Monday, December 23, 2019

Brisk Business for Holiday Resorts
24 DEC, 2019 - 00:12
Zimbabwe Herald
Brisk business for holiday resorts

Herald Reporters

Most hotels, lodges and other accommodation facilities are expected to be fully booked throughout the festive season, while the fuel supply situation in resort towns has improved significantly.

In non-resort towns and cities, hotel occupancy remains low with charges being reduced to attract local tourists.

Government, through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), is prioritising resort towns such as Victoria Falls and Kariba in the allocation of fuel.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) corporate communications manager Godfrey Koti yesterday said there were no fuel queues in resort towns owing to Government and individual initiatives, while accommodation facilities were fully booked for the festive season.

“I am reliably informed by ZERA and other private players that there is fuel in resort towns and people are just going straight to the pump.

“There are no fuel shortages and we are very grateful that the relevant authorities made this possible and we just hope that the situation will stay the same.

“Judging from what I saw, Victoria Falls is fully booked. There will also be the Victoria Falls Carnival, so it is expected to be fully booked until after the New Year and we are also expecting the same for other resort areas,” he said.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesman Mr Tinashe Farawo said all their accommodation facilities country wide were fully booked.

He said domestic tourists made the majority of bookings in line with ZimParks’ thrust to continue promoting domestic tourism.

“We have a thrust to promote domestic tourism and all our facilities are fully packed right now. We have been fully booked since the start of the festive season.

“The majority of the tourists we have booked are domestic tourists so we are doing something right because domestic tourism is what we are pushing for.

“The prices for accommodation are low and very affordable, they are not prohibitive. We also have international tourists but domestic tourists make up the highest numbers,” said Mr Farawo.

For Christmas Day in Victoria Falls, a room at bigger hotels such as Elephant Hills, Kingdom, Ilala Lodge, Safari Lodge and Rainbow Hotel costs between US$75 for a single room and US$500 for an executive suite.

“Some of the smaller lodges are fully booked for the Victoria Falls Carnival period between 29 and 31 December and these are mostly locals,” said a source in the hotel industry.

Tourism executive Mr Clement Mukwasi said bookings for activities are beginning to pick up.

“As for activities, bookings have started to pick up and we expect more people, especially for the helicopter flight, boat cruise and rainforest tours,” he said.

The festive season looks promising for those in the tourism and hospitality industry

in Manicaland Province with most hotels and lodges fully booked.

Leopold Rock is fully booked for the festive season.

The hotel charges $4 000 for a double room, inclusive of bed and breakfast.

According to Chimanimani Tourist Association secretary Mrs Jane High, the festive season has kept them busy.

“We are very busy and we are very happy with how the season is. Christmas and New Year are looking very good and we are fully booked with local people. We have no international tourists,” she said.

Mrs High runs the Frog and Fern Cottages in Chimanimani.

Most lodges in Chimanimani charge foreign tourists US$35 and locals at the equivalent bank rate.

However, in Mutare major hotels such as Mutare Holiday Inn are not fully booked.

The hotel charges $1 710 (single) a night and $2 208 (double).

The recently refurbished Golden Peacock Villa Hotel is also not fully booked. The hotel charges $1 800 (single) and $2 400 (double).

Manica Skyview is also not fully booked. The hotel charges $1 350 for a standard room and $1 650 for a double.

In Masvingo, major hotels and lodges have been witnessing average occupancy rates with most hoteliers saying business was lower this year compared to last year.

Major hotels here such as the Regency Flamboyant Hotel, Great Zimbabwe Hotel and Ancient City were around 40-50 percent booked for the festive season.

The cost of rooms at these major hotels hovered from about $1 000 for a single room to around $2 400 for a double room.

Regency Hotel Group director Mr Eddison Zvobgo (Junior) said the occupancy rate at his firm’s hotels was lower this time compared to the same period last year.

Last year, Regency Hotels such as Flamboyant in Masvingo and Fairmile in Gweru were 44 percent and 53 percent full last year, respectively, in December compared to this year’s 30 and 36 percent occupancy rate, respectively.

“Yes, the figures this year show that in terms of occupancy rate, we are below last year but as an industry, (tourism is) doing better than other sectors,” said Mr Zvobgo.

In Mashonaland Central, Umfurudzi Lodges in Shamva is fully booked and Mr Farawo urged people to come for day activities which include the elephant experience and game drive.

He said their charges were minimum and affordable to locals as part of the drive to promote domestic tourism.

However, some lodges in Bindura town are not fully booked.

Catherine Mashonganyika, who manages Twin Lodges in Bindura, said they are not fully booked.

Their executive rooms cost $600, while delux rooms are going for $700.

Mayfair Lodges in Bindura is not fully booked and accepting clients.

Mr Brian Chinyemba, an accountant at Mayfair, said their rooms, including bed and breakfast, are going for $900 while their executive room costs $1 100.

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