ENVIRONMENT, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira has raise concerned over the rate at which Bulawayo hotels have hiked their rates for exhibitors coming for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).
Although this price increase is not new in Bulawayo especially towards ZITF which brings a huge demand for rooms, the hotels are said to have increased their rates to unimaginable levels, leading to prospective exhibitors complaining.
In a statement, Minister Mupfumira said while her ministry appreciates the concept of demand and supply in economics, but the operators should not be unreasonable in their pricing.
“The Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry notes with grave concern the level of rates purportedly being charged by some accommodation providers in Bulawayo for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. The unpopular reaction to some of the charged rates calls for intervention by the authorities as we 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.
“Whilst it is an understandable and widely accepted notion that supply and demand determines 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 alledged 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,” she said.
If the hotel prices are not resolved as matter urgency, they are likely to affect the number of exhibitors to the 2019th edition of ZITF which is arguably the country’s biggest business expo.
Local players who are operating in a difficult environment and who were hoping to take advantage of the business premier expo to market their products and services are likely to feel pain the most.
Minister Mupfumira said Zimbabwe has been receiving international recognition in the past months a sustainable tourism destination and those operators need not to price the country out of business with exorbitant rates.
“We cannot price ourselves out of business we must remain competitive with the region and international community in our 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 it is necessary to find a lasting solution and my Ministry together with relevant stakeholders and other partners are seriously 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.