ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange-listed hospitality concern Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) says its occupancy level for the first quarter ending March 31 rose by 43% compared to the previous period, with the easing of Covid-19 regulations.
Official statistics show that tourism accounted for 4.25% of gross domestic product (GDP) with a value of US$1.03 billion in 2018. In 2019, the sector accounted for 6.3% of GDP with a value of US$1.23 billion. At the same time, the data also shows that tourism accounted for 1.56% of national employment levels in 2018, with around 100 000 jobs supported and created.
“Occupancies for the hotels division closed at 43%, a growth of 3.6 times from 12% recorded in 2021,” RTG says.
“The group also witnessed an increase in conferencing business across the city hotels. The resort hotels have shown a strong recovery during the first quarter of 2022. Improved prospects for travel internationally are expected to consolidate the recovery of the Victoria Falls market.”
The company says the continued strong performance recorded to date has positioned the group to close the first quarter on a solid position. This was despite the continued local inflationary pressures and exchange rate volatility.
“The group remains optimistic about the continued recovery of the tourism sector as we approach the tail-end of Covid-19 era. The return of physical international conventions and exhibition is pointing towards the return of normal tourism,” the update further reads.
According to private sector funding arm of the World Bank Group, Zimbabwe’s tourism sector could have lost nearly US$700 million in business due to Covid-19 restrictions aimed at slowing down the spread of the respiratory disease.
The International Finance Corporation, a unit of the World Bank Group, said the pandemic, which has claimed millions of lives across the globe, calls for new policy measures to help the industry recover.—STAFF WRITER