Africa-Press – Botswana. Minister of Environment and Tourism, Mr Dumezweni Mthimkhulu has hailed as successful, the launch of Ethiopian Airlines direct flight from Addis Ababa to Maun, saying the route was a testament to the power of collaboration between governments, airlines, and other stakeholders.

Such development, he said demonstrated what could be achieved when governments worked together towards a common goal.

“We extend our sincere appreciation to Ethiopian Airlines for their confidence in Botswana as a destination and for their continued partnership in advancing our shared objectives,” he said.

Mr Mthimkhulu who made the remarks during a dinner to celebrate the successful launch of the new flight further said the growth of Botswana’s aviation was vital to drive economic prosperity, enhance connectivity and accessibility, promote tourism, and the international and local airlines’ collaboration.

The increase in Air Botswana’s fleet and Ethiopian Airline’s newly added route, he said created an added advantage towards collaboration between international and local airlines to foster growth.

Collaboration between the two airlines, he said, was essential for improving service quality, enhancing competitiveness and creating more value for passengers.

The minister said working together would strengthen both their positions and overall sustainability and success of the aviation ecosystem. He was excited that Fly Namibia would also include a direct flight from Windhoek to Maun from July 3; flying three times a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Furthermore, the minister said the ministry through Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) had partnered with Ethiopian Airlines on a promotion campaign to drive awareness about the destinations further.

“We therefore wish to thank you Ethiopian Airways for availing your various platforms for this necessary project which is intended to further stimulate travel to Botswana through this route. I also give credit to all those involved in making this route launch a reality. May this partnership between Ethiopian Airlines and Botswana continue to flourish, bringing mutual benefits to both our nations. Let us embrace this new chapter with optimism and determination, as we journey towards a future of prosperity and opportunity,” he emphasised.

Mr Mthimkhulu added that improved accessibility was vital for fostering economic growth, facilitating trade and investment, and promoting tourism, acknowledging that the Ethiopian Airlines had long been a reliable partner in that endeavor and commended their commitment to expanding their network.

Maun, he said held a special place in Botswana’s tourism landscape as the gateway to the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most sought-after wilderness destinations.

With its pristine landscapes, abundant wildlife and rich cultural heritage, he said the area offered visitors an authentic African experience like no other acknowledging that the launch of the new route would open new opportunities for travelers to discover the magic of Maun and the wider Okavango region.

He said the economic benefits of increased air connectivity extended far beyond the tourism sector, noting that the new route had the potential to stimulate trade, attract foreign investment, and create employment opportunities, particularly in Maun and its surrounding areas.

For his part, Ethiopian International Services managing director, Mr Tekle Yohannes thanked the government for its support, saying the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana had been instrumental in ensuring their dream became a reality.

Their second destination for their airline, he said showcased the strongest ties they had with the government and the people of Botswana.

He said through the new route they were strengthening their presence in Botswana and believed that passengers would enjoy a seamless connectivity to their destinations.

Noting that, Maun was a tourism hub, Mr Yohannes hoped that their move would boost the tourism industry and contribute to the economic development of the area.

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