HOSPITALITY group, African Sun Limited, expects to tap into the forthcoming election season to ramp up room occupancy as it anticipates completing the US$4,2 million Hwange Safari Lodge 100 rooms refurbishment during the second quarter of the current year.
In a trading update for the first quarter ended March 31, the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) entity says it anticipates improvements in occupancies at several of its hotels driven largely by election business and remaining “pent-up” demand arising from overdue events and conferences.
“In addition, we expect to see continued improvements to business and corporate transient demand, as businesses continue to make progress toward normal travel patterns including a perceptible acceleration in international travel, particularly for our Victoria Falls hotels,” it said.
In line with its aim to be the leading provider in hospitality and leisure operations in Africa by providing outstanding hospitality experiences, the group noted that it remains focused on its strategy to upscale the state of its properties through ongoing various refurbishment programmes.
“The group anticipates completing the US$4,2 million Hwange Safari Lodge 100 rooms refurbishment during the second quarter of the current year,” it said.
During the period under review, revenue at US$ 7,9 million was down two percentage points compared to the same period last year.
“The decline was largely due to depressed business volumes with occupancy at 39 percent being three percentage points lower than the comparable period. Both of our hotel operating segments experienced declines in occupancy levels with city hotels posting a combined 51 percent (2022: 56 percent), whilst resort hotels achieved 23 percent (2022: 26 percent),” said African Sun.
“Despite the waning impact of Covid-19 and the concomitant announcement by the World Health Organisation that it was no longer a public health emergency of international concern, foreign business remains depressed at 20 percent while domestic guests anchor business performance with a contribution of 80 percent.”