Roberta Katunga, Senior Business Reporter
HOTEL occupancy at the Victoria Falls major hotels remained stagnant in January this year at 28 percent compared to the same period last year, mainly due to low activity at the beginning of the year.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Victoria Falls chapter chairperson, Mr Chris Svova, confirmed the subdued performance of eight major hotels in the resort town but added that revenue had increased slightly owing to the re-introduction of the UniVisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“True, occupancy remained subdued which should not really be cause for concern looking at the month in question. The trend is normally the same throughout the month of January with the first week probably doing well due to Festive and Carnival spillover but thereafter volumes start going down; it’s nothing unusual,” Mr Svova said.
He said revenues increased marginally owing to the re-introduction of the Kavango-Zambezi-Univisa which allows citizens of 40 countries in and out is easily obtainable at eight points of entry in total, four in Zimbabwe and four in Zambia.
Mr Svova said although there was an increase in the number of visitors for the 2016/7 carnival compared to the previous year, occupancy remained stagnant as most visitors preferred to stay with friends and relatives not hotels or lodges.
“The numbers translated to increased revenue as there were more sales in food and beverages and some players also offered promotional packages which aided other revenue centres.”
According to the immigration department, the Kavango-Zambezi UniVisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia has generated over $200 000 in revenue in the past three months.
Immigration Department principal director Mr Clemence Masango said $213 900 was generated from 4 278 stickers bought from four entry points that include Harare International Airport, Victoria Falls International Airport, Kazungula and Victoria Falls land border as from 21 December 2016.
Mr Masango, however, said Zimbabwe and Zambia, the two partner countries will not be supported beyond the 50 000 stocks of visa stickers delivered in 2016.
“The numbers translated to increased revenue as there were more sales in food and beverages and some players also offered promotional packages which aided other revenue centres,” he said.