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The people of KwaZulu-Natal will no longer have to travel from Durban to Johanne...

3 years ago sagovnews

The people of KwaZulu-Natal will no longer have to travel from Durban to Johanne...

The people of KwaZulu-Natal will no longer have to travel from Durban to Johannesburg to catch a flight to the United Kingdom.


This is thanks to the introduction of a direct flight between Durban' s King Shaka International Airport and London' s Heathrow Airport.


The new direct airline service between the two cities will commence on 29 October with three direct flights a week.


Approximately 10 000 passengers, who currently fly indirectly between Durban and London via Johannesburg, will now fly directly to the UK. This will drastically reduce travel times and costs. 


The joint announcement was made in Durban by the KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala and British Airways on Tuesday ahead of Africa' s Tourism Indaba.


" As of tomorrow, the public can book their flight between London and Durban on the 214 passenger aircraft. The investment and trade opportunities presented by this direct flight between Durban and London will undoubtedly add huge value to our economy, " MEC Zikalala said.


He said the introduction of the British Airways flight augured well for KwaZulu-Natal' s Route Development Strategy, which aims to provide a mechanism for attracting and supporting new and direct air service routes for King Shaka International Airport.


" This new route adds to our growing number of international flights, amongst which can be counted flights connecting us to key world destinations such as the Gulf region, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, North Asia, Australia as well as Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul through the hub in Abu Dhabi, " the MEC said.


British Airways chairman and CEO Alex Cruz expressed confidence that the flight would lead to an improvement in the province' s tourism fortunes.


" It is a gateway to many nature reserves, parks and historic sites and has a thriving food, drink and arts scene, defining the city as a must visit for culture and adventure, " Cruz said.


Regional cooperation

Meanwhile, Tourism Ministers from several African countries have called for greater regional cooperation to ensure growth in tourism across the continent.


This emerged at the fifth African Ministerial Session hosted by South African Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom in Durban on the eve of Africa' s Travel Indaba.  


Tourism Ministers from Angola, Kingdom of eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe were joined by a panel of tourism experts to explore potential solutions to the challenges of regional integration.


Themed ‘Integrated Regional Tourism – A tool for economic development' , the session afforded African Ministers and key tourism industry experts and players an opportunity to deliberate on the state of tourism in Africa.  


Minister Hanekom said tourism in Africa is advancing steadily, as the continent has been able to leverage successfully on its geographical and cultural assets to attract tourists to the continent.


" With global tourist arrivals predicted to reach 134 million by 2030, there is an increased need for us to address the challenges that hinder the growth of tourism.


" This will require that we find ways to work together to create an enabling environment that will facilitate synergy in the development of regional tourism products, and ensure the growth and sustainability of the African tourism market, " said Minister Hanekom.


The discussions emphasised the need for increased commitment from all African states in implementing the bilateral and multilateral agreements. This would encourage governments to ensure that the basic infrastructure and regulatory frameworks are in place to facilitate regional tourism growth.


African tourist arrivals increased by 8% (four million tourists) to reach 58 million in 2016, and it supported 8.3 million direct jobs. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), this number is expected to increase to 11.6 million jobs by 2028.


United Nations World Tourism Organisation representative, Alicia Grandcourt said while it is important to recognise the economic gains of tourism, it is equally important to acknowledge the social benefits of peace and social cohesion brought on by tourism in the continent. 


" Tourism is bringing us together and breaking down barriers and stereotypes, as it has opened up the world for people to learn about its diverse cultures and heritage.


" Our communities are a critical measure of the success of tourism. As we map the way towards an integrated tourism region, let us ensure that we take our communities with us to ensure sustainable tourism growth that will be enjoyed by future generations, " said Grandcourt.


The African Ministerial session took place on the eve of the official opening of the 2018 Africa Travel Indaba in Durban. The trade show remains the largest tourism marketing event in Africa.


This year' s event will receive thousands of delegates from across the world to witness and share in Africa' s tourism success stories that will be shared by the 21 countries who will be exhibiting at Africa's Travel Indaba, taking place from today until Thursday at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre. - SAnews.gov.za


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