Air Arabia to help launch new low-cost airline in Sudan

A Sudanese conglomerate DAL Group and Emirati Air Arabia form a joint venture to launch a new low-cost airline in Sudan. 

The new air carrier will be called Air Arabia Sudan. 

The new company will be based in Khartoum International Airport (KRT) in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

Air Arabia Sudan will operate a fleet of new Airbus A320 aircraft and will adopt Air Arabia Group’s low-cost business model.

Work on securing the relevant approvals and licenses is scheduled to commence shortly, DAL Group and Air Arabia announced in a statement released on September 22, 2022. 

Air Arabia’s footprint in establishing low-cost airlines

Air Arabia has a history of being involved in establishing low-cost carriers. Air Arabia Sudan will be already the fourth airline co-established by the company in the past few years alone. 

  • In September 2021, Air Arabia Group announced its intention to form a joint venture with Pakistani Lakson Group to launch a new airline in Pakistan. The new low-cost carrier, called Fly Jinnah, is going to be based in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, and initially serve domestic destinations within the country, before expanding to include international routes. 
  • In July 2021, it agreed with the Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF) to launch Armenia’s new national, low-cost passenger airline based in Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport (EVN). 
  • In partnership with state-owned Etihad Airways, it launched Air Arabia Abu Dhabi in July 2020. Initially announced in October 2019, the new airline operated its inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Alexandria, Egypt on July 14, 2020.

Besides the recent joint ventures, Air Arabia co-established four other airlines in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Nepal. The two later airlines have ceased operations, while Air Arabia Egypt and Air Arabia Maroc continue to operate. 

Source: Aerotime Hub

Its Official: Ethiopian Airlines Announced As Partner For Nigeria Air

The Nigerian Government announced that Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s most prominent air carrier, was selected as a strategic partner and 49% shareholder of Nigeria Air. A breakdown of stakes showed that Ethiopian Airlines would own 49 % equity, the federal government would control 5 % equity, while a consortium of three Nigerian investors, MRS, SAHCO, and other institutional investors will have 46 %.

The stakeholders involved

Speaking during a press conference in Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, noted that after a careful, detailed, and ICRC-governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder for Nigeria Air.

He noted that the consortium will be subjected to a due diligence process, after which the contract will be negotiated between the consortium and the FGN, leading to a Full Business Case, which will be expected to be approved Federal Executive Council (FEC). The process, according to the minister, will take off in six to eight weeks.

Fleet and first routes

The overall share capital of around $300 million will be provided by the preferred bidder that will launch Nigeria Air to its full size of 30 aircraft and international operation within the next two years. Nigeria Air will be launched with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.

It will launch with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable, and affordable travel between these two major Nigerian Airports. Other domestic destinations will follow thereafter. According to the Minister of aviation,

“A signature-ready contract has been finalized with Ethiopian Airlines for the three Boeing 737-800 with a 16 Business Class and 150 Economy Class configuration.”

The approval process and recruitment

All executives have been approved by NCAA (Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority), and the Air Transport License has also been issued. Nigeria Air (having identified the first three aircraft) will finalize all necessary Operation Manuals and then go through the inspection and approval process of NCAA.

The money spent for the launch of Nigeria Air, for all the requirements to establish an AOC ( Air Operators Certificate) and be admitted to starting an airline operation as prescribed in the FEC-approved Outline Business Case (OBC), is well within the 5 % capital investment of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The minister added,

“No further federal government funding will be provided above the five percent share capital of the next national Carrier of Nigeria, which was provided to launch Nigeria Air.”

The airline has already begun its recruitment process, announced in a memo posted to the official Twitter account of the Federal Ministry of Aviation at the end of last week. The memo reads,

“Nigeria Air is now recruiting qualified crew for the following positions: Experienced, and current B737 Captains; Experienced, and Current B737 First Officers; Experienced, and Current B737 Senior Cabin Crew and Cabin Crew Experienced, and Current B737 Engineers (B1/B2 preferred).”

The announcement adds that positions will be based in Abuja or Lagos, and that additional details of open positions will be available soon on the airline’s website.

Source: Simple Flying

Ebola: Rwanda begins screening travellers at borders

Rwanda has reinstated the use of non-contact thermometers across all its border posts with Uganda following an Ebola outbreak in the neighbouring country that has killed five and infected 19 other people.

Health workers in protective coats and face masks at the Gatuna and Kagitumba borders have begun measuring temperatures of travellers and taking down their travel histories as Kigali seeks to prevent cross-border infections.

