From :
2 May 2012
From : Victoria Mtomba Business Reporter
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is seeking $30 million from the Preferential Trade Area Bank (PTA) to retool the country’s tourism players.

The funds to be disbursed through the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe will be available next month.

Speaking on the sidelines of the tourism performance update during the first quarter on Monday, ZTA chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke said the funds were not meant for new construction projects.

He said the major challenge facing tourism players was lack of funding, resulting in the decline of service delivery in the sector.

“We are sourcing $30 million from PTA Bank and we expect it to be available by the end of this quarter,” said Kaseke. “The funds will be for refurbishment, upgrading and retooling of the sector which has experienced problems in the past 11 years.”

The development comes as the country’s tourism marketing body has disclosed that 10 lodges and a five-star hotel in Bulawayo risked losing their ratings as a result of deteriorating standards and poor service delivery.

Kaseke said tourism players in Bulawayo were the most affected by the state of the economy as many companies had closed business.

Giving an update on the first quarter, he said the performance of the sector so far was better than the comparative period last year.

Kaseke could, however, not disclose figures on arrivals and hotel occupancies.

“The sector performed better than last year and we expect it to surpass last year’s performance as some hotels have received next year’s bookings,” he said.

The sector is projected to grow by 13,7% from 10,3% in 2011 with the average occupancy rate increasing to 60% this year.

According to the Medium-Term Plan, the tourism sector is set to increase hotel rooms to
15 000 by 2015 from 6 248, while hotel beds will increase to 18 000 from 12 000.