the main international human rights instruments, most of which Brunei has not signed or ratified. In addition, this prohibition is also recognized as a peremptory rule of customary international law, meaning that every state is bound by it even if they are not a party to a relevant human rights treaty. All acts of torture constitute crimes under international law.
While Brunei retains the death penalty in law, it is abolitionist in practice. One new death sentence was imposed in 2017, for a drug-related offense.
Just a few years ago the Sultan of Brunei told UNWTO Secretary-General and WTTC CEO: “We will do our best to support tourism. Tourism is of strategic importance for Brunei and based on two principal resources: the country’s pristine rainforest in the heart of Borneo, and its spiritual and cultural heritage. Environmental protection and conservation must, therefore, lie at the heart of any tourism development, the Sultan had stressed.
The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland joined the African Tourism Board as its latest member.
The Honorable Minister of Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Moses Vilakati will be attending and speaking at the official launch for the African Tourism Board at the World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town, South Africa on April 11.
Linda L. Nxumalo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Eswatini Tourism Authority will be attending.
As one of the few remaining monarchies in Africa, culture, and heritage are deeply ingrained in all aspects of Swazi life, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
As well as the rich culture, the overwhelming friendliness of the people makes all visitors feel truly welcome and very safe.
Add to that a stunning landscape of mountains and valleys, forests and plains; plus wildlife reserves across the country that are home to The Big Five, and visitors have all that’s best about Africa in one small but perfectly formed and welcoming country.
Eswatini is Africa in a nutshell. It may be a cliché but there is no better way to describe Eswatini (Swaziland). This tiny nation – one of Africa’s last monarchies – packs in an extraordinary variety of riches. Nature lovers can track down rhinos in the wild lowveld or seek out rare birds in the rugged highveld. Historians can visit the world’s oldest known mine or follow the colonial trail of the early settlers. And culture vultures can thrill to the Umhlanga and other festivals, as Eswatini celebrates its ancient traditions in spectacular style. Activities ranging from horse riding and river rafting to golf and thermal spas offer excitement and relaxation in equal measure. What’s more, Eswatini is friendly, safe and so compact that nowhere is more than two hours’ easy drive from the capital. So what are you waiting for? Africa’s most perfectly formed nation offers you a warm Swazi welcome.
Eswatini, previously known as Swaziland, has 4 administrative regions but for the purposes of tourism is more conveniently divided into 5 regions, each one offering a varied and different set of attractions and experiences. Taking the points of the compass for their titles, each of these tourism regions can also be characterised by the attractions & experiences found within – be that amazing scenery, rich cultural experiences or thrilling wildlife encounters. Whilst a focus on one particular region will allow a visitor to witness its individual character, the joy of Eswatini is that its compact size allows the regions to be ‘mixed & matched’ in any single visit, even in a single day!
There is no great secret to a great Eswatini itinerary – to experience the remarkable variety of the country, visit as many of the regions as possible (at least 3)! But with no individual attraction more than 2 hours away from any other, it’s very easy to visit them all in any order and create a tailor-made trip to your own personal requirements without encountering any long journeys.
Although the smallest of the tourism regions, Central Eswatini is where the country’s capital city, the second largest city, tourism hub and main industrial area are found. The two cities, Mbabane and Manzini, lie just 25 miles (40km) apart and between them is Ezulwini Valley that has become Eswatini’s tourism hub, and the traditional Royal heartland of Lobamba that’s also home to the Parliament. With the country’s most easily accessible wildlife sanctuary at Mlilwane and Mantenga Nature Reserve with its beautiful waterfall and cultural village thrown in for good measure, this is a region of great richness and a huge choice of attractions for any visitor. It’s central positioning also allows easy access to all of the other regions.
Eswatini’s North West region lies primarily in the highveld and is a stirring landscape of airy, panoramic uplands. The muscular hills and dramatic river valleys form the eastern edge of South Africa’s Drakensberg escarpment and are crowned by the nation’s two highest peaks – Emlembe (1,862m) and Ngwenya (1,829m). An area of outstanding natural beauty, visitors have a vast choice of things to do, including exploring the nature reserves of Malolotja and Phophonyane (on foot, horseback, mountain bike or even sailing through the treetops on zip-wires!), investigating Nsangwini’s ancient rock art, experiencing Bulembu – the re-born ghost town in a glorious mountain setting and taking a boat trip on the magnificent Maguga Dam. The region’s attractions conveniently line up along or not far off the MR1 road, which starts just 15km west of Mbabane and extends to the South Africa border at Matsamo (30-45mins from Kruger NP). It takes only around 1 ½ hours to drive the length of the MR1.
