Oliver Kazunga Bulawayo Bureau
MAJOR hotels in Bulawayo are fully booked ahead of the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo, which begins in the city today.
Speaking by telephone yesterday, Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) regional representative for Matabeleland Innocent Kufa, who is also the general manager for Bulawayo Rainbow Tourism Group, said prior to the tourism fair, occupancy rate for city hotels ranged between 50 and 60 percent.
“From HAZ point of view all the major hotels in Bulawayo are fully booked. I wouldn’t know the occupancy rate for lodges but I think most of them are fully booked,” he said.
“But it’s not only the Sanganai/Hlanganani bookings alone, we have so many other bookings for other events and business as well.”
Bulawayo Rainbow, Holiday Inn and Cresta Churchill are the major hotels in the city.
“From tomorrow visitors at this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Fair will be here. City hotels’ occupancy rate has been at between 50 and 60 percent before the tourism fair although some have been receiving significant number of bookings. But generally, it has not been good at all,” said Mr Kufa.
He said traditionally, the month of September has not been a good month as far as hotel occupancy rate was concerned. Recently, the stakeholders in the country’s tourism industry have raised concern over a host of challenges, among them multiple licences, bureaucracy in processing requisite licences as well as fuel and electricity constraints.
The tourism sector has highlighted the need for continued engagement with the Government to facilitate dialogue that will address the bottlenecks.
Meanwhile, a total of 260 exhibitors have registered to participate at this year tourism fair while a total of 170 buyers including 25 international media from Zimbabwe’s source markets, have confirmed participation.
Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo is Africa’s premier business exchange organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
The event, which is in its 12th year-running, creates an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.