• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Vic Falls hotels occupancy levels averaged 51% over Aug public holidays

By ETimes

The occupancy levels for Victoria Falls hotels averaged 51% over the Heroes’ and Defence Forces Day holidays amid fears that the bad state of the 435km Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway will impact tourism growth, ETimes has learnt.

In order to increase the sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, efforts are being made to enhance infrastructure and draw more tourists.

“If you look at last year, which is the same period as last year, the period of heroes as well as the defence forces day, the average occupancy for all the properties that we are in competition with, or rather, in the destination, we were at 51%, which was the average occupancy for all the other properties that we are in this destination,” Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Mat North Chairperson Chiku Mulinde said.

Mulinde said the resort destination occupancy levels are recovering very well.

“This year alone, looking at the key properties excluding the Kingdom Hotel, we have achieved 71%. I think there has been a very good growth of 20 percentage points, which is very good if you are to ask me.

“What might have actually influenced that is obviously this post-COVID-19 period and I think now people are free to travel and if you look at series groups, we have got a number of groups that are coming from Europe and the Asia market. Recently, the Asian market has also relaxed its travel restrictions. We have been getting a lot of Asian markets coming through to the destination,” he said.

Also, we get a lot of Europeans and a lot of Americans as well coming into this destination; this is very exciting times, as you are also aware that in terms of COVID-19 analysis and the figures and statistics that are being shared, I think we have been 83 percent of the pre-COVID-19 figures, so that’s a good figure, which shows that we are in the right direction in terms of the recovery,” he said.

He, however, expressed concern over the damaged Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway, which has now become a deathtrap due to potholes.

“Partly what dominated most of the business is largely, like I mentioned to you, the series groups and also the individuals and families travelling, but we did not get much of the families travelling this time around, the reason being that because of the road that links Victoria Falls and other destinations, especially the main road, which is Bulawayo to Victoria Falls, which is actually not in a very good state, other people will prefer other areas and destinations,” he said.

In economic terms, potholes also have a huge economic cost by slowing down or discouraging tourists, businesses, or investors.

The government says it is moving to revamp the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway as well as the 320-kilometre Beitbridge-Bulawayo road, which is also badly potholed and damaged – Harare

By ETimes

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