Friday, July 06, 2007

Tanzanias Troubled National Flag Carrier

In its battle to remain afloat, Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL), has announced plans to recapture its lost routes and introduce new African and transcontinental destinations.

So far, it has been Tanzanian government subsidy that has kept the airline alive. According to Apolinari Tairo of eTN, ATCL's chairman Mustapha Nyanganyi said the cash-strapped 30-year-old airline bounced back to its original 197 ticket stock numbered to comply with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Starting Jul 17, 2007, the airline will be issuing e-tickets and ATCL’s other targets will be leasing and later on buying its own aircraft through bank loans.

ATCL was created in 1977 when the East African Airways (EAA), once owned jointly by the three Eastern African states of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, was broken up. The airline has been financialll troubled since 2004, when it posted a loss of over $7.3 million. Compared to Kenya Airways, ATCL has been crippled with no more than three old Boeing 737s in its fleet.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Shutting Down -- For Now

After much thought and careful consideration, I've decided not to continue with this blog at this time. I want to focus my engeries on The Genre Traveler and other projects. That doesn't mean I won't be back. It just means it will probably be a few years before I'm back.


- Carma

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Elephants Rebounding

The Uganda Wildlife Authority released figures earlier this month showing a continued positive trend of elephant numbers in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The latest game survey puts their population around the 3,000 mark, an increase of more than 500 from the last count in 2004.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Kenyan Author Featured at Literary Symposium and Festival

Here's something interesting. Georgetown’s Lannan Literary Programs will be hosting an event next week that brings together two of my interests: Kenya and Science Fiction. “Writers, Masses, Multitudes: Liberation Movements and the Neoliberal World Order” is a literary symposium and festival featuring celebrated Kenyan novelist, playwright, and scholar Ngugi wa Thiong’o and American science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson and will be held Feb. 13 and 14 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The event gathers scholars, artists, and activists from around the world for readings, film screenings, and a roundtable discussion. For additional information, visi

Monday, January 01, 2007

Memories of Mombasa

Playing teeter totter on the wind-bowed palm trees.

Reading my name in the sand.

Crabs crawling over each other in a light green bucket.

These are my memories of Mombasa, Kenya's key coastal city. We went there often and the very name of the place makes me smile.

In an effort to give Kenya’s tourism industry an edge over its competitors, the Kenyan government has been looking for an investor to fund a $30 million, fully-fledged cruise ship terminal at the Port of Mombasa.

However, these plans were recently shelved. The government failed to find a strategic partner to invest in the facility, as many pulled their support after realizing that the project was not viable.

“The response was not good at all," said Transport Permanent Secretary Gerishon Ikiara. "The investors could not fathom such a huge investment, saying it did not guarantee returns because the terminal would just act as a gate allowing cruise ships in to dock."

Plan B s to improve the existing terminal being used by cruise ships. This new strategy, with an estimated price tag of $3 million, will include refurbishing the landing facilities and upgrading the road from the port to the town.

“What we have come to realise," said Ikiara, "is that the cruise business will thrive in this country if there is a good road network integrated with the landing facilities at the port."

“Cruise tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world," said Auni Kanji, the managing director of Abercrombie and Kent, the ground handler for cruise ships in Kenya. "What the government needs to do is to improve the facilities without going for major investments, because the port is the first impression that the tourists get of the country.”

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Christmas Santa Almost Didn’t Come

One Christmas, when I was about three years old, we went to Hunter’s Lodge in Tsavo National Park. I had been a particularly bad little girl and my parents told me that they weren’t sure that Santa was even going to come that year.

When it came time to go to bed, we discovered that we had forgotten the stocking. Horrors! Not that! Now Santa definitely wasn’t going to come.

Dad came to the rescue and offered up one of his socks. I went to sleep incredulous but hopeful.

Christmas morning came and … Santa had come! All I remember about what he brought was a miniature refrigerator, complete with miniature eggs. Dad would swallow one and miraculously find it behind my ear.

So, why am I reminiscing about an event that happened more than 30 years ago?

In part, to wish those of you who celebrate Christmas a wonderful and merry holiday.

But mostly, because I read this story in eTN: “Uganda welcomes tourism boom over Christmas.”

Apparently, Uganda experienced a 30 percent increase in visitors compared to 2005, according to a published report from Uganda Travel Guide. “The record number of tourists traveling into Uganda this Christmas season is overwhelmingly high,” reported Uganda Travel Guide (UTG), “evidenced by the fully booked flights and sold out hotel rooms in Uganda.”

Mweya and Paraa safari lodges sold out almost a month ago, according to Madhvani group tourism director Mani Khan. He told UTG that this is a peak season compared to last year because the bookings were made in advance. The majority of these tourists, unlike previous years, are from the UK, US, Netherlands and Germany.

“An increase in tourist arrivals is attributed to a combination of factors,” said UTG, “including the improved hotel facilities/services, improved security, efforts to boost Uganda’s image abroad, engagement of public relations agencies, as well as the committed and qualified staff in the hospitality sector.”

Tourism Minister Serapio Rukundo credits the prevailing political stability for the increase. “Our cities are much safer compared to Kenya and South Africa,” he told reporters.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Peace through Tourism Promoted in East Africa

The 4th International Institute of Peace through Tourism (IIPT) African Conference Coming to Uganda in May

Kampala, Uganda, will host the fourth International Institute of Peace through Tourism (IIPT) African Conference May 20-25, 2007.

"We anticipate that this will be our most important and successful African conference to date,” said Louis D’Amore, IIPT Founder and President. "We have spent the past year fostering relationships in support of the conference with the aim of not only debating its theme and goals – but to building partnerships that will act on them."

The theme of the conference is "Building Strategic Alliances for Sustainable Tourism Development, Peace and Reconciliation on the African Continent." Among the many goals of the conference is increasing public and government awareness of the role tourism plays in preserving the biodiversity of the African Continent.

According to the IIPT newsletter, the Conference will bring together senior African executives from both the public and private sectors of tourism, as well as NGOs, donor agencies, educators, policy makers, leading practitioners, entrepreneurs, future leaders of the industry, and senior representatives of related sectors including environment, culture and economic development.

The conference will include plenary sessions, workshops, an Educators Forum, a Youth Leadership Forum and a Traditional Leaders Forum, as well as pre-conference training workshops on selected topics.

For more information about the conference, visit