Harare,(New Ziana) – Hospitality concern, African Sun Limited said on Wednesday it has embarked on a US$25 million refurbishment and expansion drive at some of its hotels as it seeks to keep them up to international standards to attract especially foreign tourists.
The group, which recorded a 24 percentage point drop in room occupancy in the third quarter of this year, said in a market update, Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga, Carribea Bay Resort in Kariba and Great Zimbabwe Hotel in Masvingo were among those targeted for upgrades.
Other African Sun hotels include the Monomotapa, Holiday Inns in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare, Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga, the Kingdom in Victoria Falls and Hwange Safari Lodge.
“The group has taken an initiative to revamp its product offering through a number of refurbishment programs for most of the hotels at an estimated cost of US$25 million,” African Sun said.
“We have commenced the refurbishment of Troutbeck Resort, Carribea Bay Resort and Great Zimbabwe Hotel albeit at a much slower pace as funding commitments and long term planning have been hampered by the 20 percent foreign currency surrender, as well as the thirty (30) days liquidation period.”
Part of the expansion drive had seen African Sun adding “high end camp sites” at Great Zimbabwe Hotel and Carribea Bay Resort in the third quarter of the year.
“This new product, known as “glamping”, because of the more luxurious feel compared to a standard campsite has already hosted the maiden group of guests at Caribbea Bay Resort in the October 2019,” the hotelier said.
“The market is excited about this new development and we anticipate an increase in foreign arrivals at these properties as we go into 2020.”
Meanwhile, African Sun said room occupancy for the third quarter of the year stood at 51 percent down from 75 percent in the same period last year on the back of high inflation and slump in foreign tourist arrivals.
The decline in the quarter led to an overall 11 percentage point decline in occupancy for the nine months of the year to September compared to the same period last year.
“This (third quarter decline) is represented by a 32 percent decline in room nights sold from 108 448 reported in the comparable quarter last year to 73 929 this year,” the hotel chain said.
A combination of violent demonstrations, and stay-aways which resulted in cancelled bookings from both the domestic and international market in the first quarter of the year, combined with “hyperinflation, weaker demand on the local market and a decline in foreign tourist arrivals” led to the overall nine month period decline in occupancy, it said.