Cape Town aims new air routes to perk up South African Tourism

Published on : Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Cape Town is all set to add new routes to Australia and South America after reaching a agreement with United Airlines last month for its first direct flight to the United States, the head of air access for South Africa’s top tourist city said.


South Africa is endorsing tourism as a catalyst to help launch its ailing economy and aims to lure five million extra travelers, including four million international tourists, by 2021.


Travel and tourism contributed around 426 billion brand, just under 9% of GDP, to the economy of South Africa in 2018, making it the largest on the continent, the World Travel and Tourism Council says.


Majority of travelers to Africa’s most advanced economy land at the busiest airport in Johannesburg of the continent. From there, they’ll have to take a two-hour flight to Cape Town, whose white beaches, Robben Island and Table Mountain rank among the top tourist attractions of South Africa.


“If you look at our top ten of unserved markets, the United States is the highest,” Paul van den Brink, project manager at private-public partnership Cape Town Air Access (CTAA) said. Since 2015 CTAA has played an important role in launching 15 new routes, including the latest American one, while expanding 19 existing routes.


“The US route will mean future tourism and investment growth and means direct connectivity to one of the most important markets in the world,” Van den Brink told Reuters. New direct air links to Paulo in Brazil and an as-yet-unnamed Australian city were also on the radar, he added. A study for CTAA by Grant Thornton consultancy found a direct flight from North America would add at least an extra 24,000 inbound passengers in its first year.


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