Econet Group keyboard_arrow_down


Hotels fully booked ahead of Econet Marathon

22 June 2023

HOTELS and lodges in Victoria Falls are almost fully booked ahead of this edition of the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon to be held on July 2. Launched in 2006, the annual marathon has grown to become one of Africa’s top athletic events, attracting thousands of local and international runners into the country while firmly establishing Zimbabwe on the global athletics calendar.

The event has also become a major drawcard in the tourism calendar, boosting receipts and arrivals. Last year, more than 4 500 athletes from around the world participated in the marathon. While organisers expect the event to be bigger and to draw more than 5 000 athletes, tourism operators are excited by bookings for accommodation and activities. Speaking in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Ms Winnie Muchanyuka said the resort city is abuzz with bookings. “It’s all systems go.

We have been talking with all operators and they are quite excited with the rate of bookings so far. If last year was anything to go by, it will be better than last year and we will be here to experience it. We look forward to a bigger event,” said Ms Muchanyuka. During the marathon, a cross-section of the tourism value chain including restaurants, souvenir shops, the transport industry, and shops enjoys a marked rise in business.

Residents also have an opportunity to convert their houses into BnB lodges for spillover clients. A quick check around lodges showed that many mainstream hoteliers were fully booked. Speaking about the performance of the tourism sector in general, Ms Muchanyuka said first-quarter results were all positive in terms of room occupancy, arrivals, and domestic trips.

She however said domestic trips were now subsiding and attributed the slow-down to the fact that local tourism was the first to recover from Covid-19 and has been sustaining the industry at a time when international travel was still locked.

The ZTA chief executive said there was a steady growth of traffic from Africa and overseas markets, which she said was surprising because to the international market, the first quarter is usually low season. “There is growth compared to last year. All indicators are positive,” said Ms Muchanyuka. She congratulated local players Mbano Manor Hotel and Meikles Hotel for getting international recognition.