Shigar Fort Residence, Hunza Baltit Inn set to open
Monday, March 23, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Serena Hotels has announced the seasonal reopening of Shigar Fort Residence from March 22 and of Hunza Baltit Inn from April 1, 2009.
The Shigar Fort Residence, which is also the recipient of many international awards, is a 400 hundred-year old Fort Palace which has been restored by Aga Khan Cultural Services, Pakistan, says a press release.
This unique heritage project offers guests the opportunity to experience the restored, original architecture of a
17th century Raja Fort Palace while enjoying the modern amenities and services of a luxury guest house. It is located on the legendry route to the world’s second highest mountain K-2.
The Hunza Baltit Inn, located in the ancient town of Karimabad , stands in a magnificent setting of flower gardens with commanding views over the heavenly Hunza Valley and is a popular destination for leisure travellers.
Serena Hotels Pakistan awarded by ACCA
'Pakistan Times' Metro Desk
ISLAMABAD: ACCA Pakistan presented Approved Employer Certificate to Serena Hotels Pakistan, owned and managed by Tourism Promotion Services (Pakistan) Limited TPSP, today in a ceremony held in Islamabad.
TPSP is a subsidiary of The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) that owns and operates a network of seven hotels and office complex throughout Pakistan located at Islamabad, Faisalabad, Quetta, Swat, Gilgit, Hunza and Shigar Fort Residence in Skardu.
ACCA’s Approved Employer Scheme plays a pivotal role in the recruitment, development and retention of the ACCA members and trainees employed in the approved organisations. As an approved employer, Serena Hotels will reach global best practice in the provision of learning and development opportunities for ACCA trainees and members.
Head of ACCA Pakistan Mr Arif Masud Mirza, presented the award to Mr Aziz Boolani, Chief Pakistan presented the award to Mr Aziz Boolani, Chief Executive Officer for Serena Hotels South and Central Asia.
Speaking on the occasion Mr Boolani applauded the efforts of ACCA towards employer relationship building. He said, “We understand the need for consistent training and development and hope that this relationship with ACCA will go a long way in helping us attract and shape the brightest minds in the business.”
Mr Arif Masud Mirza said “Serena Hotels are playing an extremely important role in tourism development in Pakistan by depicting a positive image of this country globally. ACCA’s linkages with Serena Hotels will allow young talented ACCA trainees and members to work in an important and growing sector, build their knowledge and professional skills. We are very excited about working with Serena Hotels towards setting up a professional training scheme under this partnership.”
A press release says that ACCA is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. It has 362,000 students and 131,500 members in 170 countries worldwide.
ACCA has worked with governments, national organisations and development agencies in emerging economies - for over 20 years - promoting the accounting profession to create value for the communities, businesses and individuals it serves.
Interview with Mahmud Janmohamed, MD of Serena Hotels, Nairobi
Operating under the brand name Serena Hotels, Tourism Promotion Services (TPS Serena Hotels) is an international hotel group established in the mid 1970s, and currently owns and manages 29 hotels in nine countries. We spoke to the Managing Director Mahmud Janmohamed to give us an insight into the chain’s operations.
SerenaMahmoud What’s the core remit of the Serena Hotels group?
Serena Hotel’s main business is operating up-market hotels, lodges, camps and luxury resorts in some of the most exquisite and remote settings in Africa and Asia. The group is owned (majority shareholder) by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development [AKFED]—the only for-profit institution within the Aga Khan Development Network founded by the Aga Khan in 1984. Serena Hotels owns and manages a total of 29 up-market hotels, safari lodges and resorts—21 properties in Eastern Africa and eight properties in Central Asia.
How has your African performance been compared to the rest of the world?
It would be difficult to comment on the African tourism performance compared to the rest of the world, however according to various reports that I have read, travellers would rather sacrifice on other leisure activities before cancelling or delaying travel this year. Recent trends indicate a slowdown in global business travel as majority of companies have reduced travelling budgets for 2009.
Are you worried about the global economic slowdown eating into your operations?
As the global economic crisis deepens, combined with the uncertainty and decline in both customer and business confidence, demand for global tourism is expected to be a challenge for the next 12 to 18 months. Other challenges such as spiraling inflation, high cost of food and an unpredictable energy sector are expected to further slowdown the industry. Owing to our experience as a group (in operating under a wide range of economic scenarios), I believe that our tested and highly successful business model will enable us to perform well. It may not be great in the short run, but we are confident that the group’s fundamentals are healthy. It is also a learning opportunity for us. (To discover new ways to be more innovative and grow.)
What has been your biggest setback?
Government policy and actions that directly influence hospitality and tourism industries. We urge governments of various developing countries where we operate to create enabling conditions for the industry by committing adequate funds for destination marketing, for example. For developing countries to become a ‘built-to-last’ destination, governments should ensure that new developments in fragile game reserves and national parks are controlled. Additionally, improvement to infrastructure should be at a faster pace than what we see today. Locally, political wrangling should be minimized as it gives the country a poor image.
What guides your expansion process?
Among other factors, we consider the economic viability of the project, emerging opportunities within the Serena tourist safari circuit; for example opportunities to build, rehabilitate or manage hotels, resorts and lodges. We also consider AKFED’s policy of promoting tourism by investing in developing countries in order to expand their economies and create local employment.
Where do you see African hospitality in the next few years?
Africa’s potential has not been exploited to its maximum. The continent has all the natural resources and the finest weather conditions and most importantly very friendly people. Everything is available in Africa; it is just a matter of being a bit more creative to maximize its potential. To be competitive, I believe that all holiday destinations in Africa must offer combinations of eco-tourism programs, culture, wellness, adventure tourism and market the destination to special market segments (e.g. ornithologists, the golf market and special interest segments). In addition, Africa is no longer being marketed as a destination offering only the beach and the big five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros) to tourists. This is a change that will make the continent more competitive as a destination in the next few years.
What is your cutting edge?
Our philosophy has always been to offer value-for-money by providing the highest standards of products and services at pocket-friendly prices. The Serena brand is also recognizable globally mainly due to our high standards in service provision and also our presence in main tourist destinations and cities. All these are a great boost to our operations in attracting new or repeat guests.
What are your future plans?
We have acquired two new properties in Southern Tanzania in the Selous Game Reserve, which now establishes Serena presence on both the Northern and Southern Circuits in Tanzania. We are also planning to develop new safari circuits in Uganda and Rwanda. We will also extend the Kenya safari circuit by establishing our presence in the lake region of Western Kenya.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Aga Khan Group interested in PTDC properties
ISLAMABAD: The Aga Khan group has shown interest in acquiring motels and restaurants of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The Ministry of Tourism informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism that during a high-level meeting held at the President House that the Aga Khan group has expressed its interest in acquiring 26 motels and restaurants owned by PTDC. They are to be privatised on public private partnership (PPP) mode of privatisation under which 26 per cent share along with management control is to be transferred to the investor.
On April 23, 2007, the Privatization Commission (PC) had invited expressions of interest (EoI) for these properties. They are located at Barseen, Besham, Chatter Plain, Khaplu, Satpara, Astak, Gupis, Phandar, Rama Lake,Gilgit, Hunza, Sust, Bamburet, Birmoglasht, Chitral, Bunni, Mastuj, Chakdara, Panakot, Saidu Sharif, Baffar, Khuzdar, Taftan, Ayubia, Katas and Hawkesbay.
For all the 12 groups of PTDC motels and restaurants, four parties filed EoIs. They included Serena Hotel, KASB Capital, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi and Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, while the details of all other parties, which filed EoI for each group is stated below:
Group 1 (Barseen, Besham, Chatter Plain): Eight parties had filed EoIs, namely, PACE (Pakistan) Ltd, Swat Continental Hotel, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Hashoo Group, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, and Petrosin Engineering (Pvt) Ltd.
Group 2 (Khaplu, Satpara, Astak): Seven parties filed EoIs, namely, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital, National Group of Industries, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Hashoo Group, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, and Petrosin Engineering (Pvt) Ltd.
Group 3 (Gupis, Phandar, Rama Lake): Seven parties filed EoIs, namely, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital, National Group of Industries, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, Petrosin Engineering (Pvt) Ltd and Target Communications.
Group IV (Gilgit, Hunza, Sust): Eleven parties filed EoIs, namely, PACE (Pakistan) Ltd, Karakoram International University, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital, National Group of Industries, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Sardar Builders (Pvt) Ltd, Hashoo Group Ittehad Steel Industries, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, and Petrosin Engineering Pvt Ltd.
Group V ( Bamburet, Birmoglasht, Chitral): Eleven parties filed EoIs, namely, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital, Al-Khalil Enterprises, Sunfort Hotel, Aurangzeb Khan, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Hashoo Group, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, Contech International, Petrosin Engineering (Pvt) Ltd and Peshawar Pipes.
