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From Denis Dionne, ATA Canada, Montréal
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Qatar Airways in Tanzania
Qatar Airways' first commercial plane touched down on the Tanzanian soil in its inaugural flight Tuesday afternoon amid a fanfare of music and traditional African dance to welcome the new entrant in the Tanzanian skies.

Led by its chief executive officer (CEO) Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways' Airbus &endash; A319 landed at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Tanzania's commercial capital of Dar es Salaam at 14:30 East African time (1130 GMT) from its home capital of Doha with passengers and senior executives from the airline's head office.

Mr. Al Baker said Tanzania is Qatar Airways' target during the year 2007 and Dar es Salaam is now a 71st  global destination for the Doha based airline.

"We are looking ahead to introduce bigger aircraft in the Tanzanian route with daily flights," Mr. Al Akbar said.  "I am absolutely delighted to see a Qatar Airways aircraft landing in Tanzania for the first time. I would like to thank Tanzania government and the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) for their efforts in making this route a reality today."

"Tanzania is a strategically important country for Qatar Airways as we build our operations across Africa and provide our passengers with greater choice and a wider network of destinations," he added.

He said, there has been strong air traffic between Europe and the Asian states to East Africa and Qatar Airways is looking forward to facilitating travel demands via Doha.

Africa presents huge opportunities for Qatar Airways while Tanzania is one of the premier business destinations in the African continent by virtue of tourist attractions available including Mount Kilimanjaro and a dozen wildlife parks, Mr. Al  Baker said.

Qatar Airways' African network currently covers Casablanca (Morocco), Algiers, Tunis, Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Khartoum, Tripoli, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Nairobi.  Lagos (Nigeria) will be added in the first quarter of this year.

Tanzanian Transport Minister Andrew Chenge said Tanzania and Qatar have signed a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) that would allow airline companies from each signatory to operate freely in each other.  

Qatar Airways has already opened a country office in the city centre of Dar es Salaam.  The airline will be operating the Tanzanian route as QR 544 every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Coming to Qatar Airways would be a great advantage to Tanzanian travelers to Asian countries, boosting air travel between East Africa, Middle East and Far East.

Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has been dominating the Middle East route, connecting the bustling city of Dubai and Dar es Salaam by its state-of-the-art A 330 &endash; 200 aircraft.

Emirates started operating to Dar es Salaam way back in 1997 with two flights per week, which were subsequently increased to daily flights in July 2003 via Nairobi.

(Source; ETurbo news January 10th 2007)


Mozambique amongst biggest tourist destinations


British newspaper, The Independent, has reported that Mozambique is one of the world's biggest tourist destinations for 2007

"Mozambique is now in peace, but it will still take time for tourists to consider the African country, which was once devastated by war, as a serious tourist destination," the paper said. The Independent focused on Ibo Island, one of the 32 islands of the Quirimbas archipelago in Cabo Delgado province, as one of Mozambique's main attractions. In the same article, the newspaper also pointed to Montenegro, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Mauritius, Egypt, the Seychelles and Australia as tourist destinations for 2007. Figures from the Mozambican Tourism Ministry showed that in 2005 Mozambique welcomed 700,000 tourists, whilst in 2000 it received just 5,000 tourists per year. Tourism minister, Fernando Sumbana recently told Mozambican newspaper, Notícias that Mozambique expected to have 1.2 million foreign tourists per year by 2013. In the last few years, the tourism sector has contributed around 2.5 percent of Mozambique's gross domestic product (GDP). In 2008 tourism is expected to net the state coffers US$157 million. Sumbana said that the biggest challenge over the next few year was to "develop and position Mozambique as a world class tourist destination." Figures from the World Tourism Organization, published by Mozambican news agency AIM, showed that in 2006 The Mozambican tourism market saw the greatest growth in the world, with a rise of around 37 percent in relation to 2005. (Source; Travel daily News; January 10th 2007)


Libya seals pact to develop more tourist zones

The Libyan Authority for Tourist Development and the French Agency for tourist, observation, development and engineering (ODIT) concluded a contract here Monday for the development of tourist investment zones in the coastal regions of Tobrouk (far northeastern part) and Sabratha (West). The Secretary of the Management Committee of the Libyan Tourist Development Authority, Dr Ali Fares Aweda, and the Director General of ODIT/France, Christian Mantei, signed the pact in the presence of the Libyan minister of Tourism, Ammar Latayef, and his French counterpart, L`on Bertrand, who is visiting Tripoli. The agreement comes within the implementation of cooperation agreements between the two countries in tourism. It aims at working out master plans focussing developments that can accommodate investors and tourist operators. This is concretely about France`s technical assistance aimed at promoting tourist investment zones in Libya through a strategy for the promotion of the zone located between Tobrouk and the Libyan- Egyptian border covering 180 km where more than 17 tourist investment zones were identified. The second region targeted by the agreement is the one that stretches from the city of Sabratha, that boasts one of the biggest archaeological sites of the Roman civilisation in Libya, Tellil and Mellita over a distance of 20 km on the western coast. Libyan tourist authorities explain this recourse to France`s assistance thanks to the broad experience this country boasts in the field of the promotion of tourist zones, namely on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea, which host more than 70 million tourists annually. In an interview with PANA after the signing ceremony, Libyan minister of tourism, Ammar Latayef, commended this agreement, whose implementation is expected to result in a greater development of the Libyan tourist sector.  (Source; ETurbo news January 10th 2007)