Great news for our wildlife tourism industry! German airline, Eurowings Discover (not one I’m familiar with to be honest) will be commencing flights from Frankfurt to the Kruger National Park from mid-November 2022 on a part-time bases.
Part of the Lufthansa Group Eurowings will have 3 direct flights from Frankfurt to the Kruger Mpumalange International Airport (MQP). A first of its kind, the seasonal flights will start on the 15th of November 2022 and run until the 23rd of March 2023.
The flight will be non-stop from Frankfurt to Windhoek, the capital of neighbouring country Namibia, and onto Mbombela, Kruger National Park. This will become the fastest and more direct route between Germany and Kruger National Park, which usually requires a stop in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Eurowing Discover’s African Destinations
Eurowing Discover has a strong commercial focus on leisure destinations on the African continent and already starting services from Frankfurt to Mombasa (Kenya), Zanzibar (Mozambique), Mauritius and Windhoek (Namibia), followed later by Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania).
“We are very excited to be commencing scheduled flights to greater Kruger National Park region as the first intercontinental airline ever. Not only is it a truly unique destination, but it also marks the first South African destination in our portfolio – needless to emphasize the attractiveness and popularity of South Africa among European holidaymakers.”– Helmut Woelfel, Chief Commercial Officer of Eurowings Discover
Mr Woelfel goes on to say, “Our booking figures show that travelers from all over Europe are increasingly drawn to the vastness and beauty of the African continent. We are therefore relying on a versatile Africa program this year and will continue to expand it in the future.”
Dr Andre Schulz, General Manager of Southern and East Africa of the Lufthansa Group adds,
“We are extremely proud and excited to be the first European carrier to launch direct scheduled flight services to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, thus further underlining our support for the restart of tourism in South Africa and our long-term commitment to the region.”– Dr Andre Schulz
Having grown up in Namibia, I know how much we value our German tourists in Southern Africa and this expansion of flights and opportunity for visitors across Europe to visit our country is both precious and exciting.
Tourism Impact of COVID 19 in South Africa
From January to July 2021 (Q1 & Q2) SA Tourism reported that International tourist arrivals declined by -55.6% in comparison to the same period in 2019.
While a total of 1.2 million domestic holidays were recorded for January to July 2021, this was 27.5% lower than the previous year of 2020, indicating the constant and consistent losses as a results of the pandemic, according to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group minutes from the 8th February 2022.
The Department of Tourism recently had a virtual meeting to discuss challenges in implementing its recovery plan which saw 72% of all targets met in the period, with a further 28% not being met due to the Covid variants. Intervention will be required to assist in meeting these targets.
About Eurowings Discover
Eurowings Discover (formerly known as Project Ocean) offers a high-quality product with many services included. The aircraft offers up to 300 seats, up to 30 of which are in Business Class (lie-flat seats), up to 31 in Premium Economy and up to 244 in Economy. In all three classes, guests can look forward to a special, high-quality travel experience with all meals and non-alcoholic beverages included in the fare. Eurowings Discover also provides excellent, free entertainment onboard the flight to vacation with each seat having its own screens with an array of over 50 movies, 80 TV programs and numerous soundtracks.
The flights are bookable via all usual booking channels including lufthansa.com and eurowings.com. Through the integration into the Lufthansa network, passengers benefit from the direct connection to all German and European Lufthansa departure points as well as a continuous booking process and seamless transfer traffic.