Group VI ( Bunni, Mastuj): Seven parties filed EoIs, namely, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital, Sunfort Hotel, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Hashoo Group, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd and Petrosin Engineering (Pvt) Ltd.
Group VII (Chakdara, Panakot): Eight parties filed EoIs, namely, Serena Hotel, Ghulam Faruq, KASB Capital, Dr Hidayat Rehman & Ayub Khan, Nasir Hussain, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd and Petrosin Engineering Ltd. Group VIII ( Saidu Sharif, Baffar): Eleven parties filed EoIs, namely, PACE (Pakistan) Ltd, Swat Continental Hotel, Serena Hotel, Khalid Khan, Caravan Motors, KASB Capital, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Sardar Builders (Pvt) Ltd, Hashoo Group, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd and Petrosin Engineering Pvt Ltd. Group IX (Khuzdar, Taftan): Seven parties filed EoIs, namely, Saleem & Co, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital Ltd, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, Petrosin Engineering Pvt Ltd and Bezinjo Construction Company, Balochistan.
Group X (Ayubia): Twenty-one parties filed EoIs, namely, PACE (Pakistan) Ltd, BNP (Private) Limited, Sheikh Allaudin, Serena Hotel, Carvan Motors, KASB Capital, TASS Associates, Sunfort Hotel, National Group of Industries, Abdul Rehman K Abbasi & Associates, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Khyber International, ITHFZ Mills Ltd, Sardar Builders (Pvt) Ltd, Hashoo Group, Ittehad Steel Industries, Mian Ilyas Meraj, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, Petrosin Engineering (Pvt) Ltd, Gerry's Travels & Holidays and Nizam Din & Sons (Pvt) Ltd.
Group XI (Katas): Nine parties filed EoIs, namely, PACE (Pakistan) Ltd, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital Ltd, Sunfort Hotel, Jamil & Co, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Sardar Builders (Pvt) Ltd, Dhan Cement Industries (Pvt) Ltd and Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd. Group XII (Hawkesbay): Eleven parties filed EoIs, namely, PACE (Pakistan) Ltd, BNP (Pvt) Limited, Serena Hotel, KASB Capital, Syed Tasneem Hussain Naqvi, Hashoo Group, Pakistan Private Equity Management Ltd, Petrosin Engineering (Pvt) Ltd, Gerry's Travels & Holidays, Nizam Din & Sons (Pvt) Ltd and Saleh & Sons.
Serena announces new luxury camp for Soysambu, Kenya
18th March 2010 Print Email Share
Serena Hotels will commence construction of a new luxury tented camp in Kenya in April 2010, a move that will further strengthen the existing Serena safari circuit in East Africa.
The New Lake Elementaita Serena Camp, will be located along the shores of the flamingo and pelican fringed Lake Elementaita within the Soysambu Conservancy, which is approximately 120km from Nairobi and 30Km from Lake Nakuru National Park.
Offering a blend of exclusivity and adventure, the new camp will comprise 25 luxury tents, a dining and lounge area, spa and swimming pool enjoying magnificent views of the Lake.
During the construction contract signing, the Serena Hotels’ Managing Director, Mahmud Janmohamed said, “There is a very clear need for high quality accommodation options for both local and international travelers to this part of the country. We are excited about this development and we look forward to providing new opportunities for the local communities who must benefit from the tourism industry”.
The Lake Elementaita Serena camp is scheduled for opening on 15th December 2010.
Serena opens branch at Lake Victoria
Monday, 19th April, 2010 E-mail article Print article
The front view of the newly-launched Lake Victoria Serena Resort
By Anne Mugisa
THE Serena Group has set up a second hotel in the country, the Lake Victoria Serena Resort. The resort, which is part of the Aga Khan economic empire, lies on an expansive piece of land measuring 275 acres on the shores of Lake Victoria.
The land belonged to the Ranch on the Lake Hotel until about four years ago when Serena Group bought it and built a new hotel. The facility has so far cost $20m (about sh40b).
Another $30m (sh60b) is earmarked to complete the construction.
President Yoweri Museveni yesterday presided over the official opening.
He, however, left shortly after unveiling the plaque on the hotel for the launch of the country’s five-year development plan.
Museveni delegated the trade and tourism minister, Kahinda Otafiire, to represent him.
The resort has 124 rooms and conference facilities. But work is going on to build 54 houses and 90 apartments. Also under construction are a golf course and a marina.
The launch was attended by Cabinet ministers, diplomats, visiting Kenyan government officials, including tourism minister Najib Balala, and members of the Ugandan business community.
Otafiire said Uganda had also resolved to open up Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo and Murchison Falls parks for investment.
He said the country has had a shortage of hotels and tourism facilities due to lack of peace.
Otafiire cautioned Ugandans not take peace for granted, and called on those criticising the Government to acknowledge its contribution to peace and development.
“You may not like us. You may not like Museveni as a person or the way he looks but he symbolises peace and stability and so does the NRM. So vote for him,” he said.
He also commended the Aga Khan for the investment, saying Ugandan should take advantage of the large East African market to make money.
Otafiire argued that small profits per capita in a large East African market were more profitable than the bigger profit per capita in the single markets of the individual isolated countries.
He also criticised those opposed to the East African Community, saying they erroneously thought they were protecting their own interests.
“They opposed it saying it will bring competition. But these people are not even selfish enough. Why would they not want to sell in a bigger market and stick to their small one?” Otafiire asked.
Referring to the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya in which over 100 people died, Balala advised Ugandans not to take democracy for granted.
“We need to appreciate peace and preserve what is in Uganda. Do not repeat what happened in Kenya in 2008,” Balala advised
He also called on members of the East African Community to promote tourism in each other’s countries.
Balala said he and several of his colleagues in the Kenyan cabinet visit tourism sites in the other member countries.
Serena Hotels managing director Mahmud Janmohamed commended the Government for enabling the group to carry out investments in Uganda.
The Aga Khan has investments in banking, insurance, pharmaceutical companies, education institutions, media, housing, and a significant stake in power generation both at the Bujagali and Nyagak power dams.
By NATION Reporter
Posted Wednesday, May 19 2010 at 17:54
Tourism Promotion Services East Africa Ltd (TPS) plans to raise Sh1.2 billion through a rights issue to drive its regional expansion plans.
The issue is, however, subject to shareholder’s approval at an annual general meeting to be held on May 24 and the market regulators - the Capital Markets Authority and Nairobi Stock Exchange.
The only tourism firm listed at the bourse is due to issue 24,701,774 new shares at a rate of one for every five held.
TPS East Africa’s managing director Mr Mahmud Jan Mohamed said; “we have ambitious plans for the future growth of Serena Hotels buoyed by increasing optimism in the tourism sector in East Africa. We plan to use proceeds of the rights issue to expand capacity and upgrade our existing portfolio of properties in order to meet increased demand at the top end of the market.”
TPS, which owns and operates Serena Hotels, will use the proceeds to capitalise Jaja Ltd, a special purpose vehicle to be used by TPS (Kenya) for the development of a number of tourist properties in Kenya, acquire 51 per cent of Upekee Lodges Ltd by TPS (Tanzania) and buy assets of Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp and Mountain Village by TPS (Tanzania).
Part of the funds will go to the refurbishment of Kigali Serena Hotel and expand as well as refurbish Nairobi Serena Hotel.
The money will be complemented by long-term borrowing and other sources of funds that the board may deem appropriate.
Kestrel Capital and Standard Investment Bank have been appointed the lead transaction advisors and sponsoring stockbrokers while Kaplan & Stratton Advocates, legal advisors.
Diamond Trust Bank will be the receiving bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the reporting accountants, Image Registrars, the registrar and Hill & Knowlton will handle public relations.
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development is a major shareholder of TPS Ltd, which has majority shares in TPS.
Serena Hotels launch relief campaign for people affected by flood disaster in Pakistan
Posted on August 17, 2010
by Pamir Times| 1 Comment
Gilgit, August 17 (PR): In view of the recent devastation in Pakistan caused by raging floodwater, hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed, crops washed away and livestock killed.
With more heavy rain flooding predicted in the coming days, Serena Hotels through its Corporate Social Responsibility Program- SEED (Environmental and Educational Development) has embarked upon a comprehensive fund raising effort throughout Pakistan. This includes Cash Donations, Food & Clothing, and 25% Revenue Contributions from Restaurants & 50% Prestige Club Membership Fees, selling of Plants / Cakes etc till end of August. Also, Serena associates from all over Pakistan are contributing a part of their salary towards the relief effort.
On Thursday, August 19th, 2010 Serena Hotels across Pakistan have made special arrangements for Iftar / Buffet dinner, proceeds of which will be donated towards the flood relief effort.
In the recent past Serena Hotels had initiated a comprehensive drive through all their hotels in Pakistan to encourage their guest, visitors & staff to contribute towards landslides in the Attabad / Hunza area causing loss of life and property, there was a body of water that had cut-off the area from any relief in terms of food, medical and other emergency supplies. Serena accepted donations of linens, clothing, shoes, tents, canned food for the affected people.
