BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
REGIONAL flights launched by German airline, Eurowings between Windhoek and Victoria Falls will boost Zimbabwe tourism sector, government has said.
Speaking during Eurowings’ inaugural flight to Victoria Falls on Wednesday, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu said this was a milestone achievement.
“The return of Lufthansa under the Eurowings Discover banner connecting Victoria Falls with Europe is a great milestone in efforts which places Zimbabwe back on the world tourism map, giving due recognition to our country as a competitive tourist destination. This is a grand move which will spur tourism growth, trade and investment,” Ndhlovu said.
“This inaugural flight marks the beginning of a new era in the tourism sector and is a huge step towards serious implementation of our National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy (NTRGS). A key pillar towards the achievement of targets outlined in the strategy is improving our accessibility. The decision of Eurowings to ply the Victoria Falls route is a perfect fit, as this will go a long way towards achieving our set target. Indeed, air transport is a critical engine for social and economic development of any country,” he said.
He said what made the government more grateful was that among the 24 destinations Eurowings Discover intended to ply in Africa, Victoria Falls was the fifth, a clear indication of the confidence the market has in the destination.
“It is interesting to note that Germany is the second largest source market for Zimbabwe from Europe after the United Kingdom. I have no doubt that the number of arrivals could double in a short period of time if the Zimbabwe tourism stakeholders fully support the Eurowings Discover promotional efforts by offering attractive packages accompanied by the Zimbabwean hospitality visitor experience,” he said.
Ndhlovu said COVID-19 had crippled the country’s tourism sector, hence Eurowings’ arrival was likely to heighten the recovery process.
“The tourism sector had immensely suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovery process hasn’t always been easy. We have gone through crippling lockdowns and curfews to travel advisories and red listings; all adversely affecting this important sector. We are proud to walk together through this journey of reclaiming the pride and glory of destination Zimbabwe with Eurowings. This milestone event is a welcome move as it demonstrates how Zimbabwe remains an attractive destination,” he said. Eurowings plans to have three weekly flights into Victoria Falls, from Windhoek.
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