THE Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ)’s 2022 annual congress has kicked off in Victoria Falls, with more than 100 delegates in attendance.
Running under the theme: ‘Resetting hospitality towards tourism success,’ the three-day congress will be officially opened by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.
Other keynote speakers include Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency chief executive officer Tafadzwa Chinamo, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Winnie Muchanyka, FBC Bank structured trade finance division head Weston Harunavamwe, Airports Company of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Tawanda Gusha and Midlands State University dean of the faculty of business sciences Miriam Mugwati.
Some of the topics to be tackled during the congress include future and opportunities: investments and unlocking meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE); exchange controls and trade; economic overview; hospitality and sustainability, among others.
The congress comes at a time when the hospitality industry in the country is on a recovery period following the outbreak of COVID-19 which nearly crippled the sector.
During the first half of 2022, the country registered a 115% rise in tourist arrivals to 352 719, compared with the same period in 2021. Domestic visits into the national parks rose by 90% from 90 909 in 2021, to 172 481 during the period January to May 2022. As a result, the tourism receipts increased by 121% in 2022 to US$337,5 million, compared to the same period last year.
The tourism industry, according to Mthuli Ncube, is expected to continue to grow in the outlook, benefiting from the recovery in international tourism, coming in of new players in the aviation sector and MICE.
Therefore, tourists’ arrivals are expected to increase to 1,4 million in 2023, whilst tourism receipts are projected at US$623 million.
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The domestic tourism market largely sustained operations of the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, with domestic entries into National Parks in 2021 increasing to 251 088, compared to 173 714 in 2020.
Furthermore, the 2023 National Budget has allocated $725 million towards the capitalisation of Mosi Oa Tunya Development Company Private Limited, a special purpose vehicle created to spearhead tourism infrastructure development in Victoria Falls, particularly focusing on offsite and onsite infrastructure for the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone, which is expected to crowd in private sector investments in tourism.
HAZ is the trade association representing and promoting the interests of owners and operators of hotels, restaurants, clubs and related establishments throughout the country.
The hospitality industry, as the sector collectively known, is the largest sub-sector of the tourism industry as is a major employer, earner of foreign currency and contributor to the national economy.
The association seeks to be the premier association of choice delivering unparalleled value to the hospitality sector. It also seeks to deliver value to members with common interests through lobbying, capacity building, quality assurance, business linkages, investment promotion, marketing research and development and information dissemination and technological advancement.
The association’s origins date back to 1904, but the current organisation was formed in 1988.
HAZ is headed by an elected executive committee, consisting of the president, two vice-presidents and 18 regional representatives, full-time secretariat, headed by an administrator.
The executive serves the association from its Harare base.
The association has several subcommittees, which address various pertinent matters, including industrial affairs, suppliers, collective bargaining, training and skills, administration and finance, membership and public relations.