Zim has less rooms than Sandton’

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PHILLIMON MHLANGA

Zimbabwe has about 6000 rooms, less than South Africa’s Sandton, a position which does not convey a good picture given the economy’s potential in attracting foreign direct investment, a tourism executive has said.

Tourism is seen as a low hanging fruit which provides the quickest turnaround ahead of other sectors such as agriculture and mining and is the magnet which attracts foreign direct investments.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief operating officer Givemore Chidzidzi told an investment conference in Harare yesterday that Zimbabwe is seriously “under hoteled” with a total of 6 483 rooms.

“What it means is that Zimbabwe has fewer beds than Sandton in South Africa. There is also one hotel, the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, which has 4 004 rooms,” Chidzidzi told a Zimreal property investment meeting.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing and dynamic sector Zimbabwean government identified and has been hoping, alongside mining and agriculture, would stimulate economic growth. It has the potential to create jobs and can be a significant generator of foreign currency while also contributing significantly to the gross domestic product.

Chidzidzi said it was key to focus on infrastructure development in the sector. Key issues which require immediate attention were regulations in order to attract foreign investment into the sector.

Most hotel properties in Zimbabwe are not owned by hotel operators but by pension funds such as the National Railways of Zimbabwe, local authorities, First Capital Bank formerly Barclays and the National Social Security Authority.

Zimbabwe’s tourists arrivals rose to 2,6 million last year, a 6 percent increase from 2,4 million in 2017. The growth was driven by the notable growth in arrivals from all source regions and most major markets with the exception of America.