from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – ONE of the most prominent hotels in Zimbabwe is to shut its doors early next year after a fallout over leasing terms.
The African Sun Limited (ASL), Zimbabwe’s largest hotel group, announced the imminent closure of the Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls.
The hotel has been under the African Sun stable since 1966 and was leased from Makasa Sun (Private) Limited.
ASL’s board said the exit comes after African Sun had been successful in the 2021 tender for the hotel’s lease but failed to agree on tenure.
“The board of directors of African Sun Limited wishes to announce that the company will be exiting the Kingdom at Victoria Falls Hotel,” read a statement.
The hotel has been under the African Sun stable since 1966 and was leased from Makasa Sun.
“However, a mutually agreeable lease tenure could not be reached with the landlord only willing to offer a lease of two years against the group’s ask of a tenure of at least 10 years in its tender,” said the ASL board.
The 294-roomed Kingdom is almost synonymous to the story of tourism in Victoria Falls as it is one of the few upmarket facilities located at the heart of the tourism city.
“The decision to exit the hotel has not been an easy one for the board but was necessary and unavoidable to protect shareholder value in the circumstances,” read a statement.
The company is working on an exit plan.
ASL Group Chief Executive, Peter Saungweme, said some of the workers would be redeployed to other facilities.
He confirmed that the group will close the hotel on January 5, 2023.
ASL operates Elephant Hills Resort, the Kingdom and Victoria Falls Hotel all in Victoria Falls, Hwange Safari Lodge, Great Zimbabwe Hotel in Masvingo, Holiday Inn in Bulawayo, Harare and Mutare, Caribbean Bay Resort in Kariba, Crown Plaza Monomotapa in Harare and Troutbeck in Nyanga.
– CAJ News