V&A Waterfront, the well-known dockside retail and entertainment node in Cape Town, experienced a rapid rebound from January as international tourist arrivals increased, said Growpoint Properties, the 50 percent owner of the V&A.
Growthpoint said in a nine-month update that the nine months had reflected two distinct periods for the V&A.
Up to December 31, 2021, the V&A remained severely impacted by low international tourism due to pandemic restrictions, particularly the UK travel bans, and in December, due to the Omicron variant.
From January 2022, however, the rapid rebound was boosted by international tourism to the extent that activity at V&A reached more than 70 percent of pre-Covid levels by the end of March.
The V&A’s operating profit for the nine months improved 55 percent (R318 million) compared to a decrease of 19 percent (R210m) on pre-Covid levels in the corresponding prior period to March 2021.
Strong local support and a better-than-expected increase in international tourism boosted turnovers in the new year, particularly in clothing, luxury goods, groceries, and most restaurants. Parking income also improved. Aquarium visits increased by 90 percent from a year earlier.
Rental relief continued to be provided to the most vulnerable tenants.
Vacancies were low at 1.85 percent, and rental collections were high at 94 percent.
In the six months from July 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, the office portfolio anchored performance, underpinned by strong covenants from more than 70 percent blue-chip tenants and near-zero vacancy.
The V&A had already confirmed more than 100 cruise ship arrivals for the next season, starting in October 2022.
“The V&A can expect an accelerated tourism-led rebound, driven by the retail and hospitality sectors. The Waterfront should return to normalised performance, or better, within the next financial year,” Growthpoint said.
Growthpoint said it remained dedicated to its three well-established strategic priorities: international expansion, streamlining and optimising its South African portfolio, and generating income and equity returns from its fund management business, Growthpoint Investment Partners.