BULAWAYO’S tourism and hospitality industry is set to record brisk business next month amid indications that most hotels are fully booked ahead of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) from April 22 to 26.
Brian Nyakutombwa, the Matabeleland South chairperson for the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe who is also general manager of Cresta Churchill Hotel, yesterday said most of the local hotels were fully booked for ZITF.
“The demand is overwhelming (and) most places like Holiday Inn, Bulawayo Rainbow, Cresta Churchill, St Patricks, Nesbitt Castle and other lodges like Impala and Sethule are fully booked,” he said.
“It is going to be brisk business as everyone is looking forward to it (ZITF).”
Nyakutombwa urged hotels and lodges to refrain from overcharging customers as that will paint Bulawayo as a very expensive place to do business with.
“We are encouraging people to exercise restraint when it comes to charging,” he said.
“Customers should not be overcharged because that will make it very expensive for them and it will paint an image that Bulawayo is an expensive place to do business with.”
Exhibitors usually book very early for the trade fair period and the hotels will be fully booked by the time April starts.
Scores of exhibitors from outside Bulawayo normally struggle to secure accommodation during the fair as hotels and accredited lodges run out of rooms.
This year’s exhibition will be officially opened by Congo Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso on April 25.
It will be held under the theme: “New Ideas, New Heights” and will feature product groups such as machinery and expertise for infrastructure, manufacturing processes and equipment innovation, automation and supplies for agro-processing, among others.
ZITF general manager Nomathemba Ndlovu recently said they had sold 86% of the 51 000 square metres available. She encouraged those who wanted to book to do so before the early booking discount period ends on March 31.
Countries expected at this year’s fair include Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Iran, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, US and Zambia.