North East Eswatini lies in the lowveld – a great expanse of flat bushveld – with then the ridge of the Lubombo mountains rising to the east to form the border with Mozambique. It’s dominated by vast sugar estates which emerged from the 1950s and whose country clubs can be enjoyed by visitors. The wild bush areas (similar to Kruger Park in South Africa) make perfect safari country and the region is home to a number of reserves (all accessed from the MR3 road) which collectively make up the Lubombo Conservancy. Hlane Royal National Park is the largest and most game-rich, with Mlawaula and Mbuluzi Nature Reserves offering easy access to beautiful, untouched wilderness areas. The mountains are wild and beautiful with remote settlements, one of which, Shewula, offers a shining example of community tourism and access to another nature reserve.
This region lies largely in the lowveld. It is home to Eswatini’s primary safari location, the Mkhaya Game Reserve, known around the world for its rhino experiences, which rival any in Africa. There is only scattered settlement but a number of sugar estates are irrigated from the country’s main river, the Usuthu, where white water rafting is available. Nisela, in the far south-east offers further safari experiences.
Much of South West Eswatini lies in the highveld – magnificent scenery of rolling uplands cut by grand rivers that have created impressive valleys and gorges. Unsurprisingly, there is great hiking on offer in little-visited wilderness areas – Mahamba Gorge and the stunning Ngwempisi Wilderness. Nkonyeni Golf Estate offers a range of activities in an area of outstanding natural beauty as you enter the Grand Valley heading south from central Eswatini. It’s also a region with some interesting places of historical significance – the country’s first church (which can still be visited at Mahamba), and first ceremonial capital of Nhlangano.
Eswatini’s traditional culture fascinates visitors. The appeal is self-evident: this tiny Kingdom has managed to retain traditions that date back to pre-colonial times and that, despite all the challenges of modernity, remain fundamental to its cultural life. At its heart lies the monarchy, which binds the nation together in festivals and celebration. The kingdom is not a living museum, of course, but what you will see – the colour, costume and pageantry – is the real deal, not some contrivance for the tourist industry. And such ritual ceremonies as the Umhlanga, or Reed Dance, are among the most spectacular of their kind on the continent. Look out for the red feathers of the ligwalagwala, or purple-crested turaco, which denote the royal status of the wearer.
Eswatini’s rich variety of landscapes and habitats gives it a profusion of fauna and flora, with the sheer number of species mind-boggling by most European standards. The country is not large enough to offer lots of big game experiences, but it has some 17 protected areas which are home to a very wide range of species, including the sought after ‘Big 5’. As well as being one of the best places on the continent to see rhinos (on foot as well as by 4×4 and to see both black and white rhinos), Eswatini is also the perfect place to get to grips with many smaller creatures often overlooked on safari elsewhere, and it is a bird-watcher’s paradise.
Eswatini is a small land with very big horizons. From the muscular uplands of the western highveld to the wild ridges of the eastern Lubombos, there is no bend in the road that does not offer another impressive vista. And with statuesque rock formations, picturesque villages and wide meandering rivers to fill the viewfinder, the photographer is spoilt for choice. The light is constantly changing, especially during the rainy season, when towering thunderheads pile up into menacing storm clouds, and then after the downpour, leave the sky a pristine blue. Any visitor to the Kingdom could do worse than simply wander the hills and valleys and enjoy the ever-changing views of beautiful scenery and genuine wilderness.
Eswatini is, without doubt, a Southern Africa adventure hot spot! Its varying landscapes provide the perfect opportunity for an impressively wide choice of activities. White-water rafting in the morning and a tree-top Canopy Tour in the afternoon – perhaps even with an evening game drive! Abseiling, rafting, caving, climbing, and even quad biking are all things on offer in this fast-paced adrenaline fuelled country.
Eswatini’s traditional culture finds its most spectacular expression in a number of ritual ceremonies through the year conducted on an impressive scale. These are living cultural events that, bar the odd pair of sunglasses and mobile phone, have hardly changed in two centuries. Not to be outdone, the current generation has created a modern new, vibrant music and arts festival that has fast established an excellent international reputation. With a series of exciting mountain bike races and other sporting and cultural events dotted through the year, the Eswatini calendar is a rich and rewarding one.
