By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE ongoing 6th African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) has brought smiles to many landlords in the resort town of Victoria Falls as hotels and lodges run of out accommodation.
Delegates have been forced to look for alternative accommodation in private homes.
More than 3000 delegates are attending the conference from across the continent.
With hotels and lodges fully booked for one week mainly by foreigners who booked earlier, local delegates have had to do look for accommodation in the resort town’s oldest high-density suburbs of Chinotimba and Mkhosana.
Landlords confirmed to NewZimbabwe.com they were making money from conference delegates who were looking for accommodation.
“I grabbed the opportunity when people came knocking at my door asking for accommodation. So I quickly spruced up the rooms and I am charging US$10 per day per person,” said Ronny Musabayana.
“I have actually moved my whole family to a friend’s house for a week and will also share the proceeds from the week’s rent.”
This was the same story with Sam Tazviona in Mkhosana high-density suburb.
“I now have friends who work in hotels and lodges who refer guests to my house, but this week I was also overwhelmed and ended up referring some guests to my friends and they are also pocketing United States dollars,” said Tazviona.
“I also make extra by using my car as a taxi to pick my guests to the conference centre.”
Victoria Falls Mayor Somvelo Dlamini said organisers who chose the resort town to host the conference made the right decision as this will boost Zimbabwe’s tourism.
“This is a great opportunity for visitors to take time and visit the mighty falls which has had a bad publicity in the past month on social media with some claiming that it has run dry for the first time,” Dlamini said.
“This is also a welcome development as guests will not only attend the conference, but get to learn more about Victoria Falls as a main tourist attraction in the region and help to boost our tourism sector.
“This will help us to dispel rumours that had gone viral on social media that the Victoria Falls had run dry for the first time.”