Mawlana Hazar Imam arrives in Mozambique for the inauguration of the Polana Serena Hotel
Mawlana Hazar Imam in conversation with Prime Minister Aires Bonifacio Ali and AKDN Resident Representative Nazim Ahmed at the newly refurbished Polana Serena Hotel. Photo: Zahur Ramji
Maputo, Mozambique, 15 December 2010 — Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived in Maputo this evening on a two-day visit to Mozambique. During the visit, Hazar Imam will participate in the inauguration of the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo, together with His Excellency President Armando Guebuza.
Upon his arrival, Mawlana Hazar Imam was received by senior government officials, including Mr Fernando Sumbana, Minister of Tourism, Mr Pedro Couto, Vice Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Government-AKDN Coordination Committee, as well as representatives of the AKDN and leaders from the Mozambique Jamat.
Mawlana Hazar Imam is accompanied by Prince Amyn, who will attend the inauguration ceremony in his capacity as Director of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and Chairman of its Executive Committee.
Upon his arrival in Mozambique, Mawlana Hazar Imam is welcomed by Amirali Bhanji, President of the Ismaili Council for Portugal, as well as senior government ministers. Photo: Zahur Ramji
Maputo, Mozambique, 15 Dec – The Polana Serena Hotel, the most important and luxurious hotel in the Mozambican capital, is due to reopen Thursday, a hotel and restaurant sector source told Macauhub in Maputo.
The hotel, which is owned by the Aga Khan Foundation, is reopening after 22 months of refurbishment work carried out by a company owned by two Chinese businessmen and represents an investment of US$25 million.
The work included modernisation of several areas, and the hotel now has rooms in the Studio, Deluxe and Executive classes as well as executive suites and a presidential suite.
The Polana Serena Hotel, with 142 rooms, will price its rooms at between 14,000 meticals (US$412) and 24,000 meticals (US$705) per night. (macauhub)
Please also see: Press Release and Speech by Prince Amyn Aga Khan
Your Excellency the President
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me begin by saying what an honour and joy it is to receive His Excellency the President of the Republic of Mozambique on this occasion.
What a great day this is as we mark the opening of a new landmark for the African hospitality industry - a new flagship for the Serena Hotel Group - and a new benchmark in the economic progress of Mozambique.
We have been looking forward to this celebration for some time - it marks the culmination of a complex process. And it is good to celebrate this moment with those who have devoted so much talent and energy to this process - and have made the moment possible.
It is a pleasure to welcome all of you.
That special word, “welcome”, is at the center of my thoughts today. After all, the purpose of this rebuilt Polana Serena hotel is to receive people from across the country, the continent and the planet and to help them to feel “welcome” in Mozambique.
I remember well the day- a little over twelve years ago - when President Chissano welcomed me to Maputo, for the purpose of signing a Development Co-operation Agreement between the Mozambique government and the Aga Khan Development Network. Our celebration today grows out of that initiative - and I thought I might say a word about how our cooperation has unfolded since that time. It is the longer story of which the Polana story is the latest part.
That story begins with my own enormous respect for this country, its leaders and its peoples, and the progress you made in recovering from an extremely difficult period of post-colonial turmoil. One reason for this progress, in my view, was Mozambique’s growing respect for practical, professional expertise in making development choices, rather than getting carried away by theoretical dogmas or arbitrary formulas. Another factor, I felt, was the value this society places on inclusiveness - welcoming the cooperative inputs of many stakeholders - from public institutions and private companies, from civil society, and from the international community.
As you may know, the developing world in general - and Africa in particular - has been a central focus of my work for over half a century. The colonial period was just ending when I became the Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community, and a host of newly independent countries were suddenly facing opportunities and challenges of unprecedented complexity.
One lesson we quickly learned about the development process, was that familiar investment assumptions - that had worked in earlier periods and in western economies - were not going to work in the same way in the post-colonial world. Private capital that looked for rapid returns - at minimum risk - would not flow readily - and other sources of seed finance would have to be found or generated. That is why we created AKFED - the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development - which has been the principal investor in this Polana project.
The purpose of the Agreement President Chissano and I signed twelve years ago was to lay a framework for the fullest presence of all our Network’s capacities, economic but also social and cultural in Mozambique - and we have been building on that framework ever since.
Much of our work, as you may know, has involved the northern areas, principally in Cabo Delgado. It includes the Coastal Rural Support Programme that integrates health, education and rural development in almost 200 villages, reaching over 160,000 inhabitants. A parallel effort is our Bridges to the Future programme which helps provide scholarships, internships, English courses and management training. And a third major element is the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which lends money to generate income for small-scale activities – some 7500 micro loans have already been made in this country.
At the same time, we have also tried to help with some larger projects such as Moztex, a new factory aimed at producing garments for export, a project which currently employs some 600 workers, a figure which is expected to double in the near future, with a focus on employment for women.
And, of course, I should also mention the new fiber optic cable company, SEACOM, which now links Southern and Eastern Africa with Europe and India.
Let me also mention a current project in Mozambique which is close to my heart - the Aga Khan Academy. The designs for that school have made excellent progress - and we expect construction to begin early next year. This means that the building of the Academy will mesh well with the early graduates of our new teaching facility at the Professional Development Centre at Matola. The School and the teaching facility are strategically partner projects – one supporting the other, and it is good that this academic construct will be operational by 2013.
Our efforts over the past decade have been quite diverse, and diversity must continue to be a watchword. It seems clear, for example, that improving agricultural productivity can only be one part of the long-range strategy - the growth potential in agriculture at some point will diminish - and we must encourage other activities that will propel continued growth.
One economic category that can have that sort of propelling impact, especially in Africa, is the travel and leisure sector. This is why our AKFED organization has made such significant investments in this field. And this is why the opening today of the Polana Serena Hotel is so important.
There is one other larger context I would like to mention today - the story of the Serena Hotel Group as a whole. Stretching back now over nearly four decades the Serena Group has contributed significantly to the economic progress of the places where it operates. And we intend that this same thing will happen in this country.
To begin with, attracting visitors to this country - business leaders and leisure travelers alike - one-time visitors and repeat customers - will itself produce foreign exchange at the time of such visits - as well as later foreign investment, often as a result of those stays. And in both cases, there will be important multiplier effects for other enterprises, as well as for government revenues.
As the Serena Group has learned in so many other places, world-class travel facilities can be crucial components of what we call “an enabling environment” - a setting in which additional development initiatives can take root and thrive.
Thus all of those who have contributed to the rebirth of the Polana deserve our heartfelt thanks, as do all of our valued partners in this work – the Government of Mozambique, our investment partners from Germany and France, the architects and designers, builders and decorators, and all those who are part of the Serena team. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my brother.
In conclusion, I would like to return to the word I used at the outset of these remarks, the word “welcome.” It is a word that most certainly sums up the spirit of today’s event, even as it expresses the essential mission of the entire Polana project. It is a word that signals the contribution this country and this facility will make to a widening world of exploration, engagement and cooperation.
It is with that same spirit that I greet you today, grateful for your participation in this project and your presence at this ceremony. I hope that wherever you live, in this city, or elsewhere in Mozambique, in Africa or elsewhere in the world, your path will bring you back often to the beauties of the Polana Serena.
Speech by Prince Amyn Aga Khan at the Inauguration of the Restoration of the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo, Mozambique
Please also see: Press Release and Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan
Your Excellency, Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and, more specifically, its subsidiary units Tourism Promotion Services (TPS) and the Serena Hotel group, which we created some forty years ago, it is with the greatest happiness and pleasure that I welcome you today to this official opening (or should I say re-opening?) of this magnificent Hotel Polana. It is, for me, an occasion both exciting and gratifying.
The Polana Hotel has the status of an icon, one of the few hotels on this continent that can claim to have that status and one of the very few in this part of Africa. Its location, in the heart of the capital city Maputo, on one of the most beautiful and sought-after avenues of the town, gives it a special aura, just as do the graciousness and elegance of its architecture and interiors, reminiscent of the splendours of this hotel's colonial past, for Polana's history stretches back nearly a century, to 1922. No wonder the Polana is affectionately known locally as the Grande Dame of Maputo!
I have insisted on the iconic nature of this hotel because we, in AKFED and SERENA, have been very conscious of that status and it has governed our approach to improving, upgrading and enhancing this property. When SERENA took over the Polana eight years ago, in February, the hotel was in a condition we felt unworthy. Almost immediately, therefore, in 2003 and 2004, we carried out improvements to the back of house facilities to bring them up to acceptable levels of hygiene, safety and efficiency. And on the 5th of January 2009 we commenced an extensive programme of refurbishment and expansion aimed at returning to this Grande Dame of Maputo, who had received visitors from all corners of the world, her inheritance of elegance and distinction. Eighteen months later, on September 1st of this year, a phased opening began and today we are gathered to inaugurate this very special place which we believe will bring a significant addition to Maputo's and to Mozambique's hospitality sector and which is ready to take its place once again in the worldwide company of great international hotels.
