The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) is lobbying the Government to review tourism and hospitality players’ licensing fees to enable them to improve on service delivery and competitiveness.
HAZ president Mr Clive Chinwada said there was a need for the Government to review its licensing fees as most players were now reopening after closure due to Covid-19.
“Ordinarily existing businesses have their licenses renewed annually with both the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and local authorities and members have been citing the review of rates upwards by local authorities as unsustainable given that most of them are either yet to reopen or have subdued business volumes. There is a need to review the cost of licensing and taxation especially in relation to tourism and hospitality,” said Mr Chinwada.
He added that although half of the players have resumed operation, the challenge they are facing is of whether international tourists would be able to visit Zimbabwe.
“By and large, there is sufficient footprint of opened hotels on all the major destinations. At the very minimum, at least 50 percent of operators have since opened. But, reopening is no longer the issue, the problem is now with Europe experiencing another wave of Covid-19.
We are worried whether international travel destinations like Vic Falls can get enough travellers to keep them going. It’s still a long and challenging road ahead,” he said.
He added: “As HAZ our other concerns relate mainly to the ease of doing business. It is expensive to do business in Zimbabwe and as an industry we then get unfairly compared to other economies in the region like South Africa and Botswana. There is also a need for a comprehensive review of the visa regime once the Covid-19 situation has normalised to encourage inbound tourism.”
Mr Chinwada also added that the issue of pricing was a challenge among tourism and hospitality players.
“Pricing is a difficult topic because of the complexity of variables that influence it. These variables include inflation, exchange rate stability, cost of and ease of doing business. As such, players will always be wary of the cost build up to arrive at any prices. As such, all I can say is that the industry will attempt to come up with market appropriate rates,” he said.