RTG, Swiss group in strategic partnership Mr Tendai Madziwanyika

Walter Muchinguri in Cape Town, South Africa.

LEADING hospitality company, Rainbow Tourism Group, and Switzerland-based Grand Metropolitan Hotel, last week unveiled a strategic partnership that will enable the former to spread its influence beyond the country’s borders.

The partnership, which is the culmination of negotiations that started in August last year, is anchored on four key objectives identifying and pursuing new hotel opportunities in Zimbabwe, seeking management contracts and leases on the African continent, enhancing the training of tourism students, and creating and developing a digital platform that streamline operations and enhances guest experiences across the continent.

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Speaking at the launch of the  strategic partnership in Cape Town, South Africa, RTG’s chief executive Mr Tendai Madziwanyika said that the deal, which ties in with their strategy as a group to drive operational growth and conquer Africa, will be rolled out under two joint venture vehicles registered in Zimbabwe and Switzerland.

“Our strategic partnership is an operational agreement that has nothing to do with shareholding. Whatever assets we have they will not touch, but they will only help us to drive value.

“We are setting up a shared service centre that will manage all this and in there we will have a Zimbabwean entity that will be majority owned and run by us because we are the ones who can identify the best opportunities in the country and GMH will own the majority of the Switzerland-based entity and run it because it right up their lane.”

In terms of identifying opportunities in Zimbabwe and Africa, Mr Madziwanyika said they were going to be using the asset-light mode.

“Our business is operating hotels and not buying buildings, where we must buy it has to be very strategic or we find a property type of fund that we can then partner,” he said.

To push that imperative, he said they will need a hotel school and one will be set up at Rainbow Towers.

“We will not be in competition with existing hotel schools but will seek to complement them and work in partnership with them,” he said.

“We will be offering on-the-job training based on a practical hands-on curriculum out of Switzerland linked to a top Swiss hotel school.

“We are going to be coming up with African solutions to African standards.”

In terms of bookings, he said that they will drive this imperative through their Gateway Stream so that it becomes the foremost platform for travelers to Africa.

In this respect, he said they will leverage GMH’s network.

“GMH has the Swiss Hospitality collection, a grouping of independent hotels that are not internationally branded, which has helped them to negotiate better terms with entities such as Google.

“They have formed a similar alliance on the continent, the Africa Hotels Alliance (AHA) and the African Heritage Hotels Collection, which will give value to Gateway Stream.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi hailed the partnership saying it would be a catalyst to her ministry’s drive towards attaining a US$5 billion tourism Industry by 2030.

“This partnership also speaks well to our thrust as Government to engage and re-engage and to the mantra that Zimbabwe is Open for Business.

GMH executive chairman Mr Martin Smura said they have a unique business model where they add value to existing establishments.

“We do not take what people have accomplished for themselves, we always want to add our skills to those that are available at hand and to bring value and from this upside, we actually take our fees,” he said.

“This is for us, basically, the foundation for our fast growth because that is the business model that people appreciate and enjoy. If it rains everybody gets wet so we have to share both the downsides and upsides.”

He said they were impressed by the talent and expertise within the RTG management team, which will help to make the partnership a success.

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