from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – ZIMBABWE has engaged an aviation consultant to lure airlines into Victoria Falls.
This comes as a number of international aviation players show interest in landing in the resort town.
The government has engaged Canadian Pacific Consulting Services (CPCS) aviation consultants to market the destination and convince airlines to fly into the majestic city.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is funding the drive.
Jean-Marc Bourreau, CPCS global director was in Victoria Falls recently in one of the assignments to meet stakeholders.
“As you know in today’s world tourism depends largely on air service, so the Government of Zimbabwe has identified the need for more and better services to the country, and Victoria Falls in particular to develop tourism further,” Bourreau said.
His role includes identifying key markets, talking to people and airlines and the whole supply chain of tourism and transport.
“With funds from IFC we were hired to support the Government of Zimbabwe into development of Victoria Falls to boost air link into Victoria Falls so that the whole community can benefit from it.”
Consultancy started earlier this year.
The first visible result is working with Eurowings Discover.
“It’s work that takes a lot of time and requires a lot of studies and convincing to make sure that the flights can actually happen and this is where we are supporting the government of Zimbabwe through the Airports Company of Zimbabwe, which is our main counterparts,” he said.
Bourreau said there is growing interest to fly into Victoria Falls, whose airport was renovated after government secured US$150 million from China Exim Bank some five years ago.
The airport can now handle 1,5 million passengers per annum.
“There are several airlines that are showing interest for Zimbabwe and this is a process that we are starting,” he said.
“What is interesting in this process is that it has to remain confidential until we are ready to fly. We have already engaged several airlines that are interested in flying across the country both to Harare and Victoria Falls,” he said.
Harare is the capital and biggest city of Zimbabwe.
CPCS has done similar consultancy in Costa Rica.
Tawanda Gusha, Airports Company of Zimbabwe chief executive, said the newly-established state entity was in talks with several airlines to bring them to local airports.
Before COVID-19, several airlines landed in Victoria Falls.
These are Air Zimbabwe, Air Namibia, British/Comair, Ethiopian Airways, Fastjet, Kenyan Airways, South African Airways (SAA) and SA Airlink.
They all suspended flights as a result of the pandemic.
Fastjet is the only one that has effectively resumed scheduled flights.
– CAJ News