Having served South Africa for 27 years along with 26 weekly flights, Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, has gone on to strengthen its relationship with the destination by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with South African Tourism. This will help promote tourism in South Africa and boost visitor arrivals and inbound traffic from key markets across the Emirates network.
The MOU was signed on the side-lines of Arabian Travel Market earlier this week by Badr Abbas, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations for Africa, and South Africa Tourism’s Acting CEO Themba Khumalo.
“For more than 25 years we have invested in, and grown our operations to, South Africa. We are working hard to restore our services to pre-pandemic levels to help generate more opportunities for travelers from around the world to experience South Africa’s unique natural experiences, world-renowned cuisine, and local culture. Emirates is well-placed to support the recovery of South Africa’s tourism sector and help raise the profile of the destination again, offering convenient connections from over 130 destinations, and providing even more links for travelers who want to explore beyond our three South African gateways through our four airline partners,” says Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer.
Welcoming the signing of this MOU and also present at the signing ceremony, Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Tourism of South Africa, highlighted the benefits that the MoU will yield for travel between South Africa and the Middle East.
“We want to continue ensuring ease of access into South Africa for Middle Eastern travelers and this collaboration will assist us in elevating our trade efforts; in terms of packaging the destination. We look forward to welcoming more travelers from the Middle East, to experience the various quality assured products and experiences that cater for this market, including; family friendly accommodation establishments and activities, a diverse offering of cuisine as well as wildlife and safari,” says Tsisulu.
Themba Khumalo, South African Tourism Acting CEO briefed on the importance of the Middle East as a market for South Africa and how currently with the development of the partnership through the MOU will ensure ease of access to and from South Africa for travelers from Middle East seeking to visit South Africa.
Under the MOU, Emirates will explore opportunities to promote South Africa as a destination and encourage travelers to experience the abundance of attractions that the country has to offer across its network of over 130 destinations. South African Tourism will also work closely with the airline to support travel trade partners and tour operators across the Emirates’ network to develop and promote itineraries, introduce special packages, promotional giveaways and encourage incentives, among other marketing initiatives.
Both parties will also explore opportunities to collaborate on joint advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as familiarisation programmes to South Africa for travel trade and media representatives.
Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines Group announced its financial results for the year 2021-2022, showing marked improvement over the performance in the previous year. Emirates posted a total loss of USD 1 billion, compared with USD 6 billion loss for last year. Emirates’ total revenues were USD 18.1 billion, an increase of 86 pc over last year’s results. Its cash balance was also up to USD 7 billion, increase of 30 pc from last year mainly due to strong demand across its core business divisions and markets, triggered by the easing of pandemic-related restrictions.
“This year, we focussed on restoring our operations quickly and safely wherever pandemic-related restrictions eased across our markets. Business recovery picked up pace particularly in the second half of the year. Robust customer demand drove a huge improvement in our financial performance compared to our unprecedented losses of last year and we built up our strong cash balance,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Group, said.
“The health and safety of our people and customers remained a key priority as the world navigated its second full year of the pandemic. Across Emirates and DNATA, we responded to dynamic market conditions with agility, and introduced innovative products and services to meet our customers’ needs and provide them with the best possible experience. 2021-22 was also a significant year as the UAE marked its 50th anniversary and hosted the world at Expo 2020 Dubai which generated increased global engagement and visitation to the UAE. The Emirates Group was proud to play our part in contributing to the Expo’s success and to the UAE’s jubilee events,” he added.