International tourism wholesalers are now beginning to believe and to accept that, contrary to some media campaigns, Zimbabwe is one of the safest tourism destinations in the world but the tourism industry is likely to remain in deep recession this year.
One of the country’s leading hotel groups, Rainbow Tourism Group says in its report for 2002 though it remains positive about the high integrity of Zimbabwe as a unique and world-class tourism destination, it is concerned by the persistent negative publicity in some international media, the intermittent supply of fuel, high inflation and the shortage of foreign currency.
It says the shortage of foreign currency had resulted in the shortage of some basic supplies to the industry while the shortage of fuel had resulted in a number of cancellation of bookings especially by South Africans who prefer to drive themselves around the country.
Sales increased from $1.3 billion to nearly $3 billion while operating profit increased from $964.3 million to $2.4 billion. Operating expenses, however, shot up from $927.4 million to $2.2 billion resulting in a net profit of $164.6 million, less than double the $85.3 million realised the previous year.
Hotel occupancies were generally at the same level as the previous year, but the Sheraton Hotel had regained its position as the company’s flagship and the country’s leader in the 5-star market. Touch the World Safaris and Lodges had a terrible year, its worst ever.