Leroy Dzenga Features Writer
Whenever a road trip is being planned, the logistics part is always a present headache.
The transport question has stood between many travel enthusiasts and their favourite destinations.
As a result, many shelve their plans and domestic tourism takes a knock.
Pamushana Africa, a local transport service provider, has chipped into this open space to try and promote travel.
With their fleet of luxury commuter omnibus, they have begun to offer affordable low-cost travel packages for those who wish to travel to resorts in groups that exceed the number of most private vehicles.
Or those who may prefer the convenience of being relaxed as they watch the scenery without worrying about navigating bends on our national roads.
Pamushana Africa head of marketing Pablo Chimusoro said they are coming in to lessen the burden on travellers.
“We are introducing a new domestic tourism package which gives people an opportunity to visit some of Zimbabwe`s tourism destinations.”
“The goal is to ensure that every Zimbabwean can afford an opportunity to visit these places we have in Zimbabwe. We can’t continue to have a situation where foreign tourists know more about our resorts than us. What we can do is to play a role to make sure that we transport people to places where tourism sites are,” Chimusoro said.
As a transporter, Pamushana Africa, is entering new terrain expanding from local routes they usually service.
Their approach is to widen their catalogue opening up new exploitable economic spaces.
“We have always worked with an open mind and we are implementing a new level of thinking. We have established relations with key stakeholders in the tourism industry to ensure that we tap into their expertise as we attempt to remove the travel burden in domestic tourism,” said Chimusoro.
“This is not entirely a new venture, we have been learning in the background. We have been providing private trips to local and foreign clients who would request to be shuttled to different places around the country. We then thought, why can’t we direct that knowledge towards promoting local tourism as well,” Chimusoro said.
But there are other travel and tours companies who have been offering services related to those they are offering since time immemorial.
“We want to make use economies of scale, there are fixed costs which you can’t run away from in business. If one wants to travel to Nyanga, if they are to use their private vehicle they may have to spend $100 but if they use our service shuttle which accommodates 15 people and share the fuel costs, it means the cost per individual would be around $5, which is saving a lot,” said Chimusoro.
Besides providing transport, there is also a prospect of social interactions and networking as the service will draw people from diverse backgrounds as well as dispositions.
“It’s not about just going to Nyanga, Victoria Falls or these tourist resorts. These will be journeys where Zimbabweans will be able to connect, interact and engage in conversations with people from different backgrounds,” said Chimusoro.
He added: “Pamushana Africa has always been run on family principles, even our daily passengers know that we have a united approach to the way we operate. We would like to carry the ethos to our domestic tourism travel packages.”
Their first organised trip will be on October 27 in Nyanga where prospective travellers are already signing up to make reservations to travel with the group.
Unlike on local trips where passengers are sardined during their commutes, there is a promise of a more comfortable arrangement where commuters will be fewer.
Pamushana Africa director Mr Hardlife Chipika said they intend to provide affordable luxury to travel enthusiasts.
“We want people to have the best experience, so will be accommodating 15 people per bus and the size of our fleet will be influenced by the number of people who sign up,” Chipika said.
Although travellers will have to foot their post-journey costs in the entry level package, they will be under Pamushana Africa’s care, a burden they are ready to shoulder.
“The stakeholders we have partnered are tried and tested. The safety of those we would have gone will be our responsibility and we are glad that service providers like Zimparks guides have good recommendations and they will help us ensure customer safety,” said Mr Chipika.
A sizeable number of Zimbabweans have not visited tourist resorts due to travel headaches, accommodation and access costs. The entry of public transport operators like Pamushana Africa into the domestic tourism fray may solve one of the impediments in transport and logistics.
It is not the magic wand to miraculously increase domestic tourism but its potential significance should not be overlooked.
With Zimbabwe opening up for business, it is encouraging to see local entities identifying opportunities to grow their portfolios, and creating more jobs in the process.