REGULATOR of the tourism sector, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has given hoteliers a six month ultimatum to put their house in order or risk loosing their star status, authority boss has said.
ZTA chief executive Mr. Karikoga Kaseke said some hoteliers were operating below the status of their star rating, adding that this behaviour was bad and has to be addressed in the shortest time possible or risk been scratched of their star status.
He said the Authority, ZTA, has received several complaints about the standards and level of service delivery in the Bulawayo hospitality industry.
“We can confirm that indeed standards have fallen and this has been an issue of great concern to the Authority and our inspectors have been on the ground in Bulawayo before and during the ZITF and several establishments including the major Bulawayo Hotels have been inspected,” said Mr. Kaseke.
“Whilst we may not discuss the details of the reports on individual hotels we wish to state that those hotels that were found wanting were given a period of six months to improve their standards and service delivery before they are stripped of stars as provided for in the Tourism Act.”
Mr. Kaseke said several hotels were on serious refurbishment programmes and that ZTA was aware that one of the groups (Holiday Inn) had its unit in Bulawayo, recently inspected for international franchise purposes and managed to meet the grade to retain the international brand.
He thumped up Holiday Inn saying the group was exhibiting its sample rooms at the ZITF as part of their refurbishment programme.
He said the majority of registered lodges in Bulawayo had acquitted themselves well in terms of standards and service delivery.
Mr Kaseke added that ZTA was aware of the challenges that are being faced by the hospitality industry and especially the accommodation sector to improve their standards
There were major funding problems being faced, he said, adding that a facelift from the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (DIMAF) and other similar funds that the tourism sector can access was coming.
Mr. Kaseke said the sector was cushioned by the introduction of the duty free import facility for the tourism sector will also make it easier for the sector to refurbish, expand or modernize their product.
He also warned and cautioned the industry on pricing saying it was disruptive to overcharge their services during national events such as the just ended ZITF saying they should abide with regional rates and agreed sectoral prices.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kaseke said the national airline; Air Zimbabwe must increase flight between Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls from thrice per day to at least five times a week to allow for easy movement of tourists connecting the three major paces.
Currently, Air Zimbabwe is plying three local routes but is under serious problems ranging from operational to financial.
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