HARARE, March 3 (The Source) – The move by three of Africa’s largest airlines to fly to Victoria Falls will bring an additional 80,000 tourists into the resort town annually, according to one of Zimbabwe’s largest leisure groups.
Ross Kennedy, chief executive officer of Africa Albida Tourism, said the launch of Airbus A330-200 flights into Victoria Falls on Wednesday by South African Airways (SAA), coupled with the already announced moves by Ethiopian Airlines and Kenyan Airways to introduce direct flights into the resort town would reignite the growth of the industry.
Zimbabwe relies heavily on tourism, agriculture, mining and manufacturing for the growth of its economy.
Ethiopian Airlines, will begin four flights weekly from Addis Ababa to Victoria Falls, using the latest Boeing 737, on March 26, and Kenya Airways will begin direct flights three times a week from Nairobi to Victoria Falls on May 18.
“(About) 80,000 more tourists a year could soon fly into Zimbabwe’s leading resort town of Victoria Falls as two large international airlines commit to the destination and a third increases capacity,” said Kennedy in a statement.
Kennedy, is also African Travel and Tourism Association chairman.
The A330-200 has 222 seats, 88 more than the smaller aircraft it has replaced, and, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, inbound flights are, so far, heavily booked till March 12, and demand is growing daily.
The Ethiopian Airlines flight route will be Addis Ababa – Victoria Falls – Gaborone – Addis Ababa, while Kenya Airways will fly Nairobi – Victoria Falls – Cape Town – Victoria Falls – Nairobi.
Victoria Falls is in the middle of southern Africa’s Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), which boasts some of the most pristine and diverse wildlife areas left on the planet.
Africa Albida operates a portfolio of properties in Victoria Falls, including Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Suites, Lokuthula Lodges, and Ngoma Safari Lodge in Chobe, Botswana.