Of course, as in all complex projects, there have been hurdles to overcome along the way—and I am most grateful to those who have helped us to do that, and to do so without compromising either the credibility or the quality of the work through circumventions or shortcuts. For example, during the reconstruction process, major structural problems came to light that had not been apparent or even imagined earlier. It was of course essential to resolve them as a first priority since they affected the very safety of our future guests. And before that, we had to wait until the casino, which was part of the old hotel, could and would move out as not only is it a long-standing policy of the Serena Group not to offer gambling in any of our facilities but we believed that a proper ballroom was essential to reviving the hotel’s standing and to improving its operations. Addressing these problems may have meant temporary delays and it has considerably increased the cost of this rehabilitation, but it has ensured that the complete project we now have meets the specifications of a leading Serena hotel in every respect, and that the Polana has regained its position as Maputo’s leading hotel.
The total investment for this upgrade has been US$ 25 million. I would like here to thank most warmly our partners, the Société de Promotion et de Participation pour la Coopération Economique (PROPARCO), the French development agency, and the Deutsche Investitions and Entwicklungsgesellschaft MBH (DEG), the German development agency. AKFED is happy indeed that PROPARCO and DEG agreed to join us, both as equity partners and as lenders. I should like to add that our collaboration has been a source of considerable satisfaction to me, personally.
It probably would have made commercial sense to close the Polana entirely during the 18 months of construction that have been necessary; but, after much soul searching, we decided to keep the Polana Serena operational during all that time with the 55 rooms of the Polana Mar available to our clients and with Management making every effort to ensure that the inevitable disruption was managed as efficiently as possible and that acceptable standards of service and comfort continued to be offered to our guests during those long months.
A major consideration in the decision to keep the hotel open, despite the inevitable low occupancies and financial losses that resulted from this decision, was that virtually a full complement of staff could thus be maintained and working during that time. We had taken a similar position back in 2002, when we took over the Polana and when we had retained all the Mozambican staff then employed in the hotel, a majority of whom in fact continue to work here to this day. Today 97% of the staff of the Polana are Mozambican nationals, 2% are East African nationals and only 1% are expatriates. I should perhaps add that since Serena took over the total staff compliment of 360 persons have been retrained to Serena standards and have responded well and enthusiastically to that training.
We are what we come from; and as I have said, the Polana Serena has the benefit of an extraordinary and essential inheritance, both cultural and natural. I am proud that this extraordinary inheritance will henceforth be an intrinsic part of this hotel's future. We have sought to respect the past, that the future should be more truly rewarding. Our brief to the architects and designers was that future guests of the Polana should feel themselves surrounded by the arts and aesthetic of the hotel's colonial history, while enjoying state-of-the-art facilities; that the Polana should reflect and embody local art and culture; that the hotel should continue to have a clear and unique personality and ambiance while being of recognisably international standing. In this endeavour, much research and creative work was contributed by everyone. We have worked as a team and it has been both fun and educational. My thanks and admiration go to our architects Jon Cavanagh and Mike Lord of Symbion International, to Walter Reid, our architect of record, to our contractors Sogecoa and Mesch Arquitectos who have produced work of excellent quality and have observed challenging deadlines and to our horticultural and landscape specialist Andrew Greathead (Santa Verde - Gardens). And last, but far from least, my warm, personal thanks go to Mahmud JanMohamed and his TPS Management teams, in Nairobi and here, who have overseen, steered and guided this complex project. If I may be permitted, in many ways I think our team effort has been exemplary.
Today, the Grande Dame of Maputo boasts 142 guest rooms of all types, including studios, deluxe rooms, executive rooms and suites and a magnificent Presidential suite. Clients have the option of a sea view or a city view. There is an all-day restaurant, the Veranda, offering either buffets or à la carte meals ; a gastronomic restaurant, the Delgoa, inspired and supervised by French chef Edouard Loubet, here with us today, whose restaurant in France has been awarded 2 stars by Michelin and who has just been voted Chef of the Year 2010 by Gault et Millaut (and I think this is the first time that Maputo will boast a restaurant created by such a well-known and admired chef); a casual restaurant and bar, the Aquarius, serving light menu options ; a sumptuous and truly magnificent ballroom, which had been turned into a casino and that we have now returned to its original splendour; meeting rooms and facilities of different sizes, fully equipped, waiting to receive meetings and conference delegates; and the Maisha Health Club and Spa, which we immodestly believe will be the best in Maputo and which also contains a beautiful secret garden and bar able to cater to private parties as well. And of course, there are the glorious and romantic Polana gardens and the remodelled swimming pool. I hope you will agree that the reconstruction and expansion of the Polana before you has dignified, embellished and modernised this elegant landmark ; that the Polana will now take its rightful place, an icon combining a most beautiful setting with the highest quality of service, making a unique contribution to this country's leisure industry and to the Serena group's proud reputation, a flagship property second to none in Mozambique standing proudly beside Serena's other city-centre hotels in Nairobi, Arusha, Kampala, Kigali, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Quetta and Kabul, with more to come Insh'Allah, in Burundi, Mali, Syria, Tajikistan and Egypt.
I have mentioned earlier the extended gardens of the Polana. They have been revitalized by the installation of what is known as a grey water recycling system which produces quality water for the gardens from the hotel’s waste water. This system is one of the reasons that the Polana has recently been certified ISO 14001 compliant, which means that the hotel has received the most prestigious compliance certification from the International Environment Management System, and is recognised as being in the forefront, in its standards and practices, where environmental impacts and performance are concerned. Here too, I believe the Polana Serena is currently the only hotel in Mozambique to have received this certification.
Our goals in this project have been set very high. This ceremony should be seen, I think, not only as a moment of celebration, but also as one of rededication: I would like to think that what has been accomplished so far is only a beginning. What is needed now, going forward, is a continuation of the spirit in which this work has been accomplished: an uncompromising commitment to quality and the determination of Government and ourselves, the private sector, to work together, in harmony and understanding, to realize, in further careful, appropriate developments, the full touristic potential which is represented by this country's unique combination of exceptional natural assets and cultural points of international quality and interest; without undue haste, avoiding the pitfalls of over-development and speculation, and ensuring that the essential infrastructure is in place to underwrite such development and the continuing quality of that development. We in Serena hope to be part of such a future development in this country and, indeed, to play a lead role in it.
Mozambique’s Historic Polana Serena Hotel Restored
President Guebuza and Aga Khan Inaugurate “Grande Dame” After Multi-Year Refurbishment
Please also see: Speech by High Highness the Aga Khan and Speech by Prince Amyn Aga Khan
Maputo, Mozambique, 16 December 2010 — Mozambique’s president, His Excellency Armando Guebuza, today officially inaugurated the refurbished Polana Serena Hotel, a historic water-front landmark in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, and one of Africa’s grandest colonial era hotels. His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), which restored the hotel to its former glory, was also present, as was his younger brother Prince Amyn Aga Khan.
AKFED’s investment is part of the work of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). Other AKDN agencies have been present in Cabo Delgado province for over ten years, working in the fields of agriculture, microfinance, tourism developments, education, health, entrepreneurship, civil society, environment, and water and sanitation.
Situated in the heart of Maputo on four hectares of lush grounds, the 142-room Polana has long been regarded as one of Africa’s leading hotels. Built in 1922, it was conceived as a luxury venue that would be a national landmark in the city. It was then called the Lourenço Marques, after the Portuguese trader and explorer who founded the settlement in the 16th century. The hotel quickly became a historic and cultural haven and a meeting place that offered unique elegance and grandeur.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Aga Khan explained the rationale for creating the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), which has been the principal investor in the Polana hotel. “One lesson we quickly learned about the development process was that familiar investment assumptions that had worked in earlier periods in western economies were not going to work in the same way in the post-colonial world. Private capital that looked for rapid returns – at minimum risk – would not flow readily, and other sources of seed finance would have to be found or generated,” he said.
He went on to explain that development efforts of the network over the past decade have been diverse, and that diversity must continue to be a watchword. “It seems clear, for example, that improving agricultural productivity can only be one part of the long-term strategy – the growth potential in agriculture at some point will diminish – and we must encourage other activities that will propel continued growth.”
When it acquired the hotel in 2002, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED)—recognised the need to restore the property to its once iconic status. The Polana underwent a multi-year programme of improvements, upgrades and enhancements that consciously sought to restore it to its former splendour.
The Aga Khan noted that the Serena Group everywhere contributes to the economic progress of all the countries in which it operates, and that the intention is the same for Mozambique. “World-class travel facilities can be crucial components of what we call ‘an enabling environment,’ a setting in which additional development initiatives can take root and thrive,” he said.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan, who is the Aga Khan’s brother, and Chairman of AKFED’s Executive Committee, said the new hotel was meant to be one of Africa’s finest.
