Tour operator nominated for top African award

PHEZULU Safaris founder and director, Lipian Bongani Mtandabari (24) has been nominated for the inaugural Pan-African Tourism Leadership Awards.

BY CHRIS MAHOVE

Mtandabari, who is among the three shortlisted finalists for each of the nine categories of the awards, was nominated in the Outstanding Entrepreneurship category together with Ikechi Uko of Akwaaba Travel Fair in Nigeria and Kehinde Michael Oluwadamilare of Discoveria.

The winners of the awards, organised by the Africa Tourism Partners, through their Africa Tourism Leadership Forum, will be announced at the Africa Tourism Leadership Awards ceremony set for Accra, Ghana next Friday.

The other categories in the awards are Leading in Progressive Policies Award, Environmental and Tourism Award, Women in Leadership Award, Most Innovative Business Tourism Destination Award, Outstanding Accommodation Facility/Group Award, Outstanding Tourism Transportation Award, Championing Sustainability Award and the Destination Africa Lifetime Award.

Mtandabari was among the 17 Zimbabweans who were selected among a group of 1 000 to undergo a nine-month mentorship training programme in 2017 run by Nigerian billionaire’s Tony Elumelu Foundation which equips young African entrepreneurs with skills.

The young entrepreneur, who attributed his success to the support he got from his mother Priscilla Mtandabari, said he was “overwhelmed” by the nomination.

“From the way I am looking at it, this is not an award that is coming from within Zimbabwe or within Sadc, but it’s an award that is coming from Africa and to be recognised at that platform, and never mind getting the award but that nomination, I am overwhelmed and I am very happy to say that at least our efforts, our passion, our service to the tourism industry at large have been recognised,” he said.

He said the nomination would push him to do more to improve the country’s tourism industry.

Mtandabari, whose services were initially found in the Lowveld, Harare, Victoria Falls and Kariba said they were on a massive expansion programme that would see the company spread its wings to as far as the United Kingdom.

Tourism minister Priscah Mupfumira is expected to address the awards ceremony.


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