Female Tanzania Travel Star Happy at the Top



  1. Ms. Ansell emerged as the only female executive in a male dominated multi-billion-dollar tourism industry on the list of 100 most effective CEOs in Tanzania for 2021.
  2. She was recognized by management firm, Eastern Star Consulting Group Tanzania.
  3. The Top 100 CEOs will be recognized on October 8, for playing a critical role in enabling the country’s economy to rebound in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Ms. Zainab Ansell is one of the flamboyant female executives of our times. She’s successfully managed her business through the storms of the COVID-19 pandemic; she deserves a standing ovation,” the Eastern Star Consulting Group Tanzania high-ranking official, Mr. Allex Shayo, said.

The Top 100 Executives Awards seek to recognize and celebrate individual executives, appreciate their exceptional contributions to the country’s economy, encourage innovation, and improve the overall performance of the corporate world.

Indeed, Tanzania has been hobbled by an economic slump, thanks to a brutal wave of the coronavirus that pushed a significant number of businesses to close shops, driving millions of people into poverty. But as this happens, Ms. Zainab came up with various innovative packages to woo domestic tourists, probably a forgotten virgin market, to make her company survive in the face of the severe COVID-19 crisis. Her innovation and sustainable business model have kept jobs alive and fought climate change, as well as uplifted and impacted hundreds of marginalized women in the tourism host communities of Tanzania.

Ms. Zainab is the founder and CEO of the Tanzania-based Zara Tours, founded and established in 1986 in the Moshi, Kilimanjaro region, and she is single handedly struggling to address historic injustice compounded by oppression and exploitation towards women in Northern Tanzania’s Maasai community.

She is credited for developing a special window for helping underprivileged Maasai women in her bid to liberate them from poverty, courtesy of the harmful shackles of their traditional norms, by financially empowering them to buy raw materials for making beads and crafts and to sell the products to tourists.

Through her women’s development center, hundreds of Maasai women benefit from the tourism industry, as it gives them an opportunity for showcasing and selling handcrafted items along the routes to Tanzania’s most popular tourist sites. This initiative has grown to become a strong pillar for the women and this particular host community at large.

In 2009, the company launched Zara Charity, giving back to marginalized communities in Tanzania and making its footprint in the global movement for sustainable tourism development. The charity addresses health care, education, unemployment, and women and children’ challenges. Zara has impacted thousands of lives in Tanzania, directly employing 1,410 people on both a permanent and seasonal basis, sustaining thousands of families in a country with a relatively high unemployment rate.

Zara has also been widely recognized for its efforts in promoting Sustainable Tourism Development in Africa, with Zainab being a multi-award winner, having received over 13 local and international awards. Among them include the World Travel Market (WTM) Humanitarian Award and the Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2012), the iconic Tourism for The Future Awards (2015), and African Travel Top 100 Women. Ms. Zainab has been recognized and awarded for being the Most Influential Women in Business and Government by CEO Global for her achievements in East Africa’s Tourism and Leisure Sector 2018/2019 during the CEO GLOBAL Pan African Awards, and Tanzania National Parks has also recognized Zara Tours as the East African country’s best Tour Operator (2019).

The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) CEO, Mr. Sirili Akko, said his association is proud of the Zara Tours founder and CEO for her generous heart to support the underprivileged.

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