NWR implements further cuts to ensure sustainability

Swimming pool at Dolomite Resort

 

  • Reduction in basic salary and hours for all NWR employees
  • Continued engagement with stakeholders to map the way forward

 

Windhoek, 9 July 2021 – The last 16 months have been the most challenging period that any tourism company has ever experienced. Each company within the sector took various measures to safeguard its operations and its employees’ livelihoods. Being a State-owned enterprise Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) Limited equally embarked on uncharted waters when it cut their Board, Managing Director and Senior Management basic salaries, with the Patterson E-grading, by 25%, in September 2020. At the same time, NWR and NAPWU agreed on suspending salary increments for 2019/20, suspending normal overtime, Sunday and public holiday payments, and other allowances and benefits from 27 March 2020 up to date.

 

All these efforts were made to safeguard the well-being of its employees and the business. However, with the further challenges that the industry continues to endure, NWR has had to look at other additional measures to sustain its business. On this basis, NWR, in line with section 12 (6) (a) and (b) of the Labour Act, 11 of 2007, will be reducing the remuneration and working hours for its employees from job grades A1 – F1 for operational reasons and, for a period not exceeding three months starting in August 2021. In the case of NWR, only the basic salary will be affected as per the table.

 

Job grade Basic salary % cut Hours of work reduction
A1 – A5 10% A 10 % reduction in hours (which translates in 48 minutes, rounded off to 1-hour reduction per day).
B1 – B5 10% A 10 % reduction in hours (which translates in 48 minutes, rounded off to 1 hour reduction per day).
C1 – C5 15% A 15 % reduction in hours (which translates in 72 minutes, rounded off to 1-hour reduction per day).
D1 – D5 20% A 20 % reduction in hours (which translates in 96 minutes, rounded off to 1 hour 30 minutes reduction per day)
E – F 25% A 25 % reduction in hours (which translates in 120 minutes hours, rounded off to 2-hour reduction per day)

 

“This decision was not an easy one to make since we had hoped that our previous measures and a possible uptick in travel during our high season would improve the situation. However, in the current circumstances where cases are rapidly increasing and affecting Namibia as a travel destination, we do not foresee a marked improvement anytime soon. Therefore, the reduction in hours and basic salary is geared towards giving us some leeway to continue operating under these challenging times,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director. At the same time, NWR is continuing to engage the Ministry of Public Enterprise and its key stakeholders to see how they can assist it during this period.

199 submissions for NWR social media influencer programme

  • 10 social media influencers to collaborate with NWR for the next four months.
  • Each Influencer to receive complimentary accommodation, meals, and activities at five different NWR resorts.
  • Social media influencers to post about their experiences on their social media page/s and tag NWR using the #NWRMoments.

 

Windhoek, 1 July 2021 – Between 24 May – 31 May 2021, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) Limited provided Social Media Influencers with an opportunity to submit a two-page proposal highlighting why NWR should collaborate with them from 1 July 2021 to 31 October 2021 on its first-ever Social Media Influencer Programme. A total of 199 submissions were received from various social media influencers.

Ms Elizabeth Amunyela

 

Ms Marsy Rita

 

Out of the 199 submissions, each one was subjected to the following criteria: the authenticity of the social media influencer, the overall quality of social media posts by the influencer, the demographics the social media influencer has and lastly, their level of engagement on their social media platforms. Additionally, and very critically, each social media influencer had to highlight an alignment to NWR’s values before they could be considered. These values are Accountability, Integrity, Passion, Excellence, Innovation and Environmental Awareness.

Mr Kyle Lewin

 

Ms Nakanyala Ndapewa

 

“Due to the significant number of submissions, we ended up selecting ten social media influencers with whom we will collaborate with for the next four months. It truly pains us that we could not choose more influencers due to the high quality of submissions we received,” says Mr Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager.

Mr Lourens Gebhardt

 

Ms Elizma Burger

 

The ten social media influencers that NWR will collaborate with are: Ms Elizabeth Amunyela (IG: @__ndapandula), Mr Lourens Gebhardt (IG: @louxthevintageguru), Ms Li Rossouw (IG: @lirossouw), Mr Kyle Lewin (IG: @kylelewin_wildlife_photography), Ms Pukuu Rijatua (IG: @_pukuu), Ms Maggy Lenga (IG: @mlmaggy), Ms Tjuna Kauapirura (IG: @ tjunak), Ms Marsy Rita (IG: @ ladymarsela), Ms Elizma Burger (IG: @elizma.burger) and Ms Nakanyala Ndapewa (IG: @ndapewakoneka). “Each one of these influencers bring a unique aspect that will greatly benefit us. As NWR, we made sure not to limit ourselves to just established influencers but to look at individuals that embody our values and most importantly have something unique and innovative to offer,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director.

