Fast­jet: Mak­ing Moves to Help Open Skies, Drive Tourism?

MAK­ING MOVES TO HELP OPEN SKIES, DRIVE TOURISM?

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Inside Issue11 - Words: KRISTIE OMAR

Fast­jet's re­in­state­ment of its route be­tween Johannesburg and Vic­to­ria Falls has seen sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive move­ment in book­ings. The route was tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended dur­ing the car­rier's sta­bil­i­sa­tion plan im­ple­men­ta­tion. De­mand for more af­ford­able travel has in­creased sub­stan­tially as Fast­jet's South African traf­fic con­tin­ues to grow along with in­ter­na­tional con­nect­ing travel.

ac­cord­ing to re­ports pub­lished in Zim­babwe, tourism to the re­sort town has seen 21% year-on-year growth, with in­creased air traf­fic cou­pled with last year’s $150m air­port up­grade counted as sig­nif­i­cant con­tribut­ing fac­tors.

“In­ter­est by South Africans in visit­ing Vic­to­ria Falls has also seen a pos­i­tive jump. While re­ports show a de­cline in in­bound tourism from the re­gion, anec­do­tal ev­i­dence and trade feed­back sug­gests that the Falls now rank amongst the top three fu­ture African des­ti­na­tions for South Africans, keep­ing com­pany with Zanz­ibar," says Fast­jet spokesper­son Hein Kaiser.

Week­end get­away travel also con­tin­ues to grow as more af­ford­able ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions be­come avail­able in the re­sort town. In­ter­na­tional traf­fic to Vic­to­ria Falls is also up with Zim­bab­wean me­dia re­port­ing growth from Amer­i­can, Ger­man, French, Aus­tralian and Ja­panese in­bound mar­kets. “Be­yond its nat­u­ral won­der, Vic­to­ria Falls is a gate­way to ad­ven­ture hol­i­days and near in­cred­i­ble wildlife des­ti­na­tions. Our fo­cus is on grow­ing con­nect­ing traf­fic into the Falls as well as grow­ing the South African out­bound mar­ket to Vic­to­ria Falls,” adds Kaiser. Fast­jet has wel­comed Zim­babwe's Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, Pa­trick Chi­na­masa's an­nounce­ment that Zim­babwe is open­ing its skies to “any air­line that wants to fly as many times as pos­si­ble.” “This is very good news for Zim­babwe,” says Fast­jet Zim­babwe spokesper­son Faith Chaitezvi, “and Fast­jet in­tends to grow its net­work over time to en­able af­ford­able in­bound and do­mes­tic travel for ev­ery­one.” She adds that flights be­tween Bu­l­awayo and Harare are at the top of Fast­jet’s agenda along with plans to fly to other ar­eas of the coun­try as the air­line’s fleet grows. The car­rier plans to en­gage with author­i­ties as soon as this week to shape plans. “Fast­jet in­tends to serve both in­bound con­nect­ing traf­fic as well as pro­mote do­mes­tic travel as our des­ti­na­tions in Zim­babwe grow.”

In sup­port of Zim­babwe, Fast­jet in­tends to play a grow­ing role in pro­mot­ing tourism into Zim­babwe as well as re­gional and do­mes­tic af­ford­able travel. The air­line is presently run­ning a cam­paign in South Africa to fur­ther pro­mote re­gional tourism to Zim­babwe and re­cently im­ple­mented an in­ter­line agree­ment with Emi­rates, whereby con­nect­ing traf­fic from Harare should in­crease on­ward travel to new and ex­ist­ing Fast­jet des­ti­na­tions. “Fast­jet will work with all role play­ers to build pos­i­tively on the sig­nif­i­cant im­pact that open skies hold for the Zim­bab­wean econ­omy.”

In other mar­kets, where open skies have been im­ple­mented, eco­nomic ben­e­fits have in­cluded sub­stan­tial growth in tourism, eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and job cre­ation.

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