Zimbabwe: Hotels ask government to review lockdown as occupancy drops to zero

The hospitality industry has pleaded with the government to review the current stringent Covid-19 lockdown restrictions as room occupancy levels hit zero as the industry faces huge financial losses.

Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com on Saturday, the President of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ), Clive Chinwada, lamented the low levels of activity that have pushed the industry to the brink of collapse.

“The occupancy rate has fallen over the past three weeks to zero percent in many destinations. There is very little activity going on,” he said.

“We have been dealing with the pandemic for over a year now. That year we had at least four lockdowns, including the current lockdown. So it is reasonable to suggest that we cannot continue to have endless blocks.

Chinwada pleaded with the government to reconsider the measures in place and allow the spread of Covid-19 to be managed without shutting down the economy.

“As a sector, we have defended vaccination against Covid-19 for our workforce, which now exceeds 70%. We have adopted management measures including sanitation, disinfection, masking, physical distancing making our industry a security industry in terms of protocols.

“To avoid losses, therefore, it is necessary to take into account the efforts of the sector and to allow the activities of the industry, including the holding of workshops, because we can confidently demonstrate that as a sector we are well positioned to prevent the spread of Covid-19, “he said.

Meanwhile, an instant survey of the financial performance of top hotels for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, shows Zimbabwe’s best hotels have been severely choked by Covid-19 lockdowns.

In an update last week, Meikles Limited chairman John Moxon said the group’s hotel division has suffered huge losses.

“The after-tax profit of the hospitality industry fell from a profit of $ 629.2 million the previous year to a loss of $ 122.7 million for the current year, international tourism and trips that were interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the period under review, and negatively affected income, profits and occupancy, ”he said.

Tourism and hospitality group, revenues of African Sun Limited (AfriSun) fell to an inflation-adjusted loss of $ 1.5 billion for the fiscal year ended December 2020 as the group was affected by the effects of the pandemic.

The group recorded a low occupancy rate of 23%, a decrease of 25% from the 48% recorded in 2019, ”said AfriSun President Alex Makamure.

The hotelier and tourism management company, Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) also reported a 66% drop in turnover and a 21% drop in occupancy rate for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. , due to the protracted impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector.

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