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    Friday, August 20, 2021

    Zimbabwe: Vaccination Boosts Vic Falls Arrivals

    Zimbabwe's progress in rolling out the vaccination programme, which saw the country's prime tourist destination, Victoria Falls, becoming the first city to achieve herd immunity, has resulted in improved foreign tourist arrivals.

    The Victoria Falls Hotel, co-managed by Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed firms Meikles and African Sun, said occupancy for the quarter to June 2021, was 66 percent in favour of foreign guests compared to 34 percent local guests.

    "The roll out of the vaccination programme in Victoria Falls will play a key role in confidence building and return of international tourism," Thabani Mpofu, the company's secretary said in a trading update.

    He said overall room occupancy for the hotel segment was 11 percent, up from zero occupancy during the same period of the previous year.

    Mpofu noted that the hotel was closed due to measures to combat ovid-19 pandemic during the period April to June 2020.

    Victoria Falls is home to the magnificent Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe's premier tourist attraction and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

    The Victoria Falls Hotel is a Meikles Limited joint venture arrangement with African Sun. In addition, Meikles has a significant shareholding in the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.

    According to the Cabinet, as of 10 August 2021, a total of 1, 9 million citizens had received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 1 061 238 had received the second dose.

    This translates to a national coverage of 22,3 percent and 12,3 percent for the first and second doses, respectively.

    Players in the country's tourism and hospitality sector are pinning hopes on the country's ongoing vaccination programme to revive the sector that has been hardest hit by the pandemic.

    Meanwhile, in terms of performance on other group segments, the agriculture segment saw bulk tea production and export sales for the quarter were 15 percent below the same period of the previous year.

    "Tea harvesting was affected by limited availability of labour. Most of the available labour was assigned to harvest macadamia nuts and avocados during the period under review," Mpofu said.

    He said the segment will invest in motorised tea harvesting machines, as the shortage of labour was bound to recur during the same period going forward.

    During the quarter under review, average selling price per kilogramme firmed up by three percent in US dollar terms from prior year's average price.

    Macadamia nuts harvested during the period were 65 percent above prior year whilst avocados harvest was 27 percent ahead of the prior year.

    "Last year's harvest was reflective of the impact of the two year drought experienced prior to the just ended agricultural season," Mpofu noted.

    In the supermarkets segments, sales volume increased by 21 percent for the quarter relative to the same period of the previous year.

    Mpofu said during the same period of last year, sales volume was adversely impacted by stricter lockdown measures implemented by the Government in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

    Group revenue for continuing operations grew by 21 percent and 198 percent in inflation adjusted and historical cost terms respectively.

    Revenue for the agricultural segment was 41 percent and 248 percent ahead of the same period of the previous financial year in inflation adjusted and historical cost terms respectively.

    The company noted that the trading environment during the quarter was characterised by sustained disinflation that commenced in July 2020 attributable to the exchange rate stability and improved access to foreign currency by manufacturers of goods.

    Mpofu indicated that Covid-19 lockdown restrictions during the period under review were moderate in comparison to the hard lockdown during the same period of last year, resultantly, sales volume growth was achieved across Group operations in comparison to same period last year. - www.ebusiness weekly.

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