Teen wins inaugural Tourism Innovation Challenge

By Tapiwa Machemedze

THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is leveraging on young people to drive the growth of the sector through innovation with an upper six student scooping the inaugural Zimbabwe Tourism Innovation Challenge Award. 

A 19-year-old student from Watershed College in Marondera, Jeffrey Takunda Murungweni won the inaugural Zimbabwe Tourism Innovation Challenge after beating 60 other contestants by developing a concept that encourages people to seek and use tourism facilities through their ICT devices. 

The teen, who won US$5000 to develop his application, Trafiiki Africa says when fully developed, the application which relies on a WhatsApp chatbot will allow potential tourists to book short term accommodation at low cost, among other uses.  

“I feel so excited about winning this challenge. My app is called Trafiki Africa, T stands for travel and Rafiki means friend in Swahili, so it travels friend Africa. 

“Trafiiki Africa is a WhatsApp chatbot that will allow tourists to book short term accommodation at very low prices while also having decent accommodation, second role of the application will help market less popular places, most people when you ask them about tourism decisions, they will talk about Victoria Falls and Kariba but there are other places,” Jeffrey Takunda Murungweni a student.

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is optimistic inclusion of tech-savvy youths in their plans will drive the growth of the sector. 

“We are going to continue this challenge for the next couple of years, to promote participation of youth in tourism, we want different ideas and innovations that they have which can help us transform the tourism industry, we have so much talent and we believe the youth are the future,” Sophie Zirebwa (ZTA Director for Domestic Tourism and Strategic Research.

The application will also have an integrated recreational services platform to bring various service providers on one platform for the convenience of tourists as the industry moves to exploit untapped destinations. 

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