News Tourism & Hospitality

Investments breathe life into tourism sector


THE country’s tourism sector is experiencing a boom in new investments from both domestic and foreign companies, Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) president Farai Chimba has said.

Official statistics show that investments in the tourism sector, particularly on accommodation, increased by 147% to US$180,4 million last year.

Speaking to Standardbusiness on the sidelines of the recently held HAZ 2022 annual congress, Chimba praised the introduction of fresh capital into the travel and tourism sector as a positive move that would support the industry’s ability to draw and host significant international conferences.

“It still remains very buoyant. We are seeing people investing despite what happened,” he said.

“We saw during Covid-19, the likes of the Palm River (Lodge), they still came out. If you look at Gweru, the conference centre that’s coming up, Mashonaland East has also significant investments that have been done at private level.

“So, we will continue to see that investment coming in. And we are also seeing investments starting to come in from outside in terms of hotel groups that are interested.

“So I’m sure through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, they will announce pretty soon some of the groups that have taken up but we see partnerships here in Victoria Falls with Six Senses coming on board with local landowners.

“So that sort of investment, I think, is going to be ongoing.”

He revealed that Old Mutual Life Assurance Company was developing the Masuwe project, which included some significant amenities. A new hotel and convention centre are being constructed by the business.

Convention centres, Chimba said, are somewhat challenging to construct since they “need to be built around lodging facilities, which Victoria Falls is steadily building up.

“We still don’t have enough accommodation as a destination, for us to maybe warrant a 7 000 seater facilities hence, and like the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) you almost have to share that business between Zambia and Zimbabwe,” he added.

“But we are quite positive that we will start seeing an increase in capacity for conferencing with all the investments that are coming up.

“I can also positively say that Cresta Group is building a new hotel in Victoria Falls, a 400 to 450 seater convention centre and the work has started already on the ground.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who officially opened the conference, stated that investments in hotels and convention centres will “in fact go a long way in attracting and hosting major international conferences such as the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA), which Zimbabwe recently won the bid to host in 2023.”

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 30 will take place in Victoria Falls in June 2023, according to Chiwenga.

“We are delighted to witness the construction of new hotels and new investments in the hospitality industry, especially in Victoria Falls which is a designated special economic zone,” he said.

“May I, therefore, urge potential investors to take advantage of special incentives that accrue from investing in the special economic zone as well as listing on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange Market.”

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