Meetings Africa anticipates busier skies
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE addition of an airline pavilion at Meetings Africa 2023 is poised to fast track the tourism sector’s recovery, from an airlift perspective.
This new platform aims to boost efforts to improve connectivity across the continent. Meetings Africa is scheduled for February 27 to March 1 in Johannesburg.
It is for the first time the pavilion will be designed at the prestigious trade show dedicated to advancing the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) sector in Africa.
The pavilion has been designed to allow airlines to engage and collaborate, a move expected to yield significant benefits for the industry, including improved operational efficiencies, better customer experience and innovation.
Zinhle Nzama, the Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer at the South African National Convention Bureau (SANBC), said the platform is an essential tool for the recovery of the tourism sector globally and, therefore, it is vital to use the Meetings Africa to advance the work of airlines and provide a platform for collaboration.
“We recognise the immense impact that COVID-19 had on businesses of all sizes, including those in the aviation sector,” she said.
The pavilion aims to provide a platform for various airline businesses to showcase their offerings and connect with potential customers.
“By providing exhibitors in (the) airline pavilion with the same access to the show, including the diary system, we will level the playing field and offer a fair chance for all businesses to participate,” Nzama said.
This initiative is part of efforts by South African Tourism and the SANCB to assist the sector towards full and inclusive recovery.
Airlines showcasing at the pavilion are Airlink, Asky airlines, Air Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Lam Mozambique, Fly Namibia, Eswatini Airlines and FlySafair.
Other airlines to showcase at Meetings Africa are Air Mauritius, Cemair, Proflight, RwandAir and South African Airways.
“We believe this pavilion will help pave the way for a brighter and more resilient future for the African airline industry,” Nzama said.
Edwin Umejiaku, a West African aviation expert, pointed out that the lack of flights, insufficient seating capacity and limited frequencies have always been obstacles to air connectivity.
Efforts led by SA Tourism, industry players and government to increase airlift and connectivity to revive the tourism industry continue to bear fruit.
The second half of 2022 was positive.
Direct flights between South Africa and Belgium were announced.
A new non-stop airlift service between Washington and Cape Town was introduced.
The new route operated by United Airlines is set to increase the number of tourists from North America to South Africa, which is currently the second-largest overseas market for South Africa.
South African Airways (SAA) retained all its historical route traffic rights and introduced flights to Blantyre and Lilongwe in Malawi, Windhoek in Namibia, and Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, as well as increasing frequencies to other African destinations.
The airline is also planning to launch its first post-restart intercontinental route this year.
– CAJ News