Although Rwanda has not suffered a single Ebola case in the past, Uganda’s Mubende District—where Ebola has been reported—is about a six-hour drive from the border.

This close proximity has heightened alertness in Rwanda, with the government urging residents to consider preventive measures.

“The Ministry of Health strongly urges each and every one to be cautious and seriously comply with the preventive measures against the Ebola Virus Disease as it is easily preventable when one abides by hygiene standards and avoids unnecessary visits and contact with people who have travelled to areas affected by the Ebola outbreak,” a statement reads.

“Avoid unnecessary travel coming from the area affected by the Ebola outbreak; avoid receiving travellers coming from the affected area (Mubende); when you know where they are in the country, immediately report to the nearest local authority.”

Two of Rwanda’s neighbours – Uganda and DRC – have suffered Ebola outbreaks in the past, with officials saying they are aware and alert of the danger that this comes with.

At the height of the Ebola epidemic in DRC in 2019, Rwanda increased border surveillance; trained over 23,600 medical personnel, police officers and volunteers; and embarked on a countywide sensitisation campaign about the virus.

The country’s most serious scare came in August 2019 when reports by the World Health Organization claimed that a fishmonger who “died of the virus may have carried the disease into the country from eastern DRC.”

Rwanda rejected this claim and, thereafter, WHO retracted the statement and commended Rwanda’s preparedness efforts, while stating that no cases of Ebola were reported in the country.

The virus had claimed over 2,000 in DRC by September 2019, while threatening to break into neighbouring countries Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Ebola response simulation exercises were conducted in multiple district hospitals to test Rwanda’s preparedness in conducting emergency operations, surveillance and lab tests in case of a reported Ebola case.

The country also vaccinated about 3,000 health workers as a preventative measure, including more than 1,100 in Gisenyi town that borders DRC.

Ebola is a deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal, or a sick or infected dead person.

Ebola symptoms include fever, headache, joint pain, sore throat, fatigue, diarrhoea, regular vomiting, stomach-ache and bleeding.

Source: The East African

COVID-19 Update: Face masks no longer mandatory in UAE

It is a day to celebrate as face masks are no longer mandatory in the United Arab Emirates.

Finally, masks are being scrapped from Wednesday September 28, as we take another step to normality following the COVID-19 pandemic that started in March 2020.

The declaration ‘masks no longer mandatory’ is likely to be one you hear a lot over the next few days as people adjust to the new COVID-19 rules.

However, masks remain mandatory in hospitals, mosques and public transport, while in other indoor spaces it is down to personal preference.

If you are sick, elderly or have COVID-19 symptoms you are advised to wear a mask.

We expect people will be shouting hooray from the top of their lungs as face coverings are binned once and for all (we hope).

The welcomed update was shared on Monday September 26 by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.

The authority explained that face coverings will now be a thing of the past during a news conference and via Twitter.

Over in the capital, there was also an update that the Al HOSN green pass is mandatory to enter federal buildings and if you are vaccinated you must have the pass updated once monthly and if not, every seven days.

This is an extension of the previous ruling of every 14 days.

Other updates included that the isolation period for people testing positive for COVID-19 is now five days.

Those who have been in close contact with those people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are advised to do a PCR test if they have symptoms.

Vulnerable and old people who have been in close contact with people testing positive are advised to do a test and monitor their health for seven days.

Mask wearing has slowly but surely been phased out in the UAE in the past few months and since Saturday February 26, it has been optional to wear face masks in outdoor areas.

However, on Monday June 13 the UAE reinforced the importance of wearing face masks indoors in the ongoing preventative and precautionary measures against COVID-19.

Up until now, not wearing a face mask in public could face a fine of Dhs3000, which no one will be at risk of now as mask wearing is no longer required.

It comes after the last COVID-19 update on August 25, where people expected mask wearing rules to end, but instead it was announced that mask-wearing was to remain in educational settings.

Social distancing in schools was removed and down to each facility to decide, but parents of school children have eagerly been awaiting the news that kiddos no longer have to sit in class wearing face coverings.

As of Wednesday this week, that will now be the case as school children are not required to wear masks inside.

Source: Timeout Dubai

State Eyes Tourists With Expanded Product List

The State has enhanced its support to various initiatives aimed at marketing diverse tourism products including mountaineering, cuisine, horticulture and lake tourism, to attract more tourists.

