Harare, The winners of the Twalumba Tourism and Travel Awards have been revealed at a glittering event at Harare International Conference Centre in Harare.
The awards are meant to stimulate individual and collective efforts in pursuit of growth and development in the tourism and travel industry to recognize and acknowledge outstanding people and organizations.
It is so befitting as Twalumba is a word borrowed from the Tonga people, whose heartland in the Zambezi Valley is among the most important environmental, cultural and tourism and travel assets that Zimbabwe possesses. Twalumba means “thank you”. Thus appropriate in every way for the purpose it now serves as an award scheme that does, indeed, say thank you to people and organizations with exemplary profiles.
This edition of the tourism and travel awards, saw more winners than ever before, with companies and individuals recognized across 23 categories.
The Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, said the tourism and travel awards will encourage sector players to do well and continue working hard.
“As the Twalumba Tourism and Travel awards categories have been created to encompass all fields of endeavor related to travel and tourism, my hope is that the awards will inspire everyone to be their best and the impact of excellence will be felt by all our visitors be it local or international.“
“For us this is another way of thanking them and appreciating the industry. Everyone agrees that we are coming from a very difficult time, the Covid-19 era and now we have decided to give some happiness and some appreciation to the sector to say we have seen the hard work that the tourism industry has done.”
Categories that were on offer included: Tour operators of the year, Tourism personality of the year, Facility of the year, tourism entrepreneur, eco-tourism facility, event of the year, corporate responsibility project, media coverage (print/broadcast/online), tour guide of the year, tourism image builder, market achievement to mention a few.
Among the big winners on the day was Cresta Hotels, which scooped three awards, Accommodation Provider of the Years, Conference Facility of the Year and Achievement in Promoting Gender Equality.
Also taking home two trophies was Wild Horizon, which won Eco-Tourism Initiative of the Year, also picked up the Corporate Social Responsibility Project of the Year. This is an award for designed to spotlight those positively contributing development in communities they operate in.
The Rainbow Tourism Group, Gateway Stream app, picked up the award for their innovative approach to partner marketing.
Emmanual Fundira, a hotelier, safari operator and Chief Executive at privately owned Astoc Leisure Group was recognized as the Tourism Personality of the Year, while Beks Ndlovu, of African Bush Camps won Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year.
Other award recipients included Dr. Hebert Murerwa, (1990-95 the then Minister of Environment and Tourism), Ross Kennedy, Chief Executive of Africa Albida, among few others, were worthy winners of Life Achievement Award, while Chevrons National Cricket Team was honored with the prestigious Tourism Image Builder of the Year award.
Zimbabwe witnessed a 174% increase in tourist arrivals in 2022, translating to 129% increase in receipts. This saw the country almost reaching a USD1 billion mark in 2022 as it rose from USD397 the previous year.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) spokesperson Mr. Godfrey Koti said the awards will encourage sector players to do well and continue working hard, as well as put some sort of seal of approval to their work, while also helping ZTA and the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe to appreciate work done by all players and stakeholders.
“The Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority would like just to say thank you for the work that you have done. It’s unfortunate we can’t award everybody but we try and use this as a stamp of approval for the service excellence so we are very delighted and we are looking forward to the Twalumba Travel Awards that are coming on the 24th of February,” said Mr. Godfrey Koti.