African tourism in Rhodesia hampered by hotel shortages
The Rhodesia Herald,
June 20, 1968
ALTHOUGH tours to Rhodesian places of interest are becoming more and more popular among Africans, suitable hotel accommodation is still a serious handicap to them.
Among the most popular places in the country for African tourists are the Kariba Dam, the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Ruins, Matopos and The Sinoia Caves.
The managing director of Central African Agency Group Travel, which caters for African tourists, Charles Marowa, said yesterday that suitable accommodation at popular Rhodesian holiday resorts was almost non-existent.
“Where there are non-racial hotels, such as at Kariba, our customers cannot afford the hotel prices for periods extending more than a week,” he said.
Although the hotels provided accommodation for the richer tourists, there was a need for cheaper hotels to cater for the bulk of Africa travellers wishing to spend their holidays away from home.
“The African-owned hotels in the country’s districts throughout Mashonaland (though increasing in number) are not suitable for the tourists visiting the popular resorts, because they are very much out of the way,” said Mr Marowa.
He added that the African tourism industry was also being handicapped by the lack of cheaper hotels in the Salisbury area. Bulawayo was better, he said.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
- The country’s major tourism ambassadors are its people. While the country has been independent for 42 years, the culture of going on holiday especially among most black people is still non-existent.
- The majority of Zimbabweans only know about the country’s major attractions from reading or seeing pictures in magazines, newspapers, on television and the social media, which is unattainable. – Domestic tourism has a lot of potential in generating business for the tourism sector especially after Covid-19 seriously impacted international travel. But for this to happen, the local tourism industry needs to have a paradigm shift, especially on pricing, which is still a major deterrent to many Zimbabweans who wish to go on holiday.
- There is need for a deliberate policy to revive domestic tourism as a buffer in case of disruptive pandemics such as Covid-19.
- The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has done well in this regard and has been instrumental in trying to market local products and attraction on offer to domestic tourists through the ZimBho initiative and has also been pushing for packages specifically tailored for the local market.
- The authority has even initiated a programme where locals can team up as a group and choose a holiday destination, get a quote, and start saving up for their holiday and they can then take their holiday once they reach their target.
- There is need for construction of more accommodation facilities in major tourist resorts to encourage competition, which will lead to reduced and affordable rates for many.