By Luckmore Safuli
The ravaging Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect various sectors of the economy with average hotel room occupancy having dropped to unsustainable levels during the current national lockdown.
Despite being given permission to continue with operations during the current lockdown, hotels have struggled to generate meaningful business due to inter-city travel restrictions.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe President, Mr Clive Chinwada highlighted that most hotels are operating far below capacity adding that there is need for a coordinated effort in ensuring a safe restart for the tourism sector.
“The reintroduction of the lockdown measures at the beginning of the month sees our industry again at crossroads. These measures have put us on the backfoot as room occupancies have plummeted at most of the hotels, in fact, our resorts are running virtually empty. In the cities where there is minimal traffic, this traffic is not able to sustain the hotel business model,” he said.
Mbano Manor Hotel Director Dr Mati Nyazema is, however, optimistic of a recovery post-Covid-19 driven by domestic tourism.
“We appreciate the efforts by the government to ensure the health and safety of pour citizens through recently introduced covid-19 measures. We trust that with greater national compliance, the tourism industry can benefit once again from the encouraging domestic market trends experienced in late 2020,” said Mr Nyazema.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has since placed attention on exploring how Covid-19 vaccines can be part of the harmonised approach to restarting tourism.