BY KENNETH NYANGANI
HOTELS Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) vice-president Clive Chinwada has said tourism players in Manicaland provinces were left counting their losses after Cyclone Idai destroyed most infrastructure in most parts of the southern Eastern Highlands.
The region forms the backbone of the country’s tourism industry.
Chinwada said some of the majestic mountains, roads, bridges, flora and fauna which were damaged were key tourist attractions.
“We regret the loss of life and infrastructure, because some of the damaged infrastructure was the backbone of tourism in Manicaland. As you are aware, Manicaland is accessible
by road,” he said
“Chimanimani, in the Eastern Highlands, is one of the major tourism attraction centres. We have Vumba, Nyanga and the Lowveld, which form the circuit of the Eastern Highlands,”
“We have great majestic mountains that we have lost in the Eastern Highlands and the country at large, and we also regret the loss of lives.”
However, hotels and lodges in Mutare and Chipinge recorded brisk business in the aftermath of the storm, as space was taken up by relief agencies and government officials.
“It is obvious the hotel traffic is busy and it is related to Cyclone Idai, but for us in Mutare, we are always busy, but I believe small destinations like Chipinge are the biggest beneficiaries because tourism traffic is usually slow,” said Chinwada, who is also Holiday Inn general manager.
The two largest hotels in Mutare — Holiday Inn and Golden Peacock — have been fully booked for the past two weeks.
Top government and non-government organisations officials and clerics among other stakeholders, have been camping in Mutare since the tropical storm hit the country.