South African tourism officials have vowed to lobby the aviation industry on new routes and fairer pricing, spearheaded by an air industry conference next year.
KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Tourism chief executive Ndaba Khoza voiced dissatisfaction that a flight from London to Sydney is priced the same as a flight from London to Johannesburg, despite the distance.
“We allow people to sway the debate about issues of aviation in a direction that doesn’t necessarily suit us but the tourism industry is often very quiet,” Khoza said.
South Africa Tourism chief executive Thulani Nzima said the “time is now” for aviation growth.
“The challenge has been around the regulatory environment and the protection of national carriers,” Nzima said.
For its part, KZN tourism will rally the aviation industry by hosting the World Roots air service conference in September next year.
Khoza said the industry must cease to be “sentimental” about aviation in tourism and view it as a strategic tool.
Roots director Katie Bland predicts the conference will have a huge economic impact through increased air connectivity.
More than 3000 air service executives will attend the Durban conference with Africa set to become the fastest growing passenger and air freight market in the next three years, according to the International Air Transport Association.