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RTG projects boom in tourism investment

HOSPITALITY group Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has projected that tourism investment in the country will treble to US$534 million this year, supported by increased domestic travel.

HOSPITALITY group Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has projected that tourism investment in the country will treble to US$534 million this year, supported by increased domestic travel.

Last year, investments into the tourism sector dropped by 45% to US$172,2 million, as local companies faced increased inflation-induced costs, limiting their ability to inject fresh capital.

The inflation-related costs arose from a sharp depreciation of the country’s former local currency, the Zimbabwe dollar.

However, with the introduction of Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG), the market is expected to stabilise, thereby boosting domestic tourism receipts.

“Domestic tourism is also on the rise, with more locals travelling within the country and tourism investment is expected to significantly increase, forecasting a jump to US$534 million in 2024,” RTG chief executive Tendai Madziwanyika said in the group’s 2023 annual report.

“This suggests that the sector not only relies on international visitors, but is also gaining robust support from domestic tourism, indicating a diversified and resilient industry.

“The continued growth in tourism is supported by increased visitation from key markets, including Europe and America, positioning Zimbabwe’s tourism sector as a critical economic pillar moving forward. During the year under review, RTG was 18% ahead of the market on occupancy at 52% against a national average of 44%.”

Madziwanyika said forecasts for 2024 indicated a robust revenue performance driven by increased business from non-governmental organisations, government initiatives and increased use of the Gateway Stream web and mobile platform.

The Gateway Stream is the group’s online marketplace for short and long-term homestays and experiences.

“In addition, Heritage Expeditions Africa, which is now fully capitalised, is anticipated to contribute significantly to the group’s revenues. The group expects to earn substantial revenues from the revival of international business and a strong local client base that pays in foreign currency,” Madziwanyika said.

“Additionally, the strategic partnership with Grand Metropolitan Hotels is poised to help the group broaden its foreign currency revenue sources through the projected growth on the African continent going forward.”

The group posted occupancy levels of 52% last year,  up one percentage point from the 2022 levels.

The rise in occupancy levels, along with a boost in average daily rates and conferencing activities noted in the final quarter of 2023, significantly increased the group’s revenues.

 Last year, the group posted revenue of ZWL$266,32 billion, up from a prior year comparative of ZWL$117,7 billion.

“Domestic business has proved to be consistent post-COVID-19 pandemic and is anticipated to grow driven by the national infrastructure development projects being rolled out by the government of Zimbabwe,” RTG chairperson Douglas Hoto said.

“The group can reap significant benefits from the growth of leisure tourism in the Victoria Falls market and from national conferencing activities. Volumes are projected to improve for city hotels, accommodation and conferencing activities.”

Going forward, the company will explore collaborations with partners to unlock shareholder value, leveraging strategic alliances and innovative partnerships to drive sustainable growth and enhance its competitive position in the market.

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