The Hotel School, which falls under the Ministry of Higher Education, is establishing a 60-room hotel close to its premises, which should open its doors to the public in the second quarter of the year.
Innocent Nezungai, the school’s director and former operations director of Zimsun Leisure Hotels, said the hotel should be completed in the next three to four months, opening to the public possibly in May or June.
The institution is expected to employ 120 full-time staff and will also take students on attachment.
Gladys Ndoda, the school’s general manager in charge of research and development who is also its spokesperson, said the institution had already embarked on several income generating projects aimed at making it self-sufficient.
She said the school already offered laundry facilities to smaller hotels as well as outside catering for weddings and other functions. It had its own bakery and an 80-seat restaurant and a bar that were all open to the public. It also had eight rooms complete with DSTV, and offered adult and continuing education courses.
Ndoda said the school also planned to let out eight three-bedroomed flats on long leases as part of its income generation initiative.
Nezungai was reluctant to disclose the school’s budget and how much its revenue generating projects were contributing but pointed out: “When you train hoteliers, the biggest cost is training materials such as food and beverages. At the moment, we are able to fund this from our own revenue.”
Sixteen students from Namibia are expected to join the Hotel School this weekend, in a move aimed at making the school self-sufficient.
Nezungai said the school was welcoming regional students not only to earn revenue, but also to open doors for its own students to have industrial attachments in the region.
The Namibian students are the first group of at least 60 from that country who are expected to attend various courses at the Hotel School over the next two to three years. They are being sponsored by the Namibian government.
The students are expected to enter the country through Victoria Falls, the country’s “tourism gateway”, to get a feel of the hospitality industry before they are taken to Bulawayo.
Nezungai said the school had decided to recruit Namibians after visiting that country last year. He said though Namibia had a hotel school, it was still in its infancy.
“Most of the students have basic skills. So we want to upgrade those skills and also to train some of them to become trainers when they go back to their country,” said Nezungai.