Outgoing Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said although Kenya continues to be a popular destination, stakeholders must put more focus on other products to boost the sector that was adversely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said popular tourism destinations including Lake Nakuru National Park, Diani beach, Maasai Mara, Naivasha and Nairobi for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions are renowned worldwide.

Mr Balala stated that although, coastal beach holidays and wildlife safaris still remained attractive destinations, the Ministry was partnering with state agencies and private sector in aggressively marketing alternative core tourism products that the country could offer from its diverse niches.

These tourism products, Balala said include culture, cuisine, entertainment, sports, nature (beach and safari) and Meetings, Incentives, Exhibitions, and Conferences (Mice) tourism.

“We have been winning in both world travel and destination awards due to our popular destinations. We look forward to a very good year in the sector.  We are renowned for beach and safari which are our main signature products. But we need to diversify and present to the world other products such as mountaineering, lake, horticulture, agriculture (tea and coffee), Nyama Choma, culture and heritage,” indicated the Cabinet Secretary.

The campaign, he said, is also covering all destinations in Kenya that offer rock climbing, bird watching, golf tourism, adventure sports, leisure tourism and wildlife tourism.

“We are working with industry players such as hoteliers, tour companies and guides in drawing attraction to the hidden gems that Kenya has in store,” added Balala.

In a speech read on his behalf by Acting Chief Executive Officer-Utalii College Professor Charles Musyoki during celebrations to mark World Tourism Day at Nyayo Gardens in Nakuru, Mr. Balala advised sector players to embrace local communities in diversifying their products in order to attract younger visitors who are no longer interested in traditional offerings of tourism and wildlife.

He noted that the sector’s landscape had significantly shifted and that there was no need for tourism players to continue marketing their products using the same old system.

“It is worth noting that millennials are no longer interested in travelling to the Mara for four hours or staying in hotels. What they are keen on is spending time embracing cultural practices of places and people they visit,” stated the outgoing CS.

Mr Balala noted that reliance on traditional tourism products has not only put a strain on the facilities and capacity but has also left the tourism industry largely dependent on a few attractions.

“We have also been looking to grow a domestic tourism campaign to get the residents excited about the various destinations that their country has to offer. There are many Kenyans who are interested in travel but lack sufficient information,” he continued.

In his remarks Professor Musyoki indicated that domestic tourism in Kenya is a field that the industry players ought to tap into more to increase revenue as it holds huge potential and its importance for economic development cannot be underestimated.

“Many Kenyans prefer to travel to international destinations over local destinations while some do not travel at all. This is while keeping in mind that every time we travel and buy outside the country, we are inadvertently taking away the economic growth we could be retaining in our country,” he observed.

Deputy Governor Mr David Kones said the County administration was encouraging the private sector and local communities to develop “out of park” tourism activities such as mountain biking. The initiative he stated is also encouraging visits to cultural and spiritual sites, cultural performances and community walks.

Mr Kones challenged Kenyans to drop the notion that tourism is only a preserve for the wealthy or those with disposable income. He called on the tourism sector to also come up with reasonable packages affordable by most Kenyans.

“We have for a long time relied on too much on foreigners to build our tourism. It is now our time as locals to spur the growth of our domestic tourism to the next level by playing a major part in that growth.”

Nakuru County Tourism Association Chairman David Mwangi noted that tourism and hospitality marketing agencies at both counties and national level have over the years focused too much on wildlife and beach products, neglecting cultural attractions and conference facilities, which have traditionally relied on fragmented promotions by the proprietors.

This, he said was happening against the background that there were various other undiscovered tourist destinations around the country.

The chairman observed that enhancing equal distribution of resources to all sectors and regions would open up more destinations that would inversely arouse interest among locals.

“We cannot emphasize the role of synergies and partnerships enough as we work towards re-starting tourism. We must continue to take advantage of the new opportunities in travel, and also look out for the emerging trends,” said Mwangi.

He stated that industry players needed to tap into conference tourism, a relatively new concept in the industry, which revolves around service provision to business travelers attending seminars, workshops, conferences and conventions.

“At the moment, conference tourism is the largest and fastest growing segment of the modern tourism sector. It has a higher financial impact because conference travelers spend more than leisure travelers. Often their expenses are paid by the organizations they represent, leaving the tourists with substantial disposable incomes that they can spend,” he noted.

The tourism sector performance report 2021 shows that the industry earnings jumped 65 per cent to Sh146.51 billion last year up from Sh88.56 billion in 2020.

