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TKZN staff at WTM London 2018

#WTMLDN 2018: KZN Promotes Global Connectivity

On display at WTM London, which is taking place at Excel from 5-7 November 2018, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) is promoting KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Zulu Kingdom to top operators from all over of the world, engaging them on packaging tours and what works best for their travellers.

The #WTMLDN exhibition comes hot on the heels of the inaugural direct British Airways (BA) flight from Heathrow to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport on 30 October.

Discussions are taking place on how the operators and agents can package the new route for their future holiday brochures and are running a 24-month joint marketing campaign with BA to do that.

The province is on an aggressive drive to generate sales leads, promote new tourism products, enter new markets, raise destination awareness and conduct market research to grow its international arrivals.

“The new BA route has opened direct travel for the European market from London and given the KZN tourism trade an added boost and confidence,” says Phindile Makwakwa, Acting Chief Executive Officer for TKZN.

Several European tour operators and travel agents recently visited KZN ahead of the Durban Direct flight to see what the province had to offer their customers. And more tour operators are expected in the coming months.

With some 51 000 delegates expected at WTM London, the event, which features 5 000 exhibitors, is the globe’s biggest gathering of travel industry players who are meeting to negotiate, network and conduct business. 

TKZN has been exhibiting to the massive gathering at the London Excel venue in Docklands for many years, and this year, the team is in London to particularly solidify their relationships with UK and Europe based tour operators.

Makwakwa who has described the new Heathrow-King Shaka International Airport route as a “game-changer,” says that the UK is KZN’s biggest international tourism source market and now that there is a direct link between the two cities, that also links Europe to the Province, she is optimistic that good deals will be struck.

“Now that the BA first flight has been launched, the real work begins for us. In order for us to ensure that the route is sustainable, we need to solidify our relationships with top tour operators that bring tourists to KZN. 

“We’ve already seen a major rise in the number of tourists coming from the UK for the February 2019 period compared to this year and we assure our partners that the Zulu Kingdom is definitely ready to welcome them.

“KZN should be the best destination for the European market to escape the bone-chilling weather and head to the sunny Zulu Kingdom over the next few months. You can find 365 days of sun in KZN,” Makwakwa says.

The new route, for which BA is operating a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, slashes at least three hours off the journey to KZN, making the trip easier and more convenient for passengers who no longer have to break their journey on stop-overs at other airports en- route to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.

There is great excitement in the hospitality industry both at home and in the UK about the three weekly non-stop route and Makwakwa and team are busy sharing that excitement with UK and Europe-based tour operators and travel agents they have appointments with, as well as those who call in at their exhibition stand.

“The timing could not be better. We are at WTM London just days after BA launched this direct route, which is what passengers, travel agents and tour operators have been asking about for years,” concludes Makwakwa.

KZN boasts sufficient world-class facilities to accommodate international tourists. Many Brits have strong historical ties to KZN, and tourism offerings on display with strong British heritage will indeed attract many, including the Battlefield route of Isandlwana, which for many is a bucket list must.

About TKZN: Tourism KwaZulu-Natal is responsible for the development, promotion and marketing of tourism into and within the province, both domestically and internationally. The organisation is an entity that reports to the provincial Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. For more information visit www.zulu.org.za

Header image caption: (from left to right) Keith Matthews, TKZN Regional Manager: Europe, Phindile Makwakwa, Acting CEO for TKZN, Emma Colyer from Emirites, and TKZN’s new GM for Marketing, Thuli Galelekile.