By Oliver Kazunga
Air Botswana has announced plans to resume flights between Gaborone and Harare next month, a move the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says will boost the tourism business between the two countries.
The airline suspended flights to Harare in 2016 in a route rationalisation exercise meant to reduce operational costs on non-profitable routes.
According to an e-mail by Air Botswana to this paper, the airline, without giving much detail, said: “Air Botswana will begin operating flights between Gaborone and Harare, Zimbabwe from August 2019”.
Speaking by telephone from Harare yesterday, ZTA head of corporate communications, Mr Godfrey Koti, said they were excited to hear about Air Botswana’s intent to resume flights into Harare.
He said this would improve connectivity between the two countries and boost the tourism industry.
“For us as a country first of all, this shows the relations the two countries enjoy. I’m sure you are aware of the very close relationship that the Presidents of the two countries have with each other.
“So, we rally behind that in the sense that, from a tourism business perspective, we are talking about connectivity being an issue within Africa. So, it’s a welcome development,” said Mr Koti.
“We are excited and elated because it will also increase the number of people that are coming from Botswana into Zimbabwe to explore our tourism products.”
He said the resumption of flights by Air Botswana into the country was also complementary to the relationship brought about by initiatives such as the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) countries. KAZA-TFCA member states are Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In April this year, the KAZA-TFCA countries resolved to adopt a scientific wildlife management system in national parks, a development that is expected to enable the bloc to harvest or move wildlife without hindrance.
“We are also very much delighted because of our relationship looking at things like the KAZA-TFCA. So, we are very excited from a business perspective as this will guide a lot of tourism activity from Botswana into Zimbabwe and vice versa but most importantly it begins a long journey into correcting the connectivity issue of countries and particularly within Africa,” said Mr Koti. The Chronicle