Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
SOUTH Africans and South Koreans have expressed interest in taking part in the construction of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company’s proposed up-market hotel and conference centre.
ZITF Company board chairperson Ms Ruth Ncube said architects and designers were working on the plans and relevant Government Ministries have already approved the infrastructural development project.
“We sit on a 17 hectare plot site situated one kilometre from the Central Business District of the City of Bulawayo and within our 17 hectare plot we have got land that we have earmarked to build a five-star hotel and a bigger conference centre so that we increase our capacity within what we want to do.
“About the hotel that we want to build, when we spoke to people in South Africa about it, the Ambassador (Mr Mphakama Mbete) had already said let’s talk in a big way about it. What else can we do? Can the other players from South Africa come in? And South Koreans are also interested in looking at our space and what we can do,” she said.
Ms Ncube said the hotel would go a long way in improving the number of international buyers to grace its exhibition.
“International buyers have over the years turned us down simply because there is no five star hotels in the city . . . despite the fact that we do have comfortable hotels but they still insist that they want a five star capacity hotel. So that’s the capacity that we want in Bulawayo,” she said.
Ms Ncube said the hotel would play a big part in improving the city’s bedding capacity.
“Looking at accommodation since time immemorial it is a known fact that we do not have adequate beds in the main hotels in this city to sit. The kind of capacity that we normally expect but as you know there is complementary accommodation in the likes of lodges and even in some cases families will offer houses to some of the delegates that are coming through,” she said.
The ZITF Company is also looking forward to modernisation and expanding its Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre (ZIEC) focusing on key halls and building a world class, modern convention centre
“Taking advantage of the demand for hotel accommodation to build a 300 bed hotel to complement the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) concept and anticipated future demand . . . we want to be big in MICE because we have got the space, we have got experience . . .”
MICE business has created opportunities for tourism and hospitality sector players in the country as more rooms are needed to accommodate delegates and bigger conference facilities. MICE tourism rakes in three times more receipts than leisure tourism with knock-on effects on local hotels in terms of revenue generation.