By Bertrand Byishimo
The Covid-19 pandemic, which hit Africa since the first quarter of this year, has taken a huge toll on the continent’s economies.
Aviation is arguably the hardest hit industry, globally, hence hurting trade and tourism among other sectors.
Now, Rwanda plans to reopen flights for passenger travels on August 1.
The New Times talked to different traders in Kigali about the impact of the closure of air transport on their businesses. They also shared their business prospects ahead of the resumption of air travel.
Annick Uwamahoro, owner of a jewellery store
Look at these watches, necklaces and rings, they are purchased from Dubai. Nowadays we have run out of stock. The resumption of air transport will give us the opportunity to restock the shop with new products.
Emmanuel Ngoboka, Fashion Designer
This year we were only able to ship in new stock before the virus outbreak. We are glad that we are going to purchase new products once the skies are reopened.
Peace Bizimana, a Travel Operator
Specifically, it is a good decision for travel operators because we are now resuming activities after four months of inactivity. Another thing is there are new Covid-19 guidelines, we explain them to our clients and they really understand. This really gives hope that we might defeat the pandemic.
Salama Saidi, Dealer in Healthcare Products
There are a lot of products that clients inquire about yet we don’t have them or they delay to arrive. If it took three months for them to arrive, today it takes four. Some of them can only be transported by aeroplanes and are not available on the local market.
Lewis Gashayija Louis, Fashion Designer
Now that Dubai has opened, it’s easier. These days, clients come and buy all the products and nothing is left in stock. But now that airspace is opening up our clients will get what they want.
Evariste Hagenimana, Dealer in Cosmetic Products
There are some products that we could not get because they are not manufactured locally. There are even others that we were unable to import. So, after the reopening of airspace, the movement will increase as well as the profit.
Jean–Claude Muhire, Dealer in Electronics
The decision to reopen the airspace really came to our rescue because our businesses were not operating as we wanted. So, this shows that the government listens to the needs of the population. We also request that the borders are opened up.
Surendra Kethat, Tour Operator
Covid-19 has distracted most of the businesses during the last four months. However, some Covid-19 guidelines look tough to some people, so among the travellers, there is a big number of foreigners who just want to return back home.
Source New Times.