Month: July 2015
The 2015 edition of the most celebrated cycle race, Tour de France, has now been concluded after three gruelling weeks. Chris Froome won the race, his second victory after the one in 2013. The 30-year old Kenya-born Briton led most of the race, although the young Colombian Nairo Quintana made powerful attacks in last few mountain stages. Quintana may well become the first non-western winner of Le Tour, something he already achieved with Giro d’Italia last year. Read the rest of this entry »
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has recently published the 2014 statistics on international tourism. These are summarised on the UNWTO Tourism Highlights (2015 edition) publication. Globally tourism has been growing almost uninterrupted since the 1950’s. Europe accounts still about half of all international tourist arrivals, but emerging regions, especially Asia-Pacific but also Middle East and Africa have seen stronger growth in the last 30 years. Asia-Pacific region has now overtaken the Americas as the second most popular region. Despite the growth since 1980’s, Africa remains a minor player in world tourism, with 2014 being a year of a slow growth, not least due to Ebola outbreak.
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Road cycling is known as a sport dominated by white Europeans. If people were asked who is the best African cyclist, the most likely answer would be Chris Froome, Tour de France 2013 winner who was born in Kenya, then moved to South Africa but has represented UK for years now. Other than that, various (white) South Africans like Robert Hunter and Darryl Impey have been established names in the world of competitive cycling. North African countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria) have also performed well in continental competitions, but have made little mark beyond that. But more remarkably, new cyclists are emerging from less known countries like Rwanda and Eritrea. Ethnic African riders are participating Tour de France for the first time this year. At the early stages of he competition Daniel Teklehaimanot of Eritrea made history by wearing the polka-dot jersey, given to the leader of King of the Mountains competition.
UPDATE, July 30, 2016: The cost of Uganda single-entry visa has been reduced back to 50 USD, so the double price was a short experiment ending in a foreseeable failure. For Malawi, the current visa fees appear to be 75 USD for a 3-month-visa, or 50 USD for transit visa valid for seven days.
Just as Kenya stops issuing visa on arrival, two other African countries punish tourists by significantly increasing visa fees. Reports say that the cost of Ugandan single entry visa has been doubled from 50 to 100 USD, while the Malawi visa is or will be increased to 75 USD, while previously visa-exempt nationalities have to pay for a visa.
Western tourists are used to visit most countries of interest without having to pay for a visa, but just few of those countries are in Africa. Recent fee hikes further highlight the divide. Majority of potential tourists shun Africa due to numerous image problems the continent has, and new visa rules will not improve situation.
Starting from July 1st, 2015 Kenya introduced e-visa, meaning the Kenyan visa will be applied online from now on. Visa on arrival will be available until August 30, 2015, but thereafter every visitor to Kenya must have obtained the e-visa (save those from visa-exempt countries). Visa will be applied through the Kenya E-Citizen portal. Visa application process should take at least two days and up to a week. A visitor may be denied boarding a plane if he/she fails to provide a proof of a granted visa. Thus booking a trip to Kenya on a short notice will be difficult or impossible, as a consequence Kenya will lose potential tourists.