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Cape Town to Newark, New Jersey Direct Flight Coming in December 2019

A new direct route between Cape Town and Newark, New Jersey, USA will be taking to the skies in December.

The seasonal route will be operated by United Airlines – their only route to Africa after they ended their Nigerian route a few years ago – and will operate between Cape Town International Airport and Newark Liberty International from 15 December 2019.

It will be a three-times-weekly service on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday from Newark, departing at 20:30 and arriving in Cape Town the next day at 18:00, and will depart again at 20:50 and arrive in Newark at 5:45. The flights will be serviced by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

It will cut travel time by eight hours for a round trip flight.

This is just another feather in the cap for the Cape Town Air Access team, making this their 15th new direct route since they started in 2015. According to Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, the new route is projected to bring in R425 million in direct tourism spending to the province by 2021, and R238 million in the first year of operation.

“By expanding air connectivity, we can expand opportunities for people, especially youth,” said David Maynier, Western Cape Minister for Finance and Economic Opportunities, at the launch.

It’s also expected to grow the US market by 20%, create 890 new jobs in the province in the first year and drastically increase cargo capacity between the two countries.

“We are grateful for the work done by our partners, especially the direct air access team,” lauded the city’s mayor Dan Plato.

“We see Cape Town, South Africa, as the gateway to Africa, and we have a lot to offer to the rest of the world.”

Why a direct route to Newark?

Americans are the third largest source market for tourists in Western Cape, after the UK and Germany, and while there has only been a 2% increase in passengers between 2017 and 2018, Business Class passengers grew by 19% in that same period.

Despite these numbers, New York (which is fed by Newark Liberty International) is one of Cape Town’s most under-served markets, followed by Brussels and Hamburg. Harris also noted that US travelers are also not beholden to seasonal travel – their numbers remain quite consistent throughout the year, even in the off-peak seasons when the city becomes a bit chilly.

And not only will a direct route boost tourism numbers, it will also boost trade exports and imports. Western Cape sells more to the US than it imports, and the US is its third biggest export market. The top six exports from the province to the US are products of iron or non-alloy steel, jewelry of precious metal, engine parts, citrus fruit, wine and yachts.

There will be a push to turn the seasonal route into a year-long route, but this is dependent on regular two-way traffic between the two countries. While marketing the US as a leisure destination to South Africans with the weak rand might be tough, the focus from SA Tourism’s side will instead be on the lucrative business travel sector.

Another point made by Harris was that the success of the air access program is the public-private partnership involved in route development, something that is unique in the world.

“We are competing with thousands of destinations around the world.”

“It is important to know what’s happening in the business sector when meeting with airlines, which is why you need a collaborative approach.”

What it means for South Africa

But the benefits won’t only be reaped by Western Cape.

For SA Tourism’s acting CEO Sthembiso Dlamini, direct air access is the best way to grow brand awareness of a country.

“Air access is very important in the business of tourism, which is a key economic growth factor for South Africa,” said Dlamini at the launch.

SA Tourism has plans and campaigns in place on the ground to drive traffic for the December launch.

“One of the key barriers to travel to South Africa is that it is too costly to get here from an airline’s point of view. So the first interaction a tourist or potential traveller has with a destination is through an airline ticket.”

“A lot of people say ‘you are not affordable’, but these issues are around perception. When you look at the currency or exchange rate, you get a lot of value for experiences using the dollar in South Africa.”

Other barriers highlighted by Dlamini are the appeal of other destinations over South Africa, concerns for personal safety and uncertain political climate – but these are, again, all an issue of perception according to Dlamini.

International visitors to SA saw a marked decrease of 1.3% between January and April 2019 compared to last year, while the domestic market saw an increase. SA Tourism plans to capitalize on this by reviving the ‘We Do Tourism’ campaign this year and getting corporates that aren’t necessarily in the tourism sector involved.

“We want to ensure that South Africans understand the value of tourism and the role that they need to play in ensuring that this sector grows,” says Dlamini.

While the US market saw a growth between 2016 and 2018 of 4.5%, major market China saw a 9% decline, which Dlamini claims is partly because the Chinese traveler doesn’t like layovers and want to fly direct.

She also noted that forward bookings were down for January almost 10%, as the peak booking period for this time took place during the drought crisis in Cape Town.

Besides the national markets, SA Tourism also wants to focus on special interest groups, LGBTQ+ travelers, repeat travelers, Millennials, and the meetings, conferences, and events sector.

Most US visitors travel to Western Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga, with traction seen in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. SA Tourism will put their effort into showcasing those showing growth like the last three.

“We must look at what are the new products and experiences that we can start packaging so that South Africa presents a variety of products that people are looking for.”

