Economic recovery: A long way to go

THE Zimbabwe Council for Tourism has accused Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI) of failing to supply in time vehicles ordered by its affiliate for hiring during the Fifa World Cup in South Africa next year.

Addressing a year-end state of tourism press conference yesterday, ZCT president Emmanuel Fundira said the Zimbabwe Vehicle and Rental Association, a member of the tourism operators organisation, stands to lose business from the South Africa-hosted soccer safari after the WMMI failed to meet a deadline to supply a fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles they ordered.

“Some members of the vehicle and rentals association made deposits to Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries to bring car kits required in the assembling process,” Fundira said. “They were told that these kits would arrive between April and May 2010 and quite clearly this would not be good for business.”

He said the council was pursuing a number of “good enquiries” to host various soccer teams to train in Zimbabwe.

Vehicle Rental Association president, Beverley Sande, yesterday confirmed that orders made by the association several months ago had not been fulfilled.

The Zimbabwe Independent understands that the car assembler should have been able to import the kits within a month.

WMMI assembles Japanese Mazda vehicles that include BT50s, Mazda 3 and the Mazda Eagle.

“Willowvale have advised us they do not have kits for BT50. They will receive the kits in April 2010.

 

Our experience with them is that when the kits arrive they will take a month to assemble them and it means that we will get the cars well into the 2010 (World Cup),” Sande said. “There are other people who have paid six or seven months ago, but they haven’t received the cars. This (failure to supply the cars) is doing our business harm.”

The troubled company, she added, was not in a position to refund the operators.

Efforts to get comment from WMMI spokesperson Rutendo Chabururuka were in vain at the time of going to print, but a source in the company confirmed it had failed to supply the vehicles and could only do so next year.

Reviewing 2009, the ZCT president said the industry was on a recovery path buoyed by a rise to 60% occupancy compared to 30% registered last year.

“The challenge is to depoliticise tourism and we encourage the political leadership to speak with one voice to help lure visitors,” Fundira said.

Fundira also criticised vote allocations granted to tourism during the 2010 National Budget saying the ZCT would lobby for a “special budgetary allocation” for the soccer tournament.

 

Bernard Mpofu