FlySafair Durban-Eastern Cape routes to boost tourism
20 Nov 2017 – Tourism Update
“Any new route coming into an airport stimulates travel, trade and tourism,” says Terence Delomoney, GM of King Shaka International Airport.
FlySafair recently launched a Durban-Port Elizabeth route, and a Durban-East London service will launch on November 27. Bookings are open for both routes.
“Any new route coming into an airport stimulates travel, trade and tourism,” says Terence Delomoney, GM of King Shaka International Airport. He says while there are existing frequencies from Durban to both Port Elizabeth and East London, it is important for cities to create as much connectivity as possible.
Hamish Erskine, CEO of Dube TradePort, says Durban increasingly recognises the importance of a strong, competitive, well-priced network. “The ability to offer onward connections to cities like Port Elizabeth and East London is particularly important for Durban’s proposition as an inbound tourism destination. Similarly, the increase in capacity on these routes, is a considerable benefit to Durbanites, for whom the Eastern Cape is a relatively popular destination.”
Councillor Andrew Whitfield, a member of the Mayoral Committee responsible for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture within the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, agrees. “As Durban is just a short flight from PE, it’s easy for tourists to enjoy the best that both cities have to offer.”
He says additional flights play an important part in Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism’s efforts to promote the destination, as they can form part of travel packages. He notes that air access has been a priority for the Municipality as it works towards developing Port Elizabeth into a regional air hub.
Whitfield believes PE is also ready to showcase the best that it has to offer from a business tourism perspective. In line with this, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is also investigating options for a multi-purpose conference centre.
East London, which recently hosted a number of national sporting competitions, also has plans to bid for and host more major events and international conferences. “There is no doubt that a route of this nature will prove key to those plans,” says Communications Manager for Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, Samkelo Ngwenya.
He says at the moment many of the city’s residents connect through Johannesburg to get to Durban because of the expense of flying direct. “So from this point of view, the new route will definitely have an impact.”
From a business-to-business perspective there are a significant number of people who travel between Durban and PE who will benefit from the additional capacity on the route, particularly in the automotive industry, says Whitfield. The additional capacity will also help boost East London’s transport network, which is central to encouraging local and international companies to conduct business in the city.
“Our vision of working toward becoming a connected city relates to our plans for an integrated transport infrastructure network in the form of ports, roads, rail and airports to ensure easy access, mobility and connectivity within our jurisdiction and beyond, through cost-effective and sustainable methods,” says Ngwenya.
The Buffalo City Municipality believes that other recently launched routes, such as Johannesburg-East London, have already played an important role in East London’s economic development. “We have no doubt that the success of this route will, in turn, open doors for even more routes,” he says.