BY DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls

The tourism sector is helping to ease the devastation of the pandemic in Victoria Falls.

TOURISM operators and hotel establishments in Zimbabwe are not deterred by the negative impact of the coronavirus
on their operations.

They are continuing to give back to communities they operate as the pandemic wreaks havoc on livelihoods of many families.

The operators have pledged their charitable commitment to community support and empowerment, environmental stewardship and conservation.

Among the organisations recognized by the government and private sector are African Sun Hotels, Africa Albida Tourism, Great Plains and Green Shango Environment Trust.

Others are Ilala Lodge, Imvelo Safari and I’rock Lodge, Liquorama, Ndau Collection, Painted Dog Conservancy, Pure Africa, Shearwater, Wild Horizons and Wilderness Safaris.

Victoria Falls City, the host tourism town, has also honoured under the aegis of the fifth CSR Business Summit.

The summit was held under theme, “Celebrating Sustainability Excellence – Towards Achieving Vision 2030.”

Vision 2030 is Zimbabwe’s development mantra to transform the country into an upper middle income economy by that year.

The categories included Environmental Stewardship and Social Impact and Excellence in Community Support, Empowerment and Conservation.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Network Zimbabwe organized the awards ceremony.

The initiative is to reward organisations that have dedicated time and resources to effective environmental management initiatives and clean energy implementation in elements of their day-to-day business operations, including recycling and wildlife conservation.

The organisations and individuals have also initiated a variety of programmes within their work space and extended these to the wider community focusing on employee engagements, equality in education, universal healthcare, and empowerment of women, environmental impact and poverty alleviation.

Gail van Jaarsveldt, owner of Elephant Walk, was awarded CSR Ambassador of the Year for her philanthropic work in helping vulnerable communities and actively supporting the Victoria Falls Covid-19 taskforce efforts since 2020.

Van Jaarsveldt is involved in recycling especially wire snares that are used by illegal hunters to trap animals in the bush.

The Ndau Collection, which she runs, turns the wires into bangles, rings and other materials which are then used to campaign against poaching.

Richard Moyo, the Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, challenged other operators to invest in CSR.

“As we congratulate those that have been awarded, Government encourages partnerships and stakeholder participation. The partnership between EMA and CSR Network Zimbabwe is much appreciated,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is one of sectors most affected by border closures and restrictions in local travel during lockdowns.– CAJ News