Source: Pricing still a challenge: HAZ – Sunday News July 22, 2018
Nkosilathi Sibanda, Business Correspondent
THE Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe has said the industry faces a hurdle in offering cheaper tourism products owing to pricing disparity challenges from the food and ancillary service chain suppliers.
HAZ president Mr Innocent Manyera said the Government has to address the issue of pricing at the supply level as this has put a dent on efforts to make the country’s tourist activities accessible to both local and foreign holiday makers.
He said the reason tourism products are pegged at higher prices was because of a number of costs players incur on the supply side. Recently, industry players expressed displeasure at the 15 percent VAT that was levied from the sector, in particular relating to materials not locally available. Mr Manyera said this at the backdrop of a call by the Tourism and Hospitality Minister, Prisca Mupfumira, for a downward review of tourism packages.
“As the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, we very much support the concept of Buy Zimbabwe and promoting local products. Everyone in the hospitality business would want to have their product cheaper and affordable but there is a challenge.
There are many factors that pull the industry down in as much as we would want to be cheaper and accessible. The supply chain, in particular, has a high costing tag that affects how we price our products as well. Food and other basic commodities are expensive locally and reality has it that once such economic issues are not addressed, it would mean the tourism industry bears the brunt. Let us solve the macro-economic issues first,” he said.
Mr Manyera said the shortage of foreign currency was also to blame for the wanton increase of tourism products.
“At the moment we are faced with a challenge of foreign currency and the industry cannot sustain itself to a point of reducing prices if we source forex on the parallel market at abnormal rates.”
He said HAZ is on a drive to engage business players and suppliers on how best they could help in turning around the industry so that prices are lowered. Minister Mupfumira is on record saying she admits to the challenges faced by the industry. She indicated that strong stakeholder collaboration is needed to reduce the cost structure in the tourism industry and achieve more competitiveness.
“Some of our products are not competitively priced, particularly, the hotels. But what we have done is that we have set up a committee to look into the pricing issues, not only for hotels but the national parks, they are expensive,” said the Minister.