Tourist arrivals through airports and border points also increased by 53.3 per cent to 870,465 from 567,848 over the period. About 26.4 per cent visited for business meetings, conferences and exhibitions.

The wanting performance in the sector, according to Mr Mwangi, was due to dependence on the national government to market tourism destinations in all counties.

Mwangi said that it is important to realize that for tourism to succeed, a greater part depends on the goodwill of the locals more than the other industries.

“The locals must be happy with the visitors and the security knowledge that the presence of the visitors around will not affect their operations both socially, economically and even politically and that they will not impose values that are not welcomed in their society. This can easily be achieved when the locals are engaged by involving them in dialogues relating to the influence of tourism in that particular area,” noted the chairman.

In June 2020, the ministry of tourism and wildlife reported that the tourism and travel sectors slumped in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, with over 81 per cent of firms in the industries laying off most of their employees and 31 per cent implementing more than 70 per cent pay cut.

Source: Kenya News Agency

CDC moves Kenya to ‘low’ risk travel category

For the second consecutive week, no destinations were added to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “high” risk category for travel. A few destinations moved down a risk level, including Kenya, which is now in the “low” risk category.

Kenya was previously listed at Level 2, along with the West African nation of Togo, which also moved down to the Level 1, or “low” risk, category of the CDC’s regularly updated travel notices.

The British Overseas Territory of Montserrat in the Caribbean dropped into Level 2, or “moderate” risk for Covid-19, from Level 3.

One nation, Timor-Leste in southeast Asia, moved up one rung to Level 2.

And one destination, Dutch Sint Maarten in the Caribbean dropped into the “unknown” category from Level 3. Destinations move to that category when there is a lack of information.

More than half of the destinations monitored by the CDC are still listed in the Level 3, “high” risk category..

Level 3 became the top rung in terms of risk level in April after the CDC overhauled its ratings system for assessing Covid-19 risk for travelers.

The designation applies to places that have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

To be listed as “Level 1: Covid-19 Low,” a destination must have had 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days.

Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern or health care infrastructure collapse. The CDC advises against traveling to these destinations. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Level 4 so far.

You can view the CDC’s risk levels for any global destination on the agency’s travel recommendations page.

A medical expert weighs in on risk levels

The CDC advises travelers to get up to date with Covid-19 vaccines before traveling internationally. Being “up to date” means you have had not only the full initial vaccinations but any boosters for which you’re eligible.

We’re in “a phase in the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” according to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

Vaccination is the most significant safety factor for travel, said Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“Most people who are up-to-date on their vaccines are highly protected from becoming severely ill,” she said.

Consider what you would do if you end up testing positive away from home, Wen advised.

“Do you have access to treatments such as antiviral pills or monoclonal antibodies? Ask your doctor in advance of your trip whether you are eligible, then know where to find these treatments when traveling abroad,” she said.

Wen also advises packing extra coronavirus tests and bringing them with you on your trip.

While US-bound travelers no longer have to present a negative Covid-19 test to get home from international destinations, the CDC still advises testing before boarding flights back to the States and not traveling if you are sick.

“Of course, if people have symptoms or exposure while traveling, they need to get tested, and if they test positive, to follow CDC’s isolation guidelines,” Wen told CNN Travel.

If you’re concerned about a travel-specific health situation not related to Covid-19, check here.

Source: CNN Travel

Ethiopian Airlines consortium wins bid for new Nigeria airline

A consortium led by Ethiopian Airlines is the preferred bidder for shares in new Nigerian airline Nigeria Air, the country’s aviation minister said on Friday.

The airline was one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 election campaign promises.

Ethiopian Airlines will own a 49% stake in the new airline, while the Nigerian Sovereign Fund will take 46% and the Nigerian federal government the remaining 5%.

Aviation minister Hadi Sirika told reporters that Buhari’s cabinet was expected to sign off on the shareholding plan in the next few weeks. Nigeria Air would have an initial capital of $300 million and plans to have 30 aircraft within four years, he said.

Nigeria Air will launch with service between the capital Abuja and Lagos, the commercial capital, and add other routes later.

“We are going to initially bring in six Boeing 737 aircraft and between third and fourth year the airline will be able to acquire up to 30 aircraft,” Sirika said.

“Nigeria Air is a limited liability company that will have no government intervention,” he added.

Nigeria has been seeking to set up a national carrier and develop its aviation infrastructure – currently seen as a barrier to economic growth – to create a hub for West Africa.

Africa’s most populous country’s previous national carrier, Nigeria Airways, was founded in 1958 and wholly owned by the government. It ceased to operate in 2003.

