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– NewsDay

ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange listed hospitality giant, Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) says it is confident of a rebound this year as airlines return following a lengthy shutdown triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak last year.

Africa’s tourism sector was severely hit  by the COVID-19 outbreak as governments closed borders to avoid imported strains of the virus.

However, in the past few months, the world has been slowly opening up international travel with airlines allowed to fly under strict COVID-19 guidelines.

Last month, regional carrier Airlink said it had reviewed its strategy on the Harare-Cape Town route following a marked boom in demand, while British Airways Compair, said at the weekend it was reintroducing frequencies into Zimbabwe starting this month.

Zimbabwe’s second largest leisure chain said these developments pointed to a positive outlook.

“It is pleasing to note that airlines are now beginning to resuscitate regional routes which will have a positive impact on regional tourism,”

RTG said in a first quarter trading update yesterday.

“The tour operations arm Heritage Expeditions Africa (RTG’s logistics operation) activities were also affected by the lockdown. We anticipate the volumes to grow in line with increasing domestic business activities,”

RTG said.

“The first quarter of the year closed at occupancies of 12%. This performance is attributed to the increased business activity in the month of March as there was no significant business activity in the first two months of 2021. The comparative 2020 occupancies were 33% representing full activity during that period except for Rainbow Towers Hotel and Conference Centre which was closed for a planned refurbishment. It is pleasing to note that, activities in city hotels have significantly increased mainly driven by conferencing.

The Victoria Falls area hotels remain affected by the impact of COVID -19 on world travel,”

it said.

The group inflation adjusted revenues for the period under review closed at ZW$198 million from $368 million recorded over the same period last year.

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