Ms Tjuna Kauapirura

 

Ms Lî Rossouw

For the duration of this programme, every influencer will have an opportunity to visit any five NWR establishments under the different classifications NWR has. Each influencer will receive complimentary accommodation, meals, and activities, excluding drinks. In return, the influencer will be expected to post about their experience on their social media page/s and tag NWR using the #NWRMoments. “It is unfortunate that our industry was so negatively impacted by Covid-19 because we would have wanted to remunerate each influencer for their time and transport costs they are going to put towards the realisation of this programme. We are thus very grateful to each one of them for accepting our offer and seeing an opportunity to further build their brand with us,” says Mr Nesongano.

 

Ms Maggy Lenga

 

Ms Pukuu Rijatua

Black Friday booking extension allowed – NWR

Dr. Matthias Ngwangwama – Managing Director

 

  • Black Friday voucher clients with bookings made before 17 June 2021 can amend their reservations before their arrival date until 31 August 2021 (Terms and Conditions apply).
  • Unredeemed Black Friday voucher clients have until 30 June 2021 to make their booking and travel before that date (Terms and Conditions apply).

 

Windhoek, 22 June 2021 – Throughout the past 15 months, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) Limited needed to find innovative ways to sustain its business. Through various specials, such as its Black Friday promotion in November 2020, NWR managed to do so, seeing several domestic travels occurring to its resorts.

 

However, with the travel restrictions that His Excellency, President Hage G. Geingob, announced on 15 June 2021, which restricted exit and entry into the Windhoek-Okahandja-Rehoboth Local Authority Areas from 16 June 2021 – 30 June 2021, several clients with Black Friday vouchers were affected. “These measures by the President are there to safeguard our Nation, and as NWR, we are in full support of them. That’s why, based on this, we have decided to allow our Black Friday voucher clients that made their bookings before 17 June 2021 the ability to move their reservations until 31 August 2021,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director.

 

NWR further encourages clients who had not redeemed their vouchers or made their booking before the President’s announcement to do so and travel before 30 June 2021. Otherwise, they will, unfortunately, forfeit these vouchers as per our terms and conditions. “To ensure that this process is smooth, we would like to appeal to our clients to send their written adjustment requests to the following booking offices (reservations@nwr.com.na, sw.bookings@nwr.com.na, ct.bookings@nwr.com.na) or where their original booking was created,” says Mr Epson Kasuto, NWR Chief Marketing Officer.

Michael !Goreseb Namibia Wildlife Resorts snake handler

Michael !Goreseb showing one of the snakes he recently caught 

Windhoek, 9 June 2021 – The mere mention of the word snake sends chills up some people’s spines, however for Mr Micheal !Goreseb, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) Limited snake handler, these species fascinate him. Having worked at NWR’s Namutoni resort for the past 14 years and recently relocated to Okaukuejo resort in the last two months, Mr !Goreseb has come into contact with all types of snakes over the years.

 

Mr !Goreseb is originally from Otjiwarongo; however, he grew up and schooled in Tsumeb, where his mother moved to when he was younger. He got introduced to snake handling from an early age by his grandfather, who was also a snake handler. As he grew older, he continued sharpening his skills, thereby making it easier for him to catch all types of snakes.

 

Michael !Goreseb with his snake handling equipment

 

“When I was a young boy, I started to catch these venomous snakes and all other types of snakes. That’s how I got into catching snakes,” says Mr !Goreseb. He further adds that “when one catches a snake, one should release back into the wild. This helps maintain the ecosystem. However, if you kill it, you will disturb the ecosystem”.

 

Over the years, he has gotten better at identifying the different types of snakes to the extent that he sometimes allows some of them to bite him, but he is quick to add that “I know the differences between the different types of snakes, so I’m always trying not to be bitten by the venomous ones but the mild venomous ones. Because when they bite you, the spot that would have been bitten will swell up and subsides after a few days”.

 

Michael !Goreseb showing a snake bite on his palm

 

When he recalls the most venomous snake that he has caught, the black mamba comes to mind. Thus far, he has caught three black mambas, with the latest one being 3.6m long. His future plans are to grow in his profession to the point that he is recognised throughout the country as one of the best snake handlers around.

