Hotel Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) vice President, Fredrick Kasese bemoaned the decline of arrivals of foreign tourist in the province saying it has negatively affected tourism growth in the province. Tourists from the European and western countries even those from the east largely from China have been shunning the province of Masvingo whose major attraction is the Great Zimbabwe ruins and the gigantic Gonarezhou national Park in Chiredzi.
Kasese who is also the Managing Director of Regency group of hotels said the hotels in the province used to make brisk business from international tourists but because they had been shunning Masvingo since the violent 2008 presidential run-off the hotel sector was crumbling.
“The situation reflects a quagmire which was created by the 2008 political and economic crisis. Masvingo tourism industry has been faced by various challenges but the main challenge being the continued decline of foreign tourists. The industry cannot boom if only local visitors are coming,” he said.
“The foreign tourist still lack confidence over their security because of the previous year’s violence and political fighting between the two major political parties. This has affected severely the tourism sector in the province which continues to decline although other provinces min the country is rising,” he added.
Regency group of hotels owns Flamboyant and Chevron hotel in Masvingo, Fair Mile hotel in Gweru plus scores of lodges around the country.
‘We are staying afloat because of workshops and seminars done by various organisations otherwise so many hotels would have closed in the province. We used to rely on tourists who would come and book at our hotels for days while visiting several attraction centres in the country but this is now a thing of the past as only a few tourists from European and the other western countries come to the province,” said Kasese.
“The industry is burdened by pricing models from the utility providers with vast margins to cover their operational inefficiencies,” he added.