SMEs key in Zimbabwe tourism growth


Sisa Mthunzi staff in Victoria Falls pose for a photo

from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS, (CAJ News) ZIMBABWE is empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector, in recognition of the role they play in growing the industry.

A competition dubbed “20 for 20” has been introduced, with winners poised to enjoy widespread marketing through online platforms in the region.

The Ministry of Tourism has incepted the competition.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is financing the initiative rolled out under the theme, “Small and Mighty: A Celebration of Small Enterprise.”

Boundless Southern Africa and We are Victoria Falls support the project.

The first 20 beneficiaries were recently announced at a function.

Douglas Runyowa, the Chief Director in the Ministry of Tourism, said the ministry recognized the importance of small enterprises to job creation power, entrepreneurism and role in driving sustainable development in the sector.

“The competition is called 20 for 20 and aimed at identifying 20 small scale tourism operators making an impact in the industry,” he explained.

He said the businesses were honoured, especially at a time when industry was faced with skills flight, lack of business and lack of access to the market because of COVID-19.

“We are happy that the revival of tourism is now happening and it is our wish that mainstream players do not leave anyone behind in line with the country’s National Development Strategy 1,” Runyowa said.

Each business won marketing material in the form of 20 professional photos, a promotional video, a year’s listing on the itinerary building platform and representation through Boundless Southern Africa at several virtual trade shows in the region.

This is a significant achievement for the small players who are largely overshadowed by the big giants in the market.

The winning SMEs comprise newly established and old players but operating at a smaller scale in the areas of accommodation, tourism activities, canoeing, horse riding, travel agency and photographic.

These are Africa Travel and Tours, Discover Safaris, DK Tours and Safaris, Excellence Trails, Exclusive Tough Africa, Routes Through Africa, Rukoko Safaris, Tsowa Island, Umdingi Safaris and Victoria Falls Canoeing Company.

Others are Dzimbahwe House, Intondolo Safaris, Nguni Lodge, Phezulu Lodge, Premier Guest Lodge, Signature Africa, Tatenda Safaris, Wildspoor Safaris and Zambezi Horse Safaris.

Sisasenkosi Mthunzi, Excellence Trails owner, who is into photographic safari said being recognised is a huge encouragement for the business to work harder.

“Since the successive lockdowns we have been on the ground taking footage and uploading as a way of reaching out to the market that there is life in tourism post-COVID-19. This is an honour will go a long way in enhancing reach to the market,” Mthunzi said.

– CAJ News