Liberty Dube Business Correspondent
HOTELS in Mutare and Vumba have recorded significant improvement in room occupancy in the first quarter of the year, particularly before, during and after the devastating Cyclone Idai, which killed hundreds and left thousands homeless.
In a snap survey conducted by Post Business, most accommodation facilities, particularly in Mutare city, were fully booked leaving scores of accommodation seekers resorting to lodges or hotels out of desired proximity.
The cyclone disaster, which took place in Chimanimani, Chipinge and other parts of Masvingo, has seen an influx of international organisations, embassies, non governmental organisations among others attending the affected areas on humanitarian grounds.
Hotels in Chimanimani were not spared either.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe representative for Mutare and Vumba, Mr Leonard Bwanya, who is also Musangano Lodge manager, said: “There was tremendous improvement in room occupancy.
“We hosted quite a number of tourists, local and foreign. Understandably we are way out of town but we recorded some improvement on traffic in the first quarter of the year.”
Skyview Hotel sales and marketing official Tiny Gango said: “We did realise an upward surge in accommodation in the first quarter, particularly during the cyclone Idai crisis, with most being NGOs and other local and international stakeholders.
However, there was a drop in conferencing business as most organisations were affected directly or indirectly by the cyclone.”
One of Vumba’s hotels, White Horse Inn, despite experiencing normal traffic of tourists, was not spared by the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai.
The hotels’ co-director Mr Frank Marembo said: “We were affected by the cyclone particularly roads accessibility and rainy weather and mist. There was normal traffic.
“However, we are expecting an upsurge this Independence and Easter holiday as the roads have cleared up and our exciting and sumptuous menu.”
Local hotels, such as Holiday Inn, Golden Peacock and White Horse Inn responded to the Cyclone Idai disaster appeal for relief and handed over some goods to the affected families as part of their social responsibility programmes.
Golden Peacock Hotel official, Mr Willard Madhombiro said: “Although, as hotels, we are commercial organisations and don’t want to be seen as organisations that are solely to make money, we respondent to the crises by handing over relief to the affected families. Our hotel has been busy throughout. We have been fully booked as there was a lot of traffic.
“Some people would turn away after learning that some guests would be booked for more than two weeks or even a month. Generally there has been brisk business in the first quarter of the year.”