Laying Solid Foundations for 2023

By Hamza Farooqui CEO Millat Investments.

The bottom line is that our hard work has laid essential and solid foundations for success moving into 2023, and we can move with confidence into a new year, knowing that things will be better. 

The end of another year means a time for reflection. We take stock of our achievements and acknowledge where we could have and could be doing better.

We set personal goals for the year ahead and hopefully we can take some time to be grateful for where we are now.

This year seems to have come down on all of us like a ton of bricks as we have navigated the aftermath of the pandemic and worked harder than ever to pull ourselves together and move forward. While I may be trawling a line of pessimism here, I must emphasise that this is a positive thing.

While we are exhausted, we should also be proud that we have managed to make it through the year and celebrate how hard we have worked to overcome a climate that was less than ideal.

The bottom line is that our hard work has laid essential and solid foundations for success moving into 2023, and we can move with confidence into a new year, knowing that things will be better. 

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, global tourism is set to increase by 30% in 2023. Africa is a promising tourist destination, and South Africa’s potential as the gateway to the rest of the continent is massive.

With cross-sector collaboration between South African Tourism, hotel groups, and smaller tourism operators, we are guaranteed to put SA back on the list of must-visit destinations.

 But while things are getting better, we must stay focused on rebuilding the hospitality sector and ensuring its stability in the face of future risks. This calls for increased skills training and investment in those graduating into fields in the sector to ensure that our local talent is moulded to a world-class standard. 

Millat Investments has overcome every difficulty it encountered and turned every challenge into an opportunity. We established ourselves in the culinary sector with an innovative dark kitchen model, offering small businesses the opportunity to cut costs and focus on excellent service. 

The successful launch of the Circle K franchise is also an achievement to be recognised – creating jobs, encouraging local tourism, and cementing the brand in the convenience retail sector.

At the same time, the global Puma Energy agreed on a forecourt deal with Millat Convenience, a subsidiary of Millat Investments, which will explore giving us access to over one hundred Puma Energy retail sites across South Africa.

We have huge confidence that this deal will change the way people experience filling station forecourts as they encounter an offering of comfort, variety and taste not seen before in this space.

Five more Circle K stores are set to open in Gauteng and North-West Province in the coming weeks, including a standalone operation at the University of Johannesburg, which will open in late January 2023.

Our acquisition of the landmark Winston Hotel in Johannesburg has also firmly established Millat Investments as a key player in the hotel industry. Our strategic investment into these, and many more, successes have set the tone for a promising 2023. 

In tough trading conditions, our Hyatt House Rosebank and Hyatt House Sandton properties have also risen to the challenge, and occupancy rates have been above the industry average.

And how have we managed to go from strength to strength in what has been an objectively difficult year for most industries across the board? By putting consumers at the centre of our operations. Having a consumer-centred mindset gives us the drive we need to excel. At the core of the hospitality industry are acts of service.

Throughout 2022 we have been powered by the mentality that our consumers deserve nothing but the best. It has driven everything from decisions in the boardroom to our day-to-day interactions with clients. So, as we rest and reflect, it is important to know that we owe every success to our consumers and carry this mindset into 2023.

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