The 7th Routes Africa opened today in the Kempinski Resort Hotel in the Seychelles, with a high-level Strategy Forum that dealt with the key issues in African aviation including: Liberalization vs. Competition, the Global Outlook for Africa, and finding ways to unlock the opportunities and challenges in the region.
Alain St.Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture for Seychelles and host of Routes Africa 2012, was joined by Didier Robert, President of La Reunion; Martinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister of the Republic of South Africa; and Cramer Ball, CEO of Air Seychelles, to call for greater air links for the whole of Africa.
Addressing an audience of almost 300 key decision-makers from all over Africa, the keynote addresses highlighted the growth and opportunity that exists in the region. “We live in a highly-interconnected world where no organization can afford to be an ‘island unto itself’ and where the formation of mutually beneficial partnerships and synergies is increasingly the only way to prosper. Indeed, we are already witnessing the ‘Golden Triangle’ of cooperation between airlines, tourism authorities, and civil aviation, all which imply the future enrichment of our respective tourism industries,” said Alain St.Ange.
Didier Robert, President of La Reunion, went on to say, “Tourism policies cannot be decided, they must be built; together we must work together to propose a complete offer for tourists.”
Cramer Ball, CEO of Air Seychelles, gave the national airlines’ perspective stating: “The Seychelles is truly a nation of the world, marrying many cultures including French, African, Indian, and Chinese to create a distinctly Seychellois’ Creole spirit. With the increasing number of visitors to the islands, there is a corresponding increase in demand for air support. We are re-positioning our brand to take advantage of this. We want to be recognized as one of the top carriers in the Indian Ocean.”
He went on to outline the new vision for Air Seychelles: “We are already making headway. In the first quarter, we examined the business and laid much of the plans and groundwork for the revitalization of Air Seychelles. In the second quarter, we began seeing tangible benefits of our partnership. The third quarter sees two significant milestones. Most importantly, delivery of our new Airbus A330, which arrived just last week. The other milestone is our entry into codeshare operations with a new airline partner. We’ll be announcing this partnership in due course. Looking farther ahead, at the time we conclude year one of our partnership, Air Seychelles will take delivery of another new aircraft and enter into an exciting new market: China.”
Panel discussions and keynote addresses during the Routes Africa Strategy Forum went on to further encourage the need to greater air lift within the region, so that all African countries can glean the economic benefit that air services bring. Martinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister of the Republic of South Africa, went on to explain that the South African government was “committed to a universal e-visa to encourage tourism and create jobs.”