AVANI Hotels is to establish youth academies for young people to get a chance to learn from its engineering, maintenance, food and beverage
departments, says general manager Laurie Burr. And Burr says the hotel intends to engage the agriculture sector to see how land at the resort can be utilised to grow organic vegetables. Meanwhile, the newly promoted general manager who has only been in the country for one month, says Zambia has incredible potential in tourism and is a very healthy nation as a destination hub in Southern Africa.
In an interview, Burr said Minor Hotels owners have a great passion for Zambia.
“We are looking at academies to tap in our vast talents. We have 564 employees and we want to share our expertise in the engineering departments, maintenance, food and beverage departments by creating classes in our hotels to engage youths in schools and communities to come here and see how the hotel operates so that they can become future hotel leaders, manager and hotel workers,” Burr said.
He said he was a great believer of education adding that Zambia had great outlook as a tourism destination.
Burr emphasized the need to educate the hotels’ 564 workers and Livingstone residents on issues of divergent cultures of international tourists that visit the hotel at any given time.
“Zambia has incredible potential, very incredible potential in the tourism sector. It has been a very forward focus of our sales marketing team very recently…I believe we will be growing together as a country for Zambia as a healthy destination hub for inbound tourism,” he said.
Asked on AVANI’s expansion plans in Zambia, Burr said Minor Hotels was looking at Africa as a whole, but added that it would study Zambia’s
properties’ performances before making any expansion decisions.
“We [AVANI] have only been here for two years after taking over from Sun International. We are very new to the country and we want to find
out how the properties fare,” he said.
Asked on social corporate initatives, Burr indicated that AVANI would plough a lot back to the local communities.
He said the resort had vast land that could be utilised for agricultural purposes.
“We will engage the agricultural experts to see how we can utilise our land on a win-win basis…. We started a project on peanut butter making and women using the machinery and equipment we donated are doing fine,” Burr said.
He has since revealed that a new bar and restaurant at the former Squares Restaurant has been named after a local chef Teddy Mdluli and will be called Teddy’s to cater for locals and is designed to also accommodate children.