rtg hotels harare.jpgDisparities have emerged in the tourism sector with a number of hotel operators posting losses and downsizing operations at a time when the industry is said to be growing.

While the tourism sector was hyped as one of the fastest emerging economic sectors in 2011 and projected to grow by 13,7% in 2012, and reaching up to 15% in 2015, market performance of the country’s top tourism and hospitality companies is showing otherwise.

The Rainbow Tourism Group was reported to have put its Bulawayo hotel up for sale to deal with short term debt, while African Sun was said to be streamlining operations.

An analyst, Mr Gilbert Musungwa attributed the performance of some hotel groups and growth in the sector to increased competition within the industry.

“There has been increased competition in the sector and as a result, some of these big players are bound to feel the pinch from the small players, hence this low performance,” said Mr Musungwa.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Vice President, Mr Tamuka Macheka said increased volumes of tourists and occupancy would take time to reflect on the balance sheets of some hospitality companies as they had borrowed at prohibitive rates during the era of hyperinflation which the economy is emerging from.

Zimbabwe’s tourism industry has been on the upward trajectory since 2009 as a result of extensive marketing efforts.

Room occupancy and tourists arrivals have steadily increased.