Tag: africa

Travel agents in Mideast, Africa say UAE is blocking visas

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Travel agencies in countries across the Middle East and Africa say the United Arab Emirates has temporarily halted issuing new visas to their citizens, a so-far unexplained ban on visitors amid both the coronavirus pandemic and the UAE’s normalization deal with Israel.

Confusion over the UAE visa ban targeting 11 Muslim-majority nations, in addition to Lebanon and Kenya, swirled after a leaked document from Dubai’s state-owned airport free zone surfaced this week, declaring restrictions against a range of nationalities.

Emirati authorities have not acknowledged the suspension that comes as the UAE welcomes Israeli tourists for the first time in history, the coronavirus pandemic surges across the region and those searching for work in the federation of seven sheikhdoms increasingly overstay their tourist visas amid a cascade of business shutdowns and lay-offs.

Citing an order from the country’s immigration authorities, the note to companies operating in Dubai’s airport free zone announced a pause in issuing all new employment, long and short-term visit visas “until further notice” from countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Tunisia, without offering a reason. Those already holding visas would not be affected, it said.

The revelation has gripped social media feeds and news outlets worldwide, underscoring the UAE’s global status as magnet for expat workers and visitors who outnumber locals nearly nine to one in the country.

When asked by The Associated Press about the order, the country’s immigration department said it’s “not aware of any formal list of nationalities requiring visa suspension.” Dubai’s airport free zone confirmed the veracity of the document to the AP and said it was waiting for further clarification from officials.

Meanwhile, across the region, agencies and authorities say their citizens are forbidden from entering the UAE.

Travel agents in Pakistan said the UAE has barred single men under the age of 50 from the country, although those traveling with family can still obtain visas. Last week, Pakistan’s foreign office said it had “learnt that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas” in a move “believed to be related to the second wave of COVID-19.”

Bestways Travel company south of Islamabad was skeptical. “With such specific age and gender limits, obviously this has nothing to do with the coronavirus,” agent Jamchit Agha said. He said it was more likely tied to security concerns, or fears about young men overstaying visas to find jobs in Dubai, the region’s financial hub. Dubai relies on millions of low-paid expat workers from Southeast Asia.

Several travel companies across Afghanistan also claimed the UAE had stopped issuing visas to citizens, without offering any explanation.

In Kenya, speculation has spread that the country landed on the UAE’s blacklist over a spate of fake certificates showing negative results on coronavirus tests used to travel to the UAE, resulting in 21 arrests Thursday. Four travel agencies in the capital Nairobi said they were seeking clarification from Emirati authorities after dozens of tourist visas were rejected. Travel

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Travel agents in Mideast, Africa say UAE is blocking visas | St. Louis business news

Saeed Mohammed, an agent at Arabian Nights Tours in Dubai, said he frequently faces difficulties obtaining UAE entry visas for Iranians, Turkish citizens and those from Yemen’s rebel-held capital due to simmering political tensions. The UAE’s recent normalization deal with Israel, which now allows Israelis to visit the emirate’s skyscraper-studded cities visa-free, has cast a spotlight on a changing Middle East. Gulf leaders have come to see Israel, a former enemy, as a key ally against the shared threats of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Despite long-standing visa troubles, Mohammed said he’s never seen the 100% visa rejection rate of the past week, with some dozen visitor visas denied each day from Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and other countries.

“We can only assume that there has been some change in the law, but in reality, no one knows,” he said.

Mohammad Hosseini, Iran’s Chargé d’Affaires in the UAE, wrote on Twitter Thursday that he’s following up with the Emirati Foreign Ministry after hearing the visa ban applies to 13 countries “temporarily and until further notice.” A travel agent in Tehran said Iranians hadn’t received visas to enter the UAE since early August.

One travel agent in Istanbul said she wasn’t at all surprised by the ban, especially given the UAE’s growing trend of rejecting Turkish visas over the past few months — the result of a political rivalry, not the coronavirus, she added.

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South Africa will lift restrictions on all international travel.

South Africa will open its borders to all international travelers, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Wednesday, even as the number of new coronavirus cases rises in some parts of the country, leaving some officials concerned that a rollback on travel restrictions could invite a second wave.

“We are also opening up international travel to all countries subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative Covid-19 certificate,” said Mr. Ramaphosa during an address to the country. He did not say when the new rules would replace a current, lengthy no-fly list that bans tourists from dozens of European countries and the United States.

The announcement came ahead of what would normally be the beginning of peak tourist season, when colder weather in the northern hemisphere starts luring up to 10 million foreigners to the country’s pristine beaches and game safaris.

South Africa has recorded more than 740,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 20,000 deaths since the spring, according to a New York Times database. Cases have dropped from a high of 12,000 new daily infections in July to fewer than 2,000 a day for the past three months.

Still, localized spikes in cases have worried officials for several weeks, including in the Eastern Cape province and in Cape Town, a major tourist destination.

The government also declared five days of mourning for victims of the pandemic and for women and children who are victims of violence. South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of violence against women, which Mr. Ramaphosa called a “second pandemic.”

He said the national flag would fly at half-staff, and urged all citizens to wear black armbands on Nov. 25.

In other news from around the globe:

  • Athletes traveling to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics next summer will not be subject to the 14-day quarantine requirement, organizers said Thursday, though they must test negative before and in some cases after they arrive. Rules have not yet been decided for spectators at the Games, which were postponed for a year because of the pandemic.

