By Daniel Chigundu
CRESTA Hotels is going to spend about $1.5 million on the refurbishment of Cresta Oasis in line with the group’s intentions of remaining relevant on the tourism market.
Work at Cresta Oasis will include creation of a new conference room, bar and entertainment centre, upgrading of bathrooms and general sprucing of various public areas.
Cresta Hotels Zimbabwe country director Chipo Mandela said the refurbishment is part of the group’s program that started about six years ago and has seen several of the group’s hotels getting a facelift across the country before coming to Cresta Oasis.
“…And now here at Cresta Oasis, we are already in the process of undertaking a major refurbishment program that will transform this hotel into what will be the most exciting venue in its specialised market field.
“It will be the natural home for conferences, long-stay guests, short-stayers primarily from around Zimbabwe and across the Southern African region, and people from within the city looking to be hosted and entertained in stylish and modern manner.
“This hotel celebrated its 40th anniversary just three years ago and it is our belief that we will create on its already solid foundation one of the true hospitality gems of Harare,” she said.
The refurbishments at Cresta Oasis comes at a time when the country is anticipating a surge in tourism activities buoyed by an increase in international arrivals following the coming on the new dispensation in November 2017.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, if hotels in Harare do not expand in terms of beds, they will soon be overwhelmed by demand.
Mandela added that the refurbishment is scheduled to be completed by end of the year and that it is also a statement of the group’s confidence potential of Harare.
“This is a significant and exciting development that will cost Cresta Hotels about $1.5 million and is scheduled for completion by end of this year. It is a major investment and stems from our confidence in the current and future potential of Harare, of Zimbabwe and of this region.
“We firmly believe that a golden age of travel and tourism into this region and this country is about to happen, spurred on in part by the changes that have taken place and continue to take place in the macroeconomic environment. Between 1988 and 1999 Zimbabwe was the go-to destination of Africa, and we in Cresta believe a return to this position is on its way,” she said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the tour of the refurbishment work, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira applauded Cresta for adhering to refurbishment requirements and for taking advantage of the Tourism Revolving Fund.
She said the refurbishments have a direct bearing on the overall picture of Zimbabwe as a destination of choice with various competitive accommodation facilities.
“The refurbishment will further position Cresta Hotels as the preferred accommodation host for visitors to Zimbabwe and increase the groups business within the region and locally.
“In the past hotels have had challenges in meeting the 10-year mandatory requirement for hotels to refurbish and retool their establishments, but you have proved otherwise of late by undertaking major renovations here at Cresta Oasis, Cresta Lodge, Cresta Churchill in Bulawayo and Cresta Sprayview in Victoria Falls.
“I would like to urge you and other operators to take advantage of the various incentives to support refurbishment programs that you are undertaking,” she said.
Ministry of Tourism through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe set up a TRF of US$15 million so that players can access funding on a business case basis and be able to revamp their properties.
The government has also put in place rebates such as Statutory Instrument (SI) 10 of 2018 which allows one to import capital goods duty-free and Statutory Instrument 159 of 2017 which allows importation of motor vehicles by the sector duty free.–