By Lovejoy Mutongwiza
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority in partnership with Mashonaland Holdings Limited and Touch Road International Holdings Group has today signed a memorandum of understanding which will see the conversion of Charter House at the corner of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere street in the central business district of Harare into a five star hotel at an estimated cost of US$20 million.
The conversion of Charter House into a luxury hotel will see at least 80 hotel rooms being added to the current hotel room capacity of 2371 in Harare and is poised to change the face of tourism in the capital by adding another five-star accommodation facility.
In a speech read on her behalf by Dr Precious Sibiya, Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira said despite the new project, Zimbabwe still lags behind in as far as better accommodation is concerned.
“Even with this additional capacity Harare would still be lagging behind other cities in the region such as Johannesburg and Lusaka hence the need for more tourism investment not only in accommodation facilities but also modern conferencing facilities and amusement parks to mention just a few.
“Going by the renewed confidence in destination Zimbabwe in general and Harare in particular, arising from visitor friendly policies being implemented in the Second Republic, key destinations including Harare, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo are bound to run short of hotel accommodation by 2020,” said Mupfumira.
Mashonaland Holdings Limited Managing Director Gibson Mapfidza said the MOU is a culmination of engagements between themselves, Touch Road International Holdings Group and the ZTA.
“This mega investment is a result of the President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inaugural state visit to China in May last year where Touchroad Group signed an MOU with the Tourism Ministry.”
The total quantum of the perceived business investment initiatives within the deal was pegged at US$1.2 billion.