  • All kindergartens and day care centers in Hong Kong will close for two weeks as a precaution, health officials said on Thursday, citing a cluster of more than 100 upper respiratory tract infections. So far, no students or teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus, but some have symptoms that are associated with it. Day care centers and kindergartens reopened in late September after spending most of the year operating remotely.

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South Africa Will Lift International Travel Restrictions

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South Africa Will Lift International Travel Restrictions

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa announced Wednesday that the country will open its borders to all international travelers despite an increasing number of coronavirus cases in some parts of the country.

The Covid-19 U.I.F. scheme has already paid out nearly 53 billion to over 4.7 million workers. These relief measures were necessary to protect those who are most vulnerable in a time of great distress. But they will have to come to an end as we do not, as a government, have sufficient resources to continue. As we transition to a new phase in our response, the only way forward is a rapid and sustained economic recovery. We are, therefore, working to enable all parts of our economy to return to full operation as quickly and as safely as possible. We are amending the Alert Level 1 regulations to restore normal trading hours, for instance, for the sale of alcohol at retail outlets. We are also opening up international travel to all countries subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative Covid-19 certificate. Now by utilizing rapid tests and strict monitoring, we intend to limit the spread of the infection through importation by those who will be traveling to our country.

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Despit Pandemic, Hotel Chains Grow in Africa

JOHANNESBURG—Africa’s tourism sector has cratered in the face of the coronavirus, but the world’s biggest hotel chains remain committed to the continent.

Major hotel chains, from

Marriott International

MAR 0.71%

to Radisson Hotel Group and Paris-based


AC 1.10%

Europe’s largest hotel company, say their African businesses are not only holding up, they are determined to stay on track with, if not grow, their footprints. The companies see sub-Saharan Africa as underserved and underdeveloped in terms of hotels and predict that demand for both business and leisure travel will grow once the pandemic abates.

“I haven’t heard of anybody that says we aren’t interested in Africa anymore,” said Trevor Ward, owner of W Hospitality Group, a Lagos, Nigeria-based advisory firm that works across Africa. “The long-term play is fine.”

Travel restrictions and social-distancing have kept long-haul business and leisure travelers at home, choking a crucial source of revenue for the region. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that in a baseline scenario, Africa will lose 10.9 million, or 44%, of its tourism-sector jobs and $75 billion, or 45%, of its tourism income this year. On a percentage basis, that decline is worse than the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas, though not as bad as Europe.

The collapse of many independent hotels due to Covid-19 has heralded a new phase of consolidation in the lodging industry, where big chains are taking over and rebranding distressed properties, leading to faster expansion across Africa, hotel chains and analysts say. That is partly because hotel chains bear little risk or cost when they convert an independent property to their brand, at least compared with building a new property; the converted hotel becomes part of the chain, which collects franchise fees from the hotel’s revenue.

The conversion trend is present across emerging markets, but particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, due to a lack of hotels for business travelers in burgeoning hubs like Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Abuja, Nigeria. To be sure, the expansion of hotel chains is just one slice of Africa’s diverse hotel market. Properties outside cities in iconic regions from Zanzibar, Tanzania, to Botswana’s Okavango Delta have also taken a huge hit.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Christopher Nassetta called conversions a bright spot for the company during Hilton’s August earnings call, even as the chain suffered an 81% decrease in revenue per available room, or RevPAR,—the key metric for a hotel’s top-line performance, combining room rates with occupancy—during the period.

Andrew McLachlan, managing director of development for sub-Saharan Africa at Hilton, which has 25 operational hotels and 41 hotels under development in the region, says the company’s interest is being sustained partly because the continent’s hospitality sector remains underdeveloped in terms of expected future demand compared with other parts of the world.

“We have quite a robust deal flow at the moment,” said Mr. McLachlan. “Some of my colleagues in other markets are not seeing new deal flow coming in.”

“From a development point of view, [the pandemic has] created

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African Safari Tours & Award Winning Vacations to East Africa

She struts across the savannah, attitude on full display. At around four feet tall and ten pounds, she’s not the biggest thing out here, but she has swagger and a killer kick. I watch her chase several immense vultures off a carcass, just because she can. This is the most unique bird of prey in … Read More

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The Greatest Hospitals In Cape Town, South Africa

The word hotel originated from the French phrase hotel, derived from the word hote – that means host. The perceived ‘worth’ or worth of the property is lowered as charges drop and over time, visitors will not worth your property sufficient to pay the amount you need to stay in business. Successful hotels are profitable as a result of people use them time and time once more and advocate them to others.

The celebrated Hilton Malta promises the most effective in accommodation and a excessive normal of service for which Hilton hotels are renowned. Some individuals wishing to have Cotswolds weekend breaks keep at a Cotswold bed and breakfast that is really an English country home with magnificent gardens.

Promotion is how you make your people aware of your hotel and its distinctive worth proposition and convert them into friends. Membership members obtain a degree allotment based on the villa sort and season they own (or have reserved in some circumstances) at their home resort.

If you’re the explorer kinds, and want to explore the native culture and traditions of Islamabad then go for the native hotels or the luxurious guest house accommodations. This can be a good way for the reservation workers to double check the length of your stay as hotels count nights and not days when preparing your bill.

Moreover, it is good if your chosen hotel is located in the metropolis middle, the place you’ll be able to expect to discover many extra things of town off your online business time (such as the nighttime). 2) Plan your advertising technique before you method folks in the hospitality enterprise.…

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