Tourism sector attracts US$300m investment

Source: Tourism sector attracts US$300m investment | The Herald (Business News)

An aerial view of Insika Lodge in Victoria Falls

Tapiwanashe Mangwiro Senior Business Reporter

ABOUT US$300 million was invested in the tourism sector last year, an official said, putting the industry badly affected by coronavirus on a solid footing.

The money was largely spent on the construction of new hospitality facilities such as lodges and hotels as well as renovations, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive, Ms Winnie Muchanyuka, told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) recently.

The investment, from both foreign and local investors, was largely concentrated in Victoria Falls and Ganarezhou National Park, she said.

“A total of US$300 million was poured in the sector with new facilities in restaurants, hotels, lodges, safaris and game parks dominating,” Ms Muchanyuka.

The ban on travel and public conferences significantly suffocated the global tourism industry and in 2020, international arrivals plunged by 73 percent from pre-pandemic levels in 2019, causing estimated losses of US$2,4 trillion in tourism and related sectors, according to the report by the UN’s World Tourism Organisation.

However, the industry is recovering from the effects of the pandemic after many countries eased the restrictions.

Tourism Business Council (TBC) chairman, Mr Paul Matamisa, said there had been “huge” investment in the sector as operators prepare for the anticipated post-Covid-19 boom.

“We surely have seen a number of investments in the sector; be it new resorts or the upgrade of the existing facilities in order to stay abreast with the current trends,” he said.

“We have seen new lodges around the country and many game parks have been upgraded.

This week, a 40-roomed Insika Lodge in Victoria Falls will officially open. According to media reports, the ZESA Pension Fund is currently building a four– star hotel and a conference centre in the resort town and will be run by Cresta Hotels.

Chairman of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) Matabeleland North chapter, Mr Anald Musonza, confirmed the province saw substantial investments last year.

“The region has been on a recovery path and yes, I can confirm that a lot of investment happened in the just ended year. I cannot quantify the amount but building a four or five-star lodge is no small feat and it is not cheap as well,” said Mr Musonza.

The long-planned, multi-million-dollar refurbishment of Harare’s five-star Meikles Hotel commenced last year.

Meikles Hotel general manager, Mr Tinashe Munjoma, said the three-phased programme to carry out a major redevelopment of selected key areas was ongoing.

The Government expects the tourism industry to continue growing in the outlook, benefiting from the recovery in international tourism, coming in of new players in the aviation sector and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).

Tourists’ arrivals are expected to increase to 1,4 million in 2023, while tourism receipts are projected at US$623 million. This year, the Government is planning to enhance marketing and promotion efforts through the deployment of tourism attachés at embassies to aggressively promote the country in key source markets such as China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, UAE, the UK and the US

The deployment of attachés will be complemented by active participation at flagship regional and international tourism meetings, conferences and exhibitions, marketing and promoting Zimbabwe’s tourism to the world through campaign programmes like VisitZimbabwe, MeetInZimbabwe and InvestInZimbabwe.

The sector will also undertake image building and promotion through hosting of tourism opinion leaders and influencers, as well as organising familiarisation tours for media houses from key international source markets. Priority will also be towards intensifying marketing efforts across the various digital marketing platforms.

This is also in sync with the Government’s engagement and re-engagement thrust.

To sustain the resilience of the domestic tourism industry, Government will intensify domestic tourism through campaigns and promotions, such as ZimBho/IZimYami programmes. 

Further, the 2023 Budget allocated $725 million towards the capitalisation of Mosi Oa Tunya Development Company Private Limited, a special purpose vehicle created to spearhead tourism infrastructure development in Victoria Falls, particularly focusing on off-site and on-site infrastructure for the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone, that is expected to attract investors.

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