International airlines good business for tourism: Shifeta

31 Aug 2016 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 31 AUG (NAMPA) - An increase in the number of international airlines operating in Namibia is good business for the tourism industry, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta has said.
He made the remark during the launch of the ministry’s 2015 Tourist Statistical Report here on Wednesday.
“It is high time that African airlines start working together and complement each other since they are competing with giant airlines. I am also happy to note that KLM has announced its flights to Namibia that will start later this year. We also know that Qatar Airlines will start flying to Namibia, also this year. All of this enhances connectivity and airlift and this will hopefully have a positive impact on tourist arrivals,” he noted.
National airline Air Namibia has expressed concern over the number of international airlines granted permission to operate in Namibia.
Air Namibia was quoted in local media reports Wednesday that the recent announcement that Qatar Airways, KLM Royal Dutch, Ethiopian and Condor airlines will start flying into Namibia is a threat to Air Namibia in terms of its market share.
Qatar will start flying from Doha to Windhoek with four weekly direct flights from 28 September 2016, while KLM will start flying from Amsterdam to Luanda, then to Windhoek, three times a week from 30 October 2016.
Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa’s comments came after the Namibia Airports Company welcomed the move, noting that the said expansion and growth are part of their strategic plans.
Shifeta emphasised that air connectivity and tourism are inseparable. He said the growth of aviation cannot be recorded without a healthy growth in the tourism sector.
“Let us keep in mind that tourism is everybody’s business. Therefore, let us work together; engender a culture of excellent customer service; explore new markets that will ensure return on investment; as well as make sure that we keep environmental sustainability always in mind as the bedrock of our tourism sector,” he added.