(eTN) - In July, Routes Africa will move to the Seychelles for their 2012 forum (July 8-10).
This is an opportunity for airlines of Africa to rally and discuss affiliations and working arrangements for a new way forward. Many airlines from Africa and from the Indian Ocean islands have so far already taken up on the unique chance to look at new opportunities. It is reported that South African Airways is set to travel to Seychelles as part of a high-powered South African delegation headed by their Tourism Minister Mr. Marthinus Van Schalkuyk and his Tourism Director General. The leadership of South Africa is crucial at this stage in the development of air access in Africa.
The Middle East has three of their main carriers flying to Seychelles, and it is expected that all three will attend. It must be remembered that Etihad is now in partnership with Air Seychelles and operating daily flights to these mid-ocean islands; Emirates has 13 weekly flights to Seychelles and Qatar has 7 weekly flights. They have positioned themselves as the hub for not only Africa but for the world.
Kenya Airways also has excellent access across Africa and operates two weekly flights to Seychelles, and it can use this forum to reposition itself. It is believed that Arik Air and Air Austral are both also expected to be present at this July airline forum.
Routes believes in the triangular approach to tourism and air development - airline, civil aviation authority, and tourism board - and this approach is set to play an important part at the July Africa forum, which will be held in Seychelles. This message has been echoed at Routes Asia in China by Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism & Culture. This is why it is comforting to now know that several airports are looking at participating at Routes Africa in Seychelles.
From the USA, it is believed that Dallas Fort Worth is considering marking their presence, as is Copenhagen from Europe. Africa is so far being represented by Mozambique, Ghana, and Tanzania. The La Reunion Tourism Board (IRT) has also confirmed that they intend to be present to showcase La Reunion as a leader in the Vanilla Islands group and also to seek new partnerships in the field of air access. In a telephone interview, Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, said that it is an opportunity for examples of tourism organizations such as the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP), Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA), to be present to lead the way forward.
âICTP is for smart tourism destinations committed to quality and green growth. This is the way forward for sustainable tourism,â said Seychelles Minister St.Ange. Mr. St.Ange is also a founding board member of ICTP, and Seychelles and La Reunion are both founding members of ICTP as well.
European Airlines often complain about the loss of market share or just simply their loss in profitable routes. But are they proactive enough in this new airline world drive and will they make their mark in Africa at this July conference bearing in mind that the possible growth in long-haul destinations is set to be towards Africa? The same question can be raised about American Airlines and Asian Airlines.
ETN is a media partner for Routes Africa and will update progressively as the dates get closer.