Vic Falls hotel occupancy rate remains flat, revenue increases slightly
By Tichaona Kurewa
VICTORIA FALLS – Occupancy rate for the eight major hotels in Victoria Falls remained unchanged in January 2017 at 28 percent compared to same period last year although revenue increased slightly owing to the re-introduction of the Uni-Visa between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The hotels under review include A’ Zambezi, Cresta Sprayview Hotel, Elephant Hills Hotel, Ilala Lodge, Kingdom Hotel, Rainbow Hotel, Victoria Falls Hotel and Victoria Falls Safari Lodge which have a total of 1 125 rooms.
Statistics released by the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) Victoria Falls chapter show that occupancy rate remained static although revenue rose marginally to US$1.342 million from US$1.308 million last year.
Figures from HAZ also show that the average daily rate for January 2017 increased slightly to US$136 from US$133 in the comparative period.
HAZ Victoria Falls chapter chairperson, Chris Svova, also attributed the slight increase in revenue to the spillover of tourists from the Victoria Falls Carnival held in December 2016.
“The slight increase in revenue is because of the Uni-Visa that was re-introduced before Christmas last year, a number of players were also offering some promotions to attract people, especially locals, into their properties,” Svova said.
He, however, said the depreciation of the rand against the US dollar had impacted negatively on tourist arrivals from South Africa, a major source market.
“Traditionally, we expect growth from neighbouring countries like South Africa where there is a large number of Zimbabwean diaspora, but maybe this time around they could also not travel because of the fluctuating rand rate.
“This made it very expensive for South African tourists or Zimbabweans based there to visit the country. This is one of the reasons why the occupancy percentage did not change,” he said.
He said prospects of increased tourist numbers in Victoria Falls were bright considering that wide-bodied aircraft had started plying the Victoria Falls route, following the commissioning of an expanded airport for the resort town.
New airliners such as Ethiopian and Kenyan airways are expected to fly into the resort town before mid-year, raising hopes for tourism players in Victoria Falls.
Located in Matabeleland North province, Victoria Falls is one of Zimbabwe’s major tourist attraction sites and one of the seven wonders of the world offering services such as game drive, falls viewing, cruising, canoeing and bungee jumping.