Bahamian prime minister calls for reef conservation

The prime minister of Bahamas has called for the conservation of the nation’s reefs.

Prime minister, Perry Christie, has urged stakeholders to ensure that the nation’s natural wealth, including its beaches, coast, associated reef system and marine life, are not destroyed or unduly compromised in the process of developing a tourism infrastructure. His call comes as the national economy is increasingly dependent on tourism and tourist services. While addressing the opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace last Sunday at the Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas, Christie said that the hotel and resort developers opt for prime beachfront and coastal areas of the Caribbean, which can have ecologic costs that are often irreversible.

Christie said, ‘While this appetite is perfectly understandable in the competitive market for tourists who are looking to be right on the beach and right next to the water, this paradigm may not always be compatible with coastal and beach-conservation objectives of national governments.’

He added that when the beachfront is used for purposes such as recreation, swimming, fishing and relaxation, it puts a great deal of strain on the ecosystem. He said that dealing with the problem was a very complex subject, which would require finding ways and means to strike the right balance between commerce and nature preservation. He said that an answer had to be found, because at stake was the very sustenance of tourism.

‘We are going to be increasingly challenged to harmonise national and regional objectives for environmental conservation and protection with the commercial objectives of private-sector hotel and resort developers. We must be careful to protect our environment and stay engaged in national, regional and international measures to curtail climate change and coastal erosion,’ Christie said, adding that due regard had to be given to the recent UN General Assembly landmark resolution that recognised ecotourism as a tool for the promotion of sustainable development.

Travelodge Releases Report on UK Tourism

Travelodge, the UK based hotel chain, has released a report on the history of travel and tourism in the UK since the Second World War.

The report shows that UK tourism has been resilient against most of the economic downturns and has even outperformed the country’s economy in the last five years. While the country’s GDP has increased by 8 percent from 2007 to 2011, the tourism industry has reported an increase in revenues of 12.6 percent, to around £40 billion, which is 10 percent of the country’s GDP.

Travelodge chief executive officer, Grant Hearn, has recently written to Vince Cable, the UK secretary of state for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS), to share a ten-point plan for boosting the economy through travel industry growth.

Hearn said, ‘Our report confirms UK tourism has successfully weathered the recession to date and outperformed other key sectors which is great news. However as one of Britain’s biggest business sectors it deserves the chance to unlock its true potential.

We have a real opportunity within our grasp, which can play a significant part in helping our economy to recover; our lack of immediate action is costing jobs, growth and investment. It is in our national economic interest and this has to happen now. We need to be treated as a serious business sector.

Our ten-point plan is about awakening the potential of the sector and positioning tourism as a key element of a successful and sustainable economic recovery. I welcome an opportunity to discuss this proposal with Mr. Cable and his Department.’

Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said, ‘Across the UK, thousands of hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants, businesses small and large, depend on the Government to back them. Our industry has the potential to create over 200,000 jobs in the UK by 2015.

All the evidence shows that our tourism and hospitality industry is a success story in this recession. There are measures that Government could take which would create more employment and boost the economy – such as cutting tourism VAT to 5 percent and the ongoing initiative to improve the tourist visa process. It is essential that there is a more co-ordinated approach for tourism in government.’

Kenya opens luxurious safari camp

Kenya has opened a luxurious safari camp for those wishing to enjoy comfortable accommodation while experiencing nature in the wild.

Last week, the nation opened the doors of a new safari camp to travellers, which has luxury as its main theme. The Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara offers a chance for luxury seeking safari-tourists to enjoy modern amenities while enjoying Africa’s experiences. The safari camp has 12 tents, five of which have twin beds and seven have been designed for double-occupancy. It is located within the Olare Orok Conservancy, known for its large number of lion prides.

The tents are built on a vast swathe of land and have an elevated deck with a private balcony. Visitors have access to unobstructed views of the Mara Plains and the Ntiakitiak River. The tents have been designed so that visitors do not lose track of their surroundings even when they are in their rooms. Each tent has bathrooms with a hair dryer and bath salts for use when soaking in the bath. There are also plush seating areas with sofas and rugs, and a comfortable four-poster bed. Newly married guests can opt for a honeymoon suite that has a private plunge pool.

The camp’s visitors can watch the resident hippos and take daily chauffeured drives into the Mara. They can also opt for authentic local food that is prepared in true African style. Many of the meals offered at the site are made from ingredients harvested from the on-site organic garden, and about 70 percent of the camp’s energy is harnessed from solar power, an added bonus for those who are eco conscious.

A three-night/four-day stay starts at $435 per night, per person. Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara is a one-hour flight from Nairobi, or 90 minutes from Mombasa.

Passenger Traffic Increases at Bristol Airport

For the third year in a row, passenger traffic at Bristol airport in the UK is on a high, with the number of people passing through the terminal up by 2.8 percent in 2012, compared to the preceding year.

A total of 5.9 million passengers used Bristol Airport in 2012, and the rising passenger traffic makes the airport the only one of the UK’s top ten airports to report continuous passenger growth every year since 2009.

Robert Sinclair, the chief executive officer at Bristol Airport, said, ‘These figures are a very positive signal that the South West economy is moving in the right direction. The resurgence in business travel has been particularly strong with several airlines, including KLM and Brussels Airlines, adding capacity on routes to major European hub airports. We expect this growth to continue throughout 2013, with further route announcements in the pipeline.’

The airport is reporting a rise in passenger numbers despite having handled 7.3 percent fewer flights than in 2011, as a result of airlines operating larger aircraft with increased load factors.

In October 2012, the airport became a hub for the newly launched Bmi Regional airline, which will be offering five times weekly flights to Hamburg from February 11, and a six times a week service to Frankfurt from late March.

easyJet is also offering new routes from the airport, including services to Copenhagen and Naples, while Ryanir is offering a new three-times-weekly flight to Warsaw Modlin.

The airport has completed the first phase of its development to convert into a hub capable of handling 10 million passengers, with three new aircraft stands inaugurated by the then Transport Secretary, Justine Greening. The development will also include construction of a supplementary immigration facility, and an extended security search area.