Nyazema makes tourism history
by Dakarai Mashava
Mbano Manor Hotel, an all-suite premium luxury hotel in the resort town of Victoria Falls, is yet another feather in the cap of the storied career of hospitality personality Dr Mati Nyazema.
The much-travelled hotelier conceptualised and developed Mbano Manor, a luxury boutique hotel which comprises 19 suites, becoming the first black female Zimbabwean to achieve such a feat.
The award-winning Nyazema, who has accomplished many feats in her three-decade-long career in the hospitality industry which has taken her to several African countries, singles out the development of Mbano Manor Hotel as the highlight of her career as a tourism and hotel professional.
“I have travelled to over 60 countries during my career, and stayed at some of the best signature hotels in the world.
“What you see at Mbano today is the culmination of this experience, yet engineered by an expert design and architectural team to blend with our natural environment.
“Attention to detail defines the Mbano experience,” Nyazema told the Daily News on Sunday.
The us$8 million hotel, arguably the first luxury boutique hotel development of five-star quality to be opened in Zimbabwe, is spread on a four-acre estate and blends with nature as it is located within the ancient teak forest of the Zambezi National Park.
“Our suites offer generous space, privacy and seclusion and effortless comfort define the Mbano experience.
“The Mbano gardens are a wilderness gem, and a bird and tree sanctuary. The magnificent landscape design features indigenous trees and grasses. The natural bush dominates,” said Nyazema, adding that her hotel will offer a globally competitive product.
“We complement the existing accommodation product in and around Victoria Falls.
“Our aim is to open up new and additional markets for the benefit of the destination and the country.”
The hotel is located on the old Kazungula road, on the edge of the town, only four kilometres from the entrance to the Victoria Falls rain forest, a position which enables visitors to enjoy the best of all worlds — a tranquil hotel setting, wildlife safaris, adventure sport, or a tour of the rain forest and its majestic views of the world’s largest curtain of water.
Though the Mbano Manor founder and executive director is optimistic about the future, she concedes that venturing into business against the backdrop of the deadly coronavirus has complicated matters.
According to UNCTAD, the world’s tourism sector could lose at least $1,2 trillion, or 1,5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is the hand of God. The short to medium term business future will be tough. But failure is not an option.
“We look forward to an organised and sustainable tourism recovery programme and I am confident that our industry is capable of delivering this,” said Nyazema.
She is convinced that her long career in tourism will come in handy and help steer Mbano Manor Hotel to greatness in the obtaining turbulent times.
“I have enjoyed a career spanning over 30 years, starting with a job as public relations officer at the ZTDC, now called Zimbabwe tourism Authority.
“The career spanned management and leadership in destination marketing, corporate hotel management and airline marketing.
“My last corporate position was a 10-year stint as leader of a regional international convention centre. I learnt from the best,” said the Mbano Manor founder.
For the past three decades, Nyazema has managed big companies which include the Sandton Convention Centre in South Africa, British Airways Africa and Cresta Hospitality.
Not surprisingly, in order to tap into her rich experience in the hospitality industry, the University of Johannesburg School of Tourism and Hospitality hired her as a lecturer from June 2016 to March 2017.
Apart from the University of Johannesburg School of Tourism and Hospitality, various tourism players in the region have also benefitted from her vast experience by appointing her to their boards.
These include South African Tourism, Sandton Central Management District, Tshwane University faculty advisory committee, Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa, Sandton city improvement district, Exhibitions Association of South Africa and Air Zimbabwe.