2022 was a year of managed challenges for Novaturas Group, the leader in the Baltic Tourism market. Its ambitious goals at the start of the year were adjusted by the war in Ukraine and the resulting slowdown in travel demand, as well as the drastic rise in jet fuel prices, which led to a temporary loss. However, timely and targeted decisions helped to significantly improve the performance in the second half-year.
The company reacted promptly to changes in demand and adjusted its flight programme accordingly, while close cooperation with its partners helped to confidently grow its sales and adapt its hotel offering. Last year, a strategic decision to implement the bookings of another tour operator (Kidy Tour) was made – a challenge which the company managed successfully, not only meeting the expectations of the travellers themselves, but also significantly increasing the number of passengers served. The introduction of a fuel surcharge during the year helped to reduce loss due to fuel price volatility.
After the first half-year, negative EBITDA (EUR -0.8 million) and a net loss (EUR -1.7 million) were recorded; however, the company closed the year with positive EBITDA (EUR +1 million). Moreover, it came very close to a profitable full year (net loss of EUR -0.2 million).
“We returned to profitability already in the summer, and since September we have recorded a significant monthly revenue growth. Every month from the beginning of autumn until December has been more successful than the previous, and we ended the year with a record Group-wide revenue of EUR 197 million, compared to EUR 109 million in 2021. This achievement in a challenging period is above all the result of the team’s focus and professionalism, while the solid performance of the Group as a whole allows us to move forward with confidence,” says Vitalij Rakovski, CEO of Novaturas Group.
Targeted growth in customer numbers
The number of customers of the company has been growing significantly – in 2022, Novaturas Group served 267,000 passengers, significantly closing the gap with 2018 and 2019, when the number of passengers was the highest ever. Comparing 2021 with 2022, the number of customers has increased by more than 55 per cent. As the company observes a targeted upward trend, it aims to continue to deliver a balanced travel programme, with a supply that organically matches demand and responds effectively to changes in the competitive environment.
Leadership in the tourism market
In October 2022, the company launched early bookings for the summer season. Travellers were offered a balanced and strategically well thought-out selection of destinations for 2023 and a benefits package that includes the lowest price guarantee. Early bookings for this summer exceeded last year’s figures for all destinations.
As usual, the company focused on destinations that are the most popular among travellers and are not losing their leading positions, such as Turkey and Greece. In addition, it sees a very strong growth in relatively new destinations which are being chosen by an increasing number of travellers – for example, sales to Montenegro and Tunisia exceeded last year’s pre-sales by 3 times.
Winter 2022 also witnessed a strong interest in exotic long haul destinations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles, Cuba, Mexico, Zanzibar, Dominican Republic and others. Seeing the growing demand for such trips, the company has increased its offering accordingly. It is also promising a greater focus on these destinations this year, so it plans to further expand the diversity of its range.
In fact, there is a trend towards travellers planning their trips more and more in advance and choosing from a wider range of destinations, resorts, hotels and rooms. In comparison, the average time from purchase to start of travel was two months at the beginning of the year, while in the second half of the year it was approaching three months and continues to increase steadily.
Achievements in aviation
In 2022, a very high load factor was maintained across the Group, with a well-balanced supply of tourism products and a quick response to circumstances. On an annual average basis, it stood at 94.4 per cent, and for the fourth quarter as a whole it exceeded 96 per cent.
In order to improve its customer experience and reduce its CO2 footprint, the company replaced its aircraft in Estonia with a more environmentally friendly, next-generation “gamechanger” Boeing 737-8 in December 2022. The company sees this as a key step in ensuring more sustainable travel. The new aircraft not only carries 5 per cent more passengers, but also consumes 12–15 per cent less fuel. This translates into a 16–18 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, resulting in ~5,000–6,000 tonnes of CO2 less per year.
Motivating staff and encouraging loyalty
Another important step in 2022 that Novaturas took to motivate its team of professionals and strengthen loyalty was that the company was the first in the Lithuanian tourism market to introduce an option programme. All employees can participate by purchasing shares in the company for less than the market price and thus contribute to the sustainable growth of the company’s share value.
The stock option programme is applied in three areas: motivating top managers, giving all employees the opportunity to receive their incentive bonus in stock options instead of cash, and increasing the loyalty of employees depending on the period of service in the company.
Recognition for challenge management
The success of Novaturas Group is reflected in a significant award. At the traditional Nasdaq Baltic Awards 2023, the company was recognised as the company that did the best job overcoming recent challenges and managing market change. Novaturas won the title of “The Challenge of the Year” for its contribution to the development of Lithuanian and Baltic capital markets.
“Summing up a challenging year that has helped us to return to sustainable growth in 2022, we look forward to the future with optimism and confidence. Even as the competitive environment intensifies, we are clearly maintaining our leadership as the largest tour operator in the Baltic tourism market and we are evidently increasing the gap with our closest competitors. This inspires us to continue to pursue ambitious goals and plan bold operational steps,” says the CEO of Novaturas Group.
Financial results of 12M 2022:
|Results||12M 2022||12M 2021||12M 2020|
|Revenue||196 963||108 995||32 894|
|Gross profit||19 339||13 489||3 595|
|EBITDA||1 048||2 552||-3 123|
|Net profit||-221||909||-5 750|
About the company
Novaturas Group is the largest tour operator in the Baltic States, offering summer and winter package holidays by plane to more than 30 destinations worldwide and more than 100 tours.