TOURISM players in the Eastern Highlands have expressed optimism for better economic fortunes amid hopes that traffic of local and foreign tourists will improve as challenges facing the country are temporary.
The Eastern Highlands is home to hotels such as Troutberk Inn, White Horse Inn, Golden Peacock Villa, Forest Hills, Montclair and Holiday Inn and scenic sites such as Chimanimani Mountains, Nyanga Mountain and National Park, Bvumba Botanical Gardens and Bvumba Mountains, Mtarazi Falls, Bridal Veil Falls in Honde Valley and Chimanimani respectively.
Troutberk Inn general manager Mr Charlton Chimbira said 2018 was a good year for the hotel which registered an increase in occupancy.
“Things are promising to be even better this year and we are optimistic that Government will continue to create a conducive environment for tourists. All the fundamentals are showing that we are going to have a good year. 2018 was a good year because of traffic from locals and foreigners. We always come up with strategies to make sure that we stay afloat and it has been working,” he said.
One of the Golden Peacock hotel’s managers Mr Willard Madhombiro said despite a stable influx of local and foreign traffic to the hotel, they hoped that the Government would continue empowering drivers of the economy.
“Government has played a critical role to create a peaceful and refreshing environment for local and foreign tourists. Its efforts in promoting domestic tourism have been fruitful. The corporates and organisations we were working with are still coming in because they have confidence in our services and products. We see a lot of tourists coming. We, however, believe that the construction of an airport in Mutare would help increase traffic. Air connectivity is critical. Average spending per guest is high and we expect it to be higher this year,” he said.
Holiday Inn Mutare general manager Mr Clive Chinwada said: “The tourism and hospitality industry was strong in 2018. We are expecting the momentum to be maintained going into 2019. Even with the optimism, we would also want to urge Government to attend to and address the currency distortions which continue to hang as a dark cloud to the economy,” he said.