Hotelier African Sun says it plans refurbishment for some of its properties with investment of about US$10 million.
The group, which operates a chain of luxury hotels and lodges across the country, said it is encouraged by the resumption and increase of international flights and the rise of domestic tourism.
Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, impacting economies, livelihoods, public services and opportunities on all continents.
“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.”
However, the refurbishment work is part of a battle to attract a new class of super-rich. In anticipation of improved tourism activity, the group said it will be undertaking refurbishment works at some of its hotels during the current 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.”
On the other hand, the group’s occupancy levels for each of the three months ended 31 March 2022 were consistently better compared to the same period in 2019, the latter year being the last normal trading year before the Covid-19 outbreak.
The hospitality segment contributed 94% to group revenue, whilst the real estate segment contributed the balance of 6%. Hotel revenue increased by twofold on conference business during the period. City hotels (including the Troutbeck Resort) recorded 56% occupancies whilst the Resort hotels, which have not fully recovered from the impact of Covid-19, achieved an occupancy level of 21%.
Total assets as at 31 March 2022 remained relatively flat at ZWL26.4 billion compared with the December 2021 position. It closed Q1 2022 with a debt-free position, buttressed by a healthy cash and cash equivalents position of ZWL1.55 billion. Subsequent to 31 March 2022, the group paid a dividend of ZWL116,151,461 plus USD505,064 with respect to the year ended 31 December 2021.
As for completion of Dawn properties limited acquisition, “The group is currently finalizing the acquisition of the remaining Dawn Properties Limited issued share capital and will commence the full integration of the business as soon as the transaction is completed.” – HARARE