Source: Reuters

Canada unlikely to declare COVID victory as travel restrictions loosen

The thundering sound of hoofbeats charging toward the end of the track was met with a chorus of cheers from thousands of revellers in cowboy hats and jeans, dazzled by the colorful lights of the midway in the distance.

The Calgary Stampede attracted 500,000 visitors in 2021 after a year of pandemic isolation and uncertainty, epitomizing Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s “best summer ever.”

Kenney beamed from behind a podium that spring as he declared that Alberta had “crushed” the spike of COVID-19 infections and heralded the return of backyard barbecues, dream weddings, concerts, parties and, of course, the stampede.

“Today we are truly near the end of this thing. We’re leaving the darkest days of the pandemic behind and walking into the warm light of summer,” Kenney declared.

Months after what came to be known as Kenney’s “mission accomplished” moment, Alberta was pummelled by the Delta wave. The province’s intensive care units were devastated.

The moment left a lasting impression on the country’s political psyche.

Such a jubilant, if premature, declaration is not likely to be seen again in Canada’s COVID-19 response, even as other world leaders appear ready to leave the pandemic behind.

“The pandemic is over,” U.S. President Joe Biden said last week, striding down the blue carpet of the Detroit Auto Show in Michigan during an interview with “60 Minutes.”

The president said there is still work to be done but suggested the disaster had passed.

“No one’s wearing masks, everyone seems to be in pretty good shape and so I think it’s changing.”

Canada‘s cautious political message about the virus has never ceded to such optimism.

“What we have seen consistently is that people are still struggling in hospitals across our country with the impacts of COVID,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday at a press conference at the UN General Assembly in New York.

He encouraged people to get up to date on their vaccine booster doses, assuring the public “we will make sure this pandemic gets behind us as quickly as we possibly can.”

Two senior government sources, speaking on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly, told The Canadian Press that Trudeau has agreed in principle to let Canada’s vaccine mandates expire on Sept. 30.

When the order expires, the ArriveCan app will no longer be mandatory for international travellers, either.

The decision to put an end to some of the last vestiges of federal COVID-19 restrictions is expected to be announced officially on Monday.

Trudeau has yet to speak publicly about the change, but the tenor of that announcement could be telling as to how the federal government plans to navigate this new transitional phase of the pandemic.

The last time the Liberals loosened restrictions in June, removing vaccine mandates for domestic travellers, the tone was decidedly circumspect.

Rather than proclaim the mandates were no longer needed, federal officials said they were merely “suspended,” and warned they would “bring back” necessary policies if there’s a resurgence of the virus in the fall.

“I think part of the restraint that provincial and territorial governments and the federal government have, as far as walking past COVID, is because we have our memory of how that didn’t actually work out well,” said Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president of The Canadian Medical Association.

Of course, Alberta’s cautionary tale isn’t the only reason for the federal government’s political COVID-19 message.

“In Canada, our focus has been, every step of the way, on listening to science, to responding to the facts on the ground,” Trudeau said Thursday, repeating a similar message when questioned by reporters in Ottawa Friday.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, allege the Liberals are more focused on “political science.”

“There’s a lot of questions that Canadians have, why the government appears to be making decisions not based on medical science, but based on political calculations,” Conservative health critic Michael Barrett said last week.

The official opposition has accused the Liberals of using the pandemic and federal restrictions as a political wedge since the last election, when Trudeau first floated the idea of vaccine mandates.

“There’s no question of whether politics plays a role in the decision-making,” said Julianne Piper, a research fellow with the international Pandemics and Borders project at Simon Fraser University.

“I think there are different political, geographic, public health factors that play into those decisions.”

That alchemy of politics and public health has the potential to set the tone for the rest of the country, she said.

“I think it signals the general feelings around the pandemic and potentially signals what different actors who would be impacted are going to expect,” she said.

Lafontaine said it will be important for politicians to keep that in mind during this next phase of the pandemic.

“I think it’s really important for politicians to realize that the things they say have an enormous impact,” he said.

“We need, more than ever, for people to be clear about the problems that we’re facing, to declare crises when there are crises and to talk about plans for after crises when it’s time to walk through those problems, into what comes next.”

Source: Global News

Afro Atlas, Ethiopian Airlines Partner In New Travel Platform

Travel Aggregator Afro Atlas has partnered with Ethiopian carrier Ethiopia Airlines to offer New Distribution Capability (NDC) platform, a one-stop solution that offers all travel needs for its customers.

