Victoria Falls’ average room occupancy level for the Independence and Easter holidays is hovering around 60% with tourism players in the resort town pinning their hopes of improved business on last minute bookings from regional and international tourists.
After recording brisk business during the 2018 Easter and Independence holidays, hoteliers in the country’s premier tourism destination have to contend with subdued bookings as the slow start to the year continues to impact on the sector.
Average room occupancy for the destination, which stood at around 78% for the 2018 Easter holidays, is currently hovering around 60% this year.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) Victoria Falls Chapter Chairperson, Mr Farai Chimba said despite the decline in bookings compared to last year, the industry remains confident of positive figures going forward to be driven by aggressive marketing and renewed confidence in the destination.
“We have certain days which are filled up but we are seeing an overall decline in occupancy for the period leading up to Tuesday. We are expecting an average room occupancy of 61% for the five days of holidays and still optimistic that last minute bookings will help increase the occupancy level,” he said.
Easter and Independence holidays bookings are traditionally dominated by domestic tourists and due to subdued disposable incomes and fuel challenges, many locals could not travel to the destination.
Some tourism analysts have also attributed the downturn and slow start to the year to the election period in neighboring South Africa which is a key source market for the country.
Despite the subdued bookings, many hoteliers in the resort town are currently running promotions and holiday specials in a bid to entice local tourists and to promote domestic tourism.