The government has expressed concern at the decision by Bulawayo hotels to increase their rates by as much as 350 percent to capitalise on the annual Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) set for this month.
The 2019 trade fair showcase will run from April 23 to 27, 2019 and hotels in the city increased their prices from an average RTGS$300 to RTGS$1500 per day.
This year’s 60th ZITF edition will run under the theme: “Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade and Investment.”
Addressing journalists during a Press conference at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo yesterday, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ngqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, expressed concern at the exorbitant fees charged by hotels and lodges in the city.
“On price hikes what I would perhaps address now has to do with accommodation charges, which have in most cases more than trebled.
“We had a meeting with the executives of most of these hotels with the minister of tourism yesterday last afternoon also to just indicate our concern on the manner in which in our view is treating ZITF clients,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu lamented that the hospitality sector wanted to capitalise on the international pull of the showcase without assisting in marketing the global showcase.
“I highlighted to them that if only they took part in aggressive marketing of ZITF maybe then can we tolerate the kind of behaviour than to wait for ZITF to market – have people confirm that they are coming and then overcharge them because they have no choice,” he said.
“There are critical issues we discussed, the first one was the actual rates themselves to which I’m told are in the region of RTGS1500 for some per day.
“The second issue was the issue of blocking people to say you can only book for seven days as cannot book for a day or two. This kills the hospitality industry as the visitors might look at ZITF as a low hanging fruit but certainly, it doesn’t augur well for the survival and growth of this sector.”
To date, 47, 724 square metres have been taken up by a total of 435 exhibitors, representing 90.03 percent occupancy uptake of space made available for sale.
Last year, 45 632 square metres was taken up by 414 exhibitors.
Of these 12 percent are first-time exhibitors as for the geographical mix, 59 percent are local exhibitors, from Harare, 23 percent from Bulawayo, 13 percent from other towns and five percent are foreigners.
12 foreign exhibitors are Botswana, Ethiopia, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Zambia.