ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga says the re-launch of Air Zimbabwe flights between Harare and Lusaka will trigger the growth of the tourism sector and economic development in the two countries.
Mr Mukanga urged the airline to introduce competitive fares that will be affordable for local tourists.
He was speaking during the re-launch of Air Zimbabwe at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka yesterday.
â€œDonâ€™t go to China or Europe to look for tourists. You must promote local tourism by introducing competitive fares that our people in Zambia and Zimbabwe will afford,â€ Mr Mukanga said.
He said Zambia and Zimbabwe have had no airline for the past three years and the re-launch of Air Zimbabwe will help boost tourism.
â€œThe relationship between Zambia and Zimbabwe has continued to grow to the extent where we are able to co-host international conferences. A good example being the recently successfully held United Nations World Tourism Organisation conference in Livingstone and Victoria Falls,â€ he said.
The minister said the flights will enable more business executives and traders to travel more frequently between the two countries.
He said the re-launch of Air Zimbabwe has come as a challenge to the Zambian government, which also has plans to introduce a national carrier.
Mr Mukanga, who was on the Air Zimbabwe test flight MA 60 aircraft from Harare to Lusaka, assured that Zambia will support the airline in its expansion process.
And Zimbabweâ€™s Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Obert Mpofu said the re-introduction of the Harare-Lusaka route will ease travel arrangements and business transactions, thereby stimulating economic activity and growth in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Dr Mpofu said the resumption of the Lusaka flights has rekindled potential business connections between the two countries.
Air Zimbabwe will be flying three times a week between Harare and Lusaka.
Meanwhile, Zambia Tourism Board director Felix Chaila said the aviation and tourism industries work hand in hand.
Mr Chaila said the Lusaka â€“ Harare route is vital for the growth of the tourism industry in the two countries.
ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka