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ZTA, pricing commission clash

THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has taken the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) to task over its decision to approve price hikes to tourism operators without consulting the authority.


The NIPC was forced into a

fresh round of talks late last week after ZTA rejected the new rates it had approved for players in the tourism industry. An emergency meeting was held last week between the NIPC, ZTA and Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT) in a bid to come up with a new pricing structure for tourism operators.


The meeting came after ZTA boss, Karikoga Kaseke, had attacked the NIPC’s top management for hijacking the authority’s mandate.


“Kaseke told them to stop poking their noses in his jurisdiction,” said a ZTA source who attended the initial meeting which was characterised by serious accusations.


“He was angry that the NIPC could just barge in and determine hotel rates without consulting with the ZTA which is the industry’s regulator.”


Kaseke is reported to have then ordered the NIPC and the ZCT to sit down with the ZTA and come up with a new pricing structure with rates which were lower than what had been agreed on by the two parties in late November.


The NIPC, ZCT and ZTA proceeded to meet in the authority’s boardroom last Friday. The meeting lasted over four hours.


ZTA was represented by its Research and Development director Simba Mandinyenya and Marketing Director Givemore Chidzidzi while NIPC was represented by the acting chief executive officer, Esau Ndlovu.


Businessdigest however understands that the talks were only a partial success as they had only resulted in a marginal reduction in rates. ZTA is understood to have told the meeting that it was still not happy with the rates.


Further talks are scheduled for next week to resolve the crisis.


Hotels were mandated to return
to the drawing board and bring before both the ZTA and the NIPC a new and “reasonable” price structure.


Mandinyenya and Chidzidzi would not comment and referred
all questions to Kaseke. Kaseke however said he would prefer to comment on the matter after it was resolved.


“There is nothing to say at the moment, talks are ongoing,” he said.


The NIPC allowed tourism operators to hike their charges by between 250% and 400% on November 28 this year.


Breakfast at a four and five-star hotel was set at $24 million, while meal prices for deluxe restaurants were pegged at between $16 million and $25 million.


Bed and breakfast prices for single bookings at five and four star hotels were set at between $94 million and $109,3 million. Double bookings at the same hotels were allowed to rise to prices between $133 million and $156 million.


The NIPC set a single booking at a three star city hotel at between $84,6 million and $94 million while a double booking would require between $106 million and $133 million. A one star hotel now costs between $55 million for a single booking and $83 million for a double booking.


Bed and breakfast for two at a luxury lodge is now set at $130 million while at a standard lodge now costs $91,6 million. The NIPC said the rates will only be reviewed in February next year. .


However, businessdigest has since established that most hotels were still charging in excess of these new prices. They have also not reduced their rates as demanded by the ZTA.


Most hotels were charging bed-only rates within the limits set by the NIPC while breakfast is charged separately. This has made the whole package overpriced as regards breakfast was noted making the combined bed and breakfast significantly more than agreed.


Most five star hotels were charging between $30 million and $36 million for breakfast despite the NIPC permitting four and five star hotels to charge only $24 million for breakfast. — Staff Writer.

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