Travelling to Cape Town needn’t be a ‘flightmare’

Direct flights to boost business and leisure tourism

I remember the feeling of being at an unfamiliar airport, in an unfamiliar country, when I tried to sleep on the uncomfortable floor of the departure lounge. I waited for ten hours until my connecting flight arrived. I had travelled for days, not knowing where I was, or when I was. One thing I did know: I never wanted to hear the theme tune that the airline played during each take-off and arrival ever, ever again.

Now, with the recent introduction of more direct flights to Cape Town International Airport, travelers can heave a sigh of relief.

Air France has announced that they will commence direct flights to Cape Town from November 2011, starting with three flights a week from Europe and the Middle East. Emirates announced an additional daily flight to and from Cape Town, in March 2011; while Edelweiss Air’s new seasonal flight programme from Zurich to Cape Town, with non-stop flights twice a week, will fly from the end of October 2011.

Cape Town Tourism CEO, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, believes that direct flights should be available not just during peak season, but all year round. “The availability of direct flights to Cape Town will influence traveler behaviour and buying patterns and is critically important for the long-term sustainability of our business and leisure tourism industries.”

Why fly to Cape Town?

Cape Town International Airport is currently undergoing major renovations at a cost of R1.3 billion, to accommodate an estimated 14-million passengers by 2015.

Tourism has long been the biggest contributor to Cape Town’s economy and the majority of international visitors travel to the city by air. For expatriates, Cape Town offers a laid back lifestyle and low cost of living. Not to mention the glorious, Mediterranean climate.

Mariette agrees: "We are among the lucky few destinations in the world to be able to claim a combination of the finest beaches, iconic natural beauty and distinctive urban culture as part of our unique identity.”

Due to European influences, South African business customs and etiquette are similar, which makes Cape Town a prime destination for business travelers. However, the current state of the economy has resulted in decreased business travel. Mariette hopes that more direct flights will help to forge stronger business ties.

Other international airlines that fly direct to Cape Town

Air Mauritius:
from Mauritius.

British Airways: from London-Heathrow International Airport.

Ethiad Airways: from Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.

KLM: from Amsterdam Airport Schipol and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Lufthansa: seasonal from Frankfurt International Airport.

Malaysia Airlines: from Buenos Aires-Ezeiza and Kuala Lumpur International Airports.

Qatar: from Doha International Airport.

Singapore Airlines: from Singapore International Airport.

South Africa Airways: from London-Heathrow International Airport.

TAAG Angola Airlines: from Luanda International Airport.

Turkish Airlines: from Istanbul-Atatürk International Airport.

Virgin Atlantic Airways: seasonal from London-Heathrow International Airport.

Air Berlin: seasonal from Munich International Airport.

Cape Town was recently voted 2nd in Lonely Planet’s World’s Ten Best Beach Cities 2011.

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