Although it revealed that 2016 bookings point to a bright future, Chobe Holdings said on Friday it expects the effects of last year’s Ebola outbreak and the appreciation of the greenback against the Euro to have an impact on the travel market.
However, the company said on its full year results for the period ending February 2015 that during the year under review, bednights sold increased from 45,944 in prior year to 50,868ÔÇöwhich defied negative global sentiments. This was an 11 percent rise in occupancy levels.
“Short to medium term trading conditions may be constrained mainly due to the negative effect on travel plans as a result of the Ebola outbreak in parts of Africa in 2014 and the strengthening of the USD when compared to the Euro, resulting in a substantial increase in the cost of Botswana packages to an already depressed European market,” Chobe Holdings CEO & Deputy Chairman, Jonathan Gibson said in a statement accompanying the results.
“Confirmed and provisional bookings for the year ended 29th February 2016 suggest the Group should however achieve satisfactory results in the forthcoming financial year,” he added.
Chobe said ongoing major refurbishments at Chobe Game Lodge, designed to uplift this iconic lodge, are anticipated to result in an increase in demand once completed in mid 2016. The company said Camp Xakanaxa, the trading entity of Moremi Safaris (Pty) Ltd, which was acquired on 1st August 2013, contributed 5,017 bed nights from 2,264 in prior year.
Revenues rose by 22 percent due to a significant increase in bed nights sold in peak season, an increase in achieved bed rates in US Dollar terms, the weakening of the Pula against the US Dollar and increased capacity following the addition of Camp Xakanaxa. Chobe also did a first in the industry when its Chobe Game Lodge launched the first electric game drive vehicle and first electric boat.
According to the group’s condensed results, revenues rose from P172 million in the same period in 2014 to P209 million with total comprehensive income for the year standing at P51.5 million, which was better than P33.5 million on the prior year. The Group’s board had declared a dividend of 35 thebe per share, payable to shareholders registered at the close of business on 12th June 2015 for payment on 26th June 2015.
Chobe Holdings Limited owns and operates, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, eleven eco-tourism lodges and camps on leased land in Northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, with a combined capacity of 314 beds under the brands Desert & Delta Safaris and Ker & Downey Botswana. Safari Air, a wholly owned air charter operator, provides air transport services to the group’s camps and lodges. Desert and Delta Safaris (SA) (Pty) Ltd, another wholly owned subsidiary operating in South Africa, provides reservation services to the group
Chobe said in December 2013, two of its subsidiaries submitted tenders for lease, utilisation and management of Camp Okavango and Shinde Camp for non-consumptive tourism purposes. Camp Okavango’s lease has been re-awarded to the group for an initial period of fifteen years, though the formal lease has however not been signed yet.
“Ker & Downey Botswana (Pty) Ltd, operating Shinde Camp, was forced to match an exorbitant bid from another tendering entity to secure the re-award of Shinde Camp’s lease to the Group,” it said. “This lease has not been formally awarded but our Directors are confident that it will be awarded to the Group given that Ker & Downey Botswana (Pty) Ltd has exercised its first right of refusal.”