By Bester Kayaye
Malawi’s leading hospitality group Sunbird Tourism plc. says it has registered a growth of 184% in profit in the first half of 2022 fiscal year, a positive signal attributed to an increased in tourism and travel activities in the country.
In the profit and loss statement co-signed by the Group’s Board Chairman Vilipo Munthali and Director Moureen Mbeye, sunbird boasts to have posted Mk400.2 million in profit after tax favourably to the loss of K475.8 million attained in the same period last year.
It has also recorded a 58% increase in total revenue in the first half as at June 2022 total revenue amounted to K10.0 billion which is higher than prior year’s first half revenue of K6.4 billion.
Sunbird hails the corporate segment as the highest contributor with 82% of the rooms sold and it continues to be the anchor segment for the business.
“The segment is expected to remain the key driver for the business in the second half of the year. Efforts to grow other segments with focus on domestic leisure are in place, despite the challenges associated with the cost of living due to the prevailing economic environment that has direct impact on the price sensitive segment,” it says.
The company also says the increase in business levels has had a positive impact on the profitability despite the sharp increase in operating costs.
It says: “Sunbird half year performance indicates that the tourism industry is positively recovering from the heavy impact of pandemic and confidence in hospitality and travel has returned both at national and international level. However, the lakeshore ban for government meetings and conferences in the resorts has negatively affected the growth and performance of the industry.”
“Despite the recovery disruption, the positive trajectory due to increase in tourism and travel activities is expected to continue to the year-end, and key is the increasing of routes by Malawian Airlines and anticipated resumption of other airlines which will help with opening up Malawi further for international arrivals.”
Despite acknowledging that the recovery of tourism has gathered pace in many parts of the world, the company also points out weathering challenges constraining business operations including the Covid-19 pandemic as well as Russia-Ukraine war which has disrupted global supply chain leading to price increase of vital commodities.
Meanwhile, the company is still optimistic to record a significant profit in the second half of the year as it is implementing a number of key product improvement plans across the country including unveiling of a new Lake View Restaurant at Sunbird Livingstonia in May 2022, and phase one of soft refurbishment of Sunbird Ku Chawe and Mzuzu is underway.
“The Board is focused on building a resilient brand by improving service delivery and guest experience through implementation of the 5-year strategic plan to ensure that the company maintains its market leadership in the hospitality industry.”