New domestic routes and aviation incentive programme augurs well for tourism
Despite the prevailing crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the tourism and hospitality industry, the establishment of the FlyCemAir routes from Gqeberha to East London and Bloemfontein respectively, is an important step towards revitalising the industry.
Fly CemAir, in existence for the last 16 years, will initially operate thrice weekly to the King Phalo Airport (East London) and four times a week to the Bram Fischer Airport in Bloemfontein from 15 September. The company plans to increase their offering when consumer demand improves.
Acting Executive Mayor Luxolo Namette hailed the aviation company for stepping up to the plate by making it cheaper and quicker for commuters to travel at the launch of Tourism Month themed Tourism for inclusive growth at the Boardwalk Convention Centre last night.
In addition, Fly CemAir committed to create 30 jobs by 2023 and that 75% of their procurement will benefit local service providers.
“A key aim of our programme is to encourage domestic and local travel, create awareness of product offerings in Nelson Mandela Bay and strengthen communication and partnerships between the municipality, private tourism products and stakeholders,” Acting Mayor Namette said.
Aviation Incentive programme
To build on the success of the Nelson Mandela Bay Airlift initiative, comprising the municipality, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Eastern Cape Development Corporation and Airports Company South Africa, that resulted in the Fly CemAir deal, an aviation specific incentive programme is now in place.
Acting Mayor Namette said the strategic focus of the programme is to attract more airfreight operators to establish routes to and from the Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport.
Nelson Mandela Bay Mandela Bay Municipality Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, Siyasanga Sijadu said as much as the COVID-19 pandemic has a debilitating effect on tourism and human life, the necessity to overcome this scourge, is forcing our hands.
“A wise man once said that necessity is the mother of invention. COVID-19, as much as we lost numerous people, is now a providing a necessary opportunity to provide solutions.
“We are coming together at a time when tourism across the globe came to a grinding halt due to necessary lockdown measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.The hospitality sector is facing its biggest test. We are all facing a test of character and resolve as we are in the midst of the third wave. A potential fourth wave is predicted to be around the corner.
“With dedication, innovation and cooperation, we will turn the corner,” MMC Sijadu said,
Under the theme Tourism for inclusive growth the municipal tourism programme will focus on Township Tourism during the first week, the second week will focus on the individual experiences of tourism. Culture and Heritage will come into focus during the third week and the future of tourism in Nelson Mandela Bay will be the focal point during the fourth week.
Mlungisi Mvoko, MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, pledged his support for the regional tourism programme and said a massive task lies ahead to restore the tourism industry due to the pandemic.
“In 2018 alone, 104 000 people in the Eastern Cape worked in the tourism sector with an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution of R11 billion. This is the success story we are fighting hard to materialise once more for our people and their livelihoods,” MEC Mvoko said.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Airlift initiative was established in 2018.