JOHANNESBURG| The COVID 19 came as a major blow to most businesses in the tourism industry such as Hotels. The continued implementations of Covid 19 regulations in a bid of curbing the increasing levels of infections had grave repercussions on most companies . Many businesses were forced to permanently close down due to the impact.
However, some businesses which were able to quickly respond to the shifting ground were able to stir through the storm. Companies such as the Sun International Limited managed to come out of the gale but with scares. Currently , the tide has calmed and many businesses that survived Covid 19 impacts are optimistic about the future.
According to the Chief executive of Sun International, the future of the travel and hospitality sector is showing positive developments since the ending of lockdown and believes that the worst is over.
After, the devastating impact of the COVID19 pandemic, Leeming says there is a strong likelihood of good business in the sector, for the coming year, since most businesses are prepared to commence business next year.
In a statement, Leeming said, “We believe that 2022 will be a good year for the sector. As South Africans, we have a rich history and beautiful geography to share with the world. We have done everything we can to prepare for business to pick up. When they return, we’ll be ready,”
The gradual lifting of restrictions has seen the growing momentum of tourists travel to holiday destinations. This has slowly improved the business performance of hotels and other businesses in the tourist industry in South Africa.
Leeming says,’’ After lockdown, the popularity of weekend getaways for families has also been restored, with more domestic clients looking to spend time away from their homes but not necessarily being able to travel internationally yet’’
Sun Internatinal is among the businesses that have since started showing improvements in the last months, after the easing of the lockdown regulations. According to the Hotel’s records, its income has increased by 51% to R3.8 billion in the six months to end June, and the company’s headline losshas also improved by 86% to a loss of 32 cents per share.
However,its casino business is still showing slow recovery mostly because of the effects of some of the ongoing Covid 19 regulations and curfews. Leeming said the ongoing curfew restrictions have resulted in prominent gamers spending less as they usually do at gambling venues which has idled business.
Casino business is Sun International’s major business. Casinos generate about 70% of its total revenue and the Hotel owns 42.5% of the South African casino market.
Leeming also highlighted on some of the strategies Sun International undertook to keep the boat afloat during the pandemic lockdowns. These included IT systems upgrades, outsourcing work where it was more cost-effective and efficient to do so, and digital innovations. H went on to advise other businesses to take on, some of the strategies inorder to improve their business performance come 2022.
Among these strategies , Leeming also mentioned the development of an app and booking engine that made it easier for clients to book hotel rooms and services so as to improve clients’ hotel experience.
“We also designed an app that will serve as a way of disseminating information and developed a new booking engine to make online bookings quicker and easier, which we have just launched. Ultimately, we asked ourselves how we could serve our guests better, and we acted on those points.” Leeming said.