SA Tourism’s plan of action is to “create desire through giving the traveler a vivid sense of the real South Africa before they visit” and “build confidence through giving access to real information that excites people about the country and dispels concerns”. For the US – and Canada – they want to market South Africa as an “ultimate adventure destination”.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Nicolas Jehly [1], [2].

New Air Tanzania and Ethiopian Airlines Routes to South Africa

Air Tanzania

Looking to attract tourists from South African and other business travellers, state-owned Air Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL) is set to revive its passenger schedule route connecting four major airports in Tanzania with the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, starting June 28.

The four direct flights per week will use ATCL’s recently-acquired Boeing 787- 8 Dreamliner jet, which has the capacity to carry 262 passengers.

This past week, ATCL public affairs spokesman Josephat Kagirwa told The EastAfrican that the four local airports to introduce South African connections are Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar International Airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport in northern Tanzania, and Mwanza International Airport.

Mr Kagirwa said the Dreamliner will be replaced by an Airbus A220-300 on the Johannesburg route from July 16. “We expect to maintain this route as we prepare for long-haul flights to India and China,” he said.

The direct flights to and from Johannesburg will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. South Africa is one of the top profit-making routes for most airlines in the Southern and East African region.

Southern African airports are the main linking points to destinations in Australia and the Pacific Ocean rim that are considered upcoming new tourist markets for Tanzania and other East African states. The Tanzania Tourist Board is working jointly with ATCL to market the destinations. South Africa itself is a source market for about 48,000 tourists annually, mostly adventure and business travellers.

Latest official figures show that about 16,000 tourists from Australia visited Tanzania in 2017, mostly using connections through Johannesburg. In the same year, there were 3,300 visitors from New Zealand and 2,600 from the Pacific Rim (Fiji, Solomon, Samoa and Papua New Guinea).

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines has commenced its maiden flight from Lagos to Johannesburg with its code-share partner, Asky.

With that service, Ethiopian Airlines/Asky to South Africa has become the only non-South African airline on the route between Nigeria and South Africa. It flight was welcomed with Water Canon salute and received by staff of Asky and Ethiopian Airlines. The Airport Community also joined in the reception. The flight was operated with an Asky B737-700 commanded by Captain Dawit Muluneh. It left Lagos for Johannesburg by 16: 45 pm on Saturday.

The General Manager of Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria, Mrs. Firihiewot Mekonnen, at the inaugural ceremony said, “Asky is the operating airline, while Ethiopia Airlines is the marketing carrier.”

“Nigeria is one of our biggest markets where we bring the best of our aircraft and we always strive to give our best to Nigerians.

“As part of this motive we found out a lot of Nigerians travel to South Africa so we decided to help improve the connectivity for the passengers.

“We have also availed many promotional fares so we invite Nigerians to use the best deals to Johannesburg,” she said.

The inaugural flight had a 70 per cent load factor. The flights are daily from Lagos to Johannesburg. Some days the flights go through Libreville on other days it will go through Douala.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Captureson [1], [2].

South African Visa Issues to Be Resolved

In the days to Africa’s Travel Indaba fete in South Africa, a number of tour operators were denied visas, sparking an uproar on social media platforms.

However, in his remarks at Africa’s Travel Indaba at the ICC Durban on Saturday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his government was working towards reducing the enormous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists, who want to visit his country, face.

“If a tourist is held back by a lot of red tape, they immediately give up and go to another destination. This clearly requires that we should streamline our tourist visa regimes and as South Africa we are committed to working towards the African Union’s goal of a visa free travel dispensation and a single African air transport market,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

He added that his country was in the process of overhauling the visa dispensation and introducing world class e-visa system.

In his Facebook post, Uganda’s tour operator Amos Wekesa, the executive director of Great Lakes Safaris, condemned the continued denial of visas to Ugandans to travel to South Africa, irrespective of travel frequency.

South Africa’s tourism minister Derek Hanekom said:

“I met with a number of hosted buyers, sellers and media from more than 80 countries and asked them what would be a befitting welcome to our president and their message is recognition of tourism industry but from Nigeria to Ghana, from Kenya to Uganda to India and China, the sector has massive potential and to realise it, the visa dispensation must be overhauled.”

Indaba is the continent’s top annual travel and trade fair that attracts thousands of people and media from some 80 countries.

Uganda, represented by Uganda Tourism Board, won the gold certificate for an outstanding stand characterised with structural traits of eco-friendliness thanks to use of grass thatch, natural sticks and showcase of attractions such as gorillas, birds, wildlife and culture among others.

It was Uganda’s third gold win under the category of Southern African Development Community and Africa, having bagged the same award and recognition in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].