The move by hospitality group Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) to pivot towards digital businesses is beginning to bear fruit, with the Gateway Stream continuing to be a key revenue stream amid the pandemic disruptions.
The Gateway Stream web and mobile application is a global diversified and unified online business ecosystem that delivers perpetual, passive and active income through the ownership of markets.
RTG launched the application in 2018, long before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on travel and the hospitality businesses across the globe, and Zimbabwe has been no exception.
In its trading update to March 31, 2021, the group said although business was down due to the pandemic, the platform was the main revenue driver during the period under review.
“The group’s mobile and web application the Gateway Stream, which was activated in May 2020 continued to gain momentum and has become a source of replacement business, as well as a driver for revenue growth,” said company secretary Tapiwa Mari.
“The growth trajectory in Gateway Stream is being led by groceries, hardware and accommodation, while food and drink (Gateway Eats), Events and Insurance channels have started recording business activities and are showing high potential going into the future.”
During the period under review, the group’s inflation adjusted revenues closed at $198 million, down from $368 million recorded over the same period last year, a development management attributed to “a consequence of the reduction in occupancy.”
RTG’s reported that first quarter occupancies closed at 12 percent.
“This performance is attributed to the increased business activity in the month of March as there was no significant business activity in the first two months of 2021.
“The comparative 2020 occupancies were 33 percent representing full activity during that period except for Rainbow Towers Hotel & Conference Centre which was closed for a planned refurbishment” said the group.
“It is pleasing to note that activities in city hotels have significantly increased mainly driven by conferencing. The Victoria Falls area hotels remain affected by the impact of Covid-19 on world travel,” said RTG.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) 2020 report, Africa has been the most affected in terms of international tourism because it is a long-haul destination.
Management however said it is positive that airlines are now beginning to resuscitate regional routes, which will have a positive impact on regional tourism.
The group’s tour operations arm Heritage Expeditions Africa activities were also affected by the lockdown.
“We anticipate the volumes to grow in line with increasing domestic business activities,” said Mari.
With players in the tourism sector still grappling with the long-term effects of the pandemic, RTG has moved to vaccinate most of its employees.
“The group responded to the Government’s free vaccination program and has recorded an impressive 70 percent vaccination of its staff.
“The vaccination efforts will likely spur confidence in the tourism industry,” said the group.
It added: “The on-going vaccination rollout across the globe is expected to improve tourism activities. The group is upbeat about the prospects of domestic tourism as driven by the recovery of some key sectors of the economy.”
Going forward, RTG management is seeking to further leverage on the e-commerce platform, through “the full activation of all the 12 Gateway Stream revenue channels.”
“These 12 revenue channels give the group the opportunity to derive revenues from various and diversified segments of the economy,” said management.