WTA sees Zara Tours second to none across African continent

The World Travel Awards says the company goes beyond providing safaris and treks to offer travelers an immersive cultural experience.

SATURDAY October 21, 2023

The CEO and Founder of Zara Tanzania Adventures, Mrs Zainab Ansell (Second Right) and her daughter pose for a picture shortly after the World Travel Awards organisers declared the Tanzanian woman-owned outfit Africa’s Leading Tour Operator 2023. PHOTO| COURTESY

By Adam Ihucha

The Tranquility News correspondent, Tanzania

Zara Tanzania Adventures has emerged the Africa’s Leading Tour Operator of the year 2023 at a prestigious World Travel Awards recently held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This is a second time in a row for the Tanzania’s female-owned tour company, based on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Africa’s highest peak, to be overwhelmingly voted for the highest prize.

This year, Zara Tanzania Adventures has also been named Tanzania’s leading tour outfit in recognition of its excellence in destination marketing and effective engagement of both communities and travellers.

“Africa’s leading Tour Operator 2023, goes to Zara Tanzania Adventures for the second year in a row.

“Congratulations for being consistent in destination marketing and effectively engaging both communities and travellers,” the WTA organisers declared.


The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hassan Abbasi, swiftly congratulate Zara Tanzania Adventures for what he said was a well-deserved victory.

“Cheers, our very own Zara Tanzania Adventures for being voted as Africa’s leading Tour Operator,” Dr Abbas posted on his Instagram account.

“Hooray, we made it again,” said the outfit’s Founder and CEO, Mrs Zainab Ansell, who joined the legends of travel, tourism, and hospitality industry at the red-carpet gala ceremony to receive the ultimate annual honour from the WTA at Atlantis, The Royal Dubai Hotel, in the UAE.

“We are proud, but yet we are humbled to be recognised for the second time as Africa’s leading Tour Operator in the most prestigious World Travel Awards in 2023,” said Mrs Ansell with a beam of joy, explaining:

“This acknowledgment reflects the hard work and creativity of our team, as well as the incredible support we receive from our dearest travellers and communities. I thank Allah for His blessings.”

Zara Tanzania Adventures has so far received at least 17 awards, including the country’s best tour operator by Tanzania National Parks, the state-run conservation and tourism agency. PHOTO | FILE

She thanked the entire ZARA team, partners, affiliates and clients for their rigorous toil for the company to achieve the feat.

“Let’s celebrate this special award and continue working together for much greater heights in future,” Mrs Ansell said.

The awards are a testament to her commitment to sustainable tourism and her remarkable Social Corporate Responsibility initiatives through Zara Tanzania Charity.

Under the visionary leadership of Mama Zara as she is popularly known, the company’s dedication to providing exceptional travel experiences while reducing its ecological footprint has set it apart in the industry.

As both the African Leading Tour Operator and the Tanzania Leading Tour Operator, Zara Tanzania Adventures has proven itself as an industry leader on the continent.

Let’s celebrate this special award and continue working together for much greater heights in future,” Mrs Zainab Ansell, the CEO and Founder of the Zara Tanzania Adventures based in Moshi, Tanzania

Mama Zara’s determined attempt to showcasing the natural beauty and cultural richness of Tanzania has propelled the company to the forefront of the country’s tourism industry.

The award recognises the company’s unique approach to tourism, which goes beyond providing safaris and treks to offer travelers an immersive cultural experience.

Zainab Ansell’s relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation in the field of travel has set Zara Tanzania Adventures apart in a highly competitive market.

Prominently known for its tailor-made travel package in the East African region, with over three-decade experience, Zara Tanzania Adventures has been offering hassle-free mountain climbing, wildlife safaris, beach holidays, and cultural excursion to individual tourists as well as groups.

Mrs Ansell said in her remarks: “No doubt, the customised services, innovation, and experience have sent us to join the legends of travel, tourism, and hospitality at the red-carpet reception to receive the ultimate annual honour of World Travel Awards as winners of Africa’s Leading Tour Operator.”

A section of employees of Zara Tanzania Adventures pose for a picture at Mweka Gate in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, in a past event. PHOTO | FILE

Zara Tanzania Adventures is credited to have innovated an all-round model of transferring tourists’ dollars to hundreds of poor communities through job creation, education, health and to fight against climate change effects in the East African natural resource-rich country.

“Putting purpose at the heart of our operations by considering the needs of our esteemed customers, our partners, our host communities and our planet, is what drives us as a company to create a genuine and long-term value,” Mrs Ansell explained.

Zara Tanzania Adventures Alias Zara Tours is a local company Mrs Ansell founded and established in 1986 in Moshi, Tanzania, providing high quality travel and tour services in East Africa.

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

It has been widely recognised for its efforts in promoting Sustainable Tourism Development in Africa, with Mrs Ansell being a multi-award winner.

The Tanzania’s Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, congratulates Ms Zainab Ansell, the Chief Executive Officer of Zara Tours, shortly after she received Women Mean Business Award for showing tenacity, positive impact and influence in running her tourism business in 2021. PHOTO | FILE

She has so far received  at least 17 local and international awards, including 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 the African Travel Top 100 Women.

Mrs Ansell has been recognised and awarded for being the Most Influential Woman in Business and Government by the CEO Global for her achievements in East Africa’s tourism and leisure industry 2018/19 during the CEO Global Pan African Awards.

Tanzania National Parks has also recognised Zara Tours as the country’s best Tour Operator in 2019 and 2020, and the leading outfit for Mountain Climbing in 2022.

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.

Each year, World Travel Awards (WTA) covers the globe with its Grand Tour – a series of regional gala ceremonies to recognise excellence within each continent, culminating into a Grand Final at the end of the year.

The WTA gala ceremonies are regarded as milestone events on the travel calendar, attended by the industry’s key decision-makers, figureheads, influencers and the mediaΩ

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