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Minister concerned as safety, security issues take toll on tourism stats

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Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane is concerned about a 2.1% (164 989) decrease in tourist arrivals to 7 562 743 for the period from January to September 2019.

A major factor impacting the decrease in arrivals has been concerns around safety and security.

The decline was mostly influenced by a decrease in arrivals from Australasia and Europe, with a decrease of 5% and 3.9% respectively, according to data released by Statistics SA earlier this week.

At the same time, the minister is pleased with an increase in tourist arrivals from the Middle East (4.2%); Asia (1.3%), Central and South America (0.3%) and North America (0.2%).

In her view, it is a good indicator that more focused and aggressive marketing strategies in these regions will yield positive results.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), told Fin24 on Thursday that the organisation, which represents the private sector, has already met with the minister about the impact of safety and security concerns.

“The latest numbers reflect what we have been cautioning about since last year, namely that forward bookings are down, despite some markets remaining resilient. We will respond to return confidence in the market,” he said.

“Now it is time for the public and private sector to get together to achieve our goals of growing the tourism industry. We now know where the cracks are – like safety and security – and we have to now move with speed. The TBCSA is always ready to get to work.”

Kubayi-Ngubane has already led delegations to places like China and Japan and is visiting Ghana and Nigeria with the aim to increase the number of tourist arrivals.

Further more, her department is engaging with local stakeholders like airlines to see how joint marketing strategies could possibly lead to better results.

According to Tshivhengwa, SA’s tourism marketing must be purposeful to fix brand issues. In his view, the recent scrapping of the requirement of unabridged birth certificates for foreign minors arriving in SA, will have a positive impact to repair the country’s image as a family market.

“We need to be competitive in presenting our tourism case. It will take hard work,” he added.

Kubayi-Ngubane indicated that her department, along with other stakeholders, will at the beginning of December announce a Tourism Safety Strategy and the implementation of plans as a response to the concerns raised by key markets.  

“We are committed to reach (President Cyril Ramaphosa’s) target of 21 million arrivals by 2030 and we are working with all the stakeholders in the sector to make this a reality,” she said.

“We realise that, as we work towards this target, we might experience some fluctuations, but we will ensure that the overall trajectory remains positive.”

Christelle Grohmann, director of the tourism specialist unit at professional services firm BDO, recently told Fin24 that Ramaphosa’s tourism target is double the number of tourists SA had at the beginning of the year and equates to a 6% compound growth.

According to Grohmann, the latest decline in numbers highlights that the SA tourism industry is far from having the momentum to achieve these goals.

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Flybe owners seek £100m government loan

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Flybe’s owners are trying to borrow £100m as a short-term loan from the government.

Connect Airways has also agreed to put £20m extra cash into its troubled regional airline, according to sources.

The company confirmed last week it was seeking a loan on “commercial” terms but not how much it wanted to borrow.

At the time Flybe boss Mark Anderson told staff it had had “difficult days” but still had “a great future”. He said the loan would not be a bailout.

That would be on top of the £30m already promised.

News of the amount being sought by Flybe was first reported by the Financial Times newspaper. The airline declined to comment.

If it succeeds, it will be an unusual move by the government, which declined to assist Thomas Cook when it asked for a loan.

British Airways’ owner IAG has filed a complaint to the EU arguing that Flybe’s rescue breaches state aid rules.

EasyJet and Ryanair have said taxpayer funds should not be used to save a rival.

Flybe, which flies to 170 different destinations, has been struggling under the weight of an estimated £106m bill for air passenger duty as well as a slowdown in demand that has hurt the airline’s finances.

It services dozens of UK domestic routes that are not flown by other airlines, making it the largest carrier to fly out of some regional airports, like Newquay.

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What parents can do to prevent teens from driving drunk

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Older teens who know that their parents disapprove of drinking are less likely to drive impaired as young adults, a new study finds.

“As kids get older, we tend to step away from them. We think: ‘They’ve got this.’ But if kids think we approve or disapprove of them drinking, that can have a powerful effect,” said lead author Dr Federico Vaca, director of the Yale Developmental Neurocognitive Driving Simulation Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

Binge-drinking episodes

The new study included nearly 2 800 American teens who were followed for seven years.

By grade 12, 42% said they’d had alcohol in the past month, and 25% had at least one binge-drinking episode. Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks in two hours for women, and five or more for men.

Compared to those who did not binge-drink in grade 12, those who did were six times more likely to drive impaired two years later and more than twice as likely to drive impaired four years later.

Teens who binge-drank in grade 12 were also more likely to ride with an impaired driver, to have alcohol-related blackouts, and to indulge in extreme binges in subsequent years, according to the study. Extreme bingeing – 15 or more drinks on a single occasion – is a growing concern.

Great prevention power

However, the study also found that parents could reduce their teens’ future risk of impaired driving.

If teens in the 12th grade knew that their parents disapproved of drinking, it lowered the chances of their driving while impaired by 30% four years later, and of riding with an impaired driver by 20% one year later. It also lowered later odds of blackout by 20%.

“There is great prevention power in intentional parenting, and a strong, reliable, mutual relationship here can make all the difference in the world, including helping to identify the development of youth alcohol/drug use disorder and the need for specialised treatment services for addiction,” Vaca said in a Yale news release.

The study was published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Image credit: iStock








 







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Vardy’s injury not as bad as first feared: Rodgers

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London – Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers says Jamie Vardy’s glute injury is not as bad as first feared and he expects the club’s leading scorer to be back in action soon.

