By Nyasha Chingono
HOSPITALITY group, Cresta Hotels Zimbabwe will soon start refurbishing its Cresta Oasis Hotel in Harare during the first quarter of 2018 as part of efforts to achieve three-star rating from the current two-star.
Oasis’ refurbishment will involve revamping the 110 standard rooms, 24 apartments, the restaurant, conference centre and bar as the group aims at improving standards after spending US$7,2 million in 2015 on a similar exercise at some of its other establishments.
Senior management indicated last week that an upward demand for space and accommodation largely influenced the refurbishment programme.
Several promotions, according to group sales and business development manager, Tersh Makamanzi, have led to a surge in demand for the hotel’s facilities.
Acting general manager, Sheelpa Kanjee said Cresta had over the last quarter enjoyed 100 percent occupancy and hopes that will be sustained going forward.
“Over the past months, we have seen good occupancy, largely driven by conferencing at Sango conference centre which has become so popular,” she said.
Cresta Lodge has a total of 171 rooms and Kanjee indicated there was scope for adding more rooms there if demand is sustained.
Cresta Jameson, also in Harare, is going through partial refurbishments too and has 124 rooms. Resident manager, Emily Mumba, said the hotel was fully occupied during the third quarter of the year although November began on a low note.
“November has not started very well, but we are hopeful on seeing increased occupancy and conferencing as we enter the festive season,” she said.
Cresta is also sprucing up its Holiday Inn Bulawayo with the face lift expected to improve hotel occupancy in a sedentary region which currently is having depressed business activity.
The hotel business in the country is generally being negatively affected by the tourism sector’s continued under-performance, owing to various factors affecting tourists traffic into the country, chief among them poor perception, lack of world class facilities and a harsh economic environment.
Although government set an ambitious target to boost tourist arrivals to five million per year up from the current one million visitors, earning US$5 billion by 2020, the sector has remained depressed in tandem with the harsh economic climate that is making it difficult for both locals and tourists to access cash.