Business Development Education Tourism

ZTA rolls out aggressive Service Excellence training program

Godfrey Koti

… As operators applaud move

In a bid to attain service excellence and leave a lasting impression to  visitors, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has started rolling out it’s game changing service excellence initiative. The program has seen the organisation training operators in Bulawayo and surrounding areas to another level last week.
The recent training session targeted small to medium operators in and around the country’s second largest city.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Head Corporate Affairs Mr. Godfrey Koti said the training sessions were a drive towards improving customer care in the tourism sector, which in turn encouraged a culture of excellence in the hospitality industry. “This was our fourteenth outing on this drive, we embarked on this service excellence training program late last year. We have done the Victoria Falls and parts of Harare and now we just concluded Bulawayo,” he said.
Koti said the call to the program, which was itself a perception management tool being used by the national tourism organisation to attract and retain repeat business. “The idea is to have a Hospitality industry that is second to none in terms of care for clients and customers. It must be a tool for encouraging clients to want to come back to Zimbabwe or at best stimulate repeat business” he added.
“The response from Bulawayo’s operators was exceptional. We had a total of sixty-six participants from various organisations. It was mainly front-line personnel who received the first part of the training. These were drawn from Mpala Boutique Hotel, Munda Hotel, Lalani Hotel, National Gallery of Zimbabwe and Elgiboh Guest Lodge,” said Koti.
The training was undertaken with emphasis mainly on good ambassadorship for destination Zimbabwe, handling guests, receiving, welcoming guests, handling guests’ complaints, creating guest memorable experiences, how to increase up-selling skills, cutlery handling, utensils cleaning, food production and service, grooming and deportment among others.
“It is our duty to ensure that operators are trained in these and any other areas they deem necessary.  We are here at their service and our services are free of charge. They should be free to get in touch with us anytime they feel our services can be of any use to their establishments,” Koti added.
Similar trainings have already been undertaken in Beitbridge, Masvingo, Chiredzi, Mutare, Nyanga, Vic Falls, Gweru, Kwekwe, Bulawayo, Umfurudzi, Mutoko, Nyamapanda, Kariba and Chinhoyi with recipients saying they find it very useful.
Managing Director of startup Elgiboh Guest Lodge, Sibongiseni Ngwenya, expressed appreciation to the national tourism organisation for coming with the initiative. “It was a very good training session indeed. We learnt a lot and we appreciate ZTA’s efforts in taking us through this very important knowledge impartation exercise,” she said.
The ZTA is also using the short training initiative as a platform to educate operators on the tourism product. “We were taught about  the make up elements of the  broader tourism product. We learnt that destination Zimbabwe has seven unique selling points known as the ‘Zimbabwe’s Seven wonders’,” she added.
“We appreciate ZTA’s gesture and dedication to improving service culture in the country. We learnt about the need to focus on ways to pro-actively inculcate a culture of service excellence.” she added.
The ZTA, through its Destination Management Division is responsible for capacitating, developing marketing skills and initiatives within the industry, promoting high standards in the tourism sector through the establishment of standards, training and human resources development. The division is also in charge of registering and grading designated tourist facilities as well as promoting the development of tourist facilities.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende