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Zim needs tourism-sensitive banks

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Zim needs tourism-sensitive banks


Ellen Mlambo

MASVINGO – Zimbabwe requires banks that give medium to long-term loans if the needs of the tourism sector are to be catered for, a workshop held at the Flamboyant Hotel was told on Friday last week.
The workshop heard that local Banks are currently just giving short-term loans and yet constructing a hotel would take up to seven years.
Zimbabwe looks forward to creating a tourism industry with 20,000 hotel rooms and this is almost three times the 7,168 rooms that the local sector has currently.
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe CEO Paul Matamisa said this when he spoke at a provincial consultative workshop held under the theme; Trade in Services under SADC, Common Market for Eastern Southern Africa (COMESA), ESA-EU and AU.
He urged the country to have tourism-sensitive banks if the sector is to flourish.
The main objective of the workshop was to sensitise business operators in the tourism sector on opportunities available with the coming of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).
ACFTA is a continental trade protocol which was signed by 53 countries in 2018. The protocol will become operational in 2024.
Some of the agreed positions in the protocol are that businesses in countries that are signatories would be able to establish businesses in other countries that are also signatories of the protocol.
“Our banks are not so much into tourism. They offer short-term funding to businesses and that works for other sectors like agriculture where they get loans and can repay after six months. To build a hotel, you need five to seven years for one to be able to pay back,” said Matamisa.
“With regards to average hotel room capacities by provinces, Harare leads with 2 342, Bulawayo has 1 012, Victoria Falls 1 125, Masvingo 421, Midlands 409, Beitbridge 264, Mutare 526, Nyanza 267, Kariba 529 and Hwange 142,” he said.
In an interview with The Mirror, Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe president Wengayi Nhau echoed the same sentiments.
“The Zimbabwe economic environment seems to be prompting shorter loan tenures as opposed to longer loan tenure. Tourism is a medium to long-term investment project where without medium to long-term funding options, it remains a hindrance as far as access to finance is concerned,” said Nhau.

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