WINDHOEK: Namibia needs to start tourism education from an early age to empower the youth to seize all the opportunities in the industry, but with an understanding that customer service delivery is key to the sector.
Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah made the call during a high level seminar organized by the Embassy of Indonesia and the Polytechnic of Namibia’s Department of Hotel and Tourism on Thursday.
She said customer care service should be one of the subjects taught at schools and tailor-made tourism courses offered at vocational training centres.
“The point is that we need to start tourism education early on – to empower the coming generations to seize all the opportunities in the tourism sector but with the full understanding that customer service will be the key. As this should be an ongoing process, it is necessary to also implement customer service advocacy and awareness campaigns aimed at the tourism sector throughout the whole country,” she noted.
Many Namibians do not understand the essence of customer service since they may not have been at the receiving end of proper customer service, according to Nandi-Ndaitwah.
She said tourism is cross-cutting, and has the potential of becoming the choice sector to address poverty, unemployment and rural development.
However, for this to happen, she urged the industry to change their day-to-day operations.
The tourism sector is very seasonal, and there is a need for locals to travel during the low season, which co-incide with summer holidays.
Nandi-Ndaitwah explained that Namibia cannot develop a sustainable tourism industry based solely on foreign tourists but need to build and nurture the domestic tourism sector, which is critical for the long-term success of the industry.
“There is a need to look to other countries and learn to address customer service delivery, especially Asia, which ranked high in the world in terms of addressing clients’ needs,” she added.
The half-day seminar, ‘Service delivery in the hospital and tourism industry: A case study on Namibia and Indonesia, ’ aims to identify the kinds of service deliveries in tourism and hospitality industry; and how Namibians do it and how the Indonesians do it?’.