By Michael Gwarisa recently in Bulawayo
TOURISM and hospitality industry minister Walter Mzembi says government through his ministry, will be monitoring whether the union between Afsun and Legacy group, would add value to the tourism industry and the economy.
Speaking during a tour of the exhibition stands at the recently held Sanganai/Hlanganani travel expo in Bulawayo, Mzembi said the Afsun/Legacy deal was a huge milestone in the tourism industry and the said we should start to see an improvement in both the quality of service and infrastructure of the Afsun hotels and products.
“The partnership between African Sun and Legacy group of hotels is a welcome development but I want African Sun to know that we will be monitoring whether there will value addition in the country. We must see an improvement in the performance of our products.
“We don’t want to see a deceleration of the products, so we are very exited but at the same time want to see enhanced value addition,” said Mzembi.
The agreement between the two parties provides for the management, refurbishment and expansion of the group’s strategic assets at a minimum cost of US$60 million through a management contract arrangement.
Management contract is where you hire a specialist to run hotels on your behalf using strong brands like legacy among a host of others.
The hotels under the management contract are the Elephant Hills, the Kingdom Hotel, Hwange Safari lodge, the Monomotapa Hotel and Troutbeck, with future expansion of Caribbea Bay and Fothrgill Island in the pipeline.
African Sun MD, ED Shangwa said they welcomed the partnership and its positions the African Sun brand to a wider market.
“What regional and international brands do is that, they have got a wider market reach and this exactly where we are taking the tourism and this is exactly where we are taking the tourism game to. We believe that the coming in of legacy and pursuing of strong franchise brands will take our business at a higher level,” Shangwa.
The new look Afsun will have three strategic business units, namely the Legacy group SBU, the International Hotels Group (IHG) SBU which retained its right to continue with the franchising structure with respect to the Holiday Inn chain of hotels, including the soon to be rebranded Holiday Inn Mutare.
The remaining hotels made up of Victoria Falls Hotel, Carribea Bay resorts, Great Zimbabwe hotel Beitbridge express hotel will continue under Afsun management while their future is determined.