Hotels operating below 25%

Most hotels and lodges around the country are operating at below 25% capacity due to dilapidated facilities and the low level of tourism arrivals.

Dr Fredrick Kasese, provincial chairman of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, said most of the eight major hotels in Masvingo were operating below 15% capacity. utilisation, with much business coming from organisations that come for conferences as the demand of the services has been declining over the past years.

“Dilapidated tourism facilities are in dire need of refurbishment,” he said, adding that the demand for conference facilities had declined over the years. 2013 statistics show that hotels recorded 2% of bookings from foreign tourists while 98% came from local clients – mainly for conferences.

Kasese said the key thrust for 2014 was to develop a national tourism blueprint to unlock the country’s dormant potential as a strong global competitor. “Masvingo is without doubt one of Zimbabwe’s finest holiday and tourism destinations, which has not been fully tapped. If we are to entertain any hopes of growth we need more investment in the accommodation sector – particularly three to five stars hotels, luxury lodges and conference facilities,” he said.

Masvingo province boasts attractions such as the Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Gonarezhou national park, Lake Mutirikwi, the giant Tokwe Mukosi dam and the Save Valley Conservancies.

Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi has called for a combined effort within government departments to vigorously market the country following the establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park involving Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.

In addition to upgrading the Buffalo range airport to meet international standards Zimbabwe also has to ensure that all those who grabbed land in wildlife conservancies are removed. Large numbers of international hunters used to flock to the Save Valley before the land “reform” programme.

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