Cresta Hotels has embarked on multi million dollar refurbishment of its establishments in Zimbabwe as it seeks to keep in line with international trends and position itself for a boom in the tourism sector, officials said on Wednesday.
The tourism sector in Zimbabwe continues to under-perform owing to a number of factors affecting its potential to pull tourists, which authorities are battling to address.
Government has set itself an ambitious target to boost tourist arrivals to five million per year, up from the current one million visitors a year, and earning $5 billion by the year 2020.
Such as sharp rise will be a boon for the hotel industry. Cresta Hotels officials told the media during a tour of the group’s three mid-level establishments namely Cresta Jameson, Cresta Lodge and Cresta Oasis that the refurbishments would allow the group to stave off emerging competition.
The officials were however not keen to share the amount that the group had budgeted for the exercise, saying some of the budgets were still being worked on.
“We are thinking about the future so that when the economy picks, we do not have to start all over again,” said group sales and business development manager, Leonard Nyamutsamba.
He said even the 50-roomed Bulawayo-based Cresta Churchill was set to go under massive renovations.
At the Cresta Jameson, the group’s oldest hotel established in 1958, general manager Tinashe Kuvheya said the 123-roomed establishment was undergoing a phase by phase face lift owing to funding constraints.
“We are taking little steps in trying to fix the product in order to meet our clients’ expectations,” he said.
So far the hotel has spent over $700 000 in new elevators, locking systems and other amenities.
Mr Kuvheya said the hotel had slashed prices by almost 50 percent in line with market demands and to support efforts to promote domestic tourism.
The 110-rommed Cresta Oasis which is located in central Harare is set to undergo renovations in the next six months, said general manager Crispen Chimumvuri.
“Extensive refurbishments are going to start in September,” he said, choosing to keep the cost figure a secret.
The three-star hotel opened to the public in 1974, and has been enjoying a favourable occupancy of more than 50 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
At the 171-roomed Cresta Lodge outside the capital, TA Holdings, the parent company of the hotel chain, spent over $7 million in sprucing it up to international standards in the past three years.
Besides Zimbabwe, Cresta Hotels also runs business in Botswana and Zambia.