Over the past few months, much has changed – and this is mainly due to the pandemic. We have shifted ways of operating in our workspace, working remotely from home, balancing home/school as well as our personal mental ways of living in general.
As the festive season approaches, one needs to change the normal planning for the end of the year. At Letshego Bank, it is our mandate to be deliberate in offering sound advice to allow your hard-earned money to go a long way.
As we notice much that has changed, we have pleasantly seen lodges countrywide reopening with enticing specials, which makes us all want to pack up and visit these breath-taking resorts. The Namibian borders have re-opened for international travels and include low-priced travel packages for much pleasure and desire. Everything gives us some sort of festive feel and excitement to our eyes; however, is it the same for our pockets?
Everything we wish to have is best achieved with great in-depth planning and adjustment with the new norm. As a financial institution, we join with the rest of the organisations that advocate budgeting and re-assessment of financial position. So often, the word ‘budget’ is overly emphasised but does one still draw up a budget? This is of essence with those who have had a salary that has been impacted. A budget gives you a great outline of your income and expenditure and keeps you on track with what you are and not able to afford. Expenditure should also be well planned for times like these.
Below are ways to help you through this process that may be more difficult in the new circumstance. Firstly, one needs to allocate funds, simply because the past couple of months have accumulated a lot of needs to acquire more needs than wants resulting to an overspend merely for the sake of being able to purchase and being kept away from the normal luxury or resorts.
Many factors may be kept into consideration including safety above the affordability with your loved ones. Assess not only whether you are able to afford a vacation but taking into account the well-being of you and your family. Since March 2020, Namibia put in place the travel restrictions in attempt to contain and manage the outbreak of the pandemic. In aid to rescue the tourism industry and to adapt to our new norm, the Namibian borders have opened and we should still take precaution on the options made available.
Against this background, Namibia was a huge market for international tourists, receiving an average of 1.5 million tourist visitors annually, according to the 2018 Tourist Statistical Report. However, restrictions which were put on international travel have been a bottleneck to the sector. One of Namibia’s most reliable income has been the tourism industry. It is important to know that we can help revive it.
What better way than to take advantage of special prices offered at hotels, lodges and resorts all across our country? We can now more than ever be anxiously engaged in a domestic market where we, the government and the private sector realign efforts to ensure that Namibia regains its position as a tourism destination of choice. Let us not forget that even though there may be many luring offers to the public, this is not an opportunity to mismanage funds that have not been budgeted for.
In light of much that has been set in a negative light, there are many ways and not just one “right” way to deal with the pandemic when planning for the festive season. Always keep in mind that there are many other inexpensive ways to enjoy the festive season. Take this opportunity to save and not see the need to spend where not necessary. This could be an opportune time to save and not travel and ensure the safety of your family.
In conclusion, for many that may have been retrenched, The Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata) has predicted about 30 000 job losses are expected in the three months of June, July and August. Fenata envisaged the total expected revenue loss within the industry is likely to be between N$15 billion and N$18 billion or more if the situation does not normalise. With such alarming statistics, never allow pressure or the expectation to feel the need to go above and beyond within means that have been reduced outside your ability to control. Live within hour means and if it means exploring Namibia at a lower expense, consider these options also for the sake of your family’s safety.
*Ester Kali is the CEO of Letshego Namibia