Victoria Falls Hotel celebrated 110 years of service on Thursday amid calls by Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi for the hotel to help government invite world personalities to complement tourism revival efforts.
The historic hotel overlooks the Victoria Falls Bridge and the gorges below. It opened its doors on June 8, 1904 with 12 single and four double rooms that have since increased to about 180.
Speaking at a colourful event at the hotel’s Livingstone Room – voted the seventh best restaurant in the world, Minister Mzembi challenged the hotel management to help in the country’s tourism revival by luring high ranking world personalities.
“I challenge you to go further and attract these personalities because you set a brand as a hotel. The challenge also goes to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to bring these personalities,” said Minister Mzembi.
The hotel’s general manager Giulio Togni thanked Minister Mzembi for creating a good operating environment.
“There are several qualities that make Victoria Falls Hotel special and we thank Minister Mzembi for creating and sending a good image of this country. As Victoria Falls Hotel we are committed to re-energise and revitalise the tourism brand in the country,” he said.
Victoria Falls Partnership board member, Karl Snater said they would continue refurbishing the hotel and improve the quality on the ISO 9002 certified facility – a status it achieved in 1999.
“The glorious years of this hotel are legendary just like the thundering falls. The Minister has flown Zimbabwe’s flag high and as a hotel we envisage 110 more years in business.
“Plans are under way to continue improving the property and we will in the next few months unveil our refurbishment programme for 2015,” he said.
The hotel started a massive refurbishment programme last year to maintain the standard of a five star hotel.
Some of the world personalities that have used Victoria Falls hotel as listed by Minister Mzembi are President Mugabe, former Presidents Joyce Banda (Malawi), Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), Zambia President Michael Sata, Dubai Royal Family, preacher Joyce Meyer, Prince of Whales, Michael Schumacher, the British Royal family of King George V1, Queen Elizabeth, Princesses Margaret and Anne, TV personality Oprah Winfrey among others.
Meanwhile, the hotel management rewarded its long serving staff who have served the hotel with diligence and loyalty in different departments.
Roy Dube, Noel Chiwara, John Mathe were given certificates for 34 years of service, Dorman Murapata (36), Duly Chitimbire (38), Philip Mulenga (39) and Phillip Johns James who has worked at the hotel for 45 years.
From : Chronicle
By Leonard Ncube
23 June 2014