In an announcement earlier this week that excited South Africans and international travelers alike, the leading intercontinental airline Emirates Airways announced that they will be increasing their flights to South Africa. What does this mean for South Africa and how can travelers benefit from this?
Gateway to Africa
For many travelers and safari adventure travelers, South Africa serves as a gateway to the rest of the African continent. Currently, the Emirates airline has inbound flights to South Africa’s top three tourism cities, including Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Although the latest agreement between Emirates Airways and South African Tourism does not mention any further destinations, we are expecting to see a fair increase in the number of inbound and outbound flights. Emirates is an important airline link for international and intercontinental travelers, hence why this recent announcement can be expected to not only boost South African tourism, but can also improve South Africa’s accessibility, and ease of traveling for some.
A good tourism year
The announcement of increased Emirates flights to and from South Africa, comes at a time when tourism in South Africa is experiencing healthy international interest. Despite the global economic downturn which affected the country’s tourism industry, the industry’s recent trends are showing that South Africa is a travel destination of note. And although the weakening trends of the South African Rand in relation to both the US Dollar and Euro remain a concern for locals, this does play for the benefit of international travelers hoping to experience South Africa and perhaps even other African countries. Recent tourism trends showed that Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg – corresponding with the country’s major international airports – are remaining the country’s top destination favorites. But considering the major centers, we also need to bear in mind the safari and game lodge destination which is found in close proximity to these city centers. For example, the wildlife oasis and unforgettable safari destination Sabi Sabi, is merely an hour’s flight from Johannesburg.
In the airline’s announcement, Emirate’s senior vice president identified what attracts tourists to South Africa: the country’s incredible diversity, friendly and welcoming people, the country’s cuisine and the fact that you can find anything in South Africa, from a leisurely beach holiday, to an adrenaline laden bushveld journey. And hence why Emirates want to be part of this growing tourism market.
Looking from a local perspective, there is an excitement about the way in which South Africa is experienced by travelers from abroad. Because there is no doubt, South Africans are proud of their country, heritage, diversity and above all, its unique wildlife and landscapes. We are seeing authentic eco-tourism initiatives gaining ground, and adventure expeditions with the odd lion roar reaching more and more travelers.
Emirates Airways’ announcement to up its flight schedules to South Africa has been received with great excitement – and it has made near future traveling to South Africa easier for many. South Africa is becoming increasingly accessible – and more affordable. All the more reason why you should start planning your African Safari right away!