RTG’s occupancy  rate surges to 48pc RTG is undertaking the final phase of refurbishment at the Rainbow Towers Hotel and Conference Centre.(File Picture)

Enacy Mapakame

Listed hospitality group Rainbow Tourism Group’s (RTG) hotel occupancy rate for the first quarter to March 31, 2024, improved from 40 percent to 48 percent compared to the same period in the prior year, albeit with mixed economic outcomes.

The period under review was characterised by several challenges, among them the depreciation of the previous local currency, relaunched in April as Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG), and exchange rate volatility, which weighed on operations and had an impact on the cost of doing business.

The precious mineral and foreign currency reserve backed ZiG has shown considerable stability since introduction and promises to enhance stability and certainty in the economy.

“The trading environment during the first quarter of the year witnessed mixed economic outcomes. The then local currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, faced significant depreciation during the period under review,” said group company secretary Mr Tendai Mari.

However, the group’s hotel segment registered an increase in occupancy levels driven by corporate businesses through conferences, which also pushed revenues up by 55 percent to US$8,4 million compared to US$5,5 million recorded during the same quarter in the prior year.

The conferencing business achieved 40 percent growth in volumes during the quarter under review.

“This was led by increasing conference activities, mainly in city hotels,” said Mr Mari.

According to Mr Mari, tour operations, Heritage Expeditions African (HExA) continued a growth trajectory with increased business activities. The subsidiary’s revenues and activities grew three times and four times, respectively.

The group anticipates HExA to maintain its growth momentum throughout the remainder of the year.

As for the technology division, Gateway Stream, on the other hand, has continued to be an enabler for the overall business volumes. Activity on this platform has been mainly through highly successful musical concerts during the quarter under review.

The Gateway Stream web and mobile application is a globally diversified and unified online business ecosystem that delivers perpetual, passive, and active income through the ownership of markets where it connects with the highest quality of products and services. 

It has been positioned as a driver of revenue and continues to capitalise on opportunities presented by e-commerce.

Going forward, RTG is positioned to reap significant benefits from the growth of leisure tourism in the Victoria Falls market and in conferencing activities in city hotels. This also comes as there is a projected increase in international travel.

Management is also optimistic about prospects bolstered by the signed strategic joint venture partnership with Grant Metropolitan Hotels (GMH).

“It is projected that this strategic joint venture will significantly boost the group’s business in Zimbabwe as well as across the continent,” Mr Mari revealed.

Meanwhile, the group is undertaking the final phase of refurbishment at the Rainbow Towers Hotel and Conference Centre. The project entails upgrading the remaining 72 rooms out of the 305 total hotel rooms, installing the remaining guest elevators, and enhancing the public areas.

The conference centre will also undergo significant improvements, including the installation of new carpets and chairs in the 4 500-seat auditorium. All refurbishment works are scheduled to be completed by July 31, 2024, ensuring the venue is ready to host the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit in August.

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