NWR seeks to partner with Social Media Influencers

Mufaro Nesongano – NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager

 

Windhoek, 23 May 2021 – According to the statistical website, Napoleoncat, in April 2021, Namibia had 782 000 Facebook users, which accounted for 28.3% of its entire population and 320 700 Instagram users, which accounted for 11.6% of its entire population. Individuals between the ages of 25 – 34 years formed the majority of these users. To create awareness of its facilities to this age group and others, Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) Limited is inviting Social Media Influencers to be part of its first-ever Social Media Influencer Program from 1 July 2021 up to 31 October 2021.

 

Over the years, NWR has seen how social media has become an essential part of how travellers decide on their next destination. For instance, if one sees a social media influencer posting about a particular destination, as an individual, it’s normal to become curious about this place they are posting about.

TUNACOR donates 716 Kg of Fish to NWR Hospitality Institute

Mr Peya Hitula (Tunacor Chief Executive Officer) handing over the donated Fish to Ms Upahee Kasete (NWR Swakopmund Senior Sales Consultant)

 

Windhoek, 9 May 2021 – Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited Hospitality Institute (NWR Hi) recently received a donation of 122 cartons of fish valued at N$ 20 000 from Tunacor. The donation from Tunacor is aimed at supporting the newly established NWR Hospitality Institute students in their culinary arts experiential learning training.

 

Some of the students standing with cartons of fish that Tunacor donated

 

Receiving the donation in Swakopmund, Ms Upahee Kasete, NWR Swakopmund Senior Sales Consultant, said that “we are very grateful to have a reputable organisation such as Tunacor being our first industry sponsor partner in the area of fish culinary arts specialisation. Tunacor should be assured that this donation will enrichen our students in getting first-hand practical Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)”.

 

Mr Simon Williams, NWR TVET Apprenticeship, Hospitality & Tourism Trainer, and the entire NWR Hi Team were extremely excited and grateful at this latest development. Since the inception of the institute, NWR Hi has looked at partnering with the industry to find ways for collaboration. “Thus, this donation from Tunacor speaks to this sort of partnership that we have been looking for. Through this donation, our students will derive maximum value from their practical lessons. Therefore, we would like to call on other organisations to emulate Tunacor’s example by partnering with NWR Hi”.

NWR holds AGM amidst Covid-19 storm

 

Windhoek, 2 May 2021 – Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 29 April 2021 in compliance with the Public Enterprise Act 2019 (Act 1 of 2019). During the AGM, the Shareholder was represented by the Minister of Public Enterprise Honourable Leon Jooste and the newly introduced Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Honourable Heather Sibungo.

 

In presenting its results to the Shareholder, NWR Chairman Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu said, “during the financial year 2019/20, we faced our greatest challenges as an organization. The significant milestone of our first-ever profit of N$ 22 million since the establishment of the organization and other financial gains made in 2018/2019 were wiped out due to Covid-19”. However, to sustain its operations which resulted in it not retrenching or reducing its employees’ salaries except for its Board’s allowances and Senior Management salaries, NWR needed to be innovative to survive.

 

“Therefore, we were the first organization to offer our establishments to the Government as isolation facilities. We must say this was an arrangement few tourism companies were looking at during that period. Additionally, we paid special attention to our domestic market, which resulted in us offering a discounted rate of N$ 600 per room from May up until September 2020. That was a significant discount on our normal rack rates. Through this effort, we were able to keep the business going and provide a much-needed service to the nation. We also launched a new tour package that we envision will be one of the cornerstones of our future,” says Ambassador Iipumbu.

 

From a cost-cutting perspective, NWR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NAPWU. The MOU resolved, amongst others, to suspend salary increments for the financial period 2019/20, suspend normal overtime, Sunday and public holiday payments, and other allowances and benefits with effect from 27 March 2020. Additionally, it also resolved to place a moratorium on external recruitments to ensure that the company’s wage bill remained manageable. NWR also introduced a voluntary separation initiative, which 130 staff members took up. These efforts were aimed at helping it reduce its employee costs.

 

NWR Managing Director, Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, noted that “during the period under review, the Namibia Wildlife Resorts Hospitality Institute (NWR Hi) was successfully established. In collaboration with the National Training Authority (NTA), NWR’s training arm, NWR Hi, was operationalized in 2020 and apprenticeship scholarships were awarded to 80 apprentices sourced from all of Namibia’s 14 regions for the period 2020 – 2023”.

 

Furthermore, in appreciating the role the media played during the financial year, Dr Ngwangwama stated that “the negative media reports that characterized us in the past, also significantly reduced under review. A positive media tonality index (positive media reports exceeding negative reports) was achieved in 2020. At one stage, the company was ranked in the 6th place in terms of positive media coverage in 2020 by NamMedia monitoring agency during the year”.

 

On his part, Honourable Jooste thanked the company Board and management for having done relatively well in coping with the disastrous effects of Covid-19 on the company in relation to industry trends.