“The Polana Hotel has the status of an icon — one of the few hotels on this continent that can claim to have that status and one of the very few in this part of Africa,” he said.
During the opening ceremony, Prince Amyn was presented with the ISO 14001 certificate for the Polana Serena Hotel by Mozambique’s renowned biologist and writer Mr. Mia Couto, in recognition of the hotel’s grey water recycling system, which produces quality water for the gardens from the hotel’s waste water. The hotel is the first hotel in Mozambique to receive this certification.
The hotel also received the “Made in Mozambique” seal, which recognises its commitment to ensuring that everything it does, reflects the best of Mozambique’s values of hospitality, service and quality products, and that it continues to contribute towards the strengthening of the country’s culture and economy.
For more information please contact:
Polana Serena Hotel
P.O Box 1151, Maputo, Moçambique
Av. Julius Nyerere 1380
J +258 21 241700 / 800 | 6 +258 21 491480
Aga Khan Development Network
Avenida Julius Nyerere 1187 Mozambique
Telephone: +258 21 49 05 15
Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan
Tel: +33 3 44 58 40 00
Fax: +33 3 44 58 42 79
Aga Khan Development Network: www.akdn.org
88 anos depois da sua inauguração
Príncipe Amyn Aga Khan reinaugura Hotel Polana
Maputo (Canalmoz) – O príncipe Amyn Aga Khan e o presidente da República, Armando Guebuza, reinauguraram ontem o Hotel Polana Serena. A unidade hoteleira esteve em obras cerca de dois anos. Existem desde há 88 anos.
O Hotel Polana Serena é detido pelo Fundo Aga Khan para o Desenvolvimento Económico (AKFED, sigla em inglês).
Na sua reabilitação é referido que foram investidos 18 milhões de euros.
Amyn Aga Khan está de visita a Moçambique para a
participar na reabertura do hotel e outros negócios.
O hotel foi reabilitado e as figuras mais antigas de Maputo têm estado a tecer críticas muito severas contra o que classificam como “descaracterização” do hotel de referência em Maputo.
A traça do alçado principal do edifício foi mantida.
A qualidade de alguns materiais usados na reconstrução também está a merecer reparos pouco abonatórios de vários velhos residentes e de arquitectos da urbe .
Foi reduzido o número de quartos. Tem agora 142, menos 30. O casino saiu do Hotel. A política de Aga Khan não admite jogos de azar ou sorte.
“Tivemos que aguardar que o casino, que integrava o hotel, pudesse ser efectivamente retirado, não só por existir uma política de longa data do Grupo Serena no âmbito do qual não oferecemos actividades relacionadas com o jogo nas nossas unidades, mas também porque acreditávamos que a existência de um verdadeiro salão de baile é essencial no renascimento do hotel e na melhoria dos seus serviços”, justificou o príncipe Amyn Aga Khan.
O presidente do comité executivo do AKFED descreveu o Hotel Polana como um “ícone” em África, afirmando que o empreendimento “goza do benefício de uma herança extraordinária e essencial, tanto cultural como natural”.
“As nossas metas para este projecto são extremamente elevadas”, disse o príncipe Amyn Aga Khan citado pela Lusa.
Segundo a administração, 97 por cento dos trabalhadores do Hotel Polana são moçambicanos.
Restored to its former glory, the “Grande Dame of Maputo” is re-opened in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam
Mawlana Hazar Imam and President Armando Guebuza enjoy a light moment at the inaugural ceremony of the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo, Mozambique. Photo: Zahur Ramji
Maputo, Mozambique, 16 December 2010 — In the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, Mozambique’s president, His Excellency Armando Guebuza, officially inaugurated the refurbished Polana Serena Hotel, a historic water-front landmark in the capital city of Maputo, and one of Africa’s grandest colonial-era hotels.
» AKDN: Mozambique’s Historic Polana Serena Hotel Restored
» Speeches by Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Amyn at the inaugural ceremony.
Situated in the heart of Maputo on four hectares of lush grounds, the 142-room Polana has long been regarded as one of Africa’s leading hotels. Built in 1922, it was conceived as a luxury venue that would be a national landmark in the city — then called the Lourenço Marques, after the Portuguese trader and explorer who founded the settlement in the 16th century. The hotel quickly became a historic and cultural haven and a meeting place that offered unique elegance and grandeur.
After AKFED acquired the hotel in 2002, it underwent a multi-year programme of improvements, upgrades and enhancements. The hotel’s grand ballroom has been restored to its former splendour, with painted wall mouldings and cut glass chandeliers hanging from its tall ceiling. Mahogany furniture and soft fabrics adorn the guest rooms. Three restaurants offer a choice between all-day dining, French-style fine cuisine and more casual fare. Hotel amenities also include a health club and spa, an outdoor swimming pool, extensive gardens, a business centre, and three gift shops.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan receives a certificate of ISO 14001 compliance from Mozambique’s renowned biologist and writer Mia Couto. The Polana Serena is the only hotel in Mozambique to have received this prestigious environmental certification. Photo: Zahur Ramji
Prince Amyn Aga Khan receives a certificate of ISO 14001 compliance from Mozambique’s renowned biologist and writer Mia Couto. The Polana Serena is the only hotel in Mozambique to have received this prestigious environmental certification. Photo: Zahur Ramji
“The Polana Hotel has the status of an icon — one of the few hotels on this continent that can claim to have that status and one of the very few in this part of Africa,” said Prince Amyn, who was present at the ceremony and spoke in his capacity as Director of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and Chairman of its Executive Committee. He noted that the hotel’s “history stretches back nearly a century, to 1922.”
“No wonder the Polana is affectionately known locally as the Grande Dame of Maputo!”
AKFED’s investment in the Polana dovetails with the wider work of the Aga Khan Development Network in Mozambique.
“World-class travel facilities can be crucial components of what we call ‘an enabling environment’ — a setting in which additional development initiatives can take root and thrive,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam to the gathering.
Other AKDN agencies have been present in Cabo Delgado province for over ten years, working in the fields of agriculture, microfinance, tourism developments, education, health, entrepreneurship, civil society, environment, and water and sanitation.
The front facade of the newly refurbished Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo, Mozambique. Photo: Courtesy of AKDN
Maputo, 17 Dec (AIM) – Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday invited national and foreign businesses to invest in tourism, given the enormous tourism potential that Mozambique possesses.
He was speaking during the re-inauguration of Maputo’s best-known luxury hotel, the Polana, which has just completed a 22 month period of renovation. The hotel is now owned by the Aga Khan Foundation, and forms part of its Serena Hotel Group. The Serena Group is one of 96 companies that form the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED).
”We would like to invite the Serena Group and other national and foreign businesses to invest in the Zones of Tourist Interest, that is in the areas that have been earmarked for the development of tourism”, said Guebuza. “So far seven Zones of Tourist Interest have been declared in Inhambane, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces. I would like to invite you to set up more hotels and other tourist establishments there, to multiply still further the world tourism references that the Polana Hotel gives us”.
Guebuza praised the Aga Khan Foundation for respecting the original design and architecture of the hotel, generally regarded as an impressive landmark in the built environment of Maputo. The President declared that the Polana “deservedly and proudly claims an outstanding place among the best hotels of Africa, and of the elite class of the most famous hotels of the world”.
The rehabilitation cost around 25 million euros (about 33.3 million US dollars). The hotel, originally built in 1922, now has 142 rooms, including deluxe and executive suites, and one presidential suite.
Commenting on the economic importance of tourism in Mozambique, Guebuza spoke of communities who have organised themselves to manage community tourist undertakings, and of citizens who once had no regular income, but are now permanent or seasonal workers in tourist resorts – as cooks, gardeners, plumbers or in other positions needed for the smooth running of the resorts.
The Aga Khan (or, to give him his full name, Shat Karim Al-Hussayni, the Aga Khan IV) described the Polana as “a new flagship for the Serena Hotel Group - and a new benchmark in the economic progress of Mozambique”.
He said that he felt “enormous respect for this country, its leaders and its peoples, and the progress you made in recovering from an extremely difficult period of post-colonial turmoil”.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan, the Aga Khan’s brother, and Chairman of AKFED’s Executive Committee, received the ISO 14001 certificate for the Polana Serena Hotel from Mozambique’s best-known writer, Mia Couto, who is also a prominent biologist and environmentalist. The certificate was awarded in recognition of the hotel’s grey water recycling system, which produces quality water for the gardens from the hotel’s waste water. The Polana is the first hotel in Mozambique to receive this certification.
Renovation restores Polana Serena’s world-class status
Posted Thursday, December 23 2010 at 00:00
Extensive renovations have been completed on the Polana Serena Hotel in Mozambique, which was officially opened last week.
The hotel was acquired by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) in 2002 and has undergone extensive works to restore it to its former status as the regional “Grand Dame.”