Sports such as squash, tennis, swimming are available at hotels and lodges as well as the Country Clubs on the Sugar Estates. Royal Swazi Spa in the Ezulwini Valley and Nkonyeni to the south are home to the country’s best golf courses, both with 18 hole championship courses and scenic views for the golfer to take in as they traverse the course. Fishing is also available at a number of dams and rivers around the country, with trout, tiger fish and a number of native species to be found.
There are a number of organizations working in Eswatini that offer volunteering opportunities, whether that be working with wildlife and conservation, social volunteering, or sports volunteering. There are plenty of programmes you can get involved in to leave a positive mark on Eswatini.
The U.S. State Department putting Tunisia as a category 2 risk for U.S. citizens to travel to. This is on the same level as Germany or the Bahamas, but not as severe as a category 3 warning against Turkey. The U.S. State Department wants citizens to exercise increase caution in Tunisia due to terrorism and lists regions where one shouldn’t go.
Tourism is a major revenue source for Tunisia, and the country has been working hard to overcome a number of deadly terror attacks where tourists were the target.
Currently the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili is in Tunisia meeting with the Head of the Tunisian Government Youssef Chahed. He told UNWTO the country had made a lot of efforts have been made to improve security for both citizens and visitors through effective deployment of effective security and counter terrorism measures.
On his part, Pololikashvili commended the country for taking steps to ensure that tourism development and growth remained a priority and continues to play a pivotal role in the economy of Tunisia.
He mentioned that Tunisia was one of the first countries in the Mediterranean basin to identify the strategic value of tourism development. Tunisia, he said has been able to adapt to different challenges and also seized the opportunity of air connectivity and visa openness in recent years. UNWTO encourages Tunisia to its high visibility in the tourism sector, always against the backdrop of sustainable operations for the benefit of the local population and lasting opportunities emerging from tourism.
This, the UNWTO Boss states is particularly true for tourism as a resilient sector as Tunisia itself is experiencing: international tourist arrivals grew above 23% in 2017. Pololikashvili averred that the UNWTO is committed to supporting sustainable tourism development in Tunisia.
The UNWTO Secretary General is on a two day working visit to the country and being accompanied by Zhu Shanzhong , UNWTO’s Executive Director and Director of Africa Department Ms Elcia Grandcourt.
Tunisia is concerned about travel advisories remaining in Japan and the United States.
UNWTO has little influence on travel advisories by the countries most important to Tunisia in Tourism. The UNWTO chief met with local media in Tunisia, but an international global press support was not part of the agenda. Tunisia urgently needs global outreach and positive media support.
Africa Tourism is hot right now. Overlooked in the past, the tourism potential of the African continent is now becoming visible.
The WTTC Summit in Seville with former US President Obama participating and the launch of the African Tourism Board in Capetown is a good mix for major visibility for the African travel and tourism industry.
The first African Tourism Board (ATB) is about to be launched in Cape Town during the upcoming World Travel Market Africa in South Africa on April 11 with a list of impressive speakers, ministers, private industry leaders, and stakeholders attending.
A week before the ATB launch in Cape Town on April 11, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is getting ready for their annual summit in Seville, Spain. With a price tag of $4,000 for a delegate to attend the summit, WTTC is catering to the hundred largest companies in the travel and tourism industry.
In Cape Town at the African Tourism Board launch, former UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai is paying his own way, and so are a number of tourism celebrities and stakeholders from both larger and smaller entities. They want to show their excitement and support for the new African Tourism Board and the potential Africa has for new tourism developments. It’s free to attend the African Tourism Board launch event.
In the last 7 days, the news on tourism growth and potential for African destinations couldn’t have been better and must have come as a surprise for many.
WTTC issued one press release after another on their research reports for Africa. eTN received such releases not only from WTTC but also from ministers, embassies, and tourism boards showing their pride and maybe their surprise and encouragement.
African Tourism Board interim Chairman Juergen Steinmetz, who is also CEO of the eTN Corporation, owner of eTurboNews, which is a media partner for WTTC, applauded Gloria Guevara, CEO of WTTC, for putting Africa in the spotlight for the world’s largest travel and tourism companies.