By Tapiwa Machemedze
The tourism industry is experiencing a boom with significant investment in infrastructure being made in Mashonaland Central province.
With a leisure resort, conference centre and lodges being constructed in various parts of Mashonaland Central province, tourism players are positioning the industry for growth.
Stakeholders highlight viability improved significantly after COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed.
Mayfair Lodges General Manager, Mrs Tafadzwa Motsi said, “After the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted there was a bit of positive flow of tourists coming. Of late, however, there has been a sharp drop not slight but sharp drop in our occupancy, which I then feel is because of our economic situation, the high inflltion rate.”
“Starting this month from around Heroes we are expecting that volumes of people coming in for the services that we offer be it food, accommodation… they are going to increase,” Mr Fungai Kaunye, Coach House Inn Sales and Marketing executive said.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority recently stepped up engagement of provincial stakeholders in order to increase visibility of little known tourism products.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Executive Director for Strategic Research Ms Sophie Zirebwa noted, “There is a quite a lot happening on the agriculture perspective to quite a lot of attractions in areas of nature, but there is limited tourism product offering in terms of accommodation facilities even in terms of conferencing facilities. So, we are quite happy to note that since devolution and promotion of tourism at provincial level, we have seen quite a lot that is happening in terms of tourism in the provinces.”
Meanwhile, two young innovators won US$1000 for their concept, Kwanzimbo Jumanji Experience, which came first in the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Innovation Challenge.
“The reason why we did this product is to try to bridge the tourism gap as tourism has been lagging in the area,” said Tourism Challenge winner, Ms Chiedza Zembe.
The challenge running for the second year, seeks to mainstream participation of youth and unlock employment in the tourism industry by coming up with innovative ways of conducting tourism.
It has been extended to provinces this year after being restricted to one national event last year.