Chobe occupancy up 5%
Botswana Stock Exchange listed ecotourism giant, Chobe Holdings, has seen an increase in occupancy by five percent during the 2016 financial reporting period ended 31st August 2016.
The group considers this development satisfactory in light of continued uncertainty in the world economy and reduced capacity caused by continued improvements at Chobe Game Lodge and the complete rebuild of Camp Okavango.
The occupancy rate margins, together with favourable exchange rates and the acquisition of North West Air company; translated to a significant increase in revenue of P158.6million compared to P119.2 million in the same reporting period in 2015.
It is anticipated that tourist numbers to Southern Africa in general and Botswana particularly, will rise in the short to medium term. CEO and also Deputy Chairman Jonathan Gibson says, the Group is well positioned to benefit from this increase through its “ever improving product offering” coupled with the prime location of the Group’s camps and lodges.
He worries that initiatives by government such as the planned introduction of a tourism levy for every visitor entering Botswana, if implemented, may have a “negative impact” on the growth trend. However, the Group’s strong cash position provides it with the opportunity to take advantage of expansion opportunities that may arise.
Chobe also realised an operating cost increase of 15 percent; which management also considered satisfactory in light of the volume of business and current inflation levels.
With a market capitalisation of over P660 million, the Group spent P22.1 million, financed from internally generated cashflows, on significantly improving existing equipment, buildings, as well as the purchase of additional equipment.
A further P7.7 million was used to purchase buildings and equipment for North West Air (Pty) Ltd, a wholly owned aircraft maintenance operation. It is anticipated that the financial contribution from this subsidiary will be fully realised in the forthcoming financial year once the entity has been fully integrated into the Group.