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Qatar Airways and RwandAir have agreed to an interline partnership, connecting through their hubs in Doha and Kigali, the carriers announced.

With the partnership, passengers on Qatar—which has five weekly flights to Kigali via Entebbe, Uganda—can connect from Kigali to RwandAir's network of destinations in Africa, including Bujumbura, Burundi; Brazzaville, Republic of Congo; and Libreville, Gabon. Similarly, RwandAir passengers will be able to connect to Qatar's global network from Doha.

The two carriers last month announced an agreement for frequent-flyer program reciprocity, through which members of each Qatar Airways Privilege Club and RwandAir Dream Miles can both earn and use points on one another's networks.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al-Baker said last year that Qatar had plans to acquire a 49 percent stake in RwandAir, and at a CAPA Live virtual event last month, RwandAir chief executive officer Yvonne Makolo said that was "still in progress." Qatar also has a large investment in the construction of a new Kigali airport.

"Africa is a hugely important market for us, and this latest partnership will help support the recovery of international air travel and offer unrivalled connectivity to and from a number of new African destinations," Al-Baker said in a statement. - Michael B. Baker, Business Travel News

Each elephants will be transported in an individual cage. Photo Howletts

 

(CNN) — An entire herd of elephants from a British zoo will be released into the wild in Kenya in what conservationists have hailed as a world first.

The 13 elephants live at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent, southern England, and will be flown more than 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) to Kenya, according to a press release from animal conservation charity the Aspinall Foundation Tuesday.

Twelve of the elephants were born and raised in Kent and one was born in Israel. None of the animals have ever lived in the wild.

The group weighs 25 tons in total and includes three calves. It will be the first time that a herd of elephants has been "rewilded" in the world, organizers say.

Rewilding aims to restore ecosystems to a natural state, and often involves the reintroduction of native animals.

The charity said that it hopes the project will discourage the global trade in elephants and encourage the return of animals to the wild where possible, adding that no elephants belong in captivity.

The Aspinall Foundation is working on the project with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service, and two sites in the south of Kenya are under consideration for their release.

"This is an incredibly exciting project and a genuine world-first," said Damian Aspinall, chairman of the Aspinall Foundation, in the press release.

"As with any conservation project of this magnitude, there are obviously big risks, but we consider them well worth it to get these magnificent elephants back into the wild where they belong."

While rewilding elephants is "uncharted territory," according to the foundation website, other species have been released "very successfully." Last year the foundation sent two cheetahs back to the wild in South Africa, it added.

"Since the 1970s, we have been helping elephants, providing a wild future to more than 260 rescued orphans and operating extensive protection projects to ensure they, their wildborn babies and their wild kin are best protected throughout their lives," said Angela Sheldrick, CEO of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, in the press release.

"We look forward to offering that same opportunity to these 13 elephants when they set foot on African soil -- home, where they belong, and able to live wild and free as nature intended."

The elephants will be transported in individual cages customized to their needs, and vets will be on hand throughout the flight, according to the Aspinall Foundation website. Conservationists are raising funds for the project. - Jack Guy, CNN

 

NAIROBI, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will leverage the untapped African market to boost tourist arrivals and hasten the sector's recovery after a slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an official has said.

Wausi Walya, Corporate Affairs Manager at Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said that marketing of the country as an attractive destination for visitors from the continent has intensified, buoyed by the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

"There are immense potential in both the regional and the African market which we are trying to capture through various platforms," Walya said Sunday evening during a meeting with tour operators from Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia in the coastal city of Mombasa.

She said Kenya will be organizing trips for African tour operators to familiarize them with scenic attractions in the country including coastal beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and archaeological sites.

According to Walya, Kenya considers the African tourism market as strategic with Uganda leading in the number of visitors to the country.

Walya said that Kenya has witnessed a gradual spike in the number of tourist arrivals from the region thanks to aggressive marketing and the easing of red tape at border posts. - Xinhua

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