Hospitality sector records increase in investment

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) president Farai Chimba

OUTGOING Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) president Farai Chimba says the hospitality sector has recorded increased investment over the past year.

According to Haz, Zimbabwe is experiencing significant improvement in domestic tourism, with locals travelling across the country to tourism destinations.

During the first quarter, the national average room occupancy experienced a four percentage point growth inaverage room occupancies to 37%, from 33% in 2022, on an upwards trend based on statistics from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

The revelation was made by Haz at the three-day annual congress in Nyanga that ends today where discussants deliberated on the state of hospitality sector and elected a new presidium. The congress is running under the theme Building on excellence.

In an interview with NewsDay Business, Chimba said the industry had recorded investment in properties, with affordable prices in the guest houses and accommodation sector.

“Over, the last year, we have had favourable success with quite a lot of investment coming in and a lot of properties coming on board, like in Mashonaland East, in Mutoko, where we celebrated our National Tourism Day,” he said.

“I am very positive that we will continue to see positive growth, as occupancies have increased over the last year.”

He added that they were projecting that tourist towns like Nyanga would be receiving more visitors.

“Unlike back then, when tourism was dominated by large hotels and lodges which tended to be more expensive, we are seeing the emergence of guest houses and other accommodation facilities in the lodging sector which is more affordable and attractive to our local market,” Chimba said.

He said they were also seeing such growth regionally which played a big part in growing the numbers in terms of domestic tourism.

However, Chimba said the sector had its own challenges, one being the volatile currency whereby suppliers chargein US dollars while the hospitality sector sell its products in local currency.

“We have our own challenges, the currency continues to wreak havoc in the industry especially when it comes to pricing,” he added.

“The US dollar pricing tends to be more expensive for hoteliers, lodges, and restaurant owners and this has caused quite a bit of disparity in terms of costs where you must sell the product in local currency. We have had good engagement with various sectors, with various ministries coming in to help.”

In June, it was revealed that then Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry ministry which has since been separated, was discussing ways with Treasury to help the hospitality sector  survive pricing distortions.

This was meant to combat the effects of the Zimdollar’s depreciation of 700% year to date.

Chimba said he was hopeful that the new presidium would embrace the engagement that had been taking place over the years in terms of promoting the hospitality sector.

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