Coronavirus Leads to Sun International Cancellations
As coronavirus sweeps across South Africa and the rest of the world, many industries are starting to feel more than a pinch. Sun International, the South African hotel and casino operator said that it was dealing with multiple cancellations as people avoid public gatherings.
The chief executive officer of Sun International, Anthony Leeming, said that many conference bookings and events have been cancelled.
Even before President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement this week, prohibiting the gathering of more than 100 people, Sun International had started to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Less people traveled from the end of February onwards, as country after country put some kind of travel restrictions into place.
The CEO said: “With travel restrictions we’ve definitely lost all international business and conference group bookings are cancelling left right and center.”
“With the President’s announcement, we’re going to have all conferencing cancelled for the next couple of months,” he said. “So that’s the real impact on the hospitality side.”
Moving to markets outside of South Africa, to counter the losses expected, and to explore new growth opportunities, Sun International announced the launch of an online sports betting platform. The platform is expected to go live in the coming months in Peru.
Leeming said that once the Peru market has been set up, Sun International will launch the online sports betting platform in other South American countries such as Panama. It also has its eye on Brazil and Argentina if a sports betting license can be secured from the gambling authorities.
Sun International posted a 91% increase in adjusted full-year earnings. The group said that while it was too early to forecast exactly how Covid-19 would impact its performance in the months to come, it was taking all precautions “to ensure a safe and healthy environment” for its employees and visitors. It was also “preparing operations for any possible disruption to trading.”