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Lakeshore meetings ban affects Sunbird

STANDING OUT—One of Sunbird hospitality units

Colleen Zamba

A ban on lakeshore conferences by the government has partly affected hospitality giant Sunbird Hotels and Resorts, the firm says in its published financial statement for the half-year ended June 30, 2022.

According to the statement, the tourism industry is, however, positively recovering from the impact of the Covid pandemic and confidence in the hospitality and travel sector has returned.

“However, the lakeshore ban for government meetings and conferences in the resorts has negatively affected the growth and performance of the industry,” reads the financial statement.

Early this year, the government imposed a ban on lakeshore conferences and meetings for government ministries, departments and agencies, a move which Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba touted as an austerity measure.

However, in the six-month period to June 30, the tourism chain posted an after-tax profit of K400.2 million.

This represents a184 percent increase from a K475.8 million loss posted during the same time last year.

The profitability has been attributed to an increase in business levels despite a sharp increase in operating costs, according to the statement, as signed by board chairperson Vilipo Munthali and director Moureen Mbeye.

On outlook, the company says the tourism industry is expected to continue recovering from the Covid pandemic but the war between Russia and Ukraine is a cause for worry.

“The board is focused on building a resilient brand by improving service delivery and guest experience.

“This is being achieved through implementation of the five-year strategic plan anchored on four pillars namely management and governance, customer centricity, operations excellence and innovation, financial management and sustainability,” the statement adds.

The company has not declared any dividend to shareholders and says no dividend was paid during the period under review.

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