Sunday, 4 January 2015

New airline offers East Africans connections to 82 cities

The arrival of "flydubai" in East Africa during October and November, since then serving Entebbe, Bujumbura, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar, has, besides boosting tourism and trade for regional businesses, also opened up a whole new range of destinations for travelers from the region.

After launching some 23 destinations in 2014, the most ever rolled out in a single year, the airline now serves 89 destinations overall, giving East African travelers 82 destinations to fly on to after transiting in Dubai. Most of these are found across the Indian subcontinent, Eastern Europe, and, of course, the Gulf and the Arabian peninsula, opening doors for business opportunities both ways.

"I think we are not taking advantage of this budget airline coming to Entebbe as of now. Tourism can get a real boost if we could only tap into their East European network. No other airline can get tourists cheaper to Uganda than they do. We need to partner with them, in fact partner more with all airlines flying to Entebbe, and package good offers," answered a tour operator in Kampala when tipped off to these opportunities. In response to the same question directed to a senior member of the Private

Sector Foundation Uganda, he, on condition of anonymity for not being the official spokesperson of PSF (U), said: "You are right. We should organize a trade mission to some of the places they fly to and promote our coffee, tea, flowers, fish, and other exports. New airlines create new opportunities, and we have been slow to take advantage. Their fares are very affordable, so a trade mission group can economize a lot when going out to sell Ugandan products and produce." Another source close to the airline in Uganda added that they are keen to see the entire region take advantage of their daily flights to Entebbe and Dar es Salaam and their several flights a week to Bujumbura, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar: "Tour agents should prepare offers, and the airline can then partner to promote Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania across their network. Reasonably-priced packages together with low fares should make that a win-win situation."


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