Namibia to benefit greatly from Qatar Airways
By Lahja Nashuuta
Windhoek – The travel and tourism sector in Namibia is expected to greatly benefit from the Qatar Airways global expansion programme.
Qatar Airways recently announced a significant network expansion of 14 new destinations including six new destinations in Africa.
As of July, the airliner will operate a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft three times a week between Marrakech (Morocco) and Doha.
Four flights per week between Doha and Windhoek (Namibia) will begin on 28 September, while daily scheduled service to the Seychelles will resume on 12 December.
Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, also announced that in January 2017, it will offer three flights per week from Doha to Douala (Cameroon) and Libreville (Gabon) utilising one aircraft.
Non-stop service, three times weekly from Doha to Lusaka (Zambia) will begin by summer 2017.
Namibia’s deputy minister for environment and tourism Tommy Nambahu told The Southern Times that the Qatar airways decision to have a direct flight from Doha to Windhoek will bring lots of benefit to the region and Namibia in particular in terms of marketing and increase in the numbers of Asians tourists to the region.
“This is indeed a good move and we can benefit a lot if we can have a direct fight from Asian countries to Windhoek whereby our visitors have to first stop in South Africa and leave some currencies that they supposed to spend in Namibia.
“With Qatar coming to Namibia and other airlines that approached us in the past for example Turkey airlines that are busy exploring the possibility of flying directly to Windhoek, we can turn Namibia into a connection hub that will connect tourists to other attraction destinations in the region and Africa at large such as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Of cause we are not there yet but it is part of Namibia growth and investment strategy,” Nambahu said.
“We don’t see ourselves in isolation but as part of SADC region and our idea is to integrate with other countries for instance that emerging from conflicts such as Angola that have not developed their tourism sector that much. And since we have a daily flight to Angola, there might be Asian tourists who are eager to visit the tourism attractions in those countries”.
Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker made the announcements about the new routes during at the opening day of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel fair.
“Qatar Airways prides itself on being a global connector, and most importantly, providing seamless and convenient connections for our customers so that we remain their airline of choice. These new destinations are where our customers want to go, and where we see the most opportunity to provide a best-in-class experience at great value. We look forward to growing our network and welcoming new passengers to Qatar Airways,” said Al Baker in a statement issued by the airline.