The African Tourism Board has applauded Qatar Airways for committing to extend its routes to Africa after the airline made its inaugural flights to Zimbabwe and Zambia recently.
Qatar Airways now flies to 27 African cities, which includes six newly availed routes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is good news for the re-development of the travel and tourism industry in both Zambia and Zimbabwe,” African Tourism Board Chairman Cuthbert Ncube said.
To celebrate this milestone, the route was inaugurated by an Airbus A350-900, which was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute upon its arrival in both cities.
Departing thrice weekly, the wide-body will fly to Lusaka before continuing onto Harare. After spending the afternoon in Zimbabwe, it will then head back to the Zambian capital prior to returning to the carrier’s base in the Middle East.
The airline has demonstrated its steadfast commitment to Africa throughout the pandemic having significantly grown its network by adding four routes to Accra, Abidjan, Abuja, Luanda and restarting services to Alexandria, Cairo and Khartoum.
Earlier this month, Qatar Airways also signed an interline agreement with RwandAir giving customers
This makes it easier and faster for passengers in America, Europe, India, Asia or the Middle East to connect through Doha, Qatar to get to both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said the airline has Africa is a good market for the airline as it has the fastest growing economy and there is a rising demand in flying across the continent.
“We have ambitious plans for Africa which is one of the fastest-growing economic regions of the world, with rising consumer demand and an abundance of natural resources. We see enormous potential in not just outbound travel from Zimbabwe and Zambia, but also inbound traffic from India, UK, and the Americas.
“We look forward to strengthening trade and tourism links between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and destinations on the Qatar Airways network, and steadily grow these routes to support the recovery of tourism and trade in the region,” he said.
The coming in of the airline is a big boost for businesses and traders who will benefit from the cargo offering, allowing more than 30 tonnes of cargo capacity per week, each way to support the two countries’ exports such as vegetables and flowers to destinations on the Qatar Airways network such as London, Frankfurt and New York and multiple points in China.
Imports will consist of pharmaceuticals, automotive and technology equipment.