Local fuel, hospitality players partner for Vintage Air Rally

PUMA Energy, Meikles Hospitality, African Sun and Love for Africa tour operator are partnering to bring the first ever Vintage Air Rally show to Zimbabwe from December 6 to 10.

Meikles Hospitality managing director, Sebastian Benning told NewsDay in Harare yesterday that destination marketing, akin to how Ethiopia, Kenya and now South Africa were marketed, was crucial in boosting tourism.

“Destination marketing is the way to go. We need to market our country as a destination if we want to be competitive. As Meikles, when we hear about such initiatives such as this (the Vintage Air Rally), we do not ask questions, but jump at the opportunity because we know the significance of destination marketing,” he said.

The air rally show, dubbed The Crete to Cape Edition, will be making its Zimbabwean lag, as partners hope to capitalise on the international attention associated with such events.

Inspiration Zimbabwe marketing manager, Bruno van den Bossche said the event was an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on the map, as the show would be filmed in a documentary and screened worldwide.

“It is important to focus on destination marketing as tourism in the country is a big source of exports,” he said.

Tour operator, Inspiration Zimbabwe will be representing organisers for the Zimbabwe/Zambia lag and will be co-ordinating visits with local players

Puma Energy will provide fuel for the entire event, making it one of the three major sponsors after Bushcat Aircraft and Jaguar Land Rover.

Meikles Hospitality and African Sun hotels are joint partners of the four-and-a-half-star event, according to website Booking.com. The Victoria Falls Hotel will be handling accommodation at discounted prices.

Love for Africa will be taking care of the logistical aspects of the show’s Zambian/ Zimbabwean lag.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority destination marketing executive director, Jeffreys Manjengwa said collaborative partnerships were a good way in marketing the country.

The air rally involves 20 teams, which include nine vintage biplane teams, representing 17 countries and making 37 stops.

Puma Energy acting general manager Cydwell Chitewe said they were excited at being part of the Vintage Air Rally, which would put Zimbabwe on the international tourism map.

“We are supplying fuel for three airlines such as Ethiopian Airways, South African Airways and Emirates. So we are excited,” he said.

The event started last Saturday in Sitia Crete, Greece, with the route passing through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mbeya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and finally South Africa.

Planes from the 1920s and 30s will be showcased during the rally.

The official Facebook page of the air rally has already garnered 370 000 likes.

Source: NewsDay