Southern Africa is a true tourism marvel. Offering a wide range of attractions and activities, from the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, to Cape Town and Kruger National Park in South Africa and the Okavango Delta in Botswana, it is arguable that the region tops visitors' African bucket list.
Despite the many attractions, the unavailability of a well-connected and scheduled flight network has always been a concern for many visitors to the region. Visitors to these areas are known to rely on charter flights to get from attraction to attraction, which is not always cost-friendly. Travel trade partners have often recognised this as a hindrance to the development of the tourism industry in the region.
It comes as no surprise then, that when one of Africa’s leading and top value-based airlines, fastjet, announced flights from Victoria Falls to Maun in Botswana that it was met with cheers within the safari and tourism landscape of Southern Africa.
The awarding-winning airline announced that it would be launching flights to Maun from Victoria Falls four times a week, effective June 30, 2022. The flight launch will coincide with the anticipated peak season of tourist arrivals in Victoria Falls and Maun, signalling the dawn of a new era, post the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
With this flight, tourists can now enjoy the unique tourism offering of these two countries with both the Victoria Falls, known as Mosi-oa-Tunya by the locals, and Maun now connected by a single, comfortable scheduled flight.
Following the announcement of the direct flight between the two tourism hubs, the tourism industry has expressed excitement. Carina Grueninger, Managing Director, Safari Destinations of Maun, commented: “We are super excited about fastjet linking two of the key access points for safaris to Botswana and Zimbabwe – Maun and Victoria Falls. Providing travellers with easier access to our destinations is key to growth in our region.”
“The regional connection between Victoria Falls and Maun is a very positive indicator towards the opening of a multi-country destination, led by consumer demand and facilitated by the ease of access. A high proportion of international inbound travel to the region is based on itineraries of two or more countries, which in the past has been stifled by limited ease of access. Linkages such as fastjet's Victoria Falls to Maun flight open up itineraries between two Unesco World Heritage Sites and potentially over half a million high-value travellers per year,” said Jillian Blackbeard, CEO of Africa’s Eden.
Commenting for fastjet, Group CCO, Julian Edmunds, had this to say: “Finally, we have managed to connect one of the missing pieces in the Southern African safari jigsaw. As a former safari tour operator, I can say we used to link the safari locations in Zimbabwe to the Okavango Delta with direct flights from Victoria Falls to Maun. Sadly, these flights ceased operating and have been missing for many years. From June 30, I am delighted to be part of the team that will recommence this vital link. I hope this flight will aid the tourism development in the region.”