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Chobe’s Deferral Policy Bears Fruit

PAULINE DIKUELO
COVID-19 has negatively impacted tourism industry PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Hospitality and tourism giant, Chobe Holdings’ marketing strategy of ‘don’t cancel, but defer policy’ has successfully been pushed as the company continues to hold advance travel receipt to the value of about P34 million at the financial year end.

Equally, the move also promoted domestic travel as a number of locals toured the country at reasonable cost.

“This initiative did however give our own citizens an opportunity to enjoy Botswana’s wildlife and landscapes at a more affordable price, from a group perspective,” Chobe chief executive officer, Jonathan Gibson said in his commentary on the group’s financial results for the year ended February 2021. “… it ensured that our properties were brought back to standard, and most importantly, it also allowed for the remobilisation of a number of staff at full salaries.”

Gibson said the numbers for the year under review reflect the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry world-wide. “Some recovery of business in the form of domestic tourism was achieved when towards the calendar year end travel restrictions were somewhat eased, this is so despite the heavy burden on both travelers and staff in the implementation of the many COVID-19 protocols we are subject to,” he said.

The CEO added the substantially lower than normal rates achieved, and the relative thinness of this market precluded the generation of a meaningful impact on

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their bottom line. He said both their marketing and reservations teams report particularly strong interest from the traditional northern hemisphere suppliers such that there seem to be little doubt that if people can travel freely, business will recover strongly.

However, Gibson noted that the extension of the State of Emergency (SoE) for a further six months dealt a heavy blow to the industry. He argued the connotations of such a proclamation cause many countries to advise their nationals not to travel to countries under a SoE.

In many instances, he said travel insurances cannot be obtained by persons travelling to countries being governed under such proclamations.

Meanwhile, the CEO said despite their efforts to preserve cash resources and remain debt free, the ongoing crisis forced the group to draw into their prearranged overdraft facility of P25 million to the extent of P11.6 million. “The extending of the government wage subsidy for a further three months to the end of December has again played a significant role in shoring up the group’s cash resources, the group having received P9.6 million in this regard,” he added.



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