Concern has been raised over the increase in the number of hotels and tourism facilities that are being turned into offices thereby reducing the number of tourism room stocks on the market.While the world continues to show confidence in Zimbabwe as evidenced by the increase in tourist arrivals and the recent victory by the country to co-host the UNWTO conference, the reality on the ground is that room stocks on the local market is shrinking as hotels are being turned into offices.
Currently, Harareâ€™s Quality International Hotel is closed while other hotels have been transformed into offices.
Zimbabwe Council for Tourism President, Mr. Tendai Madzivanyika said the sector is concerned with the continued loss of hotel rooms at a time there has been an upsurge in hotel room occupancy averaging 70% in Harare.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Givemore Chidzidzi said the problem requires quick intervention through the enactment of a tourism policy that prevents hotel facilities from being sold and turned into offices or church buildings.
â€œAs the tourism sector finalises the Tourism Act, there must be a provision that compels business people to get a Change of Land Use Approval before such facilities are turned into offices,â€ said Mr. Chidzidzi.
Some of the Harare hotels that have been turned into other facilities during the past decade include the then George Hotel in Avondale which has been turned into offices and the GMB Head Office which used to be the Park Lane hotel.
The Management Bureau in Msasa was once a hotel.
Feathers Hotel in Mabelreign and Kentucky hotel in Hatfield have now been turned into churches.