Locals boost tourist receipts

HOTEL occupancy during the festive season is expected to remain flat averaging 80% this year as local tourists dominate in most resort towns, an official has said.

OWN CORRESPONDENT

In an interview with Southern Eye Business yesterday, Zimbabwe Council of Tourism vice-president Tich Hwingwiri said tourist arrivals in resort towns this festive season were similar to those of last year.

Tourism players had initially projected that hotel occupancies would this year reach between 85% and 90% helped by foreign tourist arrivals after the country successfully hosted the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly in August.

“Our festive season starts on December 22 and this year most hotels recorded occupancy rates of around 50%. We reached the peak on Christmas Day when most hotels in the resort areas recorded occupancy rates of 80% on average,” Hwingwiri said.

“Local visitors so far constitute 85% of the total bookings.”

The high number of local tourists came at a time when the country is facing a serious liquidity crunch which saw most companies failing to pay workers the 13th cheque.

Zimbabwe’s tourism sector, buoyed by the successful hosting of the UNWTO general assembly, is poised to earn the country $1,5 billion by 2015 and contribute close to 20% of gross domestic product helped by the projected increase in tourist arrivals.

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