CRESTA Hotels on Wednesday closed its five hotels as a result of the coronavirus scourge, which has resulted in the death of more than 40 000 people globally.
In a statement, Cresta Hotels managing director Chipo Mandela said they had taken the decision to close its hotels to safeguard its staff and customers.
“After wide-ranging discussion with key stakeholders and considerable deliberation within the company, it has been decided that all the Cresta Hotels will temporarily cease operations from April 1 until further notice,” Mandela said.
“The difficult decision has been taken as a result of the current situation arising from the international Covid-19 crisis, with the primary factor being safeguarding the health of customers and staff as well as their families and the community at large.”
She added that the closure was also to allow for the longer term survival of the hotel group.
The affected hotels are Cresta Lodge and Sango Conference Centre, Cresta Oasis Hotel and Apartments and Cresta Jameson Hotel in Harare as well as Cresta Churchill Hotel in Bulawayo and Cresta Sprayview Hotel in Victoria Falls.
“While all the planning in the current crisis remain difficult to undertake, it is hoped to recommence operations on Wednesday July 1, subject to decisions being made either to extend the period of closure or preferably to shorten this planned closure of operations,” Mandela said.
She said the decision will be guided by the relevant health authorities including the ministry of Health and World Health Organisation.
The pandemic has resulted in hotel and flight cancellations worldwide.
Tourism minister Mangaliso Ndlovu told businessdigest last week that the virus has severely crippled the tourism sector.
“A lot of hotels are operating below 20%. The situation is really bad,” Ndlovu said.
“There are prospects of closure of companies, in some cases, due to failure to pay rentals because of lack of business”
A survey by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries on the impact of Covid-19 found that airlines being grounded had reduced flights into Zimbabwe by 30%.
“Zimbabwe will lose tourism and hospitality receipts which are key to foreign currency supply. For instance, by the beginning of March 2020, flights into Zimbabwe had fallen by 30%, and this is before the lockdowns became worse around the world, with many countries completely shutting down their borders and banning any travel,” reads the report.
Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe chairperson Emmanuel Fundira said this year is a write-off for the sector as a result of cancellations in the wake of a pandemic.