Victoria Falls Hotels see boost in easter occupancy, tourism industry eyes continued growth

22 Apr, 2024 - 13:04 0 Views
Victoria Falls Hotels see boost in easter occupancy, tourism industry eyes continued growth

eBusiness Weekly

Business Writer

The Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) has confirmed that Victoria Falls hotels reached a 58 percent occupancy rate during the Easter holiday.

Patronage for hotels during the Easter holiday is driven by local travellers.

Matabeleland North (HAZ) chairman Chiku Mulinde said average Easter period occupancy for the Victoria Falls destination grew by 2 percent to 58 percent  up from  56 percent in 2023.

Last year and again in 2024, boutique hotels recorded the highest average occupancy, reaching above 80 percent

“The major volume drivers for these occupancies are a combination of religiously affiliated bookings, International Tour Groups as well as Local Leisure Business. However, the self-driving business was affected by the poor state of the road linking the destination,” he said.

“There is also a significant contribution from the convention business for wholesale hotels like Elephant Hills Resort which continue to host Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions business.”

He said the poor road network has affected the family business, which has, over the years, come to the destination by road with stopovers either in Bulawayo or Hwange.

However, he said the road is currently undergoing rehabilitation, “a move that we expect to improve destination accessibility.”.

“The alternative airline transport remains quite expensive for domestic leisure travellers,” Mr Mulinde added.

Tourism receipts increased by 24 percent to US$272,26 million in 2023 from US$219,45 million achieved during the previous year of 2022, largely as a result of improved tourist arrivals.

Investments in local tourism in 2023 came from both local and foreign investors.

A total of US$300 million was poured in on investment within the sector with new facilities in restaurants, hotels, lodges, safaris and game parks dominating.

Tourism Business Council president, Paul Matamisa said there have been investments in the sector since the Covid era and now they should begin seeing many joints being operational.

“We surely have seen a number of investments in the sector, be it new resorts or upgrading of the existing ones in order to stay abreast with the current trends. We have seen new lodges around the country and many game parks have been upgraded across the country,” Mr Matamisa said.

The tourism players predicted continued growth throughout the year, with the upcoming winter season, traditionally the peak tourism period, expected to see even higher numbers.

Strong performance in January has set a positive tempo, suggesting the industry’s target of reaching US$5 billion by 2025 is achievable.”

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