SA travel giant, Flight Centre opens its doors in Windhoek
Both frequent and occasional travellers are set to benefit from the arrival this week of the largest South African travel agency, Flight Centre Travel Group. In Namibia, the company is partnering with Avis Car Hire, to add car rental to prospective travel iteneraries.
For the past month, Flight Centre has aggressively promoted its arrival by erecting hundreds of outdoors advertisements on street lamp poles along Windhoek’s main traffic arteries.
Flight Centre Travel Group officially opened a branch on Thursday afternoon located in Maerua Lifestyle Centre in Windhoek.
At the opening, Managing Director Andrew Stark said the Windhoek office will be staffed by six consultants to assist client during business hours as well as after hours. Their typical target clientele comprise both leisure and business travellers. It is known as a hybrid model in travel agency parlance.
He predicts that their entry into the market will increase competition, benfitting travellers by forcing all travel agencies to find the best possible rates for all their clients.
“Flight Centre anticipates healthy competition with very fierce pricing points which bodes well for Namibian customers. Our job is to make travel more accessible and affordable for all Namibians, opening up the world for those who want to see it,” he said.
The entry into Namibia is the first step in Flight Centre’s expansion outside South Africa, supporting their statement of being “Africa’s Greatest Technology and Travel Experience Company”.
The group has ambitious future plans to open in more African countries. Stark said Flight Centre will use Namibia as “a stepping stone and learning experience for future Africa growth”. After consolidation of the Namibian operation, an aggressive growth strategy will see more branches opened in several other countries. Their expansion drive is based on advanced digital technology, harnassing the power of digital systems to reduce both overheads and operational costs. This, they see as their operational edge, benefitting both themselves and their clients, as it translates to lower airfares for flying customers.
“We are continuing to look to invest in getting closer to the customer with new technology platforms and future business acquisitions with a strong focus on blended travel options,” he said.
According to the group, it commands a market share of approximately 20% of the South African travel market with more than 175 branches and an annual turnover of R5.8 billion.
The group encapsulates 11 brands across the 4 pillars of leisure, corporate, wholesale and events travel.