Leonard Ncube, Chronicle Senior Reporter
PRIVATE homeowners in Victoria Falls have hiked rentals as they seek to cash in on the 15th Annual Zanu-PF People’s Conference which started yesterday.
Mainline hotels and lodges in the resort town which have a combined 3,400 beds are fully booked for the week, thereby throwing a lifeline to private home owners to cash in on the development, charging between $30 and $35 per night per room.
Zanu-PF local organising committee, chaired by former Victoria Falls Mayor Alderman Nkosilathi Jiyane, and charged with organising accommodation for delegates, reportedly pegged private accommodation at an average of $35.
About 6 500 delegates, of which 2 500 are VIPs, are expected at the conference which ends on Sunday.
The VIPs are booked in mainstream hotels and lodges while the majority will be accommodated at schools.
Most residents have upgraded their houses into private lodges and are offering accommodation to visitors to the city.
A room that used to cost $20 is now pegged at between $30 and $35. During off peak periods some rooms even cost $10, but now they are attracting $35.
Most of those seeking accommodation at private houses are service providers drawn from different government Ministries whose accommodation is not covered by Zanu-PF and they share a room in threes or fours.
Demand for accommodation is usually high when there are big conferences and residents cash in on the opportunity.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief operating officer Givemore Chidzidzi recently said the hosting of the revolutionary party’s conference was a rare business opportunity for private home owners and an early boost for tourism players ahead of the festive season.