by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – EMIRATES and the South African Tourism Board have partnered to boost visitor arrivals in the country and eventually support tourism recovery efforts.
The two parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with Emirates set to explore opportunities to promote South Africa and encourage travelling from across its network of over 130 destinations.
SA Tourism Board will also work closely with the airline to support travel trade partners and tour operators across Emirates’ network.
Badr Abbas, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations for Africa, and SA Tourism Board’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Themba Khumalo, signed the MoU.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, and Minister of Tourism in South Africa, Lindiwe Sisulu, attended.
“For more than 25 years we have invested in, and grown our operations to, South Africa,” said Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer.
“We’re working hard to restore our services to pre-pandemic levels to help generate more opportunities for travellers from around the world to experience South Africa’s unique natural experiences, world-renowned cuisine, and local culture.”
Emirates has been serving South Africa for 27 years, connecting close to 20 million travellers to and from South Africa and Dubai as well as beyond to its global network.
Khumalo lauded the Middle East as a critical market for South Africa, hence the partnership would be instrumental in ensuring ease of access to and from South Africa.
“This will increase direct airlift, making room for more travellers, and as our tourism sector recovers we look forward to welcoming more visitors from the Middle East,” Khumalo said.
Sisulu welcomed the signing of this MoU, adding the government continued ensuring ease of access into South Africa for Middle Eastern travellers.
“This collaboration will assist us in elevating our trade efforts, in terms of packaging the destination,” she said.
Emirates currently serves South Africa with 26 weekly flights.
These include double daily services to Johannesburg, daily services to Cape Town and five weekly flights to Durban.
Emirates has codeshare agreements with South African Airways and Airlink, and interline agreements with FlySafair and Cemair.
Meanwhile, Emirates has announced the extension of its partnership with Huawei, to provide further exposure to both brands in the Middle East, China and African markets.
– CAJ News