The Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has condemned the high level of rates purportedly being charged by some accommodation providers in Bulawayo for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
Permanent Secretary in the Tourism Ministry, Mr Munesu Munodawafa said the unpopular reaction to some of the charged rates calls for intervention by the authorities as they seek to protect the consumers while at the same time also promoting business.
In this regard, the Ministry is in engagement with the Operators, Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe and the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe in an attempt to amicably resolve the problem as a matter of urgency.
Mr Munodawafa said whilst it is an understandable and widely accepted notion that supply and demand determine the prices of goods and services, providers of services and goods should not take advantage of the customers.
” Price hikes should be within reasonable and justifiable levels. The kind of price increases being alleged in Bulawayo and said to be triggered by demand far outstripping supply are not justifiable. We expect the hospitality sector to be responsible and to exercise restraint while conducting their businesses in an ethical manner.
“It is a known fact that we have been accorded the best status as a Sustainable Destination both in Africa and we have been internationally recognised as a must visit destination during the 2019. We have also managed to surpass the highest tourism figures of 1999 to an unprecedented 2.5 million visitors in 2018. We have also grown our tourism figures and we cannot dilute the positives garnered in the new dispensation, the second republic,” Mr Munodawafa said.
He said the industry cannot price itself out of business, but should remain competitive with the region and the international community in its pricing structure.
“This kind of pricing effectively works against our Domestic Tourism marketing efforts as ordinary Zimbabweans will not be able to afford their own tourism product.”
Going forward, he said it is necessary to find a lasting solution towards promoting investment into the accommodation sector not only in Bulawayo but throughout the country.
“As a relief, the Ministry through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority in collaboration with the ZITF Company have allowed people with suitable accommodation in their homes to avail this to interested visitors during the ZITF time, and that at reasonable rates. Those interested in providing such a service should contact the ZTA or the ZITF Offices in Bulawayo to register. The premises will be duly inspected for registration purposes.”