NEW LODGE TO OPEN IN REMOTE KAOKOLAND NAMIBIA Comments Off on NEW LODGE TO OPEN IN REMOTE KAOKOLAND NAMIBIA 1324

South African-based safari company Natural Selection has announced it will open the Hoanib Valley Camp in the remote and wild Kaokoland in northwest Namibia in May. The camp is a joint venture between Natural Selection, the local communities and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Located in the Sesfontein Community Conservancy, the camp sits on the banks of the Obias River, just outside the Palmwag Concession and overlooks the ephemeral Hoanib River.

From the camp, guests can track elusive desert-adapted lions, elephants and black rhinos, enjoy cultural experiences and discovering more about the desert-adapted giraffes that are the focus of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s work in Hoanib.

Hoanib Valley Camp features six guest tents that are raised on large decks and all have views out to the Hoanib River valley beyond.

Rates at Hoanib Valley Camp start at $580 per person, per night, inclusive of accommodations, meals, daily activities and locally brewed beers and wines from the region.

CONSERVATION

Hoanib Valley Camp is a joint venture with the local community and with the NGO the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). GCF are the longest running giraffe conservation charity in Africa and are the leaders in cutting edge giraffe research. In Hoanib, their research not only focusses on the desert-adapted giraffe in the area, but also helps to monitor elephant and general game.

Very few people realise the giraffe are endangered and they are often over-shadowed by the larger (sexier!) species such as rhino and elephant. Through their genetic work, Dr. Fennessy and the GCF have discovered four distinct species of giraffe across Africa, instead of what was formally thought to be sub-species – crucial information concerning the future of giraffe populations across the continent. Interested in finding out more? When in camp there are opportunities to meet the researchers and learn about the critical work going on in the area, and it’s also possibly to spend time in the field with the team for a donation of US$ 500.

Natural Selection donates 1.5% of their gross revenue to conservation, and the GCF is one of the partners who receives funds. We’re delighted to have partnered with them, and to be contributing to their research and project work.

WILDLIFE

The wildlife of the Hoanib Valley is perfectly at home in the arid environment, and learning about their survival techniques is fascinating. Game drives will reveal desert-adapted elephant, as well as stately desert-adapted giraffe, and, if you’re very lucky, desert lion. Zebra, klipspringer and kudu move freely through the mountains, and you’ll find hardy herds of springbok and oryx, as well as steenbok picking their way across the dust-blown landscapes. The region is home to the largest population of free-ranging black rhino, and a day (or even a morning or an afternoon) tracking the magnificent beasts is an absolute must. Bird watchers, keep your eyes peeled for Monteiro’s hornbills or Ruppell’s korhaans in the valleys, and the imperious Verreaux’s eagle in the mountains.

THE LANDSCAPE

Deep in the north-western corner of Namibia, Kaokoland is one of the most remote, wild and marvellously unique areas of the country. It’s a land characterised by rolling dunes, rocky mountains and desert plains all criss-crossed by ancient, dry riverbeds, the roads of the area. Temporary Himba settlements dot the landscape, and scattered herds of desert-adapted elephant and giraffe are a common sight.

Hoanib Valley Camp itself is located in the Sesfontein Community Conservancy, our joint partners in the area. The camp sits on the banks of the Obias River, just outside the private 500 square kilometre Palmwag Concession, and overlooks the ephemeral Hoanib River that teems with resident elephant, giraffe, oryx and springbok. Although parts of the land have been designated ‘concession areas’ tourism is still limited, making a visit to this unspoiled corner even more memorable.

Sources: Travel Weekly | Natural Selection

Author – Marc Anthony Johnson

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Mauritius B2B Hospitality magazine, a quarterly publication and blog for the industry professionals. Want to reach the hospitality decision makers in Mauritius/Rodrigues? Contact us +230 57 94 64 37 or [email protected]

THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR POST COVID-19 Comments Off on THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR POST COVID-19 364

As the hospitality industry resumes operations, it has been the moment to adapt, redesign and implement new ways and ideas to help the sector accelerate recovery and reinvent the hospitality of tomorrow.

What are the most prominent trends in hospitality today and what will the new customers’ demands be? How are hotels adapting their business operations to receive travellers and go back to business but still remaining sustainable? What are the best ways to gain guests’ confidence back? What is the role of technology in the process? These and more topics will be discussed in this webinar on the future of the hospitality sector post COVID-19, focusing in the Middle East region.

