The Sunday News
Rutendo Nyeve, Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S tourism sector has received a major boost with more global airlines set to fly into the country as from tomorrow in a development that has been described as an endorsement of the country’s growing market and economy.
The increased interest in Zimbabwe’s air space comes as South African Air Link announced the resumption of the Johannesburg-Victoria Falls flights which resume tomorrow while Ethiopian Airways — which is the fastest growing airline in Africa has added Bulawayo on its network as its third destination in Zimbabwe along with Harare and Victoria Falls.
International airlines already flying into Zimbabwe include Lufthansa Airlines, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, South African Airways, ComAir, British Airways and RwandAir.
The coming in of Ethiopian Airways is set to further boost tourism in the country as tourists will be given an opportunity to visit areas around Bulawayo with the airline connecting four times a week from London-Heathrow commencing 30 October and connecting on the new additional Saturday service from Manchester Airport effective 5 November 2022.
Confirming the introduction of the Bulawayo flight, Ethiopian Airlines marketing and public relations manager Sally Peters said Bulawayo was a strategic tourism destination.
“Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, and a gateway to Matobo National Park, and an ideal staging point for Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls is Ethiopian Airways’ third destination in Zimbabwe along with Harare and Victoria Falls.
“Explore Bulawayo with Ethiopian Airlines connecting four times a week from London-Heathrow commencing 30th October 2022 and connecting on the new additional Saturday service from Manchester Airport effective 5th November 2022,” said Peters.
On the other hand, the South African Air Link is set commence daily operations between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls tomorrow with the first arrival slated for 1.15pm.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) spokesperson Mr Godfrey Koti described the development as a show of confidence by the international community on destination Zimbabwe.
“We are very excited as the tourism sector with these developments. It is a clear indication of the confidence being exhibited by these international players on the destination. The coming in of new airlines and routes like Euro wings and Ethiopian Airline into Bulawayo respectively shows that we are a growing market. These companies do their market intelligence and surely, they have seen that there is business in Zimbabwe hence the introduction of these flights,” said Mr Koti.
He said the coming in of the airlines boosted the spirit of the sector ahead of the Sanganai/Hlanganani tourism expo which is set for October.
“Preparations for this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani tourism expo are at an advanced stage with final touches being made. We are looking forward to it and very excited after a two-year pandemic saw the expo being confined to virtual meetings and conferences. More than 150 international exhibitors are expected,” said Mr Koti.
He further highlighted that some of the highlights of the expo this year will see an accelerated connection with the Bulawayo community through various programmes on the sidelines of the showcase.
“We will use the expo to engage in discourses of critical issues. The expo comes ahead of the CITIES hence it will give us a platform to talk about the conservation issues. We also want to amplify the promotion of the Meetings, Incentive travel, Conference and Exhibition tourism (MICE). In this year’s edition, we want to connect with the Bulawayo community through various programmes we have lined up for them. We have engaged the local authority, Minister of State hence we are raring to go,” said Mr Koti.
Sanganai/Hlanganani-World Tourism Expo is the national signature event for tourism players which continues to provide stakeholders with business opportunities from international source markets.