Both Kenya and South Africa said that the introduction of direct flights to the U.S. has helped boost tourism numbers from the States.
The announcement of United Airlines' direct flights between Newark and Cape Town, set to launch on Dec. 16, has already resulted in an 11% increase in forward bookings by U.S. travelers, according to Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, the trade, investment and tourism promotion agency of the Western Cape.
United's Newark-Cape Town flight will operate seasonally between December and March, with three flights per week.
Bog Schumacher, United regional managing director of sales, said during a press conference in Cape Town that the inaugural flight is already heavily booked. "This flight has been embraced. It is an extremely exciting opportunity for us," he said.
Kenya Airways this month marked one year since it launched direct flights to the U.S. The airline's CEO Sebastian Mikosz said that the airline has executed 594 hauls between Nairobi and New York during the one-year period, flying at least 105,000 passengers in the process.
The U.S. is among Kenya's top tourist source markets, with nearly 100,000 Americans visiting the country every year.