Source – https://www.unwto.org/event/the-future-of-the-hospitality-sector-post-covid-19

THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN Comments Off on THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN 653

After the recent round of short interviews with hospitality leaders in the Maldives, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka, these were the key messages that will win customers back. 

MALDIVES – No social distancing, but a rather physical distancing in the Maldives.

One month ago the Maldives reopened the country borders to international travelers and since then, welcomed nearly 4500 tourists mainly from the UK, USA, UAE, Germany, Swiss, and Russia. With strict health and safety standard procedures implemented across the country, starting from the airport to the resort islands, the ‘new travelers’ have already voiced their appreciation for the level of care and hygiene on various social media and forums. But if being welcomed by the resort representatives wrapped in PPE and armed with face shield, gloves, and masks might not feel like the most relaxing start of a much-needed holiday, Afeef Hussain, Regional Director at LUX* Resorts in the Maldives, reassures that guests do love the feeling of safety 

“Being able to arrive at the resort and start enjoying their vacation right away not having to worry about anything, is what our guests want”

Together with high levels of hygiene, another key element to restoring travel confidence is the value of the experience. Afeef Hussain shares that the ‘new travelers’ are not going to spend the same amount of money they used to. Therefore, the value of the vacation is under great scrutiny and determines whether your customer might decide to return to your hotel or to travel somewhere else. 

“There is no such thing of ‘new normal’, but rather a ‘new mindset’”

To ensure that each action taken to uphold the hygiene standards at the resorts is mutually beneficial, Afeef says that whatever is done for the guests, is also done for the team members. This ensures their wellbeing and wellness and translates the Company’s core message of ‘care’ into action.

SRI LANKA – Borders are closed, but our resorts are not.

Sri Lanka has recently delayed the opening of the country borders, but hotels and resorts across the island are back in business with the local market. The execution of health and safety standards at each property has been instrumental to restore a domestic travel confidence, says Arjuna Perera – Sales Manager at Theme Resorts & SPA based in Colombo. To start with, Arjuna Perera and his team produced a video message to show all the procedures and reassure their customer base. 

‘We immediately created a survey, to help understand what are our customers’ priorities at this critical time’ 

But, as we know, the local market demand alone does not cover it. A voucher system propelled by Arjuna’s sales team successfully generated over 1000 room nights. This shows that flexibility is another key factor to encourage travel demand. Flights can be canceled or delayed, quarantine systems are changing by the day. ‘All we need is a bit of flexibility’ says Arjuna ‘and the results are showing us that people are keen to travel, they just want to feel safe’. 

But how do we ensure social distancing in Sri Lanka? For Theme Resorts & Spa, more than distancing, we talk about isolation, but in a good way. The nature experience of some of their properties is guaranteed to the point that to reach some of their glamping sites, you will have to be picked up by the hotel concierge somewhere in the jungle.

MAURITIUS – A contactless experience and smart use of technology.

As Mauritius prepares to reopen borders next month, the health & safety checklist of the destination seems to grow longer.

The use of technology, however, plays a key role in the destination, currently undergoing a digital transformation with a brand new website, a travel platform in the making and a range of digital solutions for tourists. Airline and travel industry expert Youvraj Seeam, based in Mauritius, shares that to pick up on travel confidence, we first have to observe the consumers’ changing behaviors and thereafter understand the new demands.

“For this to be truly successful, we need collaboration with all the stakeholders across the industry”

Youvraj shares that tools like the Travel Recovery Insights Portal of ARC & Boston Consulting, the McKinsey Travel Pulse, or the Traveller Trends Tracker by Adara must be on top of today’s agenda for the modern marketer. This would enable industry leaders to have more visibility and start making progress along the way.

Based on his experience in the airline industry, the key message needs to revolve around hygiene standards and procedures from the moment the traveler checks-in, boards the plane and reaches the destination. Once arrived, says Youvraj, a contactless experience needs to be in place to ensure a safe transit until the guest ultimately reaches the hotel.

 About the author:

Dolores Semeraro is a multilingual professional speaker and trainer, fluent in the Chinese language. She provides strategic direction and training courses to companies and tourism institutions helping them to speak today’s digital language of their audience. Her vision is to create a sustainable digital connection between travel industry stakeholders and their desired customers.