The calls to invest in infrastructure like the building of new and expansion of existing hotels seem to hold water as most accommodation facilities in the Victoria Falls are currently fully booked.
The Elephant Hills Resort with its extensive conference facilities is currently hosting the Africa Banking Forum and added to that, the other hotels like the prestigious Rainbow Hotel in the resort town are hosting international buyers who are on a tour of the country ahead of the Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel Expo.
According to Dr Karikoga Kaseke, the Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, it is important to invest in tourism infrastructure like building new hotels and expanding the existing ones.
” We are in touch with a Chinese company interested in infrastructure development that is called Touch Holdings, which has a presence in 25 African countries. In Djibouti, it is building a tourism city. The chairman of that company is considering constructing a tourism city in the country so that we will be able to accommodate all the visitors who have shown great interest in visiting our beautiful country,” Dr Kaseke said.
Kojo Tawiah, a travel consultant with the United Kingdom-based Africa Oracle Travel Agency who is touring the country ahead of Sanganai/Hlanganai Travel Expo said with Zimbabwe’s openness and the hospitality of its citizens, it could consider building two five-star hotels in Victoria Falls in the interim to avoid being caught flat-footed by the influx of tourists.
“The Zimbabwe is open for business mantra is really bearing fruit for Zimbabwe. Being my first time in the country, I was fascinated by the breath-taking scenery and the hospitality of the locals. Zimbabwe has one of the best natural African cuisines and judging by the high numbers of tourists in this resort area, it would be nice if tourism players move with speed to build at least additional two five-star hotels to accommodate tourists,” Tawiah said.
His sentiments were echoed by Adrian Landry, the General manager of the Elephant Hills Resort and Area Manager for the Legacy Hospitality Management Services in Victoria Falls. It was the same story for Sibongile Nyambuvi, the Guest Relations manager of the A’Zambezi River Lodge.
Moses Penduka, who works for the Chikopokopo Helicopter and Tours at the Masuwe Helipad in Victoria Falls said his company has been receiving receiving brisk business of late.
“Helicopter flights cost $150 for a 15-minute flight. Because of the confidence in Zimbabwe as a safe tourist business, we are receiving good business at the moment. Our clients are normally prepared to part with extra dollars to cap the flights with some sunset boat cruises along the mighty Zambezi river so it’s really good business for everyone here in the Victoria Falls at the moment,” Penduka said.
China, with a population of 1, 4 billion people and a GDP of over $12 trillion, has also seen its nationals taking a keen interest in Zimbabwe. At most of the hotels visited by the various groups in the country for Sanganai, the Chinese are the bulk of the guests and it can only be logical for Zimbabwe to tap into the Chinese market, which has vast opportunities for business.
“Apart from having the Chinese as mere tourists, we should work towards ending mainly the export of mineral commodities to China and consider growing the export of textiles and clothing, agro-processed goods, horticultural products, citrus, fresh fruits timber and Macadamia nuts to China so as to capitalise on our good relations with this important Asian market,” Allan Majuru, the Acting ZimTrade CEO said.