Match-making platform ignites tourism sector excitement
THE match-making platform introduced by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida) for the tourism industry has ignited excitement among players in the sector and they are optimistic that the facility will help formalise the tourism value chain.
Zida plans to have a platform where potential investors can access projects online and make choices based on uploaded authentic information having started with the mining sector.
The investment agency launched the match-making platform at the Zimbabwe Investment Forum, which was held alongside the recent Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo in Bulawayo as efforts to promote investment in different sectors of the economy continue.
The newly introduced platform allows different businesses seeking funding for their projects to engage potential investors who will have options to partner, buy, or pour investment based on the needs of the project proprietors. To the tourism industry, this will reduce the tedious process of dealing with multiple licences and attract investment into the sector regarded as informal in its value chain.
The match-making platform went live on Monday with about 30 matches and Zida’s target is that for every 500 matches, there should be at least one inquiry.
“The tourism sector in many years was regarded as an informal sector to an extent that we had some key stakeholders who did not understand how the sector value chain is structured and this brought about challenges as far as financing and funding is concerned,” said Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe president Mr Wengayi Nhau.”
He said for financiers to invest, they need to understand how the sector functions and the product life cycle loan tenure and other respective interventions. Mr Nhau said the platform will help address such issues.
“The investment forum was a key platform to meet with key stakeholders so that they understand how the tourism products function. We believe it’s a very good start in as far as unlocking the potential of the sector is concerned as now people will understand how it functions,” he said.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi said the platform will also help reduce risk of engaging questionable investors as Zida would have done investigations.
“As Government we want to come in-between. Zida would have made investigations about the investors and negotiated with them and this will allow monitoring of type of investments,” she said.”
The Zida tourism investment matchmaking platform seeks to link tourism investors with operators, improve ease of attracting investment in the sector, deepen access to capital by local tourism promoters, create a centralised database of tourism promoters and investors in the country and realise the full potential of the tourism sector, and align it with the mainstream economy.
Investors can easily access the available projects either greenfield or brownfield which are available for investment. Project promoters can also access investors with the appropriate funding mix best suited to the business model.
The platform allows project promoters to share their projects on a public platform for potential investors to view and make choices. Data captured by the platform will help in future planning and policy-making for the tourism sector.
Zida chief executive officer Mr Tafadzwa Chinamo said the agency’s mandate is to promote domestic and foreign investment. “Normally we have difficulties identifying specific projects that an investor can likely invest in. With the new matchmaking platform investors will approach Zida and scout for projects,” he said.
“It will allow anyone with a project in tourism to go to the platform and upload information they think an investor needs and it will indicate whether the project is for investment, partnership or selling.”
Mr Chinamo implored project promoters to ensure that they upload projects that are palatable to investors. The platform is a way of closing the gap between investors and projects and will allow investors to view a catalogue of projects.
“The platform will make it easy for Zida to help investors with licences, but over and above, assisting the investor to navigate the licensing regime, and the investor will also have an opportunity to see options,” Mr Chinamo— @ncubeleon