African Sun shuts down 21 hotels as Covid-19 related cancellations take toll on hospitality sector

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

UNPLANNED cancellations on hotel bookings and restricted travel due to the outbreak of COVID-19 has led to one of the country’s leading hoteliers, African Sun Limited to close some of its hotels and strategic business units.

In a statement to stakeholders Monday, African Sun said the hospitality organisation was monitoring the situation and will likely reopen after the 21-day lockdown period declared by government as a measure to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

“In challenging times like these, with the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), African Sun Limited would like to thank you for your continued business and support,” said the firm in a statement.

“The company has been closely monitoring the outbreak and its impact on the business.

“In addition to this, the Government announced on Friday 27 March that there will be lockdown measures implemented to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) with effect from Monday 30 March 2020.

“The wellbeing of our staff and guest remains top priority, and in light of this, we have taken the decision to close the following strategic business units, hotels and resorts with effect from 30 March 2020.”

In the resort town of Victoria Fall, the company has shut downs Elephant Hills, Victoria Falls Hotel, The Kingdom Hotel, Makasa Sun and Sun Leisure Tours.

In Harare, the company has also closed down Harare Cassino, Monomotapa Hotel and Holiday Inn.

Also closed was Hwange Safari Lodge (Dete), Carribbea Bay Resort (Kariba), Troutbeck Resort (Nyanga), Holiday Inn (Bulawayo and Great Zimbabwe Hotel in Masvingo.

Said the company in its statement, “We will continue to monitor the situation and once contained, we will consider the reopening of some or all our strategic business units, hotels and resorts after the stipulated period of 21 day lockdown.”

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting chief executive officer Givemore Chidzidzi commended stakeholders for their approach in containing the spread of the virus.

“Tourism globally has been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 and travelling and tourism sector has suffered,” Chidzidzi said.

“Globally tourism is one of the immediately affected segments of the economy. With tourism, you are dealing with the movement of the people and they are worried about their health and security.”