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Food and Travel: Travel Trade Titbits

CRISPIN Chimvuri is new general manager of Harare’s Cresta Lodge Hotel, on transfer from Cresta’s Churchill Hotel, Bulawayo.

When I saw him soon before his move back to the capital city (he was previously at Harare Club and Cresta Jameson) he was almost a full time clerk-of-works on Churchill’s multi-trilllion dollar extensions, improvements and refurbishment: a project a little bird whispered to me is now on the back-burner due to dollarisation.
One of Crispin’s first duties at Msasa was to oversee St Valentine’s functions: which reportedly went smoothly.

Long-term (I suspect) his challenge will be to re-market Cresta Lodge as a destination of choice for discerning diners and drinkers — like its sister operation Cresta Lodge, Gaborone, Botswana — rather than an after-thought.

The Botswana city-centre hotel is run by Jonathan Cox, formerly of Cresta Jameson, via top-drawer Tanzanian beach hotels.

Delightful Danielle Hartman — having been the driving force behind launching her family’s  blue@2 wine and tapas bar, 2, Aberdeen  Road, Avondale — has taken an impromptu “gap year” to teach English as a second language in China and work on her professional photographic portfolio.

Danielle studied photo-journalism in Australia. The bar, which operates as a private members’ club, will be run by her parents, Hennie and Daryl Hartman, dispossessed Doma tobaco farmers, during her absence.

Kevin Fry has joined Ilala Lodge, Victorial Falls, as deputy general manager.

Formerly Victoria Falls Hotel’s food and beverage manager for 30 months, he was previously at Cape Town’s Mount Nelson whilst studying. Fry graduated with two diplomas in hospitality management, a chef’s diploma and  diploma in advanced wine studies.

Michelle Clipston is the lodge’s new guest relations manager. She recently returned from USA, where she worked in guest services for two Relais & Châteaux properties, a year on Nantucket Island, the second in Aspen, Colorado.

Previously she worked at Pamushana Lodge in the Lowveld whilst studying, graduating with a hospitality management diploma and credit in City & Guilds wine and spirits.

While Zimbabwe’s civil servants wait to hear how the new government plans to pay wages in coming months, National Park officers have, for several months been literally unable to buy food with their monthly pay.  Their only option was to find alternative sources of food, which given that they live in fauna- and flora-rich national parks area could be detrimental to wildlife.

The Zambezi Society stepped in to aid, and with funding from the British Embassy, Harare, is sourcing and delivering emergency fuel and food to stations in the Zambezi Valley’s two most remote parks, Matusadona and Mana Pools. 

The first month’s delivery was carried out in February; the programme will run for the next three months.   
The society’s prompt reaction to this humanitarian and wildife crisis was welcomed by the director-general and board of the Parks and Wildlife Authority. 

The society is now urgently asking other conservation organisations working in the area to seek funding to help assist field officers in other stations throughout the country.  
Dear Sir,
At the same time some restaurants seem to reduce prices, other restaurants are so popular the owner is not ashamed to increase by 30%!

I liked 40 Cork Road for the airy green atmosphere and the occasional hour at the PC, but not all NGOs employees are of the wealthy-fancy-cars-thick-wallet-type and can afford to pay these prices — so sad!
A German from a Charity NGO

After six years on the committee of Harare Club, the last 18 months as chairman, IT practitioner Mike Lear has stood down.

Incoming chair is Emmanuel Munyukwi, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

Bryony Acutt, formerly with CABS Platinum Club, is new group marketing manager with Africa Albida Tourism.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) hosted their annual International Destination Expo (IDE) in South Africa this week with side trips to Zimbabwe.

ASTA is the world’s largest association of travel professionals.
From March 8-11 Sun City hosted a programme of educational seminars, networking trade show and festivities aimed at ensuring visiting American agents become specialists in selling South Africa.

Under the theme “Strike Gold in South Africa!” the 2009 IDE is the only US industry event dedicated to destination training which empowers agents with resources to sell South Africa as a lucrative destination.  

“The fact South Africa was chosen as the 2009 IDE host is a tremendous endorsement from ASTA. It speaks to the credibility of the destination, and confirms our position as a serious player in the US market,” stated Sthu Zungu, president, South African Tourism, North America.

“This is an opportunity to showcase South Africa to an important audience of agents responsible for the bulk of our arrivals from the USA, while helping them grow their business to the destination.”

Thanks to favourable exchange rates, South Africa currently offers American travellers unbeatable value for money. Agents attending the IDE saw the destination first hand and personally experienced its affordable luxury proposition, making it that much easier for them to recommend and sell South Africa.

SAA, as official airline partner for the IDE, made travel to South Africa extremely affordable by providing exclusive roundtrip fares especially for this event.

The provincial tourism authorities added their weight to this year’s IDE by providing a wide range of very affordable pre-and post tours to each of the nine provinces, showcasing the best of South Africa.  

Delegates planned to visit Victoria  Falls from both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides and from there go to Botswana’s Chobe National Park.

Four of Zimbabwe’s best known safari lodges have teamed up to offer local residents incredible six and eight-night fly-in or self-drive packages.

The packages feature the multiple award-winning Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge on the Upper Zambezi 80 km from Victoria Falls, The Hide in game-rich Hwange National Park and Camp Amalinda in the spectacular Matobo Hills National Park. 

The first three are members of the Africa Albida Tourism Group, which owns, markets and or manages exclusive resorts in the region.

A choice of two fly-in (staying for six nights or eight) and one eight-night self-drive option are on offer.  
“We’re presenting bona fide Zimbabwean residents an opportunity to experience the most iconic properties in some of the most spectacular regions in the country at a great discount,” said Africa Albida marketing executive Wendy Bourne.]

The packages are distributed via travel agents throughout Zimbabwe and run until June 30.



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