HARARE – African Sun Limited has announced it is shutting down its Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls January next year after failing to agree on lease terms with First Capital Bank, owners of the property.
The hotelier said the parties had failed to reach common ground on the length of the lease with the property owner firm on a two-year lease while ASL wanted 10 years, sufficient to recoup its investment.
In a 24 November memo to trading partners, African Sun Limited chief executive Peter Saungweme said the Kingdom hotel would close for business with effect from January 5, 2023.
“Further to the formal announcement which African Sun Limited (African Sun) released to the market on 4 July 2022, we would like to inform you that the Kingdom at Victoria Falls Hotel (“the Hotel”) shall be closing for business with effect from 5 January 2023.
“We would like to thank you for your past business and support over the years and look forward to continuing working with you at our other ten hotels, which include the Victoria Falls Hotel and Elephant Hills Resort and Conference Centre which are also situated in the city of Victoria Falls,” he said.
In an interview, African Sun Limited chairman Emmanuel Fundira said it was unfortunate that the two parties did not reach an agreement.
“We said two years does not work for us. For us to recoup the investment of over US$6 million on the hotel, it will require us at least a minimum period of 10 years to operate.
“So, two years will not work for us. That’s where the departure began. We negotiated and negotiated and they refused.
“We see that there was really another hand into this,” he said.
Africa Sun Limited has been operating the 294-roomed Kingdom Hotel since 1997.