Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
REPRESENTATIVES of Marriott Hotels for Leisure and Business Travel — one of the world’s largest hospitality, hotel chains, and food services companies are expected in the Resort town of Victoria Falls today, amid indications that a deal for a half a billion dollars investments in an exclusive hotel and river side lodge has been signed with a local company.
The visit by the Marriott representatives — expected to become the biggest game changer in the tourism sector and the country at large — was revealed last week by Mr Aaron Chinhara – managing director of a 100 percent indigenous fuel distributors, importers and retailers in the country, Glow Petroleum.
Mr Chinhara was speaking on the sidelines of the official opening of a $2 million service station called the Great Dyke Centre in Shurugwi town, along the Shurugwi-Zvishavane Road.
He said Zimbabwe’s tourism sector was poised for growth, amid indications that the Marriot Corporation — the parent company of Marriott Hotels for Leisure and Business Travel — had signed an MoU for the investment in two leisure centres 2020 and 2022.
Mr Chinhara said representatives of the firm will be landing in the resort town today for a two-day working visit on modalities for the action plan of the investment proposal, which will take place at two sites.
“We have a half billion investment that is coming to Victoria Falls,” he said. “We are starting construction in 2020 and expect to finish it in 2022. We are building what is called a boutique hotel in Victoria Falls; it will be the first concept we are putting up in Zimbabwe.”
“There are two places for the projects, which are a boutique hotel and a river side camp. The Marriott’s are international hoteliers in various parts of the world. We have shared our ideas with them and they are happy to work with us. So they are coming for a business meeting with us.” Mr Chinhara said without unnecessary bottlenecks and corruption — the country would attract many investors.
“This project will take off and will be a game changer for the tourism sector because it will be a tourist attraction,” he said. “We need to do away with bottlenecks and corrupt officials.”
According to Forbes magazine, the Marriott family network was $6,5 billion in 2015 and they were at number 42 on the list of America’s richest families. The family got into the hotel business in 1957, opening the world’s first motor hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
Marriott International today controls nearly 4 000 hotels in over 70 countries, including under the Ritz-Carlton and Bulgari brands.