Zimbabwe: Travel Writing King Crowned
THE Financial Gazette’s Senior Business Reporter, Shame Makoshori, was last Friday crowned the Best Print Media Reporter for 2015 in the country by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), adding to several awards he has won in a career spanning over a decade.
The accolade, which was awarded at the closing ceremony of the Sanganai/Hlanganani travel indaba, marked a fine year for the journalist, who has reported from most of the country’s tourism destinations in the past year. He was almost arrested while reporting inside a heavily fortified Doddieburn Ranch in Matabeleland South last year.
It is the second time that Makoshori scooped the travel writing award.
He was named the best Tourism Reporter by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists in 2006.
Makoshori was not present to receive the trophy and the US$3 000 price as he was away on assignment in Victoria Falls.
But he says of all the nine awards he has received so far, the ZTA trophy would be the most cherished.
“It is an award that comes after a lot of hard work,” Makoshori said this week.
“You have to travel across rough terrain to capture the most dramatic and exciting stories not appearing in other media.
"At the same time you have to keep a close eye on authorities for policies that influence the industry. But it is fulfilling being recognised as the best in a sea of top notch writers.”
The Financial Gazette’s Editor-in- Chief, Hama Saburi, said the organisation was excited to have one of its veteran journalists crowned the best travel writer in Zimbabwe.
“Indeed, Shame has contributed immensely to the tourism industry by using the power of the pen. His passion for tourism compelled us to dedicate a page towards tourism coverage: And each week, he has never disappointed; churning out exclusive pieces that have helped enrich debates around various aspects of the tourism industry.
"It would have been unfortunate if this award had been won by someone else considering all that Shame has done for tourism,” he said.
Makoshori’s biggest scoops include the “one passenger flight” from Dubai to Harare by Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) in 2005 and a concerted attempt by Nicholas van Hoogstraten to fire the entire Rainbow Tourism Group board in 2006.
He broke exclusive articles detailing extreme haemorrhage at AirZim before it ran aground in 2011.
In 2007, he broke stories exposing abuse of the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority vehicles by politicians who sold game, looted fuel and used public assets to run private farms.
Makoshori has recently been one of the voices calling on government to reverse a 15 percent tax imposed by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority on tourists arriving in Zimbabwe. The effect of the extra tax have been brutal both for the country and for individual hotel groups and tour operators.
It has made Zimbabwe one of the most expensive destinations in southern Africa, and in a region where tourism has assumed a vital role in building economies, fears are that hundreds of thousands of potential tourists will divert to other regional destinations.
Other African destinations that attempted to charge this tax have been forced to reverse their decisions after arrivals tumbled and threatened their tourism industries.
Zimbabwe, which has been battling to overcome a serious decline in revenues into State coffers, hopes the additional tax will boost inflows.
But the effects of the tax could be bad for the industry, where players have already started feeling the heat.