Vardy was forced off during the first half of Wednesday’s Premier League win against West Ham after initially trying to continue playing after he suffered the injury.

Vardy has scored 17 goals for Leicester this term, making him a key figure in the team’s unexpected surge into the top four.

It was feared the 33-year-old could be sidelined for several weeks in a blow to third-placed Leicester’s hopes of securing a spot in next season’s Champions League.

But while Vardy will not be involved in the FA Cup fourth round tie at Brentford on Saturday, Rodgers said there is an outside chance he could feature in Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final second leg against Aston Villa.

“He’s not available for the weekend and there will be a question mark for Tuesday, although it’s certainly not as serious as we first thought,” Rodgers told reporters on Friday.

“It’s not his hamstring, it’s a glute, so we’re hopeful for Tuesday, but there’s a little bit of work to do. He’ll get some work in with the medical team. He’ll stay with them for the weekend.

“He’s much better than directly after the game, when he was tight and sore and struggling to move. But today he was much better.”

Meanwhile, Leicester midfielder Nampalys Mendy was also injured in the first half against West Ham with a knee problem and Rodgers said he will be out for up to six weeks.



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Champion Tanak ‘fine’ after spectacular Monte Carlo crash

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Gap – World champion Ott Tanak and his co-driver escaped unscathed on Friday after their Hyundai somersaulted off an Alpine road at high speed in the Monte Carlo Rally.

WATCH | Tänak crashes out of Monte Carlo Rally

“Precautionary medical checks have confirmed that Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja are fine following their crash,” the team said in a statement after the pair had been checked over in hospital where they were due to remain overnight.

“But the Estonians will take no further part in the rally,” it added.

The Korean carmaker added that it had recovered the wrecked car.

Tanak, in his first rally for his new team, flew off an icy road on the fourth stage between Saint-Clement and Freissinieres.

The car’s nose dipped and hit the ground bouncing the vehicle into the air. It spun through a tree before landing 100m down the hillside.

The two Estonians miraculously climbed out of the car unscathed.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Hyundai team manager Andrea Adamo after the stage. “You saw what I saw, I’m waiting for him to come back but I was mostly concerned about his physical health.”

“Our priority in such situations is always the condition of the crew first and foremost,” Adamo later said. “It is customary after such incidents for hospital check-ups, the results of which were clear. They will remain there for monitoring overnight, which is again routine procedure.”

Tanak, 32, has never won the Monte Carlo Rally. He was in fourth place overall when he crashed.

His new team-mate Thierry Neuville was leading going into the stage but finished third.

“I was slowed down so much in that section,” Neuville, a Belgian, said. “I knew there was something when I saw Ott’s lines, so I lost quite a lot of time.”

Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, in a Toyota, finished second in the stage in which Tanak crashed.

“I hope Ott is okay,” the six-time former champion said. “It was a very fast section where he went off with a big compression.”

Welshman Elfyn Evans won the three morning sections to take the overall lead and held it even though Ogier took the first two afternoon stages as conditions changed as rain began to muddy the course.

Overnight temperature was below freezing and while there is not a lot of snow on the roads, there were still the patches of ice that had made the route difficult since the start the previous day.

After the two stages on Thursday evening. Tanak had complained about black ice and said: “I am happy to be alive!”

Several other drivers have been forced to retire after going off the road, including Britain’s Gus Greensmith (M-Sport Ford).


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Beware bank using Moneyweb’s logo, warns financial regulator

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The Financial Sector Conduct Authority has warned the public against a business which calls itself Moneyweb Private Bank, saying it is “fraudulently using” the logo of the financial news website to solicit investments. 

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, the FSCA said it had “reason to believe” that Moneyweb Private Bank Limited was operating unlawfully as a financial services provider by rendering financial services without authorisation. 

The financial publication, Moneyweb itself, has released statements clarifying that it does not offer money transfer services. 

In its statement, the FSCA said operating unlawfully as a financial services provider could attract a hefty penalty.

“Any entities or individuals rendering financial services without a licence or being appointed as representatives are acting in contravention of the FAIS Act. Such a contravention is an offence which carries a fine not exceeding R10m or a period of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years,” the statement said.

The statement said Moneyweb Private Bank was not authorised in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act of 2002 to render any financial advice and intermediary services.

“According to information received by the FSCA, Moneyweb Private Bank is fraudulently using the logo of Moneyweb – a South African media company, to solicit investments from the public,” the statement said.

The FSCA urged members of the public to check that an entity or individual is registered with the authority to provide financial advisory and intermediary services.

The authority said some businesses registered to provide basic advisory services for a low-risk product offered services of a far more complex and risky nature.


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Wikipedia Now Has More Than 6 Million Articles in English

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Wikipedia has surpassed a notable milestone this week: The English version of the world’s largest online encyclopedia now has more than six million articles. From a report: The feat, which comes roughly 19 years after the website was founded, is a testament of “what humans can do together,” said Ryan Merkley, chief of staff at Wikimedia, the nonprofit organization that operates the omnipresent online encyclopedia. The 6 millionth article is about Maria Elise Turner Lauder, a 19th-century Canadian school teacher, travel writer and fiction writer. The article was written by Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, a longtime editor of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is available in dozens of languages, but its English-language version has the most number of articles. The English edition is also the most visited project on the website. According to publicly disclosed figures, the English version of the website averages about 255 million pageviews a day. According to web analytics firm SimilarWeb, Wikipedia overall is the eighth most visited website.

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