The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
MAJOR hotels and lodges in Bulawayo are now fully booked ahead of this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) scheduled to run from 26 to 30 April.
The 62nd edition of the ZITF will run under the theme, “Rethink, Reimagine, Reinvent Value Chains for Economic Development.” The trade show resumed last year and was held from 21 to 24 September, after being suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most hospitality facilities counted losses in 2020 after the ZITF was cancelled as the premier trade fair has over the years been a major boost for the hospitality industry. The hosting of this year’s edition comes at an opportune time as the hospitality sector is on a road of recovery following the negative economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A snap survey conducted by Sunday News last week showed that major hotels and lodges in Bulawayo were already fully booked ahead of the ZITF period.
“Yes, we are now fully booked for the ZITF period. Most of the bookings were done within the first day of the ZITF dates being announced,” said Banff Lodge Hotel manager Ms Lisa Dickson.
She said their bookings comprised of both locals and foreigners with most of them comprising Government officials and foreign diplomats. Ms Dickson said they were not surprised about being fully booked in a day as they were mostly preferred for maintaining their rates.
“Unlike some hotels and lodges that double their prices for the ZITF period, as Banff we maintain our rates for the period and they will be the normal rates we charge any other month.”
N1 Hotel Bulawayo, front office reservationist, Mr Eliash Tendayi said they were also already fully booked, though the rates for the ZITF period were reviewed upwards.
“We have been fully booked since February. Our bookings are mainly by local companies booking for their people.
For the ZITF period our rates are going for US$100 while the normal rates in any other month are usually US$60,” he said.
Among other hospitality players, Wozani Lodge located in the quiet Hillside suburb of Bulawayo and a few minutes
drive from ZITF grounds, said they were also fully booked.
“We are still receiving calls from those who want to make bookings for the ZITF period due to our close proximity to the ZITF exhibition grounds, but we are now fully booked. Our bookings are mainly from locals and the rates are different from the normal booking rates,” said Mr Tinaye Birukai, Wozani Lodge front office manager.
Situated closer to the ZITF as well, a Motsamai Guest Lodge staffer said they were also fully booked and they received mainly local bookings.
Meanwhile, according to the latest global hospitality industry forecast the full recovery of the sector is not expected until late 2022 or early 2023. However, hotel performance, which had been on an upward trend since bottoming out with the onset of the pandemic in 2020, is slowly recovering.