The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) has projected to collect only around N$8 million in levies due to the severe impact of the Covid-19, which has seen a number of hospitality and travel businesses closing shop.
To make matters worse, NTB experienced a severe budget cut during this financial year, which is hampering its marketing efforts in various source markets.
The government allocated NTB N$3 million for the 2020/2021 financial year compared to N$4 million for 2019/2020.
In an interview yesterday, NTB CEO Digu //Naobeb said so far, tourism levies have been carrying the company.
NTB collected in 2019/2020 financial year about N$48 million in tourism levies which together with government allocation of N$4 million constituted a total budget of around N$52 million. “For the current financial year being 2020/2021, we had projected to collect in tourism levies an amount of N$52 million which would have been an increase on the prior financial year and with the additional government allocation of N$3 million this would have given us a total budget of about N$53 million.” Accommodation establishments in Namibia are required to pay a tourism levy to NTB. The levy amounts to 2% of the fee paid for a room in a hotel, lodge or bed-and-breakfast establishment.
“This is a clear indication that the total budget has not been improving. Much to regret with Covid-19, this situation has been alarmingly worsened as we project to collect only around N$8 million in tourism levies hence the sustainability and going concern of the NTB hangs in a balance and will not add required energy injection to tourism recovery as our presence in source markets is severely hampered,” //Naobeb stressed.
Therefore, he said, with downward revised tourism levies income of about N$8 million, government allocation of N$3 million and other likely income, they are conservatively looking at the total budget of around N$15 million with a deficit of about N$40 million for the 2020/2021 financial year.
“We are looking into robust cost cutting measures which may have long term ramifications. We have so far closed the Cape Town office operations and retrenched the two employees,” he indicated. Furthermore, he said, since NTB operates in an international environment, their marketing activities were severely impacted due to ever escalating exchange rate as they must trade in Euros, US dollar and British pound. Considering the current situation as presented by Covid-19 in the country, in particular, NTB has been urged to realign its marketing strategy to promote Namibia as a safe destination during and post coronavirus.
In this regard, //Naobeb said NTB has always been promoting Namibia as a safe and secure destination as most tourists are in the self-drive market.
“We only need to emphasise this with great enthusiasm in that Namibia in its own making forms wide landscapes and open space and less population distribution to naturally akin social distancing norms which perfectly blend in with the new normalcy,” he added. He maintained NTB intend to invest more on digital marketing to further expound this strategy to reach wider populace, underscoring Namibia’s brand values of rugged, natural, soulful and liberating experience not to be forgotten.
Despite the coronavirus setback, he said Namibia remains resolute and hopeful that there shall be a better outcome. Thus, he urged stakeholders in the industry, whilst understanding their plight, to refocus their energies on how best the industry can adapt to this new normalcy. “Sooner we will have detailed guidelines to be followed under the just announced reopening of borders and this will build more confidence. Please count on the continued support of the government in balancing the health of the nation and that of economic recovery but surely there will be a symbiotic outcome in the end,” a hopeful //Naobeb said.
2020-08-12 09:29:57 | 1 months ago