Zimbabwe’s hospitality industry is looking forward to closing the year with an above 50% capacity utilisation, but challenges such as price distortions, fuel shortages and power load-shedding still remain a threat to the industry’s viability.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe president Innocent Manyera told NewsDay that though the industry was poised for growth, there was need to address operational bottlenecks.
“There have been challenges that we feel will be addressed soon, especially the issue of pricing, fuel shortages and of the recent load-shedding. These cause the cost of doing business to be on the higher side,” Manyera said.
“However, as a sector, we remain positive in support of all initiatives that will make Zimbabwe a destination of choice. As a country, we look towards a positive trajectory so that we close the year above the 50% capacity utilisation mark,” he said.
He, however, could not disclose the industry’s current capacity utilisation.
“The sector is quite sensitive. Any development in the economy will directly affect tourism. We hope the price issue will be put to rest, fuel availability to allow domestic and foreign travel is addressed, load-shedding is attended to in order to reduce the cost of doing business and cost of living to remain stable to reduce skills flight to neighbouring countries,” Manyera said.
“Also the revival of destinations like Kariba and Vumba will be an advantage to the sector. On this, we are happy the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry initiated a stakeholders’ consultation to get ideas on the way forward. Connectivity by air or road should also be looked into. We need the resuscitation of our own local industries in order to reduce imports since they usually take long before one gets supplies.”
Manyera said travellers continued to enjoy peace in the country, with government also intervening to try and gain lost relations with sceptic foreign countries.
He said occupancies were mainly attributed to activities in Harare and Victoria Falls.
“However, some destinations like Kariba and Vumba have been low and we do hope with combined efforts and with relative government offices, we will be in a position to revive these destinations,” he said.
The tourism sector has been identified as a key economic pillar in the current transitional stabilisation programme and is seen reaching five million tourists and contributing 15% to the Gross Domestic Product from the current 8%, by 2030.