Zimbabwe Tourism Industry: Peter Chuma Shares Insights into Galaxy Travel’s Journey of Excellence

Peter Chuma shares insights into Galaxy Travel’s journey, their unique selling points, and the current trends shaping the travel industry in Zimbabwe. Moreover, he sheds light on their strategic approach to building partnerships with suppliers and the ambitious plans for expansion, fueled by the vision to offer value-added services to clients and explore untapped opportunities.

Interview with Peter Chuma, Managing Director of Galaxy Travel

Peter Chuma, Managing Director of Galaxy Travel

What is the history of Galaxy Travel?

Galaxy Travel is a travel agency that has been in existence since 1987. I took over the management of the company in 2007. We have a staff compliment of 8 people and I do the day-to-day running of the company. I do consultancy as well. We mainly target leisure travelers, people traveling to visit family. We also do corporate bookings for people traveling on business all over the world. To America, to China and to Dubai. We are based in Bulawayo, the second largest city of Zimbabwe. We are what we term a retail travel agency. We sell air tickets and arrange holiday packages. Those are our major businesses, what we call our core strengths, but to a lesser extent we also assist with visa applications.

What is your travel agency’s main selling point compared to your competitors?

The major difference from other agencies is that we are centrally located so we are accessible to all sorts of people that require our services. We have an after-hours service. In other words, we have got a facility where if passengers or the traveling public want some services, we are available even after hours. That is a major thing.

What are the travel industry’s trends now in Zimbabwe?

The thing now is to actually create some synergies and to work with the suppliers and create some working partnerships. That is a new thing. Before COVID, we used to take things generally simple, but now we have changed the way we are doing business. We have gone into partnerships with hotels where we send some people, and we are now working closely with the airlines so that we are up to date with new products on the market. We do not own any property like a hotel facility or anything of that sort. We are just working with the suppliers and doing the bookings on their behalf. Like with car hire companies, we book for people who want to use the car companies and the hotels, we just book accommodation as we do not have a hotel per se.

What do you mean by synergies with your suppliers, and do you want to expand them?

We have some hotel companies such as in Victoria Falls that we normally have meetings with. Each time they have a new product, they send their representatives to come and update us, and in turn, we then recommend those new products to the clients. I have been to Victoria Falls and have seen the properties as well so that I know what I am selling. In South Africa, we have a tour operating company that we work with to book holiday packages to Mauritius for example, so those are the relationships that we have. And with the airlines, we have periodic meetings with their marketing teams. We have branded our office as well to enhance our relationship with them.

Do you need investors?

Yes, absolutely. We are looking at expanding to open up offices in Victoria Falls so that we are there to give service to our clients and work closely with the suppliers as well. Trends are now changing fast following COVID and we need to diversify and give value added service to our clients. We need to have a property of our own in a resort area to add more avenues to generate more income. We do not have capital, so we would want to work with an investor who can invest. If we diversify with an accommodation facility in Victoria Falls, then we can start from there.

Are there any major projects that you have embarked on?

We are in the process of having an accommodation lodge in our top resort area of Victoria Falls. And the other way of expanding that we are looking at is to have a touring company. If we have a touring company, we need capital to buy transport vehicles to do that. It is part of diversification but also expanding the business. And to do airport transfers we would need some vehicles. We sell a ticket and then we provide airport transfers. Obviously, we would charge for that and that enhances the business catchment area of revenue.

What would you like to achieve for Galaxy Travel in the short to medium term?

In the next 3 years, we would want to have achieved a partnership with an investor in creating a touring company and some welcome additions like a facility in a resort area. That is our vision.

What is your assessment of the tourism industry in Zimbabwe?

There is great potential in this sector and there is room for expansion. Zimbabwe is very unique. We have excellent weather. Almost 340 days of sunshine, which is quite good. We have some pristine areas for tourism. Matopos, which is 40 kilometers away from Bulawayo, is not exploited yet. It is one of the great wonders, and we have Victoria Falls, which is the seventh wonder of the world. We have the ruins in Masvingo, Kariba, the national parks, so the potential for growth is amazing. There is a lot of potential in Zimbabwe, and it is not well exploited yet.

What motivates you and what is your philosophy in life?

My passion is to see happy people. If people come to Victoria Falls, or to Zimbabwe, there are so many places where they can relax and be very happy. I love to see families traveling together. Zimbabwe is a very good destination for families. I saw the opportunity, the market was wide and generally it is my passion to work with people, with the traveling public.


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