The Sunday News
Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
GLOBAL hospitality group, Marriot International, is set to change the face of Victoria Falls after it agreed to inject USD$500 million into the resort town for the construction of a boutique hotel and a riverside camp.
A boutique hotel is an intimate, design-led property which distinguishes itself from larger chain or branded hotels by providing guests with ultra-personalised service and accommodation.
This type of lodging facility gains its uniqueness through aesthetics, atmosphere, and a level of personalised service that just can’t be found in larger establishments.
Marriot International has partnered a local businessman Mr Aaron Chinhara who is in the petroleum and construction industries.
In an interview, Mr Chinhara said officials from the giant hospitality group are visiting the country tomorrow for a business investment meeting.
He said construction on the project is set to commence next year once they finalise on the modalities and other Government requirements.
“We have got half a billion dollars worth of investment coming to Victoria Falls. We are starting construction in 2020, finishing 2022. We want to build a boutique hotel. It is a first concept in Zimbabwe that we are putting up. We are putting a world class hotel for those with more disposable income.
“To do that there is a need for a proper investment and so we have signed a deal with Marriott International. Officials from the group are coming in on Monday. They will touch down at Victoria Falls International Airport and would be inspecting the areas where the projects are going to take place. There are two projects that they are going to take in Victoria Falls. There is a Boutique Hotel and a Riverside camp which will be a camping site for tourists,” he said.
Mr Chinhara said the Marriot International investors would be in the country for two days.
“They are international hoteliers and are operating in various countries in the world. We sold them our ideas and they want to work with us and they will spend two days. It is a business investment meeting,” he said.
Mr Chinhara said the investment would be a game changer in the tourism and hospitality industry and would bring a huge investment.
He said he was confident that President Mnangagwa will support the project as it was in sync with his “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra and his 2023 vision.
“We are appealing to President Mnangagwa for Government support in this project. We are aware of onslaughts being plotted against us but we are willing to engage even the President so that the projects are flawless,” he said.
The investment comes at a time when Zimbabwe is dangling massive tourism investment opportunities to international markets as it seeks to tap into the deep pool of key European markets.
Good times are beckoning for Zimbabwe’s tourism sector after outclassing regional destinations when the country scooped three accolades at the 2019 edition of the Pacific Travel Writers Association Awards held in Berlin, Germany.
Zimbabwe won the Sustainable Destination of the Year, Tourism Minister of the Year and International Woman Achiever of the Year.
The awards recognise excellence of organisations, nations, corporates and individuals who have played outstanding roles in transforming their industries.