In a huge endorsement of Zimbabwe as a prime tourist destination, Matetsi Victoria Falls has been named the Number 1 Resort Hotel in Africa in this year’s edition of the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.
Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon Mangaliso Ndhlovu, paid tribute to the international recognition of the quality of service of Matetsi Holiday Resort on the occasion of the announcement of the travel leisure survey in relation to the institution at an event that coincided with the celebration of its fifth anniversary.
“I must say as the Minister responsible for Tourism in Zimbabwe, this will no doubt be one of the memorable days of my time in office given its impact on the endorsement of destination Zimbabwe as a whole.
“Allow me to congratulate you Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner and all the Directors and Shareholders of Matetsi for winning this prestigious award. This has not come on a silver platter, but it is a clear testimony and celebration of astute investment and hard work by yourselves, your management team, and indeed all your staff. For indeed, it is one thing to have excellent and world-class infrastructure, but if it is not well looked after, and if there is no attention to detail in terms of hospitality, you would still not get the best out of your investments. So this is indeed to me a true reflection of the meaning of teamwork,” Minister Ndlovu said.
Travel Leisure Magazine is one of the most reputable travel and tourism publications, with a wide global readership of over 35 million people. Hence, according to the Minister, being nominated as the best hotel in Africa by this publication is no small achievement. He said that what makes it more interesting is that it also comes at a time when Matetsi Victoria Falls is celebrating five years of its existence.
“This speaks volumes of your product quality and high service delivery levels, and for that I say congratulations. Ladies and gentlemen, this award comes at a time when the tourism sector worldwide has been hit hard by the Covid-19 related travel restrictions. Government is fully aware of the challenges that the sector is faced with and will continue to manage the national response in a manner that strikes the balance between management of the pandemic and survival of your businesses.
“We are happy, as Government, that the City of Victoria Falls has managed to reach herd immunity, which resulted in Government re-opening the two land borders in this region, namely the Victoria Falls and Kazungula Border ports, in addition to the Victoria Falls International Airport. May I take this opportunity to appeal to any citizens in this region who have not yet done so to please get vaccinated? It is good for the country, it is good for your personal safety, and that of our tourism destinations,” Minister Ndlovu added.
In a speech to accept the award, Sara Gardiner, the Matetsi Victoria Falls co-founder said the 5 years of Matetsi Magic have been a journey driven by a deep love and passion.
She said a key part of their mission is to showcase to a global audience everything exceptional about beautiful Zimbabwe: stunning landscapes, incredible wildlife, the mighty Zambezi river, the spectacular Victoria Falls, and most importantly the warm authentic Zimbabwean hospitality.
Over the past five years, the institution has done this with passion and a drive for excellence, and so created exceptional guest experiences.
“Through what we do, we are able to conserve vast areas of pristine wilderness. Currently, we protect 55,000 hectares of land that is dedicated to wildlife conservation as well as 15 km of Zambezi river frontage. We are also able to create employment, upskilling, and opportunities for Zimbabweans – 176 of whom are employed here on property.
“We have a long-term vision for Matetsi Victoria Falls, part of which is to be the example of how a single tourism operator can benefit not just a local area and economy, but a whole country by changing global perceptions and understanding. We do this through the relationships we build with our guests, with our travel industry partners, as well as through exposure that we get through our local press, many of whom are here today, as well as international press, such as Condé Nast and Travel and Leisure,” Gardiner said.
With this in mind, the Matetsi Victoria Falls five-year milestone is highlighted by some even more exciting news.
The announcement of the award was delivered in late July via an email from Jacqueline Gifford, the Editor in Chief of Travel + Leisure that read thus:
“I am writing today to congratulate you on Matetsi Victoria Falls being named the No. 1 Resort Hotel in Africa in this year’s edition of the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.”
Gardiner said the accolade is a tribute to the institution’s team, who work tirelessly to create moments of Matetsi Magic for its guests and share the wonder of Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe with travellers from across the globe.
“In what has been an extraordinary 18 months for the world and in particular the travel and tourism industry, this prestigious award is testament to the commitment and dedication of our Matetsi family and the lasting joy with which they leave our guests. Congratulations to the whole Matetsi family on this top ranking, which shines a light on both Matetsi Victoria Falls and also on Zimbabwe as a tourism destination.
“It has been part of our vision to position ourselves as the number 1 lodge in Africa, and in doing so show the world how exceptional our country and our people are.”