After a challenging and unprecedented year the dark clouds are finally parting. Thisyear has been unlike any other and has changed all our lives so drastically. So many of ushave been left to face difficult realities. But there is hope for some normalcy returningsoon and on that positive note let me take you through the highlights of 2020.
The stormy clouds of the pandemic began brewing in the early months of 2020. Theybrought death devastation and disruption to so many lives the world over. COVID-19 wasour greatest equaliser affecting countries despite how rich or poor advanced oremerging.
On behalf of everyone at Delta Corp I extend my heartfelt sympathies to all thosewhose lives have been impacted by the pandemic. I would also like to extend my eternal gratitudeto the countless unsung heroes from doctors to nurses to emergency and essentialservice workers who worked tirelessly and selflessly during the lockdowns to ensurewe could stay home safely. We at Delta Corp tried to do our part in alleviating thecrisis through contributions to COVID relief funds and by partnering with NGOs todistribute food to those most gravely impacted.
In the wake of the pandemic the financial year had a rough start. The strict lockdownmeasures enforced by the Government to ameliorate the effects of the virus had seriousrepercussions on business activity.
Certain businesses especially those that rely on tourism such as travel hospitalityand retail saw more serious effects than others. As you well know our core business isgaming and hospitality which is strongly correlated to travel and leisure. As ourcustomers focussed their energy on staying uninfected - vacations holidays and travelfell on the backburner.
For almost seven months of the financial year all our casinos were entirely shut.Operations in Goa and Sikkim resumed only in the first week of November 2020. Asper Government orders our attendance was restricted to only 50% of the normal capacityexcept in the case of Deltin Caravela Casino which resumed operations in January 2021.Our casino in Nepal did not resume operations till March 2021. Our hotel operations atDaman gradually resumed since Unlock 1 in June 2020. Since reopening both the casino andhotel businesses have witnessed good revenue growth in the fourth quarter of the currentfinancial year.
As you can well imagine the prolonged closure of the casinos and the hotels and anoverall decrease in tourism and travel had an obvious and expected impact on theperformance of the Company. Faced with a slowdown in business we were forced to resort toseveral cost-cutting measures in an attempt to tide over the crisis. However thesemeasures were merely temporary and as our situation improved and unlocking began inOctober 2020 we were able to go back to near normal. We have a strong Balance Sheet andare a debt-free company. Despite a difficult year we have continued our dividend paymentsto shareholders and also implemented a share buyback scheme.
As lockdowns were relaxed in the latter half of the year we saw a massive surge ofguests returning to our casinos and hotels and we welcomed them back with open arms andsmiling faces. Our business bounced back beyond our expectations almost returning topre-pandemic levels. To see familiar faces in our hotel and casinos again has given us theconfidence and conviction to believe that once the world normalises we will be able toresume our operations in full swing again. We expect not just to survive this but to growand expand.
Vaccination drive throughout the country and worldwide have proved to be the light atthe end of the tunnel. While we now tackle the second wave we strongly believe that bythe end of 2021 some normalcy should be restored. We have acquired a 100 acres landparcel near Mopa Airport for an integrated resort for which we have received in-principleapproval from the Investment & Promotion Board. This resort is planned as a one-stopdestination for all members of the family with an electronic casino shopping mallgaming zones and an array of other family recreational activities. Additionally we planon replacing one of our existing vessels with a newly-built and upgraded vessel to caterto our future growth and expansion requirements.
Moreover our business witnessed another exciting and interesting development this pastyear. The forced lockdown has given a fresh fillip to online gaming. Delta Corp wasamongst the first movers in the emerging online gaming space when we acquiredIndias largest online poker site "Adda52.com" in 2017. Since thenwe have added Rummy to our suite of skill-based games. Rummy has been received wellby gamers despite being in the development phase and I am confident that it will soongarner a strong presence in the online gaming space.
I am happy to inform you that our online gaming business performed strongly this year.To further strengthen our position in this space we also launched "Faboom"a multi-gaming platform that offers fantasy and real-money gaming. There is a hugeopportunity for growth and expansion in the online gaming space especially given thatpeople are spending more time at home and online. We are extremely confident that we willbe able to replicate our leadership in online poker to other online games.
Looking ahead I am both cautious and confident. The resurgence of the second wave ofCOVID-19 in April 2021 has made me cautious as it has shown us that we cannot afford tolet our guard down. But the proven efficacy of vaccinations against this gruelling diseasehas given me hope to believe that we are on our way to recovery. Still we must not becomplacent.
We must be patient. We must be prudent. And slowly but surely the clouds of thisunexpected storm will clear making way for a brighter and happier future for us all.
Stay vigilant and stay safe.