LOW-COST hospitality group Hotel and Leisure Africa (HALA) wants to spend $15 million in building a hotel chain across the country’s administrative centres and leisure spots to tap into domestic tourism.
CHIEF BUSINESS REPORTER
HALA executive chairman Cornelius Nyahunda said on Monday the expansion thrust of the group would see an addition of three properties this year to bring the total to 10 under its wings.
He said next year, the group targets acquisitions.
“We are going for some acquisitions in the country again and we have a budget of $15 million to be invested in reviving some bad assets, building some new assets,” Nyahunda said.
“While our model is low cost, we still have to invest in washing the old face of the hotel, refurbishing it. We have already spent $2 million. This year’s budget alone, we are looking at spending $1,5 million.”
He said there were various mechanisms of funding the group was exploring.
“It can be structured with people that have appetite for properties. It can be some external FDI [foreign direct investment] that can channel money into the country and there would be some domestic funding into that project.”
Nyahunda said the group’s core brand was two-star and they were taking it “to all major administration centres — places like Lupane, Gwanda, Marondera, we would like to be present there”.
“People have to gather and they would need accommodation and meeting places. So we are going to be present in those [areas]. Secondly we have to be in economic hubs — all your towns where there are economic activities like Masvingo, Chiredzi because there is activity happening there,” he said. “Thirdly we are going to leisure areas, be they traditional ones — the old Victoria Falls and Kariba — or the new attractions that have not got accommodation. We would like to tap into those and drive what the policymakers need to drive.”
The push for a low-cost product comes at time government when wants to build domestic tourism through the civil service that would enjoy a holiday per year as part of conditions of service.
“We are excited that government is looking at every single civil servant taking a holiday package. We are pleased that government is moving beyond policy. We would like to invite the public commission so that we can engage with them on how we can make the comfort of holiday viable for them and for us,” he said.
The veteran hotelier said the group had gone for the low-cost base to lure domestic tourists.
“We think of doing a lot of business with a domestic market, we need to give them the product—clean fresh, friendly and a good price. We are upbeat about domestic tourism,” said Nyahunda, a former executive at hospitality giant African Sun Limited.
He said the owners of the hospitality group, who were a bunch of hoteliers who had been in the sector for a long time, know the business and were now climbing the ladder to ownership.