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Giant Kariba houseboat up for sale

by Staff reporter
04 Jun 2021 at 05:59hrs | Views
ONE of Zimbabwe's biggest luxury houseboat, the Zambezi Trader,  is set to be sold to the highest bidder in a development that has sent shock waves in the tourism industry.

Is it the Covid-19 induced slump in business or a matter of changing priorities for the owners?

A self-contained behemoth, the houseboat can comfortably accommodate 50 guests and is primed for corporate functions, weddings and conferences.

Management at the Zambezi Trader said the boat was being sold as directors shift focus to other ventures and investments.

"What we can only say is that the boat is being sold because of shifting priorities by the directors," said an official who declined to be named.

The boat, said the official, was being sold as a going concern as it was still functional.

A notice of the impending auction has been flighted by the auctioneers, drawing mixed reactions from players in the tourism sector.

According to sources, the starting price for bids is expected to be around US$500 000 and is expected to increase depending on the appetite and capacity of bidders on the day.

Kariba Tourism and Business Indaba (KTBI) representative Mr Cephas Shonhiwa said the development could be a reflection of the challenges that players in the tourism sector are facing following the Covid-19 outbreak.

"The industry is sustained by a combination of local and international tourists and the decline in international tourist arrivals after the Covid-19 outbreak could have been a factor in deciding to sell the houseboat," said Mr Shonhiwa.

"Running a houseboat is very expensive owing to the number of statutory requirements where anything up to 17 licences are required which affects profitability."

It costs upwards of US$2 000 per night to hire the houseboat which provides a perfect opportunity for adventure, business and on-board cuisines.

Built in 2008, the Zambezi Trader has traversed the vast Lake Kariba creating memories for over a decade for holidaymakers and business travellers.

Some tourism players said the situation remained positive for as long as the boat was being sold to other operators who would continue using it on Lake Kariba.

"Unless, the boat is going to be bought and taken outside the country there is nothing really to worry about because it happens all the time in business for various reasons," said another tourism player.

"It could be the best thing to happen to tourism in Kariba as a change of hands sometimes brings fresh impetus to a product."

Source - the herald
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