Oct 21, 2017 Last Updated 8:31 AM, Oct 20, 2017

Nairobi beautifies city for Obama visit

ABN – Work on the beautification of Nairobi has intensified ahead of US president Barack Obama’s visit next month.

The Nairobi government have employed more than 500 youths to unclog drains, clear bushes and cut grass on major roads.

The Mombasa Road, Lang’ata Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way are all being worked on for Sh400 (US$4.1) a day.

Environment chief officer Leah Oyake said: "The team cleaning the city is from the National Youth Service.

“The county made special arrangements with the national government, which agreed to train them for us.”

Environment executive Evans Ondieki added: "For security reasons, I am not allowed to divulge all the information and the exact roads.

“But as you have seen, we have started the beautification of Mombasa and other roads. We have to make our city clean." 


Uber competes with Kenyan companies

ABN – Global taxi firm Uber is facing tough competition from small businesses in Nairobi that are wanting to launch an “Uber of Kenya”.

Uber is said to be fighting with Kenyan companies such as Easy Taxi and Maramoja, which believe they could cater to the Kenyan market far better than Uber.

Both companies believe their drivers are more thoroughly licensed than Uber drivers and licensing is vital in a city with such high crime rates.

Uber launched in Nairobi in January and believes its service in the country can be accessed with the same ease as its services in New York and London.

Alastair Curtis, who launched Uber in the country, said: “We want to keep the user experience as magical as possible.”


South Africa’s hospitality industry positioned to grow

ABN – South Africa’s hospitality industry looks set to grow over the next five years with Cape Town generating a large majority of the growth.

Although the country’s economy has weakened recently, the hotel industry had an increased number of visitors in 2014, which led to a rise in room rates.

However the country continues to face challenges from load shedding, strikes and xenophobia.

PwC Hospitality Industry leader Nikki Forster said: “The South African hotel market faces a number of challenges, but we are very optimistic in its ability to compete, adapt and succeed, especially as the global economy continues to improve following the recent economic uncertainty.

“Growth in travel and tourism is also expected to boost growth in the accommodation industry across the African continent during the next five years.

“The hotel occupancy rate reached its highest level in 2014 of 59% since 2008.

“The hotel occupancy rate is expected to increase to 62% by 2019 but still remain lower than the 68.4% achieved in 2008.”

The country has also recently revised its visa regulations.

Forster added: “Under the revised regulations tourists to South Africa will have to apply in person for visas to visit South Africa so that biometric data can be reliably collected.

“In addition, parents and guardians travelling with minors must have an unabridged birth certificate that shows the names of both parents.

“Although the new regulations are intended to protect South Africa they could have unforeseen consequences for the tourism and hospitality industries.

“Furthermore, the regulations may be onerous for tourists to comply with. It still remains to be seen as to how they will affect the tourism and hospitality sectors.”


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