LOCALS FILL UP HOTELS

THE average hotel occupancy rate rose to about 80 percent this festive season from 60 in the previous season, driven by improved domestic tourism marketing, an official said.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) president Mr George Manyumwa said in an interview that hotels in holiday resort centres such as Vumba and Nyanga were fully booked.

He said hotel occupancy rate in Victoria Falls and Kariba stood at 85 percent and 90 percent respectively.

“Hotel occupancy rate averages 80 percent up from about 60 percent last year. The increase is attributed to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry’s efforts to promote domestic tourism,” he said.
Mr Manyumwa said this festive season Victoria Falls’ occupancy rate declined from 95 percent in 2015 to 85 percent due to the weakening of the South African rand as well as limited disposable incomes by domestic tourists.

“Victoria Falls occupancy rate has declined to 85 percent this festive season because of the weakening of the South African rand as well as limited disposable income by domestic tourists. Due to limited disposable income, domestic tourists shun visiting the resort town as they consider it to be far from major cities such as Harare and Mutare,” said Mr Manyumwa.

The Haz president said hotels in cities such as Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare maintained last year’s occupancy rate at 30 percent.  That of facilities in Masvingo also maintained last year’s of 60 percent.

“As Haz we want to continue encouraging domestic tourists to visit the tourist attraction centres across the country during the festive season as hotels in those areas will be offering concessionary rates,” he said.

Mr Manyumwa however, expressed concern over the state of roads in most tourist areas.  He said responsible authorities should urgently rehabilitate them to attract more tourists.

“We are also concerned by the state of the roads in most of the tourist attraction centres. We, therefore, call upon those responsible for road maintenance to urgently address the deplorable state of the infrastructure to attract tourist,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe recorded a 16 percent rise in tourist arrivals during the first quarter of the year to 450 572, after registering 387 557 during the same period last year.

During the period under review, the country’s major source markets reported growth in arrivals, except the Oceania region.

ZTA has said most of African source markets saw arrivals rising except for South Africa, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.