· As Cabo Verde airline starts Lagos-Sal route
Tourism Ministers from Africa are unanimous in their agreement that Tourism and air travel are like Siamese twins and as such must be treated as one.
The ministers rose from the three-day, first of its kind International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO/ World Tourism Organization, UNWTO conference on tourism and air travel in Sal, Cape Verde with a resolution to between 2019 and 2021 include a destination management strategy that combines tourism and travel to cut logistical challenges, institutionalising the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), integrating major aviation and tourism infrastructure projects and adopting visa openness solutions.
According to Charles Banda, the President of the Executive Council at the UNWTO during the closing ceremony of the conference.
“Tourism and air travel are like Siamese twins, you cannot separate one from the other. When tourism grows, so does air travel” he said.
Banda, who also doubled as Zambia’s Minister for Tourism and Arts in an interview confirmed that there was a consensus reached during the crucial meeting, and it was now up to the various government representatives to draw up proposals that can be adopted to make these intentions a reality.
“More than 1.3 billion tourists travel around the world every year. Of that number, Africa only gets about 68 million tourists annually, across all its 50 plus countries. What would happen if this number grew to just 100 million?” he asked.
On his part, Dr Jose da Silva Goncalves, Cape Verde’s Minister for Tourism and Transport highlighted the good connectivity between African countries.
“Along the East coast of Africa, where we have Ethiopia and Kenya, they have good connectivity. In Southern Africa, between Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, their connectivity is also good. But the trouble comes when you venture towards West Africa” he said.
As part of the effort to implement the consensus reached at the conference, Cabo Verde Airlines kick-started its regular service to Lagos, Nigeria from Cape Verde on Monday, December 9, 2019.
The airline will operate the Sal-Lagos route five times a week. Flights will depart on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays using one of the airline’s three Boeing
757-200s. The aircraft is configured for 161 economy class seats and 22 executive class seats. The flight takes approximately three hours and 50 minutes to arrive in Lagos.
According to Erlendur Svavarsson, Board Member of Cabo Verde Airlines, this development will connect Lagos further to the world.
“As from today, Lagos will be even more connected to the world, since with Cabo Verde Airlines’ hub in Sal it will be easier to travel to the United States, Brazil, and Europe. Cabo Verde is also still unknown to the Nigerians, which I am sure will change from now on” he said.