“World-class travel facilities can be crucial components of what we call ‘an enabling environment,’ a setting in which additional development initiatives can take root and thrive,” said His Highness the Aga Khan, Founder and Chairman of AKFED, during the official inauguration.
AKFED owns and manages 25 properties in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan under the Serena brand name.
The newly refurbished hotel is situated in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital city, on a four-hectare property boasting 142 rooms.
Built in 1922, it has a rich historical and cultural history.
It has three restaurants offering various dining options and the Serena Maisha Health Spa.
During the opening ceremony, the hotel’s investment in a grey water recycling system, which produces reusable water for the hotel, was recognised.
AKFED’s investment is part of the work of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Mozambique in the agriculture, health and education sectors, mainly in Cabo Delgado Province.
Other AKDN agencies and entities in the country are involved in microfinance under the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, Professional Development for teachers, tourism under AKFED, and industrial enterprises such as the Moztex garment factory.
Tourism: a feature of social change - Address by His Excellency Armando Emilio Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique, at the inauguration ceremony of Polana Serena Hotel - Maputo
16 December 2010
Please also see: Speech in Portuguese, Press Release and Video of the Inauguration
Your Highness the Aga Khan
The Minister of Tourism
The Members of the Council of Ministers
The Governor of the City of Maputo
The Chairman of Maputo Municipal Council
The Heads of Diplomatic and Consular Missions
The Representatives of Regional and International Organizations
The Representatives of the Entrepreneurial Community
Ladies and Gentlemen
We are before a work with an outstanding presence, a magnificent architecture and such comfortable interiors that we are all impressed and charmed. European in its conception, of African constitution and raised to enrich the landscape of this Pearl of the Indian Ocean and of the bay that is its veranda, the Polana Serena Hotel fills the imagination of its beholders and, deservingly and most proudly, claims for an outstanding place among the best hotels in Africa and among the most famous ones around the world.
Some 88 years after its first opening and some 20 months after the beginning of its restoration works, the Polana Serena starts a new phase of its history, ready to cope with the challenges of the dynamic, increasingly competitive and demanding Mozambican hotel industry.
We wish, therefore, to thank Your Highness the Aga Khan, the Serena Group, the management and workers of the Polana Serena Hotel, for this decision to carry out significant works in order to keep this property suitable for the most demanding guests who may visit this Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Tourism plays a fundamental part in promoting the social and economic development of our Beloved Motherland, generating jobs and income. Indeed,
* We have cases of communities that have worked to build and manage community tourism enterprises;
* We have cases of fellow citizens who could not afford a regular income and who are nowadays regular or seasonal staff in tourism resorts,
- Working in construction or in the maintenance of equipments;
- As gardeners or plumbers;
- As cooks or waiters;
- As tourism guides or assisting in activities such as diving and fishing in high water.
The cascading outcome of the increase of their income has allowed these families increased access to goods and services, which could not be afforded before, due to the lack of financial resources.
They can have a better home and a means of transport, their children can pursue their studies – they have a better life. If before they were dependent on subsistence farming or fishing, today they have an activity that increases their income.
We have conditions to attract and diversify tourism activities in Mozambique, and therefore to make sure that more fellow citizens may find a source of income and take a more active part in the struggle against poverty and in favour of our wellbeing:
* We have conditions for improving the sun and beach tourism along our extensive coast line, with the many havens of its islands and its idyllic bays.
* With the increased number of flights and the improved capacity both for accommodation and events, we have significantly improved the conditions to propel business tourism;
* To the tourist, we also offer the chance, rare in the world, to connect the hunting tourism to the sun and beach tourism;
* Cultural tourism has been growing due to the increased understanding of our skills, our historic, cultural and artistic heritage and of our culinary. Today there are many local festivals attracting more and more national and foreign tourists;
* To the geographic details fit for adventure, add the idyllic landscapes to be found by all those who look for beauty, peacefulness and harmony with Nature.
These are just a few among the many pages of our tourism which, together with the traditional hospitality of the Mozambican people, always with a fresh smile, make this country one of the most privileged destinations of the worldwide tourism.
This is a fact evidenced by the arrivals to Mozambique. Our country has to change this tourism potential into a valuable contribution towards the social and economic development of our Beloved Motherland. And regarding these features, the Polana Serena Hotel is acknowledged and applauded. We are pleased to see that other tourism initiatives do their part, exploring such potentials and opportunities and contributing, therefore, to achieve the Tourism Development Strategic Plan.
The development of tourism structures is an important step towards the exploration of our tourism potential but it may be not enough to ensure the competitiveness at the local and international levels.
Therefore, we have been increasing access, building more roads and connecting different national administrative units to the national electricity network.
We have also been expanding information and communication technologies, including the radio, television and fixed and mobile telecommunications. In our investments list we have included the construction of sanitary units with high technology in order to respond to complex emergencies.
Within the scope of tourism in Mozambique, I am also pleased to say that the Law of Civil Aviation, enforced as from the 1st of January 2010, has enabled the increase of flights from and to different parts of Mozambique. Today we have more flights connecting different cities in the country and to foreign destinations.
We are also pleased to understand how the transforming force of tourism brings change and improves the quality of life of our wonderful people. Tourism is, therefore, an important tool in the struggle against poverty, both in rural and urban areas.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We reiterate our appreciation to His Highness the Aga Khan and the Serena Group for the restoration, and while retaining its original features, of the Polana Hotel, a splendid architectural work in our capital city. To all those who gave their valuable contribution to the making of this project, the contractors, the supervisors, the workers, we express our gratitude and encouragement that you may get involved in other similar efforts, which might reaffirm the status of this Pearl of the Indian Ocean within the sector of high quality international tourism.
To end, we wish to invite the Serena Group and other national and foreigner entrepreneurs to invest in the Areas of Touristic Interest, this meaning those areas that have been selected for tourism development.
Seven of these areas have been identified in the provinces of Inhambane, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado. We wish to invite you to build more hotels and resorts, to further multiply the worldwide tourism references provided by the Polana Hotel.
Tourism Promotion Services (TPS) participates in seminar on ‘reforms in forest laws’
Seminar on ‘reforms in forest laws’ held
ISLAMABAD: Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Tuesday organised a seminar “Legal & Institutional Reforms in Forest Laws for accepting Forest Carbon as Commodity.”
Speakers at the seminar pointed out that there needs to be a “comprehensive definition” of what comes into the category of forests, and that how to balance livelihood of dependent people with deforestation. They also said that there needs to be a mechanism for REDD.
Reflecting on post flood scenario, speakers said that there is no estimate of destroyed forests in those areas and there has been no census since 2004 to have an assessment for the natural disaster’s impact. They stressed community ownership of the issue of deforestation and Ministry of Environment should nominate a focal body that could take charge of dealing with the concerns and create awareness for technical issues. They also stressed legal and institutional reforms, public/private partnership should be fostered in this regard and there needs to be a dismantlement of Development Sector Mafia and more focus on corporate social responsibility.
Moin Uddin, Director Corporate Strategy, Tourism Promotion Services (TPS) gave an overview of their organisation and said that it is a subsidiary company of Agha Khan Foundation and Serena Hotels operate under their banner. staff report
Nairobi Serena Hotel will have translated copies of the Holy Qur'an placed in all its rooms.
Serena Hotel to have Holy Quran in hotel rooms. Nairobi Serena Hotel will have translated copies of the Holy Qur’an placed in all its rooms.
A total of 203 copies of the Qur’an were on Tuesday donated to the international hotel chain by Ummah Foundation.
In many hotels, the standard practice has been to have copies of the Bible being placed in hotel rooms but this will be the first time that a major international hotel in the country is having translated copies of the Holy Quran (English text) placed in the rooms.
The managing director Mahmud Jan Mohammed praised the move saying that it will go to great length in cultivating understanding of Islam among its visitors from diverse backgrounds. “This will help in making people enlightened and will play an excellent role in promoting mutual relation and understanding of Muslims,” he said during the hand over ceremony.
Apart from Nairobi Serena Hotel, Jan Mohammed said the copies of the Holy Qur’an will also be placed in all the hotel rooms of all Serena Hotels in the East African region as well as those in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Syria.
Speaking at the event, Tourism minister Najib Balala lauded the move noting that it is an opportunity to foster better understanding and clear misconceptions about Muslims and Islam.
He said with the global village, it is important to promote avenues for mutual understanding which will foster cohesiveness and tolerance among people. “ We cannot afford to live in isolation, we should instead promote understanding among one another as this will promote co-existence,” he said.
On his part, the Ummah Foundation chairman Abdullatif Essajee commended the Serena Hotel for taking the initiative to partner with the Foundation to bring about mutual understanding in the society. He underscored the importance of the project which he said will build bridges of understanding among Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The chairman said the Nairobi Serena Hotel has a special place among Kenyans as it was the venue which brought about peace in the country after the post-election violence and the availability of the Holy Qur’an in the hotel rooms will further promote the message of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding. “Islam means peace and teaches us to be peaceful and to live in mutual harmony with all humanity,” he said.
