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Ministry Confirms Deteriorating Standards of Hotels

By Shingirai Vambe

The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry’s permanent secretary, Ambassador Raphael Tayerera Faranisi has claimed that there has been a worrisome deterioration of standards in Zimbabwe’s local hotels owing to Covid-19 global scourge as well as lack of technical capacity and training of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) inspectors.

The tourism sector has faced a myriad of challenges dating back to year 2000 which has resulted with the industry having the Government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as their biggest customers in conferences and workshops.

The majority of Zimbabweans cannot afford to spend a night at any hotel because of their paltry monthly salaries that are almost equivalent to one night at any hotel facility in Southern African Country.

The current international market has preferred Holiday Inn, which is in the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) as the best hospitality facility in Zimbabwe, with well furnished, spruced up rooms with new clean linen.

Delux room at holiday Inn, Harare

Trout-beck Resort in Nyanga, has also been reported of face-lifting its facility, meeting international standards.

Amb Faranisi said facilities must be having a 5 year upgrading routine schedule of beds, linen, painting, bath rooms and floor tiles.

“Most hotels are still carpeted with the same carpet material that was installed during construction years back. These carpets are unhygienic and need changing now and again,” added Faranisi.

Regardless of these factors, accommodation in Zimbabwe, hotels in particular are said to be expensive as compared to other countries in the region, having some tourists going for newly established lodges which are a bit cheap and having standards that are slightly higher than those of hotels.

With the energy crisis that is hitting the country hard, some are still grappling with energy source, and still backed up by generators which have proved to be expensive to run, than solar or clean energy. Kadoma Rainbow Towers Group Hotel is one good example; they installed a half a million solar plant at the hotel waiting to procure batteries and solar geysers for guests to access hot bathing water.

Few days ago after a heavy down pour, there was major electricity fault in Kadoma, which left the hotel and guests stranded for almost 24hrs. Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) promptly responded and rectified the problem.

Amongst the facilities that have dropped, Leopard Rock in Vumba is on the list. It has reportedly gone down from its hey-days standards when it used to host big regional and international golf tournaments. Efforts to get audit reports from ZTA were fruitless as the authority kept on promising.

It’s the assumption of an independent inspector that the facility, together with the conduct of staff at the hotel and operation of scale, the facility is now a one star hotel.

Proposals are being made to have players in the tourism and hospitality industry exchange notes with counterparts in the region and international, so that they can learn and acquire skills that are of international standards in nature.

Accounting officers who had gathered for a Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe workshop at Cresta Lodge, Msasa in Harare, said, most facilities are now selling the name instead of giving customers value for their money.

“It’s either their food or the rooms; obviously you can’t get both perfect,” said Mutasa Rural District Council CEO, George Bandure.

The industry has since been given a revolving fund of US$7,5 million, it is alleged that the Covid-19 fund is inaccessible in real terms but in the newspaper and social media. Majority are failing to meet their daily overheads as they claim running costs are too high with inflation also being experienced in green bag.