ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke has decried the closure of the Rainbow and Express hotels in Beitbridge, saying the development had left the border town with 219 instead of 457 hotel rooms, which he said were not good for the development of tourism.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
The institutions, which closed within five months of each other last year, cited low room occupancy and poor business, although locals blamed them for poor marketing and lack of adaptability.
Addressing guests at the official opening of the $2 million Zhovhe Dam Leisure Park Hotel in Beitbridge at the weekend, Kaseke, in a speech read on his behalf by ZTA official Lindiwe Makoni, said the arrival of a new player had a positive impact on the tourism industry.
“ZTA is happy to note that Zhovhe Dam (Leisure Park) Lodges will add value to Beitbridge. This is a welcome development coming at a time when there is need for additional rooms in Beitbridge,” he said.
The 21-room lodge will come in handy and as a relief to travellers following the closure of the two major hotels, he said.
Both the Rainbow and Express hotels, which stand on Beitbridge’s prime land and cost millions of dollars to build, remain white elephants and are slowly deteriorating due to lack of attention.
Beitbridge residents feel the two hotels did not cater for the local market and acted as if they were in major towns.
“They priced themselves out of the local market. They had expensive food, yet located in an area where prices are low. They did not study the market and can only blame themselves for failing,” a resident, Elias Muleya of Dulivhadzimo, said.
Kaseke praised the new player’s packaging, who offers conference facilities, accommodation and visitor adventure activities like boating, fishing and scenery walks at Zimbabwe’s 11th largest dam.
Kaseke asked tourism industry players to continue investing, retooling upgrading and spreading their facilities.
“This new product fits well in our quest to realise even geographical distribution of tourists within the country,” he said.