A high level of greed by Zimbabwe hoteliers has cost the bankrupt country a rare chance of cashing in on the 2010 World Cup soccer fiesta after Fifa representatives abandoned hotels for charging exorbitant rates of up to US$3 000 per night, it emegerd last night.
Instead the tournament’s official accommodation company, Match Events Services, has turned to neighboring Botswana. A team from Match Events, led by Ms Vivian Voets, was in the country last week.
Fifa presented a proposal of about US$500 per night for a five-star hotel but hoteliers, especially in Victoria Falls, rejected the offer, demanding between US$1 000 and US$3 000 per night.
On Tuesday Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said the hotels’ actions were tantamount to "sabotaging the inclusive Government".
Said Kaseke, "This is the greatest mistake of our time. We have lost out due to greed. Match Event was here last week to endorse us as official accommodation providers but they turned their back on us after the hotel industry demanded to charge at least US$1 000 and others even demanding $3 000 per night from soccer tourists.
"This is ridiculous. Yes, I mean up to US$3 000! This is purely subversion influenced by a desire to sabotage the economy and the inclusive Government.
South Africa had demanded some 40 000 (3 to 5 star) hotel beds from Zimbabwe ahead of the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament with the approval of FIFA.
New Zealand, which had indicated that is want to camp in Zimbabwe for this Fifa Confederation Cup has moved to Botswana.
The move by the hotel industry might also scare away Britain, Brazil and Nigeria from campng in the country.
The 2010 World Cup set to be hosted by South Africa is set to create a lot of opportunities for the country with the tourism sector expected to benefit from the influx of tourists coming to Southern Africa region for the soccer show case.