Gilgit Serena Hotel: Tree Plantation for Better Environment
March 12, 2011 by ismailimail Leave a Comment
Reported by Asghar Khan
Tree Plantation for Better Environment
Trees and plants are the prime source of environmental purification and beautification. Gilgit Serena Hotel under its SEED Program celebrated the “Spring Tree Plantation for better Environment” at the Special Children Education Complex Gilgit. Mr. Rashid Ud Ding General Manager Gilgit Serena Hotel with their senior managers, Mr. Ahmed Baig Director of Special Education, Teachers, Special students along with their parents, devoted their time to planting saplings and beautification of the complex and planted 100 fruits / non fruit trees within the premises of Special Education Complex Gilgit. Mr. Shamsher Khan (Deputy Director Bait-Ul-Mal Gilgit) was the Chief Guest of the event. The Bait-Ul-Mal looks after the affairs of Special Education Complex in Gilgit. This is the second years of Gilgit Serena Hotel organizing such activities for the Special Children at their complex.
Special Education Complex Gilgit is working under the Ministry of Social Welfare and Education (Directorate General Special Education Islamabad) since 1988. Under National Education policy it was just only for deaf and blind students in early years, now under the Federal Government supervision this Institution extended its services for all kind of special children from all over Gilgit Baltistan region. Its main objectives are mainly social development through which the potentialities of people (particularly of those who belong to down-trodden and vulnerable segments of society) are stimulated to promote their effective participation in the process of social change for improvement of quality of life. Social welfare as a process of social development provides tools and the skills for instilling confidence in a person to cope with the pressure of disorders and disruptions caused by the forces of social change.
[Showcases breathtaking beauty of Gilgit-Baltistan]
In order to motivate expatriates and others living in Islamabad to visit one of Pakistan’s most beautiful locations and with a view to promoting tourism to the Gilgit-Baltistan area in general, the CEO, Serena Hotels (South and Central Asia) Aziz Boolani and Mrs Wiqar-un-Nisa Boolani hosted a dinner at the Nazara Lounge of the Serena.
The event was attended by many ambassadors and high commissioners along with their spouses as well as prominent members of Pakistani society. A video titled ‘Yahaan’ (here) which has been dedicated to the beauty of Gilgit-Baltistan — labeled as Pakistan’s ‘best kept secrets’ — with vocals by Shafqat Amanat Ali, was screened on the occasion. It showcases the breathtaking beauty of the area, both natural and man made as well as the lifestyle of the people and its main purpose is to promote tourism to give a much needed boost to the economy.
Addressing the gathering the host thanked his guests for accepting his invitation then went on to say a few words about the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) which has been doing tremendous work in the area. Apart from renovating four historic edifices — Khaplu and Shigar palaces and Altit and Baltit forts and imparting high class education to girls and boys, the AKDN has undertaken sustainable development projects like rehabilitation of settlements etc. He thanked the ambassador of Norway, Robert Kvile for his country’s support for the cultural assets of Pakistan, a support which is rights based and is seen as an integral part of overall development but focusing on two main areas — strengthening performing and visual arts and preservation of heritage.
He also praised the producer of the video, Zarmine Ansari ‘for the inspired idea of promoting the heritage properties through the video/song’ and all the others who were involved in the project including director Soheb Akhtar.
In his response Ambassador Kvile said he was happy to be part of the process of preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Pakistan and though he had been a little hesitant when the idea was floated, he was soon won over by its concept and the message it will send out. He too said words of praise for Zarmine and thanked her and all the rest of those involved in the production of the video.
Dinner was a fine dining experience served to perfection with good food and in a relaxed atmosphere, with the video screened continuously in muted voice mode, which led it to be part of the conversation. And the icing on the cake so to say was that each guest was presented a copy of this beautiful production to view at leisure at home — or tempt their friends to visit GB!
Shafqat Amanat Ali, who is from the 7th generation of the sub-continental classical music tradition of the Patiala Gharana, was the ‘obvious choice’ to sing ‘Yahaan’ One of Pakistans best known vocalists classically trained Shafqat known as the ‘Rockstar Ustad’ has a diverse fan following that transcends age and is loved at home as well as the Pakistani diaspora. A true lover of nature he also fell in love with GB. His words ‘Ek baar jo aye, dil yahaan reh jayay, jana chahay na phir yahaan say (he who comes here once leaves his heart behind and never wants to leave from here.) are reiterated in every guest book of GB.
Zarmine Ansari is a graduate of the Aga Khan programme for Islamic Architecture at MIT with a love of nature and passion for promoting Pakistan.
Islamabad hotel responds to local heritage and crafts through contemporary design language
The Serena Hotel represents the ideology of the client, The Agha Khan, who has been an exponent of local heritage and enrichment of the local crafts through new design challenges and opportunities.
The Serena hotel buildings in Asia and Africa have been able to reflect the sensibilities of their respective locations and have been sympathetic to historical and cultural aspects through their unique expressions.
The hotel in Islamabad posed a tall challenge since the capital city is a fairly young development. In order to extract a connection to historical and cultural content, the circle had to be enlarged to absorb the culture and expression of surrounding areas instead of the capital itself.
The Islamabad Serena emerges as a hotel covering the heritage of the sub-continent and the Islamic idioms of design. However, none of the features follow any particular period. The language is innovative and eventually contemporary, taking its cues from the spirit of regional architecture.
The hotel responds to the design brief in providing a layout that addresses security concerns while it enables the guests and visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and the roof garden above the banquet hall area.
Another important achievement is that of using local resources, materials and labour. The marble flooring, light fittings, chandeliers and artwork are the proud products of local artisans.
Various blocks and zones of the project operate independently such as the office block, banquet halls, restaurants and exhibition spaces. Despite this separation of various levels and terraces of the hotel, the architectural language manages to provide a sense of unity amongst all the spaces, and the architectural detailing provides a strong sense of harmony and character.
The capacity of the hotel is more than 500 rooms with two large banquet halls and five specialty restaurants. The approximate area of the hotel is 600,000 sq ft and the office building covers another 250,000 sq ft.
It’s Climate Change and Tourism for Serena Hotels: 13,000 More Seedlings towards Mau Conservation.
May 5th 2011:“…True to the Serena Hotels Eco Policy, we are determined to set a benchmark for responsible tourism in the communities in which we operate...” These were the undisputed words of Serena Hotels Managing Director Mahmud Jan Mohamed who has vowed to rise up to the challenge of planting 10Million trees over the coming years in recognition of the 2011 United Nations International Year of the Forests through the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for Environment (PSAKFE). This is just but a drop in the ocean, considering the 100Million trees planted by The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Asia and Africa over the last 25 years.
Friday6th May 2011 saw Serena Hotels’ Management, Staff and other Stakeholders, together with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) converge at Nderit Forest in Mau for the tree launch. As one of the stakeholders in the Mau, Serena Hotels, Lodges and Resorts is very proud of the Mara Serena Safari Lodge which today draws its water supply from the Mara River besides the wildlife (the Great Migration) that is of great interest to its guests.
Serena Hotels has requested for a Block in the Western Mau Forest where it expects to be allocated about 100 hectares with a possibility of extension. Meanwhile, it will be working in partnership with African Wildlife Fund (AWF) which has been allocated 4,000 hectares. It is on the AWF Block (In Nderit Forest) that Serena Hotels planted the 13,000 seedlings on 6th May, 2011.
AKDN uttermost aim is to plant enough trees (including those planted in Serena Hotel Lodges in East Africa) and claim for Carbon Credit, later.The over 2 million trees Serena has planted at its Lodges, schools and government forests have been enumerated in the UNEP’s ‘The Billion Tree Campaign’.In the world today however, sustainable tourism entails striving to be carbon neutral. This means balancing carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions that are produced from tourism-related activities like air travel, auto travel, heating, electricity,etc with equivalent carbon reduction activities elsewhere (offsets).
Carbon offsetting has roots in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that calls on polluting nations to reduce their greenhouse gases (GHG) emission levels and sets out fines for developed countries that exceed emission targets. By ratifying the agreement, the developing countries like Kenya having no GHG emission reduction obligations can participate in GHG reduction through clean development mechanism (CDM) projects.
Statistics show that registered CDM projects worldwide is disappointingly low with none in Kenya, 20 in Africa and only 708 the whole world. Clearly, rather than wait to have registered carbon sequestration projects, there is need for tourism in East Africa to take action to minimize its carbon footprint. To that end therefore, Serena Hotels is working towards being fully carbon neutral by offsetting its carbon through community support and carbon reduction projects. In addition to this, Serena has introduced programs that offer guests the opportunity to offset carbon emissions by allowing them to contribute to community projects which aim at reducing GHG such as the reforestation.
