Lisa Shirichena Herald Correspondent
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Engineer Walter Mzembi says hotels and private houses in Harare are ready to accommodate more than 5 000 delegates expected to attend this year’s edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in Africa (ICASA).
The seven-day conference starts in Harare on Sunday up to December 4 under the theme, “AIDS in post-2015 Era: Linking Leadership, Science and Human Rights”.
Addressing parliamentarians on Wednesday last week, Eng Mzembi said ICASA preparations were at an advanced stage and that the issue of accommodation had been dealt with. “We have more than enough accommodation, hotels and some private houses. Some Harare home owners have registered their properties for hospitality purposes, so that our visitors can go and stay there,” he said.
Minister Mzembi said all systems were ready to go.
“We are on course and as far as accommodation is concerned, we have more than enough accommodation,” he said. “We have plenty of food and there is no need for our people to go and eat food in South Africa.”
Eng Mzembi dismissed allegations that the visitors expected at the conference had complained about Harare accommodation as too expensive.
“Before the conference begins, we have agreed with the organisers of the meeting that delegates will be getting a certain concessional rate,” he said.
“I have not received any complaint that our accommodation is expensive, forcing our visitors to sleep in South Africa. I think they are all going to stay here in Zimbabwe.”
Eng Mzembi said that even if the country was experiencing power cuts, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) had assured them that power would always be available at hotels.
“Everything is on course and even electricity distribution has improved. I have not received any report, especially from Harare hotels, that they are having power cuts,” he said.
Eng Mzembi urged Zimbabweans to create a friendly environment to market brand Zimbabwe and called on people to utilise the ICASA opportunity.
ICASA brings together stakeholders working on HIV and Aids from all over the world and is a major meeting in the global fight against the pandemic.