afrol News, 2 June - HapagFly, one of Germany's leading charter airliners, today announced that the Cape Verde archipelago would be among its main newcomers in this year's winter season. The airliner, known for favourable prices in Germany, is owned by charter giant TUI, and will offer individual travellers a better access to Cape Verde. Also a British operator is to offer direct flights to Cape Verde.
HapagFly today announced it would operate direct flights between the three German cities of Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich to the international airport at Sal, the island of the Cape Verdean archipelago most developed for tourism. Sal, together with Beirut (Lebanon), Eilat (Israel) and Izmir (Turkey), were announced as the airliner's new destinations in its 2006-07 winter programme.
Cape Verde will figure on HapagFly's flight schedules from 1 November this year. The airliner, which is famed for relatively cheap flights in Germany, announced that flights could already be booked on its website and in travel agencies, noting that the first ones to book would obtain the cheapest tickets.
A quick inspection of the service however reveals that HapagFly does not plan to operate as a discount airliner on its Cape Verde routes, with prices averaging already existing offers. Trying to book a New Year's Eve vacation in Cape Verde for two persons, flying from Düsseldorf on HapagFly's website, the total fare ended up at euro 1,638.
Indeed, there are several flights connecting Germany and Cape Verde that come cheaper. Using the Portuguese airliner TAP and making a stopover of some hours in Lisbon, travellers from Frankfurt booking over the Internet now get a fare of euro 1608. Even cheaper flights may be found in travel agencies, for example using Cape Verde's own airliner TACV.
The launch of HapagFly's route to Sal however makes the Cape Verdean archipelago far more accessible for Europe's largest holiday market; Germany. The airliner can offer direct flights from three German cities at a certain volume and is a well-known address for Germans seeking standard and alternative holiday destinations in the cold northern winter.
It is further a sign that Cape Verde is starting to develop into a significant tourist destination for Germans. TUI - the world's biggest charter company, based in Hanover, Germany - already in its winter catalogue of the 2004-05 season had included Cape Verde. TUI now operates charter tours to the two islands Sal and Boa Vista - "with kilometres of dreamlike beaches and ferry tale weather" - and seems to have plans to increase its offers in Cape Verde following positive experiences.
According to TUI, Cape Verde "is still in the shadow of the Canary Islands, but ever more tourists are discovering this new holiday paradise in the Atlantic Ocean." During the last winter season, TUI offered German tourists nine hotels in Sal and Boa Vista. Charter holidays of one week were offered from euro 946 per person.
Meanwhile, also the smaller British tour operator Holiday Options in May announced it had included Cape Verde in its winter programme, direct flights to Sal starting on 2 November. For Britons, prices for a one week charter trip to Sal or Boa Vista start at £ 812 (euro 1,180). Holiday Options plans weekly flights from London Gatwick to Sal during the whole 2006-07 winter season.
"Cape Verde has had a great reception in the United Kingdom," the local agent of Holiday Options told 'A Semana'. Indeed was Cape Verde referred to as "one of the new favourite destinations" in a survey carried out on the British market. The survey put Cape Verde at the top of the list of new tourist destinations among Britons.
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