Chiwenga calls hotels to order over high charges

Source: Chiwenga calls hotels to order over high charges –Newsday Zimbabwe


VICE-PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga has warned operators in the hospitality industry against charging exorbitant rates which he said contributed to economic instability.

Officially opening the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) 2022 annual congress in Victoria Falls yesterday, Chiwenga said government recently unearthed a worrying speculative practice by players in the hospitality industry whereby some hotels were charging exorbitant rates to the government using parallel market exchange rates in the name of hedging against inflation.

This practice, he said, inevitably contributed to inflationary pressures on the fiscus resulting in economic instability.

“The government was left with no choice, but to tame the potential runaway inflation and crippling pressures on the local currency by putting in place measures that are aimed at price correction and upholding ethical procurement practices on the market. Let me urge you all to be good corporate citizens who adhere to good ethical conduct for us to achieve our developmental aspirations,” he said.

He said investments in the tourism industry, mostly in the accommodation sector, grew by 147% last year to US$180,4 million, a development that would help the sector attract and host major international conferences.

“This will, indeed, go a long way in attracting and hosting major international conferences such as the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa which Zimbabwe recently won the bid to host in 2023. In the same vein, the country has also won the bid to host the International Conference on Population and Development in June 2023, here in Victoria Falls,” he said.

“We are delighted to witness the construction of new hotels and new investments in the hospitality industry, especially in Victoria Falls which is a designated special economic zone. May I, therefore, urge potential investors to take advantage of the special incentives that accrue from investing in the special economic zone as well as listing on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange.”

He urged the tourism industry to fully exploit the opportunities that were unlocked by Zimbabwe’s participation at the Dubai 2020 Expo.

The Vice-President said the engagement and re-engagement policy currently being championed by the government had boosted the image of Zimbabwe as a tourism destination of choice for international visitors and investors.

Chiwenga said tourism, having been one of the worst hit by COVID-19, was still recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic which set the country back after halting all local and international travel.

In this regard, government, in consultation with players in the tourism sector, put in place a raft of measures and incentives such as the exemption on domestic tax and the setting up of a tourism revolving fund to facilitate the revival of the sector.

“I am pleased to note that through these interventions the industry is already showing signs of revival with operators in the sector showing confidence in the future of tourism through investing in new projects,” he said.

“This makes the tourism sector one of the potential drivers of the government’s agenda on devolution and decentralisation. I wish to call upon private sector players to work with the tourism provincial offices to identify opportunities for investments to grow the local economies in all the provinces of Zimbabwe,” he added.

Haz president Farai Chimba said infrastructural development was critical to destination Zimbabwe for both domestic and international tourism, especially in key areas such as airports, access road network and other infrastructure.

“I would like to point out the critical state of some of our roads, including the highway to Victoria Falls, which is now a deterrent for domestic terrorism due to (its bad) condition. Other aspects such as power shortages and the negative cost impact to us, having to resort to generators and fuel that is more expensive. While we are moving towards clean green energy in terms of solar, this still remains very prohibitive with high capital outlay to start with,” he said.

The congress is running under the theme: Resetting hospitality towards tourism success.