By Thupeyo Muleya
The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has identified a new company that will re-open its $39 million hotel in Beitbridge by July this year after it closed the facility in May 2016.
The 136-room state-of-the-art facility was formerly leased by the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) who shut it down following two years of successive losses.
Sources close to the deal said the hotel re-opening will initially provide accommodation, a casino, tertiary institution and serviced apartments. NSSA acting general manager, Mr Emerson Mungwariri, confirmed the development but said it was premature to release the name of the new company.
“The authority has reached an agreement with a potential partner subject to final commercial arrangements for a mixed use operation at the property. The agreement has not been finalised yet,” he said.
“We cannot release the name of the new company understanding the public interest, but sensitive to commercial arrangements. However, the players are a mix of local experts with current operations and an international partner looking to expand their brand on the African continent.
“You will note that we did embark on a public tender in July 2016 and the bidder responded to that tender and currently the lease period is under negotiation and will be subject to performance on any renewal period.”
Mr Mungwariri said rentals at the property will be at commercial rates to ensure sustained returns to the investment. He said the infrastructure was in good condition but needed some touchups before the re-commissioning. The investment was made to be an ongoing generator of revenue and to contribute to the tourism potential of Beitbridge Town.
“We expect dividends to go beyond market rentals and to include foreign currency generation, employment creation and supply chain opportunities for suppliers in the Beitbridge area,” he said.
The then Rainbow Beitbridge Hotel was closed in the same year with the African Sun Beitbridge Express Hotel in 2016 due to an accrued loss of $507 910 between 2014 and 2015.
It is understood that the RTG board of directors decided to pull out citing depressed occupancies, low margins as well as high operating costs.
However, it could not be readily established how much the organisation was paying to NSSA in rentals annually. The hotel is one of the 14 accommodation facilities in the border town. The Chronicle