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Taxman celebrates female tourism trailblazer as top taxpayer across Tanzania

Tanzania Revenue Authority raised its hand in a triumphant salute to a tour operator, Ms Zainab Ansell, on International Women’s Day.

SATURDAY March 9, 2024

Ms Zainab Ansell, the founder and CEO of Zara Tours based in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania, was named one of 100 Tanzanian changemakers towards the end of last year. PHOTOS | FILE

By Adam Ihucha

Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

The International Women’s Day celebration in Tanzania reached a high note, with Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) proudly recognising Ms Zainab Ansell, the CEO of Zara International Travel Agency, as the leading female taxpayer in the East African country.

“Certificate is awarded to Ms Zainab Addan Ansell, the Managing Director of Zara International Travel Agency, on the 8th of March, 2024, during the International Women’s Day, in recognition of your contribution as the leading woman taxpayer in Tanzania for the year 2023,” the document reads.

“Thank you for your contribution towards upholding a positive image of our organisation,” reads the certificate signed by the TRA Commissioner General, Mr Alphayo Kidata.

This remarkable acknowledgement not only signifies significant contributions of women in business and leadership, but also highlights Ms Ansell’s dedication to upholding her civic responsibility.

Ms Zainab is a symbol of hope for women in Tanzania’s multi-billion-dollar tourism industry, having fought extremely hard against all odds, leading the way for female to explore business opportunities that have traditionally been closed off to them.

The Tanzania’s Prime Minister (Right), Mr Kassim Majaliwa, congratulates Ms Zainab Ansell, the Chief Executive Officer of Zara Tours, shortly after she received an award in a past event.

As a prominent female figure in the male-dominated $3.4-billion tourism industry and a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment, Ms Ansell’s recognition serves as an inspiration to women across the nation and beyond.

“Her unwavering commitment to ethical business practices and economic growth is a testament to the invaluable role of women in driving positive change and progress in our society,” said the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) CEO, Mr Sirili Akko.

Mr Akko said Ms Zainab’s milestone stands as a testimony to the strength and impact of women in Tanzania and that it emphasizes the vital importance of gender equality in shaping a prosperous future for all.

This prestigious recognition not only reflects the significance of the company famously known as Zara Tours in contributing to Tanzania’s economic development, but also emphasizes its commitment to operating at the highest level of integrity.

“Ms Zainab Ansel’s acknowledgment as the foremost female taxpayer underscores her dedication to compliance and ethical business practices within the industry,” he explained.


MORE INFO: Zainab Ansell

CEO Zara tours/Zara Charity and Tanzania Wildcamps

Ms Zainab Ansell is the owner and director of Zara Tours, founded in 1986. Zara is Tanzania’s unrivaled No 1 Kilimanjaro trekking company and one of the largest safari operators in the region, organising full service Travel experiences in Tanzania, proposing various choices of safaris, including climbing mounts Kilimanjaro and Meru. Also, offers expeditions in Zanzibar spice islands. Zara owns and operates two hotels, two lodges and four tented camps in the northern tourism circuit of Tanzania; provides airport transfer services, city to city transfer, VIP cruiser (all equipped with viewing roofs). The company has 88 registered Kilimanjaro guides who Speak English, Germany, French and Spanish, offering regular tour services to groups and corporations from all over the world. The company owns 102 4X4 Land Rovers, 4X4 mini buses, 4X4 Land Cruisers (all equipped with viewing roofs).


Insiders say as the CEO of Zara Tours, Ms Ansell has consistently upheld the company’s core values of transparency, responsibility, and sustainability, setting a notable example for the entire business community.

Mr Akko said his association was proud of its member for being celebrated as a leading taxpayer.

“In TATO we foster business ethics, tax compliance being one of key areas, through our code of conduct. So, Ms Zainab Ansell, is one of our members who adhere to the uppermost level of business integrity standards,” Mr Akko noted.

For him, the landmark achievement is an evidence to Zara Tours’ unwavering commitment to playing a pivotal role in the economic growth of Tanzania.

“It exemplifies the company’s ethos of responsible corporate citizenship and further establishes Zara Tours as a leader in both the tourism industry and the broader business landscape,” Mr Akko explained.

It exemplifies the company’s ethos of responsible corporate citizenship and further establishes Zara Tours as a leader in both the tourism industry and the broader business landscape,” Mr Sirili Akko, the CEO of Tanzania Association of Tour Operators

Zara Tours’ dedication to contributing to the economic development of Tanzania, coupled with its adherence to the highest standards of integrity, positions the company as a prominent and respected entity within the nation’s business community.

Last year, the prominent female tour operator in Tanzania, Ms Zainab Ansell, was declared winner of a prestigious national award of Malikia wa Nguvu (influential queen) of 2023 in recognition of her noble role in creating massive employment in the tourism industry.

The Clouds Media Group, the organisers of the Malikia wa Nguvu awards, which celebrate extraordinary women in Tanzania each year, recognised Ms Zainab, the founder of the Zara Tours, for creating employment opportunities.

“Malikia wa Nguvu award 2023 goes to Ms Zainab Ansell as a businessperson who has generated a number of employment opportunities and still creates more avenues and vacancies for youth to be employed in the tourism industry both formal and informal,” the organisers said.

Her gifted hands have changed thousands of lives in Tanzania. She employs nearly 1,410 on both permanent and seasonal basis, sustaining thousands of families in a country where unemployment is among significant social and economic challenges.

The founder of Zara Tours, Ms Zainab Ansell, was also picked one of the Tanzania’s top 100 CEOs to survive Covid-19 pandemic.

Official data put the rate of unemployment in Tanzania at 2.74 per cent. However, according to the World Bank, about 900,000 youthful Tanzanians enter the job market each year while barely between 50,000 and 60,000 new opportunities can be generated during the period.

Besides addressing unemployment, Ms Zainab is also at forefront in helping the surrounding indigenous peoples, mostly of Maasai decent.

To support pastoralist community members, she has built a school where children under seven years of age are educated free of charge.

Ms Zainab has not only constructed the school and left, but she also runs the facility, with 95 kids from the nomadic Maasai pastoralists pursuing their dreams in life.

With the school, the Maasai kids would have somewhere to study.

She has also developed a unique window for helping marginalised Maasai women in her fresh bid to liberate them from harmful shackles of their traditional norms.

Zara Charity has built a children’s education centre at Pasua, Kaloleni, in Moshi Municipality, Tanzania, which enrolls children aged between three and five years from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly from pastoralist communities.

Ms Zainab is single-handedly struggling to address historical injustice compounded by the oppression and exploitation of women.

She has also been financially empowering the Maasai women to buy raw materials for making beads and selling them to foreign tourists.

Hundreds of Maasai women benefit from tourists’ dollars by hawking beads and carvings along roads heading for key tourist sites.

Thanks to Ms Zainab’s quest for seeing local community members get direct returns for conserving tourist attractions surrounding them for ages.

Ms Zainab has bankrolled first aid training sessions, beginners’ English courses, HIV and AIDS education, and financial management training, to mention but a few, to nearly 900 porters.

Workers of Zara International Travel Agency popularly known as Zara Tours pose for a picture during the 50th anniversary of Kilimanjaro National Park at Marangu Gate in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, in March 2023. Zara Tours boasts recruiting about 1,410 workers on both permanent and seasonal basis.

She has initiated Zara Charity to stimulate a global movement on sustainable tourism by giving back to the community through the network of travel industry partners, organisations, travellers, and global citizens interested in reaching out to and supporting vulnerable groups in TanzaniaΩ

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