Why Kilimanjaro trekker cannot do away with Zara Adventures

The woman-lead firm has been scooping awards each year lately

SATURDAY October 1, 2022

The Chief Executive Officer of Zara (T) Adventures based in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Mrs Zainab Ansell, whose firm has been receiving awards each year. PHOTO | FILE

By Adam Ihucha

The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has crowned a female-owned tour company, Zara Tanzania adventures the best mountaineering outfit for 2022.

Owned by Mrs Zainab Ansell, Zara Tanzania Adventures has been recognised as the top Mount Kilimanjaro hiking outfit of the year at the 3rd TANAPA Tourism Awards.

The tour company commands a lion’s share of the tourists who climb the African highest mountain of Kilimanjaro annually.

“Presented to Zara Tanzania Adventures, the best tour operator (Mountain climbing) in recognition of outstanding business contribution,” reads the trophy.

Mrs Ansell herself is credited as an outstanding woman in the field of tourism and travel, who is the prime example of this pioneering spirit.

The Tanzania Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Pindi Chana (In Red Attire), hands over to Zara Tanzania Adventures Chief Executive Officer, Ms Zainab Ansell, a TANAPA Tourism Award 2022 in recognition of the firm’s outstanding business contribution to the coffers of the conservation and tourism agency and of the nation at large. Looking on are the Tanzania National Parks Board of Trustees Chairman, Retired General George Waitara (Left), and the Deputy Minister for the ministry, Ms Mary Masanja. PHOTO | COURTESY

No wonder, Mrs Ansell, a towering female tour operator, was 2021 named among Tanzania’s top executives who performed well among their peers in the corporate world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

She emerged as the only female executive in a male-dominated multi-billion-dollar tourism industry who made it to the list of 100 most effective CEOs in Tanzania for 2021, as recognised by a reputable management firm, Eastern Star Consulting Group Tanzania.

Mrs Ansell was also recognised for playing a critical role in enabling the country’s economy to rebound in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Mrs Zainab Ansell is one of the flamboyant female executives of our times. She’s successfully managed her business through the storms of the COVID-19 pandemic, she deserves a standing ovation,” the Eastern Star Consulting Group Tanzania high-ranking official, Mr Alex Shayo, said.

Indeed, Tanzania has been hobbled by an economic slump, thanks to a brutal wave of coronavirus that pushed a significant number of businesses to close shops, driving millions of people into poverty.

Ms Zainab Ansell, the Chief Executive Officer of Zara (T) Adventures, burst with joy as she delivers her speech shortly after she received a tourism award in Arusha, Tanzania, recently. PHOTO | COURTESY

But as this happened, Mrs Ansel came up with various innovative packages to woo domestic tourists, probably a forgotten virgin market, to make her company survive in the face of the severe COVID-19 crisis.

Her innovation and sustainable business model have sustained jobs, fought climate change, and uplifted and impacted hundreds of marginalised women in the tourism host communities of Tanzania.

Mrs Ansell is the founder and CEO of the Tanzania-based Zara Tanzania Adventures, who is single-handedly struggling to address historic injustice compounded by the oppression and exploitation of women in Northern Tanzania’s Maasai community.

She is credited for developing a special window for helping underprivileged Maasai women in her bid to liberate them from poverty, courtesy of the harmful shackles of their traditional norms, by financially empowering them to buy raw materials for making beads and crafts and to sell the products to tourists.

Through her women’s development centre, hundreds of Maasai women benefit from the tourism industry, as it allows them to showcase and sell beads and carvings along the routes to Tanzania’s most popular tourist sites.

Zara (T) Adventures Chief Executive Officer, Ms Zainab Ansell (Right), poses for a picture with a friend after she received a tourism award in Arusha, Tanzania, recently. PHOTO | COURTESY

This initiative has grown to become a strong pillar for the women and this particular host community at large.

Zara Tanzania Adventures is a local company, established in 1986 in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania, by Mrs Ansell, providing high-quality travel and tour services in East Africa. Zara has great experience with 36 years in the Travel and Tourism industry.

Today, Zara has evolved into Tanzania’s largest Kilimanjaro outfitter and one of the leading safari operators in East Africa.  Zara is a one-stop shop, offering experiences and accommodation in Tanzania’s tourism hotspots.

In 2009, the company launched Zara Charity, giving back to marginalised communities in Tanzania and making its footprint in the global movement for sustainable tourism development.

Zara charity supports marginalised communities in Tanzania’s tourism host communities addressing health care, education, unemployment, and women and children’s challenges.

The Tanzania Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, congratulates Ms Zainab Ansell, the Executive Officer of Zara Tours, shortly after she received an award in a past event. PHOTO | FILE

Zara has been widely recognised for its efforts in promoting Sustainable Tourism Development in Africa, with Zainab being a multi-award winner, having received over 13 local and international awards.

Among them include the World Travel Market (WTM) Humanitarian Award and the Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2012), the iconic Tourism for The Future Awards (2015), and African Travel’s top 100 Women.

Mrs Ansell has been recognised and awarded for being the Most Influential Women in Business and Government by CEO Global for her achievements in East Africa’s Tourism and Leisure Sector 2018/2019 during the CEO GLOBAL Pan African Awards; Tanzania National Parks has also recognized Zara Tours as the East African country’s best Tour Operator (2019).

Zara has impacted thousands of lives in Tanzania, directly employing 1,410 people on both permanent and seasonal basis, sustaining thousands of families in a country with a relatively high unemployment rate.

The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) CEO, Mr Sirili Akko, said his association was proud of the Zara Tours founder and CEO for her generous heart to support the underprivilegedΩ

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