DESPITE the Covid 19 pandemic setback, some local hotels have spent millions of dollars in renovating their properties to keep abreast with world class standards.
The tourism sector is among the hardest hit industries globally after countries implemented lockdowns and travel restrictions to limit the spread of the pandemic.
Locally, various operators closed their facilities on the back of subdued demand and those with deep pockets used that as an opportunity to spruce up their facilities.
Hospitality group, Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) invested as much as US$4 million in renovations while Cesta is set to relaunch its Cresta Jameson Hotel in Harare once it finishes the ongoing US$2,5 million refurbishment exercise in the next three months.
"As many of you know, we embarked on a US$2,5 million refurbishment more than 18 months ago and, despite the hurdle of the Covid-19 pandemic and all that ensued, we are now nearing completion of the project, Jameson general manager Ms Emily Mumba said last week during a media briefing that coincided with the launch of Cresta Hotels' latest property, Cresta Grande Cape Town, based in South Africa. "Within two or three months, Cresta Jameson will be hosting a relaunch event to celebrate the rebirth of a genuine Harare landmark," added Ms Mumba.
Cresta Jameson is an historic hotel in Zimbabwe, which opened its doors in 1958 and many of its service areas are equally famed, including Tiffany's restaurant. At the time it commenced operations it was half its present size, but expanded in the 1970s with major refurbishments coming in the 1980s and 1990s. The ongoing rehabilitation is aimed at upgrading all facilities and amenities to give the hotel a fresh look.
"It must be remembered that this was Zimbabwe's first four-star hotel, a grading given before there were any four or five-star hotels in this country," said Ms Mumba.
RTG started the refurbishments during the first quarter of 2020, starting with its flagship Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare which was completed within three months.
The project marked the hotel's first full room refurbishment since it was constructed in 1985.
"The scope of works included plumbing, electrical, ceiling works, new bathrooms, installation of two brand new guest elevators and new in-room furniture and fittings at a total project cost of an equivalent of US$4,4 million," said group chairman Mr Arthur Manase in group's financials for the year to December 31, 2020
"The hotel now offers world-leading rooms that can compete with other comparable 5-star facilities."
The refurbishments comes as the group is also gearing for the anticipated rebound in the tourism sector as economies recover from the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"A glimmer of hope has come from the ongoing vaccine efforts around the world and in Zimbabwe.
"This process is expected to facilitate the quick recovery of economies worldwide as well as the gradual recovery of international travel," he said.
The group is also banking on the Gateway Stream Platform to play a significant role in its recovery.
The Gateway Stream web and mobile application is a global diversified and unified online business ecosystem that delivers perpetual, passive and active income through the ownership of markets where it connects customers with the highest quality of products and services. Gateway Stream has been positioned as a driver of revenue and continues to capitalize on the opportunities presented by e-commerce.