Africa: As Somalia joins UNWTO for Tourism it seeks to Launch a new Airline to grow Aviation and investment
Somali government on Sunday announced it is planning to revive the country’s flag carrier to help attract investment and tourists into the war-torn nation.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Transport, Abdirahman Hirsi Kulmiye said the country is in the process of relaunching Somali Airlines after more than two decades of absence.
Once dubbed as the “White Star Service”, Somali Airlines vanished in 1991 when the country’s strong central government collapsed and armed clan militias took over the capital city.
“Relaunching Somali Airlines remains as the most vital work yet to be done by the Ministry for Civil Aviation and Transport,” Kulmiye said.
In a three-day meeting in Mogadishu, the Ministry for Civil Aviation and Transport brought together aviation officials, parliamentary sub-committee on transport and former workers of Somali Airlines to draw a roadmap for the revival of the national air service.
“What we want is a nice plan to go ahead.” the State Minister told the participants.
Kulmiye expressed hopeful that once the national airline re-operates, that the country would attract business investors and tourists across the world.
“Air transportation connecting Somalia to the world was always a challenge to our economy.” he added.
In September, Mogadishu, a city once named as the most dangerous place on earth, hosted a group of dozen Chinese tourists. On the same month, Somali became the 50th African country to join the World Tourism Organization (WTO) making easier for the organization to record number of tourists visiting the country for the first time since it was established in 1995. But security still remains as the major challenge facing the government with al-Shabaab terror group attacking almost all hotels and restaurants in Mogadishu.
Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Abdirahman Omar Osman says in the next few years, when the country becomes peaceful, Somalia won’t waste any time attracting tourists and foreign investment back into the country.
“As government, we need to lay down the foundations, strategies and plans that are necessary to revive the tourism industry.” he added.
Currently the Turkish Airlines is the only international airline linking the country with the world beyond East Africa.
The national carrier was founded in 1964 just few years after the country gained its independence and became one of fastest growing Airlines in East and central before it ceased its operations in 1991.