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    Tuesday, May 30, 2023

    Zimbabwe: African Sun Records 2 Percent Revenue Decline, Hails Local U.S.$ Retentions

    Alois Vinga

    Hospitality group African Sun Limited's revenue declined by 2% in the first quarter of the year on the back of depressed business volumes amid appreciation of a recent policy directive for local companies to retain US$ earnings.

    Presenting a trading update for the first quarter period of the concern's company secretary, Venon Musimbe revealed the details.

    "Revenue at US$ 7,9 million for the first quarter ended 31 March 2023 was down 2% compared to the same period last year. The decline was largely due to depressed business volumes with occupancy at 39% being 3% points lower than the comparable period," he said.

    Both of the hotel operating segments experienced declines in occupancy levels with City Hotels posting a combined 51%, whilst Resort Hotels achieved 23%.

    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% whilst domestic guests anchor business performance with a contribution of 80%.

    "On a positive note, subsequent to the end of the quarter under review, the RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced that all domestic foreign currency proceeds shall be exempt from liquidation for all sectors while export proceeds will continue to be subject to a 25% liquidation," said Musimbe.

    The firm sustained focus on scaling its properties through refurbishment programmes amid anticipation to complete the US$4,2 million Hwange Safari Lodge 100 rooms refurbishment during the second quarter of the current year.

    ASL finished renovating 47 rooms and the kitchen at its upmarket hotel, The Victoria Falls Hotel, in the third quarter of 2022. Approximately US$5 million was committed by ASL and its partner, Meikles Limited, to modernise this building.

    Other refurbishments are taking place at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel's conference centre and unfinished guest rooms that should be completed by mid-year.

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