By Marianne Betts
George Potera’s job as a waiter at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has enabled him to send his children to school and to build a house in Victoria Falls.
He enjoys mixing with different people from different backgrounds and cultures.
“What I love the most is making guests laugh, I love putting a smile on their faces,” George says.
He beams with pride when he recalls being selected to be a waiter at a private function and Africa Albida Tourism chairman Dave Glynn was so impressed with his service, he introduced him to the then Minister of Tourism.
“He made very good comments about me to the Minister, I can never forget that moment,” he says.
He plans to remain within the tourism industry, with a dream of one day being a restaurant manager.
George is one of 278 permanent staff employed by Africa Albida Tourism, and of those, 53 have worked for the Victoria Falls-based hospitality group for 20 years or more.
The staff, come from all over Zimbabwe, and work across the group’s four properties, namely Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Suites, Lokuthula Lodges and The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show.
Like George, for many of the staff, tourism has supported their families, provided a career, and it is where they see their future.
Online sales consultant Innocent Mtero admits the tourism industry has saved him from poverty.
“With the current social and economic ills affecting the country, tourism has brought a gap between poverty and me and my family, as it has not really been affected, and business runs as normal,” Innocent says.
“Without tourism, I would have been sinking in poverty, but it has rescued me,” he says.
General manager Anald Musonza says he has been in the tourism industry for 25 years, and his journey and career have been filled with excitement and adventure.
“I met my wife at a tourism and hospitality college, and we have raised our family in this beautiful industry,” Anald says.
He enjoys leading a team of vibrant and enthusiastic personalities who deliver excellent guest experiences.
He plans to remain in hospitality, hoping to one day own a boutique lodge catering for discerning guests.
Executive chef Simba Musiyiwa says tourism has given him the opportunity to see the world, learn about different cultures and cuisines and meet new people.
“I love the creativity aspect of my job, and the fact that I am constantly learning and growing,” Simba says.
He sees his future in tourism, wishing to own a restaurant and bakery.
Guest relations manager Lin Jones Pullen says the industry has given herself and her family amazing opportunities and stability.
“If you love variety, you will love working in the hospitality industry as there is never a dull moment – whether a new challenge or a chance to travel to different places,” Lin says.
“I enjoy interacting with and appreciating people from all around the world, as well as facing challenges that need to be tackled within hospitality, and always putting both my critical and creative thinking to good use,” she adds.
Human resources manager Modester Bonda says tourism has impacted positively on her life by being a source of income.
“It’s one of those sectors of the Zimbabwean economy that are doing well in foreign currency generation and my family has benefitted in many ways too,” Modester says.
“My job requires me to always be assertive and positive, managing a diversity of cultures, beliefs, ethnicity and all other variables in people is not a joke, hence it’s a unique job, which makes every day a new day with no repeat events.”
Through tourism the lives of these everyday Zimbabweans and their families have flourished.
Thank you for visiting Victoria Falls, and for those of you who haven’t yet, add it to your bucket list – it is an incredible travel destination for so many reasons!