22 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Industry Blames Economy for Filthy Hotels

The country's hospitality industry has vowed to act after it was condemned over filthy "five-star" hotels where guests often endure unchanged linen and bed-sheets reeking of cigarette smoke.

Speaking while launching a $15m tourism development facility in Harare last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya lamented the collapse of service standards and the neglect of infrastructure in the sector.

"You need to improve your hotels and safaris," he said.

"I won't say which hotels, the beds are old, the sheets are old, I think they have old been changed because they were smelling too much cigarettes."

Responding, Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) president, Innocent Manyera, conceded that infrastructure was not in the best shape but blamed an inclement operating environment.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Manyera - general manager at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) Group of Hotels - said the sector had also been hit hard by the country's economic problems.

"Without proper funding operators were concentrating servicing business without much effort on infrastructure and other facilities of capital expenditure in nature," he said Manyera who is also general manager for the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) Group of Hotels.

"Cigarette smoke affects (hotel) walls and rooms as they will smell tobacco if not regularly painted of which, without financial resources, that may be a challenge for some of the (industry) players.

He said the facility provided by the RBZ would help hoteliers improve facilities.

"Not replacing beds with new ones isn't, actually, a habit. "We welcome the 15m fund and it will help address this."

Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT) president Tichaona Hwingwiri added; "Yes, the RBZ loan facility has come at a good time.

"We hope it will help us to improve the conditions of our hotels. On linen yes, I can confirm that bed sheets must be changed after 18 months and most of hotels have been doing that.

"Beds life span is generally five years and with the availability of the $15 million facility, this will no longer be a big challenge for our players."

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