From Isdore Guvamombe GYEONGJU CITY, South Korea
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is withdrawing five hotels from the Rainbow Tourism Group, as it moves to enhance its
business thrust in line with its economic turnaround project.
In an interview here yesterday, ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke, said ZTA was withdrawing Rainbow Towers and New Ambassador Hotel in Harare, Rainbow Bulawayo, Rainbow Victoria Falls and a lodge in Hwange, as part of its new business thrust.
But RTG chief executive Mrs Chipo Mtasa said she was not aware of any such moves "so we have no comment to make".
Said Mr Kaseke: "We cannot be a tourism authority without a single hotel or lodge. We have made a decision to repossess Rainbow Towers, Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel, New Ambassador Hotel in Harare, Rainbow Hotel Victoria Falls and a lodge in Hwange. I can't name the lodge but it's a good one in Hwange.
"At the peak of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, the ZTA leadership of that time surrendered these facilities to the Ministry of Public Construction and they were leased out."
Asked if the ZTA had the capacity to run the hotel facilities, Mr Kaseke said it could subcontract someone to run or lease them out.
"We must make money out of those facilities. Even if we make US$100 000 a month from them, we will be fine,'' said Mr Kaseke.
He said the ZTA had already started working on the necessary modalities to ensure that the hotels become the ZTA's a cash cow. It had largely survived on Government grants and levies paid by the tourism and hospitality industry.
Mr Kaseke said it "made sense" to repossess the facilities since his organisation had, over the years, rebranded and repositioned itself to market, promote and develop the tourism industry.
ZTA, which hosts many local and international celebrities and media houses as part of its National Perception Management Programme, needs hotel and lodge facilities of varied sizes and comfort.
Over the years, ZTA has been either paying cash or relying on the benevolence of hoteliers to accommodate its visitors.
"As an authority we need to invest in the industry as well, so that we get first-hand experience on the situation on the ground.
"We need to work on serious investment projects elsewhere in the country's tourist resorts, so that we generate income for ourselves,'' said Mr Kaseke.