ZITF abandons hotel project

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) company says it has abandoned plans to construct its initially proposed 300-bed hotel and conventional centre after a research revealed that there was no accommodation crisis in the city.

This comes after the company’s chairperson Bekithemba Nkomo in 2013 told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce that establishing the hotel was one of its long-term objectives meant to widen the company’s revenue base.

The Bulawayo City Council had already approved the plan of the initiative that would have seen the hotel being set up near the Golf Club.

However, yesterday ZITF general manager Nomathemba Ndlovu revealed that the plans have since been abandoned following a feasibility study.

“We came a few years ago wanting to get the feasibility of putting up a hotel to alleviate accommodation problems during the ZITF but what we found from our feasibility study is that there isn’t a shortage of accommodation throughout the year,” Ndlovu said.

“If you aggregate it, our hotels are operating at 30 percent occupancy throughout the year therefore it does not justify a big hotel project at this stage,” she said.

Ndlovu further noted that their consultancy did not project an increase in demand in this city for the next 10 years. “So it wouldn’t be financially viable for us to set up a hotel only to cater for the five days the ZITF will be running.”

Contrary to what many people think Ndlovu said there was excess of accommodation in the city.

As part of efforts to assist in the provision of accommodation for its foreign exhibitors, the company partnered Ecological Safaris to take care of this service as well as offering customised packages and guided tours.

“Our strategy of developing the private homes and formalising them through our partnership with Ecological Safaris has actually worked better. We found that lodges and private homes that registered with us are not taken up. We probably don’t need a hotel at this stage,” she declared.

Meanwhile, the ZITF general manager announced that the company has already kick-started preparations for the 57th edition of the multi-sectoral expo. The fair that will be running under the theme “Innovate, Integrate, Industrialise” will take place from April 26 to 30.

“Marketing and advertising of the event has begun in earnest with an aggressive exhibitors recruitment drive, targeting both local and international participants,” Ndlovu said.

She, however, urged the exhibitors to take advantage of the integral networking and social platform offered by ZITF and confirm their participation.

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