Bulawayo’s tourism and hospitality sector is expecting an improvement in business when the city hosts the Region V Youth Games in December.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Matabeleland South chairperson Brian Nyakutombwa said at the moment room occupancy at Bulawayo Hotels stood between 45% and 50%.
The games will be held on December 5 to 15 with 15 countries expected to converge in the province for the biannual event and the Nyakutomba said the influx of regional athletes could be a boon for the industry.
“Business is generally low with occupancies between 45% and 50% (but) I encourage the Bulawayo business community to be reasonable when it comes to pricing of goods and services so that our visitors do not go away with the impression that Zimbabwe is an expensive destination,” he said.
“Moreso, given the fact that we are using currencies that are also used elsewhere, and naturally visitors will be comparing our offerings with what they would pay for the same back in their countries.”
Nyakutombwa, who is a Cresta Churchill Hotel general manager, said the second half of the year was not going to be much different from the first, as most issues confronting businesses had not changed since the beginning of the year.
“But with such events like the upcoming games in December and others between now and end of year continuously pouring in, our hopes are kept alive that business could only get better and we pray and look forward to that,” he said.
“In general, the tourism and hospitality industry has its challenges just like any other industry and as such finds itself tasked with finding solutions to such challenges.”
Nyakutombwa, added that like any other profit-seeking industry the tourism and hospitality sector remained seized with ways of adding value to shareholder investments.
The games will see regional countries compete in athletics, judo, netball, football, tennis, swimming, basketball and boxing.
They are held biannually on a rotational basis, having previously been hosted by Zambia (2012), Swaziland (2010), South Africa (2008), Namibia (2006) and Mozambique (2004).
Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, the Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe have so far confirmed participation.