NTB calls for room charges review, rulesout marketing strategy change

January 21, 2022 1116

The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) has started engaging tourism operators to consider sweeping changes on accommodation pricing.

This comes amid concerns the existing pricing regime is inhibiting tourism growth and costly for the Namibian traveling public.

“This is also our view and that’s why we are guiding them to say internally the pricing structuring has changed. Now they are charging per room. Whether you stay alone or you are two, there is one charge. We are advising them because pricing per sharing is more costly because Namibians tend to travel in groups because we are more family oriented and the more expensive it becomes,” NTB CEO Digu //Naobeb told The Brief.

Asked on what action the NTB could take to ensure that tourism establishment operators implement the proposed changes, //Naobeb said , “We cannot dictate that to the industry and this will be a recommendation because there is no law that also provides any mechanism whether government can say this strategy must be adopted and applied. We are operating in a free economy as adopted in our constitution, so we can only recommend who adopts it and how soon they need to adopt it.”

“What we are doing this year is we will organize a seminar, where we will be inviting people who are experts in pricing international, to come and share best practices with us. Maybe in doing so, we can maybe then guide the industry that they should start moving away from the current practice of charging per person per night to a room rate.”

There are calls by the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) for NTB to review its marketing strategy and start considering new markets in Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East. 

//Naobeb, however, said developing new markets is very expensive and the board currently don't have the resources.

"This financial year we don’t even know how much the government is going to give us. Interms of the marketing strategy plan that we have , we have classified our source markets into three tiers. There is a primary market, secondary market and tertiary market, and we have different strategies for each of those markets.

“Our primary market is the market that sustains the industry, so we will give more focus and attention to that. When you focus on a certain market , there are demands that the market has, which the private sector needs to conform to , to get to host those travelers. If these people are not coming on board, it does not make sense to invest in those markets. So there are those issues which need to be crystalized before one really goes to invest money in trying to develop a market," he said. 

 The NTB CEO said “2021 was better than 2019” in terms of performance.

He said the board had collected over N$14 million in tourism levies compared to N$6 million collected the prior year.

“We had expected to collect more, but the financial year is not done yet , so it may be possible. For the 2021/22 financial year , our projection is to collect N$22 million in terms of levies. Before the COVID, we used to collect N$55 million in levies.”

He noted that  COVID-19 will remain a threat to the recovery of the sector  after the country's tourism sector, which mainly relies on Europe, especially Germany, as its largest source market for tourists, was negatively affected by travel bans imposed by several countries following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant dubbed Omicron.

According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) the spread of the Omicron variant in December triggered another dip in both travel bookings and industry optimism, with a recovery only expected in 2024 or later.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 25 January 2022 16:54