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COVID-19 Dims African Sun

Hotelier, African Sun Limited revenue for the year ended December 2020, as expected-took a steep drop of 55 percent to ZWL1, 84 billion from ZWL4, 10 billion recorded in the same period previous year as hotel bookings were significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zimbabwe entered a hard lockdown end of March last year before gradually easing restrictions around August.

Although business slightly bounced back during the last quarter of 2020, thanks to a relative easing of lockdowns locally, strict restrictions on global travel in major tourist source markets hindered recovery for domestic hospitality players during traditional peak period around December.

The Group recorded a low occupancy of 23 percent, representing a decline of 25 percentage points compared to 48 percent recorded in 2019.

“Room nights sold went down by 52 percent to 137,162 from 288,224 reported last year. The decline in room nights was across all market segments, with those attributable to export and domestic reducing by 82 percent and 35 percent respectively,” the Group said in its latest trading update.

Matters were worsened by hyper-inflation in the country which hit above 800 percent around July last year.

“The inflation adjusted loss before tax (“LBT”) of ZWL1, 86 billion is largely a result of the monetary loss of ZWL1,50 billion, which is a result of applying International Accounting Standard (IAS) 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies,” said African Sun.

The Group however remains remain optimistic that the accelerating COVID-19 vaccination programmes will lead to further relaxing of restrictions and unlocking leisure and business travel in the latter part of 2021.

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