As Zimbabwe’s tourism industry rebounds from the pandemic, property owners in tourist hotspots are set to benefit from increased rental income and higher property values. Places such as Victoria Falls, Hwange, Nyanga, and Honde Valley have become popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from all over the world.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Zimbabwe’s tourism industry generated US$672.9 million in 2022, representing a 133% growth in earnings from US$288.8 million in 2021. The country also saw a significant increase in tourist arrivals, with over 895,000 visitors in 2022, compared to 340,000 in 2021.

To meet the growing demand for hospitality services, players in Zimbabwe’s tourism industry are investing in property refurbishments. Meikles Hotel, a five-star facility in Harare, is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar refurbishment program that will take two years to complete. The hotel aims to improve its accessibility and visibility to customers.

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Similarly, Hwange Safari Lodge has completed the first phase of a major refurbishment program, with 40 standard rooms already in service. An additional 18 rooms, including two executive suites, will be completed by March 2023, bringing the total number of refurbished rooms to 58.

African Sun Limited is also undertaking a refurbishment program for its lodge, with a budget of at least US$4 million. The program will renovate the lodge’s 100 rooms and key public areas, such as the restaurant, guest lounge, and bar. Other new hotels, lodges, and game parks are being built or renovated at different levels across the country.

As tourist arrivals increase, property owners in Zimbabwe’s tourist hotspots can benefit from short-term rentals through Airbnb, leading to increased rental income and higher property values. To cash in on this, owners need to ensure their properties are in good condition, have proper amenities, and are priced competitively.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) Matabeleland chapter chairman, Anald Musonza, confirms that significant investment has happened in the region, though he cannot quantify the amount. Building a four or five-star lodge is no small feat, and it is not cheap either.

The boost in tourism is a significant step towards achieving the government’s goal of a US$5 billion tourism economy by 2025. However, given the COVID-19-induced disruptions experienced in the tourism sector, achieving this goal requires hard work by all stakeholders. Nonetheless, Zimbabwe’s tourism industry, which is the country’s third economic mainstay after mining and agriculture, currently contributes about US$1.9 billion to the GDP.

Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is recovering from the pandemic, with increased investment in hospitality facilities to meet the growing demand. Property owners in tourist hotspots can take advantage of the increased demand for short-term rentals through Airbnb, leading to increased rental income and higher property values. By improving their properties and pricing them competitively, owners can cash in on the tourism boom and contribute to the country’s economic growth.