Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter
WOMEN in Tourism Manicaland chapter is set to embark on a calculated drive to promote cultural tourism in the province by embracing rural women involved in various artefact projects.
Women in Tourism is an initiative by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority that seeks enhance women’s businesses by coming up with sustainable solutions to challenges they face in the industry.
In an interview with Post Business, the Manicaland chapter chairperson Ms Rumbidzai Munhuwani said the formation of the association offers an opportunity for women in the province to come together and form synergies that promote a more aggressive approach to business.
“Last year business was not good for most women in the tourism sector due to lack of funding. The difficult economic situation also made it difficult for most women strategically position themselves for the future.
“In 2019, we will make a deliberate effort to ensure that every woman in the sector contributes to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” she said.
“We will focus on cultural tourism and scout for women in hand crafts across the province. We want to create a platform for them to come together and scout for local and export markets for their products”.
She said the initiative will increase sustainability in communities that the women operate from.
Ms Munhuwani said they will also identify platforms where women in tourism can access potential investors for various projects.
She said the association will spread its wings in all districts in order to identify opportunities that women can exploit.
“We will also identify women whose projects need funding to take off. We can help them to fully utilise the opportunities. We will convene meetings, create synergies and partnerships to grow our businesses,” she said.
Ms Munhuwani said the association will look at specific needs of different women and partner them with experts who will help them run their business.
“We want to bring women together to see how much resources they have collectively and see if we can come up with sustainable packages for them. If we cannot find suitable investors for them, we will then tap into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) facility for the tourism industry,” she said.
She said most women were failing to access funding under the RBZ facility due to lack of collateral to secure the loans.
Ms Munhuwani said they will also visit all the districts equipping and empowering rural women with business skills.
She said they will also engage local entrepreneurship hubs to train women basic concepts of business management.
“We will also bring in ZTA to speak on the standards expected from businesses in the tourism industry. This will help us breed a new crop of businesspeople that have a good work ethic and adhere to best practices in the industry,” she said.
She said the growth of local tourism players will ameliorate the drive by Government to boost domestic tourism.
“We will encourage domestic tourism, support each other and keep the resource within the communities. We need to avoid siphoning money from communities and the country by supporting budding hospitality players. Let us start inwards and then move outwards,” she added.