Asilia is a high-end nature travel business currently operating 14 camps & lodges in north Tanzania, Zanzibar and southern Kenya with a combined capacity of 260 beds.
It has imminent plans to expand into northern Kenya, southern Tanzania and Mozambique where it has already secured significant concession rights. The company generates annual revenues of c. US$ 25 million from > 35,000 bed-nights with a healthy profit margin. It has generated a compounded annual revenue growth rate (GAGR) of more than 40% in the decade since its formation.
Asilia views itself as a classic impact company – supported by its pioneering 5-star GIIRS rating and the fact that it is the first African safari company to be B-Corp registered. Key to this is its integrated approach to landscapes in which it has a material ‘cluster’ of operations. In these areas it will engage at a number of levels – generating meaningful funds for conservation, creating local employment, partnering with local NGOs and engaging in local community and conservation development projects.
The Investment: Asilia is developing both the bench strength (supported by its established operations in more commercially secure flagship tourism landscapes such as the Serengeti and Mara) and the ‘corporate will’ to push its commercial model into new frontier conservation areas. This will bring revenues and employment into contexts where there is a significant need but where mainstream tourism operators fear to tread. From a commercial standpoint these areas have longer profitability lead times and higher risk-profiles, but with the backing of a strong organisation and the right mindsets have far greater upside conservation and social impact potential – and ultimately will give the company strong competitive product advantage capable of yielding strongly to the bottom line. It is around this dynamic that AWC has structured and focused a US$ 2 million development financing package. Attached to this is a pioneering interest rebate mechanism. The rebate enables Asilia to reduce the effective cost of AWC capital by up to 2% based on the development of (a) new conservation areas or (b) the introduction of incremental tourism bed-nights (and the economic benefits these bring) into existing but under-utilised conservation landscapes.