BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
FASTJET Zimbabwe has introduced a second daily flight service from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg, OR International Airport in South Africa.
In a statement, fastjet spokesperson Nunurai Ndawana said the new development was designed to provide international tourists arriving or departing from Johannesburg with additional options.
He said the daily service would boost the continued resumption of tourism and trade activities in the area.
“We continue to support the development of Victoria Falls as a regional tourism hub by providing the much-needed seamless connections between the region’s top destinations. The second daily service between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg is in addition to our recently introduced service between Victoria Falls and Mbombela (Nelspruit) Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and Maun in Botswana effective from June 30, 2022,” Ndawana said.
“Working closely with our industry partners, we continue to record growing demand for travel to the region. These second daily flights have been designed to provide international tourists arriving or departing from Johannesburg with additional options and seamless connections into the Victoria Falls.”
As the tourism industry rebounds following relaxation of COVID-19 pandemic curbs, airlines have warmed up to Zimbabwean destinations.
In the past eight years, Zimbabwe has been courting the airline to introduce flights into Harare and Victoria Falls under its strategy to diversify tourism source markets.
Zimbabwe has laid out a blueprint to rebuild its tourism industry into one of the nerve centres driving economic recovery.
The industry has struggled to recover from a blitz of bad publicity since the country relapsed into an economic and political crisis at the turn of the century, which dampened global tourists’ appetite.
Prospects for growth briefly emerged when President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced his re-engagement plan in 2017, but this was dealt a blow by the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
The outbreak forced airlines to ground jets in a worldwide fight to prevent contagion.
Pandemic curbs are being lifted across markets, and Alfred Mutiwekuziva, Zimbabwe’s new diplomat in Turkey, said among his top priorities was to convince the global carrier to kickstart direct flights.
In an interview with Business Digest in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Mutiwekuziva said direct flights would also be critical in bolstering trade between the two countries, whose diplomatic ties have strengthened since he arrived in 2019.
“I am engaging Turkish Airlines to fly directly to Harare. I have had three discussions as of now with board members of the Turkish Airlines, who have indicated very positive news to us that in the short term probably before the end of the year, we will see Turkish Airlines flying to Zimbabwe. The low levels of Turkey-Zimbabwe bilateral trade is a discouragement to investment by that country’s businesspeople,” he said.
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