The platform by Afro Atlas will help travel agencies access the NDC content from Ethiopian airlines, get merchandising, and proper product personalization.

The platform brings together different airlines with different technology platforms to one central platform thus eliminating the need of visiting different sites for different services by the end user.

Speaking during the signing of the partnership, Afro Atlas Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ahmed Ugas said the platform intends to change how travel products are distributed in the continent and how the travel agencies operate especially with start-up agencies as they strive to embed technology in their operations to make work more efficient and easier.

“This partnership is going to expand to the distribution of NDC which was recently launched by the Ethiopian airline and we are honoured to be the first travel consolidator in Africa to directly connect to this NDC which is a new technology that major airlines around the world are now moving to. We are committed to shaping the regional travel industry with distribution and innovation” said Ugas.

With over 400 travel agencies already onboard on Afro Atlas, 100 of them are from Kenya as the startup has already established offices in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Mogadishu in Somalia as well as in Dubai even as it looks forward to penetrating the market of other countries in East Africa.

“We are taking the burden of seeking different technologies or getting to know different technologies. With this platform, you get everything on one platform,” he said.

Ugas further exuded confidence that the pact will help increase the reach of Ethiopian Airlines, Afro Atlas and all the stakeholders involved in the process beyond the continent even as the concept of NDC is still new in Africa.

“We are happy, as the leading aviation group in Africa to partner with Afro Atlas which is the first travel consolidator to directly connect with Ethiopian Airlines NDC and also taking a leading step in technology and we will further strengthen our relationship with future enhancement on the NDC and ready to serve our common customers together,” said Ethiopian Airlines Country Manager Kenya Seble Azene.

Ethiopian airlines also hope the pact will help improve its performance as it is yet to reach its pre-Covid performance.

The airline which operates in over 128 destinations in the world, intends to open new destinations in Amsterdam, Zurich, Port Harcourt, Berbera and Chennai in October.

Source: Capital News

Dubai courts Kenyan travellers with competitive tourism products

Dubai is courting travellers from Kenya with medical tourism, flexible visa rules and diverse products even as it targets 25 million visitors by 2025.

Speaking exclusively to the Star during the final leg of the multi-city roadshow in Nairobi, director of International Operations for the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing Stella Ibiene asked travel agents to take advantage of the whole package.

“We have extended the roadshow beyond tourism to showcase the competitive advantage Dubai has over other destinations. From rich cultural values to a top-notch health system,” Ibiene said.

She added that over 40 firms ranging from hotels, hospitals, attractions, Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and other stakeholders in the Dubai tourism ecosystem have been showcased in Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and now Kenya.

The expo is coming back after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic that almost crippled the global hospitality and tourism sectors.

According to her, Kenya is among the top tourist markets for Dubai, adding that the destination has diverse products targeting travelers from all economic brackets.

”Dubai has affordable hotels, shopping malls and other packages cutting across social classes, from the top, middle and bottom of the economic pyramid,” she said.

It is perhaps for this reason that the country maintained the highest hotel booking globally in the first five months of the year.

The United Arab Emirates city was ranked as the best global destination in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2022.

This is also attributed to the urge to drive, establish, maintain and show its safe, open, and accessible system.

The latest tourism figures from DET show that overall, Dubai hotels maintained an average occupancy level of 76 per cent from January to May 2022.

According to data from hotel management analytics firm STR, Dubai ranked the best globally in hotel occupancy, ahead of other international destinations including New York (61 per cent), London (60 per cent) and Paris (57 per cent), for the January-April 2022 period.

Her sentiments are echoed by Mida Travel World’s boss Jithin Hassan who calls on travelers to take advantage of friendly visa rules between UAE and Kenya to sample Dubai’s exotic hospitality.

In July, UAE granted Kenyans an extension of their tourist visas to six months from the current one month.

Speaking to the media, the Foreign Trade Minister in UAE, Than’ Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, stated that the move would enhance trade relations and enable more Kenyans to make a mark in the Gulf country.

He added that the new development would take effect at a date to be announced by the government.

The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) chief executive Agnes Mucuha urged members to explore beyond holidaying to grab health and other opportunities for their clients.

”Travelers are looking for added value. Dubai is offering just that, adding that the demand for the destination has been on the rise in the past five years,” Mucuha said.

Mohamed Xehia from Dubai Health Authority on his part called on those traveling for medication to take advantage of competitive rates and the best facilities.

Source: The star