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HAZ extends invitation to Singapore

The Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) has invited a delegation from Singapore for next month’s annual conference as the body seeks to tap into the experience of the south east Asian nation’s growing industry.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

HAZ holds its 70th annual congress from October 29 to 31 in Bulawayo.

“We have actually invited people from Singapore. As you know Singapore is excelling in terms of tourism, what they generate per year as a ministry of tourism is around US$30 billion,” HAZ president Tamuka Macheka said last week.

“…that is why we want to learn more from those people or even partner with them as we go forward.”

Zimbabwe’s tourism industry generates only US$1 billion. The ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry projects the sector to grow four-fold to US$5 billion by 2020 driven by the opening up of the skies and relaxation of visas to visitors from source markets.

Macheka said next month’s congress was special for HAZ.

“It is a special congress for us this year because we are celebrating our 70th birthday and we have actually themed the congress around excellence: “HAZ at 70, building a culture of service excellence” so that we make sure we reinforce that,” Macheka said.

Speakers at the congress include Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi and a keynote address will come from a Singaporean delegate.

About 150 to 200 delegates are expected to attend.

Macheka said the Chefs Association of Zimbabwe and the Chefs Association of South Africa are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to improve the standards of cuisine during the course of the congress.

“During the winter school in July, we resolved to sign an MOU with SA Chefs Association. The purpose of the MOU is to work together to improve the standard of cuisine in Zimbabwe. We have realised most of our chefs migrated and we felt it was good for them to come and plough back to Zimbabwe,” Macheka said.

The tourism sector registered a 12% growth in bed occupancy level at major hotels, with most of the hotels in the prime destinations experiencing improved business in the first half of the year.

In his 2014 mid-term Fiscal Policy Review, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the sector was “benefitting from the prevailing political stability in the country, investment in tourism facilities and infrastructure, revamping of domestic flights capacity, all complemented by investment in marketing campaigns”.

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