Top tourism players honoured

HARARE - Africa Albida Tourism Group operations and finance director, Nigel Frost, has been named Tourism Personality of the Year by the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT).

Frost took home the premier trophy at the annual Tourism Achievers’ Awards ceremony held at Cresta Lodge in Harare on Thursday night.

The Albida Tourism Group operations and finance director landed the top award in recognition of his successful spearheading of the campaign by the travel and tourism sector to reverse the potentially damaging application of backdated VAT to hospitality operations in the country.

The adjudication panel made up of former presidents of ZCT singled out Frost for special praise for “being the sector’s lead person in the recent exercise to persuade the authorities to reverse decisions relating to backdating of VAT on hospitality billings.”

The jury said Frost was the natural choice for 2017 Tourism Personality of the Year gong because his “leadership and action…brought about significant savings to operators and in a number of instances saved certain operators from becoming insolvent.”

Frost was among 19 tourism personalities honoured at the Tourism Achievers’ Awards ceremony sponsored by Havergal Marketing.

The Tourism Achievers’ Awards ceremony, graced by hundreds of travel and tour operators, government officials and media personalities, was officiated by Tourism and Hospitality minister Prisca Mupfumira.

The minister urged Zimbabwe to follow in the footsteps of fellow SADC countries which are determined to make tourism contribute at least 50 percent of GDP.

“This is something we should emulate, and I am sure I speak on behalf of all of us when I say Zimbabwe has the potential to foster exponential growth in tourism, a potential that requires elimination of obstacles and a commitment to providing infrastructural development necessary to allow for such growth,” said Mupfumira.

The full list of award winners:

Tourism Personality of the Year - Nigel Frost

Tourism Business of the Year - Nyanga-based Far and Wide Zimbabwe.

Tourism SME of the Year - Manna Resorts, Harare

Achievement in Marketing - Africa’s Living Soul Survey, prepared on behalf of the travel and tourism sector by the Africa Albida Tourism Group and spearheaded by Allan Kennedy

Achievement in environmental awareness and action - Chimanimani Tourist Association, for its campaign to create awareness and action on the illegal and destructive mining activities taking place in the Chimanimani National Park

Achievement in the pursuit of service excellence - Cresta Lodge, Harare, for its high service standards

Achievement in Innovation - Victoria Falls Carnival, Wild Horizons and Far and Wide Zimbabwe.

Achievement in Human Resources Development-Joseph Bunga, whose Battle of the Chefs television series have been promoting the culinary arts and the growth and development of chefs’ skills

Achievement in promoting gender equality-Margaret Makadzange, a champion of women’s participation in the travel and tourism sector

Contribution from the public sector-Department of Immigration, for its new stance on supporting tourism through responsible undertaking of its duties at border posts

Services to the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism- ZCT CEO Paul Matamisa.

Services to tourism by a secretariat - Association of Zimbabwean Travel Agents Secretariat, represented by Deliwe Makora

Lifetime Achievement Award-Christopher Gonzo, who has worked in the sector for 45 years and retires this year after being executive chef of Meikles Hotel for almost 20 years.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Philip James, maître d’hotel of The Livingstone Room at The Victoria Falls Hotel.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Jealous Tsatsa, a 40-year veteran of the industry; leading food and beverage manager, now retired, who latterly worked for Rainbow Tourism Group.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Daniel Sibanda, 40-year veteran of Cresta Hotels, who retired in 2017 and was latterly a member of the management team of Cresta Oasis Hotel and Apartments in Harare

President’s Special Award - Barbara Murasiranwa, who chairs the ZCT’s Victoria Falls branch, is a “tireless representative of ZCT and of operators in the Victoria Falls area.”

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