Airlines operating in Zimbabwe seek protection

via Airlines operating in Zimbabwe seek protection April 14, 2014 NewsDay

AIRLINES operating in Zimbabwe have requested government protection from other players that are crowding them out of the market through online bookings, it has emerged.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi last week said KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Emirates, among many other players, had expressed concern on the issue of externalisation of air tickets.

Mzembi was speaking in Harare at a media briefing on Zimbabwe’s invitation to participate at the International Travel and Tourism Market (ITTM) in Netherlands.

“Two weeks ago, l was visited by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and they expressed concern that there is a bit of unfair practices in the market and there is a lot of externalisation of air tickets that some invoicing was being done from Johannesburg, South Africa,” Mzembi said.

“Another call came from Emirates and they want fair play because we can’t have operators invoicing from South Africa.”

He, however, said the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and government will assist the airlines to be more competitive to be able to benefit from this destination.
On Zimbabwe’s participation at the ITTM meeting next week, Mzembi said the invite has come at an opportune time for Zimbabwe to regain market share in the Dutch and most importantly, European market, which has since been lost in the last decade.

“Dating (back) to the 90s, Zimbabwe has never participated in any fair in the Netherlands and this provides the destination with the platform to reposition itself in this market, which is of primary significance to the growth of tourism in the country,” Mzembi said.

Zimbabwe last year received a total of 11 333 visitors from Nertherlands and Belgium. Mzembi said Zimbabwe needs to regain the lost market share of 1999 where it received 39 491 visitors from the same market. He, however, said the country was projecting to grow that market to about 50 000 visitors by 2018.

“Zimbabwe, as a tourist and investment destination, will take advantage of this international exhibition to establish new business relations with both media and tour wholesalers packaging the South Africa region,” said Mzembi.

“These new business strategic partnerships with the trade in Netherlands and Europe will go a long way in increasing destination awareness and open new markets for our destination.”

He added that the move by KLM to reintroduce flights between Harare and Amsterdam will provide Zimbabwe with access to the larger European markets.