Owners of Savuti Safari Lodge and the pristine Leroo La Tau Lodge in the Makgadikgadi Pans said the exchange rate helped push Chobe Holdings Limited’s profit margins. The eco-tourism outfit attributed its subdued profit to a weaker Pula against the US dollar in the half-year period ended 31 August 2012.
The company recorded a slight increase in room occupancies, but Jonathan Gibson, the company chief executive expressed hope that economies in Asia and South America have the potential to offset losses made due to declining number of clients from Europe.
“Bed rates recorded an increase, thanks to the US dollar, which strengthened against the weakening Pula,” Gibson said. Chobe’s revenue for the period settled at P82 million, signaling a 15 percent growth from P71 million recorded from the previous period in question.
The company, whose subsidiaries are Desert and Delta Safaris and Venstel, further saw its profit for the period settling at P16.2 million, just a slight growth from the P15 million recorded during the 2011 half year results.
The subdued profit according to Gibson was also attributable to a decline in European business, adequately offset by increased volumes from other less favourable markets, which bode well for the future.
“Whilst we remain concerned with regard to events beyond our borders, especially the ongoing financial crisis in the Northern Hemisphere from whence we draw the vast majority of our clientele, we have continued to maintain occupancies at reasonable levels. This is so despite increasing our rates in US Dollar terms,” he said.
Gibson further noted the potential to increase volumes from the more buoyant economies of Asia and South America.
He said wildlife based tourism to Botswana has benefitted considerably from the relative turmoil in East, North Africa and elsewhere in the world. The company’s total assets have declined from P178 million to P170 million for the period. The decline in the value of the assets could be attributed to the decision by the group to sell some of their assets.
During the financial year ended 29th February 2012, the group sold, on suspense conditions, its 44 percent interest in Lianshulu Lodge on extended credit terms. One of the conditions of sale was that the owners of Lianshulu Lodge, before the sale, would be responsible to settle that company’s overdraft at the time the sale agreement was signed. The group settled its share of the P410 000 overdrafts in June 2012.