Extracted from the Annual Report 2021
NAVIGATING A RECOVERY FRAUGHT WITH DISRUPTIONS
After weathering the initial onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Group, like other companies in the tourism industry, had to hunker down in 2021 where recovery was enabled by increasing vaccinations worldwide, yet hampered by the emergence of new variants, which resulted in periodic resumption of restrictions on travel and visitation to our attractions.
In China, the authorities continued to pursue a zero-Covid policy, where provinces and cities were designated risk levels based on disease activity (high, medium, low), with localized restrictions implemented accordingly. The Group was successful in seeing through most of the year with intermittent short closures, although a severe Omicron outbreak in Xi'an in December necessitated a month-long lockdown of the city, which included the temporary suspension of our Lintong Cable Car operation.
In Singapore, the situation remained challenging for the Singapore Flyer due to the continued restrictions on air travel, which saw international visitor arrivals hitting a record low of 330,000, as reported by the Singapore Tourism Board. This was even lower than the 2.7 million arrivals in 2020, as the previous year registered strong tourism performance in the first two months before the onset of the pandemic. The impact to our cashflow was lessened by the award under our financial arbitration case for the 2018 closure of the Flyer due to a technical issue. In addition, the Flyer also received strong government support in the form of the SingapoRediscovers vouchers scheme, where each local resident was given $100 to spend on local attractions, tours or hotel stays.
As with the previous year, our subsidiaries remained in a state of vigilance and preparedness against COVID; social distancing measures for visitors and staff, as well as stepped-up cleaning and disinfection routines continue to be in place. We have also put in place measures to ensure that critical inventory, including those for fish feed, are not affected by supply chain disruptions.
In spite of the continued challenges brought about by COVID, we have continued to work on both current and future enhancements to our offerings, such as those involving new exhibit campaigns for the year, as well as more transformative and capital-intensive revamps. In line with our ongoing commitment to ESG, we continue to take steps to improve energy and water efficiency at our facilities, and to ensure that our marine exhibits come from reliable sources that do not impact wild populations or habitats.
Amidst the disruptions experienced throughout the year with temporary closures, the group managed to generate sufficient revenue to maintain positive cash inflow at the operating level.
For the year under review, the Group generated a revenue of S$41.91 million and registered a net profit of S$11.57 million, while operating cash inflow was S$20.27 million.
With a net cash holding of S$168.90 million, we remain resilient in face of the current ongoing health crisis, and will be well placed to seize business opportunities and participate in any viable collaborations in the future.
Despite the difficult operating environment, we propose a first and final dividend of 1.0 cent per share, taking cognizance of the healthy financial position. This proposed payment represents our appreciation of the support shown by shareholders and is a show of solidarity with all our stakeholders.
OUTLOOK ON TOURISM
With the relatively high vaccination rollouts in China and Singapore, our attractions in these two countries face a lowered risk of mass outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns. There is also hope for further recovery in tourist traffic to Singapore with the phased launching of Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) with more countries. However, given China's zero-Covid strategy, as well as the ever-present threat of new variants, the relaxing of precautionary measures and travel curbs will still take time. We will continue to manage our operations to safeguard our team, our visitors as well as our cashflow. We remain thankful to the Government for the many financial assistance programmes and policies that help businesses and their staff during this trying time.
As we continue to move forward in this uncertain and challenging environment, I would like to register my sincere gratitude to our staff, management, directors and business partners for their contribution and sacrifices made for the year under review:
- Our staff and management team at our business units for constantly improving themselves and committing to their roles and responsibilities, despite the circumstances. Their positive and righteous attitude is the key factor in ensuring that we have a stable work force amidst the disruptions.
- Our various other stakeholders, business associates and professional consultants who have helped us.
- My fellow directors on the Board and all directors of our group companies for their valuable counsel and contributions.
- Last but not least, our shareholders for their faith, trust and encouragement and for displaying solidarity with us.
We will continue to build on the resilience of our core business model, while adapting our offerings to ride over the current challenges. We remain committed to a multi-pronged approach in generating value through effective and sustainable corporate governance, innovation and value-added investments.
Wu Hsioh Kwang