The rise in domestic tourism, Zimbabweans visiting Zimbabwean resorts, is providing a solid stream of revenue for many in the hospitality industry and creating new business opportunities for those who have both the skills and the right product for the market.
At one stage, a lot of support as Zimbabwe moved out of Covid-19 lockdowns was from the large business sectors, the conferences, seminars and the like at major hotels with conference facilities.
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Many major firms, plus the big trade associations, like to have their annual meetings and special sessions away from the big cities.
Many of the facilities and the sort of services wanted in this market are close to what the same hotels and centres need to offer outside tourists, so the readiness of the rest of the Zimbabwe business sectors to rally round the hospitality sector was appreciated, and needed until international travel started returning to normal.
But there is now another market, Zimbabwean families and couples going on holiday and the welcome rise in this particular market was seen over the festive season when business travel is rare so any increase in numbers comes from holidaymakers, not business people.
Average occupancy rates at hotels reached 55 percent during this season and in resort areas touched 98 percent, basically totally full. Some of this would be international travel, but a lot the industry says is from Zimbabweans.
This growth in local tourism needs to be nurtured and built up. There was a time when few Zimbabweans visited their own resorts, any travel being largely to visit relatives, which is all very well, but hardly lets Zimbabweans see some of the glories of their own country.