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Tourism facilities to be regraded

ZIMBABWE’S tourism facilities will now be re-graded under a new statutory instrument that has been drafted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).

Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Tourism minister Francis Nhema yesterday confirmed that there was a new grading system ready for release and use by stakeholders. A reputable consultant company was hired to design the new system.

The statutory instrument will replace the old one which has been in use since 1980.

Nhema said: “I am waiting for the new statutory instrument which is currently with the printers which authorises us to grade tourism amenities such as lodges to meet international standards.”

The move has stalled the downgrading of some hotels as mooted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority in a document leaked to businessdigest last month.

The ZTA had made plans to downgrade hotels belonging to three listed companies – Zimsun Leisure Group (Zimsun), Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) and TA Holdings (TA).

The five-star Crowne Plaza Monomatapa, owned by Zimsun, and RTG’s Ambassador Hotel were among the hotels to face re-ratings. Jameson Hotel, owned by TA Holdings was also expected to lose a star.

Meanwhile, Nhema reportedly quizzed ZTA officials over the document leaked to businessdigest on the planned re-rating of some hotel establishments.

The minister was said to oppose the re-rating exercise, sources say.

The hoteliers are said to have expressed outrage at the contents of ZTA’s document which they said were detrimental to their businesses.

“We expressed shock at the contents of the document and we approached the ZTA people for an explanation. They have since apologised to the affected hotel groups for leaking the document to the media before consulting us,” said one of the hotel officials who asked not to be named.

If the action had been taken, Crowne Plaza Monomatapa was likely to have its five stars slashed to four, Jameson from four to three, and the Ambassador Hotel from three to two.

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