Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listing, Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG), emerged in 1992 with the Government’s commercialisation programme and blossomed swiftly to become the country’s runner-up hospitality chain by 1998, a startling feat in a measly six years.
Actual background can be traced back to 1981 when the Zimbabwe Tourism Board was formed. In 1985, the Government erected a five-star Sheraton Harare Hotel and Towers (Sheraton Hotel).
In 1991 the Zimbabwe Tourism Investments Group (Private) Limited (ZTIG) was formed to assume control of the commercial business and assets of the Government-owned Zimbabwe Tourism Investments Group under a programme to commercialise the operations. The parastatal itself was mandated to promote tourism in Zimbabwe.
By 1994, ZTIG renamed to Rainbow Tourism Group (Private) Limited (RTG). On November 1, 1999 RTG was privatised and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange after the Government through an initial public offering (IPO) disposed 70 percent of its shares for purchase by institutional investors, employees and members of the public. It retained about 16 percent of the shares.
Between 2005 and 2006 RTG severed ties with the then exiting Starwood Hotels and Resorts resulting in the dumbing of the “Sheraton” brand name. Management was localised with the ending of the Sheraton contract with Starwood. Operations of Sheraton Harare Hotel and the Harare International Conference Centre were merged.
The ensuing need to recapitalise steered the company into approaching shareholders for more funds via the issuance of a ZW$80 billion rights issue. Proprietors who failed to follow their rights had their shares diluted or their shareholding enfeebled upon purchase by someone. Government diluted its stake to 5 percent when it opted to abort its rights.
NSSA scooped 12 percent which boomed when it bought Econet Wireless’ 11 percent stake. An investor Nicholas Van Hoogstraten secured 36 percent stake through Messina Investments Limited to become the chief shareholder.
On January 15, 2014, the Group through NSSA funding erected a circa $22 million Rainbow Beitbridge Hotel. It was shut in May 2016 citing market dynamics pigeon-holed by depressed occupancies, low margins and high operating costs, coupled with a US$2 million loss since the opening. NSSA sought to re-open the hotel through a partnership in 2018.
RTG grew into a regional hospitality concern enhancing its brand around cultural hospitality. It grew into a regional entity with a diversified portfolio of reputed hospitality assets. Hospitality is provided under four brands namely; The Rainbow Towers, Rainbow Hotels Division, Touch the Wild (TTW) and Tourism Services Zimbabwe (TSZ).
The burgeoning tourism and hospitality management company has an extensive portfolio of self-fared and leased hotels and conference facilities in Zimbabwe and Mozambique as well as a tour operator.
Regional manoeuvres are through management contracts and strategic alliances. Current Hotels comprise Rainbow Towers and Conference Centre, Zambezi River Lodge, Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel, Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel, Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre, New Ambassador Hotel, Rainbow Beitbridge and Rainbow Mozambique.