Serena guests and property locals take up the responsibility of offsetting their carbon footprints every time they visit the facilities by planting at least five trees. Currently, this practice is at all Serena Lodges in Kenya. Amboseli Serena, being the pioneer in tree planting project from 1991, has a total of about one million trees that have taken root.
FREDRICK ONYANGO| NATION His Highness Prince Amyn Aga Khan and Tourism Minister Najib Balala seen through a lamp post as they go through the executive suite after opening the Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp on Wednesday. The camp is owned by Serena Group of Hotels.
TPS Serena has announced a Sh4 billion plan to upgrade the Nairobi Serena hotel as competition intensifies in Kenya’s hospitality industry The revamp will see the hotel chain establish a separate wing adjacent to the Nairobi hotel that will have a 300-seat conference centre, a car park, 40 new rooms and refurbished public areas. The annex will be built on a piece of land that is currently used as a car park by hotel guests.
“If we do not reinvest in improving our properties, then they will become boring especially for repeat customers,” said the TPS Eastern Africa Group managing director, Mr Mahmud Janmohamed.” The expansion will start in December and take three years to complete.
Mr Janmohamed was speaking at the opening of the Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp in Naivasha, its 24th property in the six countries it operates in. TPS Serena’s hotels and lodges are located in Kenya, Rwanda, Zanzibar, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.
The Sh360 million camp has 24 luxury tents and a furnished suite named Flamingo for travellers seeking privacy and comfort in a natural setting.
Located within a private ranch - the Soysambu Conservancy - 28 Kilometres from Nakuru town and a kilometre from an airstrip, the facility will host tourists visiting Lake Elmenteita. The Lake is the only breeding ground for the white Pelican in East Africa.
Lake Nakuru national park, the Kariandusi pre-historic site and the Kikopey hot springs are other tourist attractions within reach from the camp.
Unlike hotels and lodges that offer a mix of business and pleasure, luxury camps offer an exclusive experience in the wild. It is set on 25 acres within the 40,000 hectare ranch that is home to three species of giraffes. The location will help it tap into the shift in preferences by visitors towards environmental tourism.
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) is the principal shareholder in TPS Eastern Africa Ltd, which runs the Serena hotel chain.
His Highness Prince Amyn Aga Khan, chairman of the AKFED Executive Committee, called on the government to ensure that the relevant infrastructure is installed to support further investments in the country. “We in the Serena Group, are proud and grateful that we have been able to play a leading role in the growth and development of this country.
Prince Amyn said the main aim of investing in Elmentaita Serena Camp was to strengthen the hotel chain’s western Kenya Safari circuit and link it with the Masai Mara Serena Lodge.
“Places like this sanctuary can contribute significantly to the national economy while educating future generations of both citizens and foreigners. Serena will continue to do all that it can to promote and assist in conservation efforts,” he said.
The tourism ministry has invited private investors to provide diversity by setting up accommodation facilities outside the main beach and game segments of the sector.
“Such investments will be critical to ensure that we reinvent our products to meet the changing needs of our tourists,” said Tourism Minister Najib Balala. There is a deficit of 25,000 beds in the country during the peak season.
The shortfall has attracted new entrants such as Ole Serani, Sankara and Crowne Plaza in the past two years, which have seen Nairobi’s bed capacity grow by of 2,000 rooms.
Mr Balala projects that arrivals will increase by at least 20 per cent this year to cross the two million mark.
Latest tourism figures show that the number of tourists to Kenya in the first four months of the year grew 16.1 per cent to 390,148 from 336,179 recorded in the same period a year earlier, with players upbeat that the growth will continue to the end of the year.
“We expect at least between 5 to 10 per cent growth in our business this year, said Karl Hala, the East and Central Africa Director of Operations Intercontinental Hotels. “Kenya is also benefiting from the recent events in the Middle East and North Africa,” he said
(eTN) - Serena’s latest addition to their growing collection in East Africa, the Soysambu-based Elmenteita Serena on the shores of Lake Elmenteita, was yesterday officially opened by the Minister of Tourism Hon. Najib Balala in the presence of His Highness Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Serena’s Group Managing Director Mahmud Jan Mohamed, and other officials.
Kenya hospitality news update – Elementaita Serena officially opened, Nairobi Serena to be expanded
Posted July 14, 2011 by Wolfgang's East Africa and Indian Ocean Tourism reports
ELEMENTAITA SERENA OFFICIALLY OPENED, NAIROBI SERENA TO GET EXPANDED
Serena’s latest addition to their growing collection in East Africa, the Soysambu based Elementaita Serena on the shores of Lake Elementaita, was yesterday officially opened by the Minister of Tourism Hon. Najib Balala in the presence of His Highness Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Serena’s Group Managing Director Mahmud Jan Mohamed and other officials.
The 24 tent development closes a gap for Serena in their safari circuit, connecting the Mara Serena Lodge with their Samburu Serena Lodge, or for that matter Sweetwaters Camp or the Mountain Lodge. Safari itineraries prefer a stopover along the Rift Valley lakes when either heading to or coming from the Masai Mara Game Reserve and the absence of a Serena property along the lakes had left that market to the competition, until now that is.
Since the property was already reviewed a few weeks ago here, the topic can move to the Nairobi Serena flagship hotel of the group in Kenya, which is due for a major upgrade and expansion.
Starting later this year the hotel will see another 60 room wing added in one section of the present ‘upper’ car park, while the present hotel is due to get another floor added on top, before eventually, on a ‘wing by wing’ basis, turning three present rooms into two, similar to the ‘Garden Suites’, giving the faithful Serena guests a truly luxury environment to stay in.
It was also revealed during the opening of the Elementaita Serena that the car park opposite the hotel will in another phase of expansion be turned into a dedicated 300 seat conference centre with an underground car park, adding another much in demand facility to the Nairobi Serena to cement its leading market position.
In a related development it was also learned that construction on a new lodge in Rwanda, on a site near the Parc de Volcanoes, is also due to commence soon, adding a third Serena property after the Kigali Serena Hotel and the Lake Kivu Serena Resort.
TPS Serena Hotels and Staff Donate Sh. 3.0 Million to the ‘Kenyans for Kenya’ Initiative.
Serena Donation to the Kenyans for Kenya Initiative
TPS Serena Hotels and members of staff have today contributed a total of Sh. 3.0 Million towards the Kenyans for Kenya’ Initiative to alleviate the suffering of Kenyans affectedwith starvation and the drought. Speaking at his Tourism Promotion Services (TPS) office, which is an affiliate company of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), TPS Serena Hotels Managing Director, Mahmud Janmohamed commended the Serena staff for this noble initiative and expressed his sincere hope and beliefthat this donation, together with those from other willing Kenyans will go a long way in addressing intervention measures to ease the humanitarian crisis in northern Kenya.
Kenyanstaffs from the Serena Properties in Kenya, TPS Head Office and Central Stores have in various creative wayscontributed to the ‘Kenyans for Kenya’ Initiative over the last one week which amongst others include the foregoing of meals and transport allowances and by contributing cash. The handover ceremony will take place at 11.00am on Friday 5th August at the Nairobi Serena Hotel. Present at the handover ceremony will be the Management and Staff representatives includingMonica Owuoche and Weldon Ronoh who initiated the fundraising campaign towards helpingour fellow Kenyans challenged by the drought.
Later on Friday 5th August, TPSSerena Hotels’ members of staff will attend thepublic announcement at the Nairobi Serena Hotel where other Organizations in Kenya will congregate to join the fund with their pledges towards the same initiative, ‘Kenyans for Kenya’.
Hotel gives Sh13m food assistance to school
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 21:25
By The Citizen Reporter
As part of its corporate social responsibility, the Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge has made a donation worth Sh13.6 million to Kilimamoja secondary school in Karatu district. The support handed over the weekend to the school administration, will be used in feeding hundreds of students in the school and building a two-in-one teachers house with a capacity to host three families.
"Manyara Serena Safari Lodge is not just a hotel, it is a community in which each of us strives to reach our potential and help others to reach theirs hence building a lifetime relationships" the Lodge Manager, Mustafa Mbinga said.
He said that it was against that background that his hotel decided to help the students so that they can study comfortably and reach their potential. Receiving the support, the chairman of the Kilimamoja village, Mr Israel David commended the Manyara Serena Safari Lodge management for relieving them with the responsibility of feeding their children at school.
“This support is a big relief to the parents this time around when they are grappling with the serious food shortage as they normally contribute food for the school” Mr David explained. For her part, the Kilimamoja secondary school’s Headmistress, Mrs Mboya said the food guarantee will be a major incentive for her students to attend classes.
“No more excuse for absenteeism because the food is now available, thanks to Manyara Serena Safari Lodge for its support” Mrs Mboya explained.Serena’s portfolio currently comprises a collection of luxury hotels, resorts and safari lodges in some of the most exquisite locations in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Mozambique.
It owns and manages other properties in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan as part of its mandate to contribute to economic growth in an environmentally and culturally sensitive manner. It is also an affiliate of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED).
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum