“In the past, you had to go to Europe first and then connect to Cairo or spend two days in East Africa before you can get to Cairo.
“The coming back of a direct connection to Cairo is very welcome and it will connect the Great Pyramids of Egypt with the Mighty Victoria Falls,” he said.
He added that the link between the two countries would make travel easier and more efficient for visitors coming for the meeting in August.
Mr Munodawafa said the relaunch also fits in well with the vision of the ministry to transform Zimbabwe into a regional hub with world class infrastructure and service for the transport and communication sectors.
“This connectivity is poised to bring significant traffic between the two regions, in particular our two countries and I urge business people to now look toward Egypt as a potential trade partner and improve trade between the two countries.”
“Egypt is linked with other countries so a connection with Egypt is a connection with the whole of North Africa across all sectors,” he added.
Mr Munodawafa challenged the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to take advantage of the connectivity to come up with strategic tour packages that would bring more travellers to Zimbabwe and boost the tourism sector.
“The biggest challenge ZTA has is to increase the movement of people between Zimbabwe and Egypt but they have been given the tools and the link.
“What is left is for them to create specific tour packages that will help them get the tourists from all over the world to proceed to Zimbabwe from Egypt. If tourism doesn’t play its part, all other sectors will not grow,” he said.
Mr Munodawafa also said the coming in of the airline provided synergies with Air Zimbabwe following the resurgence of the national airline.
Egyptian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Basem Khalil said the airlink would not only connect Egypt and Zimbabwe but would provide a direct link with East Africa which has not been available.
“This comes at a time when Zimbabwe and Zambia are preparing for the UNWTO General Assembly and many people will want to travel to Zimbabwe. It is a big step toward the promotion of business between the two countries,” he said.
He added that there was also potential for growth in tourism and culture for both countries, which would be enhanced by the connectivity.
The manager of the airline’s operati ns in Africa Mr Saeed Ahmed Ramadan said Egypt Air was working on increasing its operations in the country soon.
“This is one more tie for Egypt to connect with Zimbabwe. I commend the hospitality of Zimbabweans and I can tell you that this is the beginning. Egypt Air is working on increasing the number of flights into the country. We look forward to servicing Vic Falls and Bulawayo as well.”
Egypt Air’s return to Harare skies comes after a nine-year absence that was precipitated by the turbulent economic situation. The airline will fly four times a week between Harare and Cairo via Dar es Salaam, using a Boeing 737-900.