A week after BOCCIM revealed that the public sector employee strike could lead to closure of small businesses; the travel industry is also beginning to feel the pinch as travelers are beginning to consider their safety before making travel arrangements.
Hotels that provide conferencing facilities have seen a decline in orders as they no longer host civil servants gatherings as government is their major clients.
A number of operators polled by The Telegraph said cancellations have become common occurrences to the once safe destination for investors and tourists.
Cresta Marakanelo, the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) quoted outfit, said as a group they have been negatively affected through reduction in demand for accommodation and conferencing facilities.
“We have experienced some cancellations from South African operators and travel agents after media reports in that country reported on the strike,” Patrick Chivese, Head of Marketing & Sales at the hotel group stated.
Cresta group has about 724 beds in Botswana and operates Cresta Lodge, President Hotel, Botsalo Hotel, Bosele Hotel, Marang Gardens and Hotel, President Hotel, Riley’s Hotel, and Cresta Mowana Safari Lodge.
“Most government bookings in our hotels have been cancelled and there is very little conferencing business by some government departments and local authorities i.e. land boards and councils,” Chiveze added.
In a move aimed at mitigating the impact of the strike, Cresta is working hard in targeting other markets locally and abroad, even though it will not immediately address the situation.
“We are finding it difficult to assure those markets when the strike ends due to this notion of “indefinite strike”.
One tour operator who takes tourists to Moremi shares the concerns of BOCCIM that there have been delays in issuing of business licences, certificates, permits and other pertinent documents for business processes to continue effectively.
However, one small scale tour operator in Maun said the impact of the strike has not yet hit his operations.
He said at the moment business is going smooth.
BOCCIM is worried that as government is a key client for most local business, there has been a reduction in government orders for goods and services from the private sector, which has resulted in sales plummeting, potential closure of businesses, and job losses, specifically from SMME’s.
However, listed tourism companies, Chobe Holdings and Wilderness Holdings, performed well despite soft demand in the region.
Chobe results for the year ended February 2011 showed its revenues were P109.7 million, which was an improvement from P97 million in the same period last year.
Wilderness Holdings on the other hand released results for the financial year ended 28 February 2011, which showed revenue is up 9 percent to P948.6 million and operating profit is down 26 percent to P50.5 million, mostly as a result of increased cost of sales and operating expenses.
Its profit for the year is up 73.0 percent to P92.1 million, mostly due to a share of associate company profit, which increased tremendously during the year.
The nationwide strike, which is running into a month now, has led to halt in the delivery of public services around the country as the civil servants want government to heed to 16 percent salary increment.
Government on the other hand says it has no funds to finance that proposal as it will leave a P2 billion hole in the government coffersÔÇö-which will make the anticipated deficit worse.
BOCCIM is concerned by this effect and has been working on liaising with the necessary groups to ensure a resolution is brought to the table as soon as possible.