THE owner of Sandton’s Michelangelo Towers, Legacy Hotels & Resorts, has agreed to invest heavily in Zimbabwe, in a deal that will see the refurbishment of the Elephant Hills resort, along with four other hotels owned by the African Sun group.

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BY PRISCILLA MALINGA

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African Sun chairman Herbert Nkala

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Zimbabwe has the potential to become one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, according to Legacy group chairman Bart Dorrestein. Negotiations between Mr Dorrestein’s group and African Sun have been underway for 18 months.

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Besides the Elephant Hills resort, Legacy has agreed invest in the Troutbeck Resort, Hwange Safari Lodge and The Kingdom at Victoria Falls Hotel. Refurbishing the hotels is expected to take three years, and Legacy has an initial 10-year management contract that may stretch to 30 years.

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“Once the above projects have been bedded down, we have agreed to expand our vision on Lake Kariba,” Mr Dorrestein said.

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“Zimbabwe is a complete holiday destination in one country, offering a diversity of experiences, an excellent 360-days-a-year climate with easy access to other tourism coastal destinations such as Cape Town and the Indian Ocean Islands.”

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African Sun’s hotels have been running at a loss due to a poor business model and unprofitable expansion into Ghana and Nigeria. Its hotels were in need of huge capital expenditure to match regional and international standards, African Sun chairman Herbert Nkala said at the recent signing ceremony.

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“We looked at various hotel management companies of repute and integrity to manage a select number of hotels. The board approached six international hotel groups to provide their global brands and participate in the management of our hotels,” Mr Nkala said.

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