The Zimbabwean government plans to invest in helping tourism SMEs to grow over the next few years.
This announcement followed the hosting of an informal ceremony – held at Pure Africa Waterfront in Victoria Falls yesterday (October 20) – to celebrate 20 of the most promising small businesses in Victoria Falls, and pledge further support for the sector.
The plan to help grow small businesses – executed through the Zimbabwe Destination Development Programme – will focus on providing world-class marketing training and mentoring to SMEs in Victoria Falls, as well as regulatory reform of the licensing and permit system.
“We recognise that the burden of regulatory compliance can be disproportionally heavy for small enterprise,” said Dr Douglas Runyowa, Chief Director of the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
He said analysis to determine scope and needs, amongst others, had already begun and work was being carried out in partnership with the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe. Preliminary findings of the analysis will be published in January.
The SME ceremony was organised by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA). It was supported by International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the Zimbabwe Destination Development Programme.
“These entrepreneurs have shown remarkable courage and resilience during the last 18 months,” said Runyowa. “They play a vital role in Victoria Falls by enriching our destination and providing jobs. They are key for achieving the 2030 UNDP Sustainable Goals.”
Winners of the competition included canoeing expedition providers, horse safaris, boutique accommodation, off-the-beaten-track guides, astronomers, village and community tours. The competition was run in partnership with Boundless Southern Africa and co-ordinated by We Are Victoria Falls.
“It has been a challenging time and we are thrilled to be a winner of this competition, to have won the marketing material that we are already putting to good use,” said Prince Ngwenya, of Victoria Falls Canoeing Company. “We want to grow and show the world what we can do.”
Winners were provided with bespoke professional marketing material and a year’s complimentary listing on the B2B itinerary building platform, Wetu.
CEO of Wetu, Paul de Waal, said: “We have the vision to transform the trade with technology that empowers our users. We are delighted to support these 20 SMEs in Victoria Falls to better access new markets.”