VICTORIA FALLS– The Africa Albida Tourism (AAT)-owned Victoria Falls Safari lodge (Saflodge) says it has invested $5 million in renovations and new projects in the resort town, betting on the recovery of the tourism industry.
Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is recovering after years of contraction because of political and economic crises and AAT early this year described 2013 as its best year ever after increased occupancy at its flagship the Saflodge as tourists return to local shores.
“In the past three years we have invested $5million into this property. We borrowed the money and we paying it back gradually,” general manager Jonathan Hudson said while briefing officials from the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) led by president of the council, Professor Anton Caragea.
He said part of the investment had gone towards the construction of the state of the art Victoria Falls Safari Club, an exclusive 20-room block.
“We also renovated our restaurant and we are currently renovating two blocks. We hope that by end of July, the renovations would be complete,” Hudson said.
ECTT delegation expressed interest in investing in the property.
Last year the Saflodge sold 22 834 room nights and 41 101 bed nights while in 2012 the lodge sold 19 417 room nights and
34 950 bed nights.
AAT started operating in 1995 and its portfolio includes and the RCI Gold Crown Resort Lokuthula Lodges, also in Victoria Falls, and Ngoma Safari Lodge in the Chobe, Botswana.
– The Source