NWR reimagines its Mobile Application

 

Windhoek, 20 April 2021 – One cannot dismiss the impact technology has had or continues to have in most people’s way of life. As an organisation, Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) has consistently improved its Apple iOS and Android phone application, which it originally launched in 2015. For instance, with the previous update, NWR included clients’ ability to check availability, make their bookings at any of the NWR establishments, and apply for an NWR discount card (Namleisure card).

 

Thus, to further add more value to those who have the mobile application on their phones, NWR has added a new feature that allows its clients to scan and store their NWR discount card (Namleisure card) on their NWR phone application. Additionally, users of the application will be able to view their card benefits and be reminded when their card needs to be renewed.

 

“After launching our revamped website late last year, which we built from the ground up, we felt that our mobile application required to give more value to our clients equally. Therefore, aside from allowing users to make bookings and view our resorts, we believe this new addition to scan and store your Namleisure card on your phone will ensure that our clients always have their card with them. Additionally, clients will now be able to get a calendar notification when their card is up for renewal,” says Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorship Manager.

 

With the customer-centric philosophy that NWR has adopted, the reimaging of its mobile application is one way it is looking at making it easier to avail its services to its clients. “With our recently launched call centre and now our mobile application, we are geared towards giving our clients the best possible service we can offer. Therefore, our customers should expect more innovations coming from our side, and equally, we are working towards improving on things they have mentioned to us to make them continue supporting us,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director.

/Ai-/Ais Hotsprings and Spa set to open soon

 

Windhoek, 7 April 2021 – On 11 January 2021, Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) closed its /Ai-/Ais Hotsprings and Spa after it experienced flash floods that resulted in the rivers along the resort overflowing, causing damage to the resort and its campsites. NWR had initially anticipated the rehabilitation work on the resort being finalised before 1 April 2021. However, due to ongoing internal processes, the resort will remain closed until 30 April 2021 and is set to open on 1 May 2021.

 

NWR is cognisant of the number of travellers that frequent the resort, especially those that undertake the Fish River Canyon Hike. “This is why our internal team has conducted minor renovations to some of the areas with the limited resources at our disposal. It is just unfortunate that the camping sites were badly affected and will thus remain closed once we open,” says Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager.

 

Furthermore, Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director, states that “we greatly appreciate the understanding of our guests who had their bookings moved to later periods. We, however, are working hard internally to have the areas that we can fix done before we welcome them from 1 May 2021. At the same time, we will continue with the internal processes to finalise the rest at a later period,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director.

NWR increases customer focus

 

Windhoek, 28 March 2021Just over a year ago, Namibia, along with the rest of the world, was confronted by the devastating impact of Covid-19. During this period, the tourism sector was one of the hardest-hit sectors. Being the sector that Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) solely operates in, the company was forced to look at innovative ways to sustain its business over this period up to date. This situation presented an opportunity for NWR to further enhance its domestic offering, which it had been doing so before the outbreak of Covid-19. Some of the incentives NWR offered the domestic market were discounted rates for Namibians and pensioners. Special rates for periods such as the Independence month and the festive season period, including a discount card (Namleisure Card) that provides a discount on accommodation & activities at its resorts.

 

These offerings presented NWR with the base to realise relative occupancy, ensuring that its operations did not come to a standstill. For instance, during the financial period, 2018/2019, NWR averaged an occupancy of 49%, whilst during the financial year 2019/2020, NWR averaged an occupancy of 21%, which is 5% better than the average industry occupancy of 16% for the similar period. A great deal of these occupancies came from the domestic market. “It goes without saying that since we had more domestic travellers visiting our resorts, a few complaints were raised on various platforms. Our assessment shows that the two major areas that we needed to look into urgently were our response time, both via our emails and telephone lines, especially during the periods we offer our special rates, such as the Independence special or the festive season where many people would want to call us to make bookings. Another challenge was maintenance-related matters at some of our resorts,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director.

 

These two challenges provided NWR with insight into what their clients wanted to see the organisation improve on. Thus, earlier this year, NWR introduced a Peer Review and Quality Assurance Unit (PRaQAU) consisting of NWR team members from across the organisation to tap into their experience, allowing NWR to pick up customer service-related problems and address them before they get out of hand. The second initiative was the NWR call centre. “The call centre will reduce the time clients have to wait to get in touch with us and also act as an information-gathering centre for possible improvements to customer service. Thus, these initiatives are geared towards our efforts of furthering our customer-centric approach as well as picking on matters we need to look into to avoid our clients not getting value for their money,” says Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate, Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager.

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