The Namibia Wildlife Resorts expects to return to profitability in 2024 after being badly affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, which saw a drop in visitors to the country and to its resorts.
Just before the pandemic, NWR reduced its losses from N$171m in 2020 to N$97m in 2021 that is 44% or N$77 million.
“We just came back from a difficult phase that almost wiped us out of business. We still expect 2022 to be a hard year for us. We foresee changes only from 2024 onwards,” said Nelson Ashipala, manager of corporate communications.
Pressed on the factors that will influence the financial performance of the NWR in the 2022 financial
year, Ashipala pointed out that initiatives targeted for local markets such as “My Friends Are Cooler Than Yours” that target local markets and exploration of international markets but most importantly, being able to offer great customer experience. “We also hope that with the current renovations we will see great growth.”
Ashipala said the NWR was profitable in 2019 already before the outbreak of the pandemic. “In line with the broader tourism industry projections say, by 2024 we might be back on track. This is provided we do not get any other waves or pandemics. The world has become unpredictable.”
The NWR has stated that it expects to make use of other incentives apart from facilities. He said these other innovations include customer or client engaging activities such as marathons, and wine expos. “Our live camera at Okaukuejo waterhole is also one of the many initiatives.’’
Commenting on the state of the tourism industry at the moment, Ashipala said the industry was picking up. “Our resorts, mostly in the most popular areas like Etosha and Sossusvlei, are full to the brim. The fatigue from Covid is most definitely being felt around the world and people just want to rest.”
With the gradual return of international tourists, the industry has been accused of returning to focus on attracting international tourists as was the case before the pandemic.
But Ashipala said the NWR has the lowest prices for domestic travellers compared to other resorts. “It only makes sense that we make our prices low because after all, we are the government owned and have that ambassadorial role of showcasing Namibia’s foremost natural attractions to the domestic tourists as well responsibility. Our leisure card allows for one to travel at prices as low as N$500. Where else can one get such?” he said.
In July, Pohamba Shifeta, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism announced a 37.3 increase in Namibia tourism arrivals in 2021 compared to 2020.
The Tourism Arrival Statistics Report said foreign arrivals into Namibia increased by 40.9% from a total of 192,026 arrivals in 2020 to 270,644 arrivals in 2021. On the other hand, tourist arrivals had a substantial growth of 37.3% from 169,565 in 2020 to 232,756 in 2021.
The report said Namibia was likely to reach a million tourist arrivals or close to in 2022.
Gitta Paetzold, CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia said the report was encouraging as it reflects the steady tourism recovery Namibia experienced since September 2020.
South Africa dominated the African source markets followed by Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana respectively. On the other hand, Germany was leading the overseas arrivals in Namibia followed by France, Switzerland, United States of America and the United Kingdom.
Shifeta said the ministry has developed a Tourism Recovery Plan that sets out a framework for the tourism sector recovery process for the next three years. Equally, the ministry is implementing the 6th edition of the Tourism Satellite Account with the support of UNECA to strengthen data collection and analytics.