BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
FASTJET Zimbabwe has introduced a second daily flight service from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg International Airport, OR in South Africa.
In a statement, Fastjet spokesperson Nunurai Ndawana said the new development was designed to provide international tourists arriving in or departing from Johannesburg with additional options.
He said the daily service would boost the continued resumption of tourism and business activities in the area.
“We continue to support the development of Victoria Falls as a regional tourism hub by providing much-needed seamless connections between major destinations in the region. The second daily service between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg adds to our recently introduced service between Victoria Falls and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Mbombela (Nelspruit) and Maun in Botswana from June 30, 2022,” said Ndawana.
“Working closely with our industry partners, we continue to see growing travel demand in the region. These second daily flights have been designed to provide international tourists arriving or departing from Johannesburg with additional options and seamless connections to Victoria Falls.
As the tourism industry rebounds from the easing of COVID-19 pandemic curbs, airlines have warmed up to Zimbabwean destinations.
Over the past eight years, Zimbabwe has courted the airline to introduce flights to Harare and Victoria Falls as part of its strategy to diversify tourism source markets.
Zimbabwe has drawn up a plan to rebuild its tourism industry as one of the nerve centers of economic recovery.
The industry has struggled to recover from a blitz of bad publicity since the country slid back into an economic and political crisis at the turn of the century, which dampened the appetite of global tourists.
Prospects for growth briefly emerged when President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced his re-engagement plan in 2017, but this was hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
The outbreak has forced airlines to ground planes in a global fight to prevent contagion.
Pandemic brakes are being lifted in the markets, and Alfred Mutiwekuziva, the new Zimbabwean diplomat in Turkey, said one of his top priorities was convincing the global carrier to launch direct flights.
In an interview with Business summary in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Mutiwekuziva said direct flights would also be key to boosting trade between the two countries, whose diplomatic ties have grown since his arrival in 2019.
“I urge Turkish Airlines to fly direct to Harare. I have had three discussions so far with members of the Turkish Airlines board of directors, who have given us very positive news that, in the short term, probably before the end of the year, we will see Turkish Airlines flying to Zimbabwe. The low levels of bilateral trade between Turkey and Zimbabwe are discouraging investment by businessmen from this country,” he said.
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