Hotelier, Cresta Hotels has temporarily closed down its hotel properties across the country as the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic continues to spread and affect key economic sectors such as tourism.
Said Cresta Hotels Group managing director for Zimbabwe Chipo Mandela:
"After wide-ranging discussion with key stakeholders and considerable deliberation within the company, it has been decided that all five Cresta Hotels properties in Zimbabwe will temporarily cease operations from April 1 until further notice. Our last day of current operations will be March 31.
"This difficult decision has been taken as a result of the current situation arising from the international Covid-19 crisis, with the primary factor being the safeguarding of the health of customers and staff, as well as their families and the community at large."
The MD said 'the secondary objective' of the suspension of operations is to allow longer-term survival of the group's businesses, which is essential for all stakeholders, most notably staff, customers, the travel and tourism sector in Zimbabwe.
The group's businesses in the country include Cresta Lodge and Sango Conference Centre, Cresta Oasis Hotel and Apartments and Cresta Jameson Hotel in Harare, Cresta Churchill Hotel in Bulawayo and Cresta Sprayview Hotel at Victoria Falls.
"While all planning in the current crisis remains difficult to undertake, it is hoped to recommence operations on Wednesday July 1, subject to decisions being made either to extend the period of closure or, preferably, to shorten this planned closure of operations.
"All related decisions will be decided with the guidance of relevant health authorities, including the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation," she added.
"This decision has not been taken without considerable forethought and thorough consideration, as well as an examination of all options, and it is our belief that in doing so we are serving the best interests of all stakeholders, especially in the longer term. The co-operation, support and understanding of all staff, customers, the travel trade and other stakeholders is needed and greatly appreciated during this most difficult of all times in a situation of unprecedented challenge."