On the 14th November, the Mali office of Continent Tours: We know Africa Best emailed Four Villages Inn the following which I copy in full…..Continent Tours is the African based company that represents PALACE TRAVEL in the U.S.A.
I wonder if Palace Travel authorized this condemnation of travel advisories issued for MALI.
Dear Travel Partners:
We are aware that some Foreign Service Advisories have issued security alerts regarding Mali. These security alerts are largely related to the belief that there is an Al-Qaida presence in the north of the country.
Unfortunately, these exaggerated Foreign Service Reports have unfairly painted our country in a bad light. The actions or potential actions of a very few have influenced the views of many, and our country has been inaccurately portrayed. The weight that the name Al Qaeda carries in the West is heavy, and inarguably it should; but Mali is not a country governed by violence or terrorists. We Malians are a peaceful and friendly people. We have opened our homes, hearts and borders to peaceful visitors from all over the world who are interested in learning about our culture and want to visit some of the numerous historic sites.
Entrepreneurs and established multinational corporations from all over the world have ongoing commercial transactions in Mali and are not the least bit hesitant to come here.
Malian security forces together with the security forces from neighboring countries including Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso are concerned about the damage these rumors are doing to the economies of our countries, and have been combining their efforts to eliminate any threats to visitors and nationals alike.
At times people living outside of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Algeria and Mauritania may get the wrong impression and believe that our countries are continually on the brink of war, and that at any moment a visitor may be harmed. But nothing could be further from the truth, our cities are just like many in the West, each area has its bad spots but is overwhelmingly safe. In truth, it is much safer to walk the streets of any Malian city, village or neighborhood than it is to roam New York City, Paris, London or numerous other Western cities.
There are many Europeans, North Americans and Asians living and working in Mali year round, and they do so without ever encountering any unpleasantness and certainly no violence. Many volunteers from the United States Peace Corps continue to spend upwards of two years living in remote villages throughout Mali, and they face none of the problems implied by the Western Media reports.
Please note that there are no tourist sites in those parts of Mali where kidnappings are said to have occurred, and no travel company conduct tours in those remote areas where AQMI is said to be operating.
Please also note that Continent Tours and other reputable travel companies suffer financially and emotionally anytime a client has a bad experience within our borders, be it a long wait at the airport or any minor inconvenience. Since Tourism is our profession and livelihood, the wellbeing of our clients is of utmost importance to us.
No tour company would knowingly take the chance to expose a guest to danger, however remote the chance.
Tourism is important to the entire Malian population, and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure that visitors will not only return to Mali again and again, but will encourage others to visit.
If there were ever the slightest indication that you our guest would be in danger, we would insist that you postpone your trip until the conditions are such that your visit will be pleasant and memorable.
Today, Mali is safe and we invite you to visit.
With our very best regards,
Continent Tours, SARL
Now read the latest…a total of nine foreigners have been kidnapped and one killed!
And here’s another interesting take on the situation.
How fragile the tourism industry is. Just look at Kenya and the Lamau area. A vibrant tourism industry decimated.
BUT IN GHANA WE ARE BLESSED, SO BLESSED THAT WE HAVE BEEN RATED IN THE TOP 10 TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD BY FROMMER!