Tourism industry mourns veteran hotelier Gordon Addams

Gordon Addams
Gordon Addams

One of the most respected travel and tourism operators in Zimbabwe, Gordon Addams, has died in the Eastern Highlands city of Mutare after suffering a heart attack, aged 60.

Born and educated in Mutare, his family were prominent in the farming community of Odzi. His father, popularly known as ‘Doomps,’ was killed during the liberation in 1974 and his mother, Veryann, died in 2009. Both are buried outside the picturesque church of St Francis of Assisi near Odzi.

He leaves two sisters and a brother, all living outside Zimbabwe.

After school and national service, Gordon studied hospitality management at the famed Hotel School at Bulawayo Polytech, graduating in 1982. He undertook in-service training around Zimbabwe, as well as at Selsdon Park in the United Kingdom and in 1983 joined the Cresta Hotel Group, where he became general manager of Cresta Jameson.

He left Cresta in 1991 to establish his own hotel group, Inns of Zimbabwe, centred in the Eastern Highlands and on routes into the area. At one point Inns of Zimbabwe operated country hotels in Nyanga (Inn On Rupurara and Pine Tree Inn), outside Mutare (Inn on the Vumba), near Chipinge (KIledo Lodge), close to Great Zimbabwe (Inn on Great Zimbabwe), in the Save Conservancy (Mukwazi Safari Lodge) and in northern South Africa (Inn on Louis Trichardt).

After downsizing and then dissolving this operation, he realised a lifelong ambition in 2017, opening his own boutique bed and breakfast venue in a converted 1900s suburban house in Mutare, creating a popular and successful nine-suite unit.

Gordon was active in travel and tourism leadership, serving up to vice president level in the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, as well as Eastern Highlands chairman of the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism, now Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe. He was also a highly regarded mentor, with hundreds of industry professionals receiving his guidance in his almost 40 years in the travel and tourism sector.

He created Best of Zimbabwe, an informal marketing and promotional grouping of more than 30 establishments across Zimbabwe, and liked to others in neighbouring countries through his innovative InnSider Card discount scheme.

Gordon, his staff and his establishments won many local, regional and international accolades over the years, and in 2015 he was presented with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the TBCZ in its Tourism Achievers’ Awards that year. His greatest passion was Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, which he promoted with vigour and creativity for almost 30 years.

Tributes have been flowing in from all over the world, with particular commendation for his professional style, exceptionally high operational standards and his commitment to Zimbabwe and its travel and tourism sector.

Said Paul Matamisa, chief executive of the TBCZ and long-time personal friend of Gordon: “His passing is the end of an era and he was a legend on our industry. He will be greatly missed.”

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