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Have you heard that 23 African states have agreed to open their skies? Did you know that Kenya Airways has announced its long-awaited flight to the US? And that there are new hotels on the cards for both Cape Verde and Dakar?

From new routes to hotel openings and open skies, we’ve rounded up some of the most exciting events in Africa Tourism News in January 2018…

One step closer to Open Skies in Africa

Africa is one step closer to achieving Open Skies on the continent now that the African Union (AU) heads of state have officially launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa in January.

Travellers can expect substantial fare savings, more direct routes and increased route frequencies as 23 African states, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, have agreed to open their skies.

“Today’s decision is momentous. SAATM is a decisive step towards greater intra-African connectivity and delivers the framework on which to achieve it,” said Raphael Kuuchi, IATA’s Vice President for Africa. He was quick to add however that now it’s time to get down to the work of implementation with governments having to act on their commitments.

For David Kajange, the head of the AU’s transport and tourism division and one of the single market’s architects, is positive about the future and says airlines will soon be free to expand routes between second and third-tier cities. He was quoted in local newspapers as saying: “Aviation is a luxury product in Africa but in the US and Europe anyone can go anywhere for a weekend. That’s what we want here.”

KQ launches NY route

Nairobi to New York

After years of preparations and hard work, Kenya Airways has proudly announced it will be launching a non-stop direct daily flight from Nairobi to New York from 28 October this year. And the good news is: you can already book this historic flight in Amadeus!!

Says Mathieu Dutrisac, Amadeus GM for Eastern Africa: “This new flight will firmly position Kenya in the US market both as an attractive leisure destination and as an important business hub for investment. It is an incredible milestone for the entire East African region.”

Read more here

New Routes opened across Africa

A lot has happened in the aviation industry in January this year with new routes, increased capacity and added frequencies across the continent.

Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it will launch a direct thrice weekly service to Geneva, Switzerland on June 3, 2018. The airline is also launching new flights to Kisangani and Mbuji Mayi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) effective March, 2018.

Etihad has announced the introduction of two additional weekly flights on its Abu Dhabi–Lagos route, taking it to a daily service.

Cathay Pacific Airways is reportedly set to announce non-stop flights from Hong Kong to Cape Town in the near future.

African low-cost carrier, fastjet, has announced the launch of its sixth Tanzanian route, Kigoma.

Kenya’s Jambojet has increased flight frequencies across all of its routes countrywide, increasing its flights from Nairobi to Mombasa to 39 flights per week, while the Kisumu route will now have twenty flights per week.

SAA has announced enhancements to its Mauritius route, offering customers more seats on the route on the most popular days of the week with the introduction of wide-bodied aircraft.

Unfortunately, Air Seychelles announced it is suspending its Paris and Madagascar services as part of a new strategic transformation plan aimed at ensuring the long-term profitability and sustainability for the airline.

New hotels on the cards for Cape Verde and Dakar

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has opened its second hotel in Dakar, Senegal, the Radisson Hotel Dakar Diamniadio. The hotel features 152 contemporary guest rooms and over 14,700 m² of space for large-scale exhibitions, conventions and events.

Meanwhile, Hilton marked the official opening of its new resort on the Island of Sal in Cabo Verde, announcing the company’s debut in the country and further growing the brand’s portfolio of world-class resorts.