Operating an Airbus 330-200, the 270-seater flight number 4Y134 took off from Frankfurt on Saturday evening and arrived in the morning after an hour stopover in Mombasa. It will henceforth be making two direct flights to Zanzibar per week, officials said.
Speaking at a welcoming ceremony at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, the Tourism and Heritage minister Lela Mohamed Mussa said the airline’s choice of Zanzibar as one of its destinations is good news for the isles’ economy which heavily depends on tourism.
“We will accord them all the assistance they need to ensure that their operations become a success for the benefit of the company, the people of Zanzibar and Tanzania as a whole,” she said, appealing for travel agencies to bring tourists from countries flattening the Covid-19 curve and lifted travel restrictions.
That would put the Spice Islands on their next travel list, she stated, to which the German Ambassador to Tanzania, Regine Hess explained that the choice of Zanzibar by the leisure airline reflects the company’s faith in Zanzibar as a unique tourist destination.
The Lufthansa Group's new leisure airline was granted its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) by the German Federal Aviation Authority on June 16, the company says on a website post.
Zanzibar hopes to revive its economy which has been hit hard by the pandemic over the past year due to global lockdowns.
To instill confidence in the visitors, the Isles officially launched mass vaccination on Thursday last week with the Chinese made Sinovac jab.
The Isles’ Health, Community Development, Gender and Children minister Nassor Ahmed Mazrui became the first public official to be inoculated.
The mass rollout followed an earlier effort with an unspecified vaccine delivery which prioritized health workers, with all these efforts being carried out with the Sinovac vaccine.
Presiding over the launch at the Lumumba Covid-19 testing and treatment centre, the minister sought to build people’s confidence in the jab, saying it is safe, approved by the World Health Organization and endorsed by the government of Zanzibar.
Another vaccine consignment is expected to be delivered after two weeks, with the Zanzibar government expecting to receive a total of 100,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as assistance from the Chinese authorities.
The vaccination effort is expected to boost tourism arrivals which have been rising since June, rising to 20,416, as compared to 9,280 in March.
Abdulrauf Ramadhani Abeid, the head of government statistics here said last week that France was leading in Europe for arrivals of tourists in Zanzibar.
He said a total of 11,588 European visitors entered the Isles in June, where France led by sending in 2,232 tourists, followed by Poland with 2,101 tourists.
Visitors who came to Zanzibar by sea through the port of Malindi numbered 5,152 and those who came by air were 15,264, around three quarters of the total, he added.