Bookings for the Christmas holidays is well above 70 percent in some lodges at Hwange National Park and Sikumi forests with locals taking most of the rooms.

The festive season is around the corner and indications are that locals have embraced the culture of visiting the country’s tourist attractions during public holidays.

However, there is need for some of the hotels and lodges to be refurbished to surpass the standard set by competitors in the region.

Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Public Relations Manager, Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed that bookings are still coming through adding that the wildlife authority is looking for investors to refurbish its facilities.

“We are sitting on about 250 accommodation units across the country, by which we have a carrying capacity of 880 beds and what we are targeting is to upgrade them to four and five star hotel status. The rehabilitation process has been staggered into clusters and we are starting off with Lake Chivero and Matopos,” he said.

Forestry Commission Marketing Manager, Mr Enock Mandura noted that some days are already fully booked from the 18th of December.

He however stressed the need to revisit the pricing models for the country to remain competitive.

“If you look at the products that we offer in Zimbabwe, they are probably the same as in the neighbouring countries but our pricing structure is a bit higher compared to what our regional counterparts are charging. The reason being that our prices are pegged in United States dollars and when you compare the rate of exchange against other regional currencies, that makes our product a bit on the upper side,” he said.

Although the tourism sector experiences numerous challenges, it enjoys the abundance of highly skilled manpower, thus giving it an advantage in service delivery compared to other countries in the region.