African Sun hotel occupancy jumps

23 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
African Sun hotel occupancy jumps

The Herald

Business Reporter
African Sun registered improved hotel occupancy levels for the first quarter to March 31, 2022 compared to the same period in 2019, the last time the hotelier had a proper or normal trading period before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

City hotels (including the Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga) recorded 56 percent occupancies whilst the resort hotels cluster, which has not yet fully recovered from the negative impact of Covid-19, achieved an occupancy level of 21 percent.

During the same period in 2019, African Sun’s city hotel occupancy level averaged 25 percent. No statistics were however provided on occupancy levels for the company’s resort hotels, which include assets in Victoria Falls, Kariba and Great Zimbabwe, for that period.

The group’s hospitality segment contributed 94 percent to group revenue during the period under review whilst the real estate segment accounted for the balance of 6 percent. Hotel revenue increased by twofold driven by conference business activities.

The hotelier said it was ready to embark on new recapitalisation projects, including refurbishment of some of its properties with US$10 million funding outlay earmarked for the programme.

The group, which operates a chain of luxury hotels and lodges across the country, said it was encouraged by the resumption and increase in international flights and growth from domestic tourism.

Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which negatively impacted global economies, livelihoods, public services and most economic opportunities across the world.

“In spite of uncertainties on how the Covid-19 situation will evolve and the economic headwinds the Zimbabwe economy currently faces, the group is cautiously optimistic that hotel occupancy levels will maintain an upward trajectory, driven predominantly by the domestic market in the short to medium term,” the group said in a trading update.

Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is recovering from a slowdown triggered by Covid-19.

“Whilst the Asian market is lagging behind in terms of recovery, other parts of the world have opened up for international travel with Covid-19 restrictions curtailed quite remarkably. The group anticipates that international arrivals will steadily improve as the year progresses.”

African Sun said the planned refurbishment works for its hotel properties was part of efforts to attract a new class of super-rich.

In anticipation of improved tourism activity, the group said it would be undertaking refurbishment works at some of its hotels during this year.

“Major refurbishment work is currently underway at the Troutbeck Resort, whilst preparatory work has commenced to undertake similar refurbishment work at the Hwange Safari Lodge,” it said.

“The group anticipates to invest an estimated US$10 million in refurbishments, soft furnishings and other ancillary developments around its hotels during the current financial year.”

Total assets as at March 31, 2022 remained relatively flat at $26,4 billion compared with the December 2021 position.

It closed the first quarter 2022 with a debt-free position, buttressed by a healthy cash and cash equivalents position of $1,55 billion.

Subsequent to March 31, 2022, the group paid a dividend of $116 million plus US$505,064 with respect to the year ended December 31, 2021.

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