HomeStandard PeopleWaterloo for the hospitality industry?

Waterloo for the hospitality industry?

travelling & touring:with Burzil Dube

BELATED compliments of the new season and despite a host of challenges within the travelling and touring sector, it is everyone’s wish to see some form of business improvement during this particular year.

A lot has been said about the second wave of Covid-19 whose mutation continues to baffle the scientific world while leaving thousands of casualties in the process.

Schools have also for the second time been affected with the exception of those students writing Zimsec final examinations who have been exempted from the lockdown as the pandemic continues to cause havoc in the health cockpit.

This continues to be a sad period for the hospitality industry which is still under the proverbial intensive care mode whose recovery is hanging by the balance.

Yours truly’s early warning system predicts that this could be the proverbial Waterloo for the once vibrant industry amid strong indications that some entities are headed for oblivion and never be able to recover.

Some major international airlines have already predicted a despondent future and are of the opinion that it might take an average of three years for them to be on sound comprehensive recovery.

Workshops and seminars which in the past used to be held in lodges and hotels have also suffered a knock as new and modern ways of holding such meetings have come into the fore.

Most business meetings are now held or conducted in the comfort of one’s office or home, thanks to information technology advancement, hence no form of physical interaction.

Travelling and subsistence allowances are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

It was quite “pleasing” to note that the hullabaloo that is normally associated with the New Year’s Eve was this year extremely subdued as the general populace heeded warnings to stay indoors.

Law enforcement agents were also in full force to ensure that watering holes adhere to strict lockdown rules and also this time around firecrackers were reduced to minimal.

There was a joke doing the rounds that most police stations were “deserted” as the majority of the officers were in the “area” looking out for any malcontents as Covid-19 cases continued to rise.

There have been calls to revise the country’s lockdown levels due to an increase in numbers of reported cases as well as laxity on implementation of the universal laid-down health measures and procedures.

As if on cue, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Health and Child Care minister, last week announced a 30-day lockdown and has completely put a lid on any form of revelling and merrymaking.

The fundamentals of the lockdown are now public knowledge and this is a calling to all and sundry to join forces on curbing this novel coronavirus that is currently taking Zimbabwe by storm.

There were some photographs that were trending on social media where revellers in the capital city welcomed the year 2021 “in style” by disregarding all laid- down Covid-19 protocols.

What happened thereafter is now part of history.

While revelling is not bad as such, it is rather the timing which yours truly believes is beginning to be a cause of concern especially in these challenging times when the virus is causing havoc among the populace.

To the doubting Thomases out there, this pandemic is quite real and it is imperative for pub proprietors and event managers to also join hands with government in tackling the pandemic.

The acting chief executive officer of Mpilo Central Hospital, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya, had to aptly put it in one of his tweets: “The festive season needs careful consideration. The population should not behave in a bad way to put their safety and lives in precarious danger. It’s not the last festive season.”
This was said during the recent festive season period.

Wise words indeed.

Yours truly has in the past been inundated by followers of this column wanting to enquire if my feature articles have been transposed from tourism-related issues to Covid-19 tidings.

However, the response was precise: the pandemic is deadly.

The hospitality industry is not spared from this epidemic and things will be never be the same in terms of business survival.

There are media reports indicating that the South Korean government has embarked on a programme to procure all vacant hotels, lodges and offices in order to gradually convert them to residential places.

The majority of these particular places have since closed shop.

Can one envisage such a development happening in Victoria Falls, Kariba or Eastern Highlands?

As for such a consequence, let us leave it to fate, but it, however, does send a chilling effect to any individual in this particular sector.

New street lingo: Covidiot is defined as someone who ignores warnings regarding public health or safety.

Till we meet again in the next article.

l Comments always welcome on: dubebasill@gmail.com or Twitter: @DubeBurzil

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