The re-introduction of the Blue Arrow brand by Unifreight Africa will no doubt come with a little nostalgia for those Zimbabweans and other tourists that enjoyed a trip on one of the Blue Arrow coaches back in the 1980’s and 90’s. In recent weeks the company has invested in a small fleet of 48, 27 and 14 seater vehicles that will be based in the Victoria Falls and will initially run the popular tour routes around this destination. Unifreight Africa is no stranger to coaching with a substantial fleet of mass market busses plying Zimbabwe’s highways between cities, under the banner of Pioneer Coaches, as well as a middle market brand working in Harare on the contract market namely ‘Unifreight Logistics’.
Tourism numbers to the region of Victoria Falls have been in the incline in recent years with recorded arrivals at the top ten Hotels increasing year on year by 10%. There is a lot of development taking place in the resort town with leading tourism companies such as Africa Albida Tourism recently investing 4 million in an expansion of its two properties Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and Ngoma Safari Lodge, as well as Ilala Lodge kicking off a new wing development this year. The government of Zimbabwe is also investing in the area, the Victoria Falls Airport is undergoing a complete transition with the addition of a large International Arrivals and Departures terminal that will come on line in 2015, as well as a new run way of 4km length. The combination is a clear indication to the International Carriers currently using Johannesburg’s O R Tambo as a hub, that this region is set to expand.
It is assumed that the resort town is positioning itself to become the new “Tourism Hub” of the Southern Africa or the “Zambesia region” ( a new tourism region in Southern Africa, encompassing Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe ) Many tourists currently access the region by overflying Victoria Falls by an hour, and then having to make a further connection. They effectively backtrack to the Victoria Falls, or to the many attractive wildlife and adventure destinations that are found within the Zambesia region.
In order for the new Hub to work there will be a requirement for modern methods of distribution within the region. This role will be the reason that we have seen new low cost carriers such as Fly Africa and Fastjet eyeing the region and it will also be up to the likes of Blue Arrow with new and professional staff, vehicles and booking systems to supply a more local distribution solution to Hwange, Chobe, Lake Kariba and Zambia
4 November 2014