Urgent need for customer service delivery: Ndaitwah

WINDHOEK: Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said there is an urgent need for customer service to improve, if Namibia wants to become one of the top tourism destinations in the world.

She made the call here on Friday during a one-day customer care workshop organised by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and facilitated by the Centre for Tourism Policy Studies of the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom.

“Namibia is hosting the Adventure Travel Summit next year and we need a good understanding of international customers’ needs and their expectations,” she said.

Namibia has been selected to host the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit, an international gathering of over 700 influential voices in the adventure travel industry.

The summit will be held from 26 to 31 October 2013, and marks the first time that the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) brings this global gathering to Africa.

Nandi-Ndaitwah suggested that customer service should be part of the country’s schools’ curriculum.

She raised the concern that communication skills of the front-line workforce in most sectors are considered to be relatively poor.

Speaking at the same occasion, NTB Chief Executive Officer Digu //Naobeb indicated that today, with tourism being ever-more competitive and tourists becoming smarter to demand better service, there is an opportunity for participants to better understand what customer service entails.

“We will support any effort aimed to improve tourism in Namibia, and train individuals who deal with the public such as receptionists, shop assistants, workers in bed and breakfasts, hotels, petrol service attendants, and taxi drivers,” he stressed.

A total of 25 representatives from the tourism industry attended the workshop that was facilitated by Dr Marina Novelli from the University of Brighton to discuss topics such as the value of customer service; benefits of tourism; understanding of customers; communicating effectively; dealing with difficult situations; and boosting business.

Novelli told Nampa on the sidelines of the workshop that delegates will assess the needs of the sector and make recommendations for future workshops earmarked for January 2013.

About 20 representatives of the tourism and related sectors will convene in Swakopmund, Ondangwa and Windhoek next year to provide training to more Namibians.

Novelli explained that it is part of a series of ‘mobile training’ to improve customer service delivery in Namibia.

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