Growing flights into Zimbabwe excite tourism players

Business Reporter

OPERATORS in Zimbabwe’s tourism sector are bullish about business prospects in the fourth quarter of this year, banking on expected growth in foreign tourists as the number of airlines flying into the country keeps growing.

This comes after South African airline FlySafair said it will start flights to Harare and Victoria Falls from Johannesburg in October this year after securing all permits from the regulators.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) recently approved applications by FlySafair and its South African counterpart Cemair to start flying into Harare and Victoria Falls from August 1, 2023.

FlySafair joins several other airlines plying these routes, which include Air Zimbabwe, Fastjet, Airlink, Cemair, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and Eurowings Discover.

In 2022, Airlink launched direct flights between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg, and Ethiopian Airlines launched Heathrow-Bulawayo flights.

Bulawayo is a gateway to Matobo National Park and an ideal starting point for Zimbabwe’s other prime recreational areas — Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) Matabeleland North provincial representatives Ms Tsikadzashe Mberi and Ms Barbra Murasiranwa, respectively, said the growing number of flights into Zimbabwe would improve air connectivity from key source markets.

“These flights are adding capacity considering that most of our tourists connect via Johannesburg and the addition of Heathrow and Manchester is an added bonus.

“We are really excited because this is going to help connectivity into Zimbabwe generally,” she said.

“We are so excited about these connections. They are now adding on to arrivals and this is what is exciting the industry. We used to receive many passengers from the airlines before others moved out.

“These ones have come in and are very exciting. It means we are building up to where we used to be before Covid-19,” noted Mr Ronnie Masawi, an employee of the Airports Company of Zimbabwe.

According to TBCZ, the average hotel occupancy for the fourth quarter last year was 55 percent.

The occupancy levels were as high as 98 percent for resort centres and 27 percent for urban area hotels.

TBCZ chairperson Paul Matamisa said: “The occupancy levels were more than expected in both sectors. Resort and city hotels recorded 98 percent and 27 percent occupancy rates, respectively, for the duration of the fourth quarter in 2022.”

Mr Matamisa believes, in the 2023 fourth quarter, hotels could be overbooked due to increased foreign arrivals on account of the increasing number of incoming flights.

The major drawcard for visitors is expected to be the festive season, anticipated to boost the number of both foreign and domestic travellers to various leisure destinations across the country.

Tourism is a strategically important sector of Zimbabwe’s economy.

Under the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy—Vision 2025, the Government targets to increase tourist arrivals to over 5,5 million by 2023, as well as grow tourism receipts from US$1 billion in 2017 to US$3,5 billion by 2023.

source:Growing flights into Zim excite tourism players | Sunday Mail (Business)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *