The local tourism sector traditionally dependent on international business but now devastated by a global pandemic has forced one of the biggest accommodation establishments in the country, O&L Leisure, to introduce urgent rescue measures to safeguard its future sustainability.
O&L Leisure in a statement said it has instituted these emergency measures to mitigate the risk of the impact on an already crippled tourism sector.
“The devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism industry in particular, and the commensurate mitigating measures taken by
governments around the world whereby industry revenues collapsed, can be described as worse than the worst-case scenarios anticipated locally and globally,” said Norbert Wurm, managing director of O&L Leisure.
Said Wurm: “With the pandemic continuing to impact us negatively and the current government regulations and health measures including restrictions on trading in our restaurants and international travel regulations linked to infection levels, we are further hampered in our ability to operate our business resulting in this situation becoming unsustainable. Our focus during and throughout this crisis has always been to trade our way out of this difficult situation, with emphasis on revenue generation, while reducing costs without reducing standards and simultaneously protecting livelihoods. Unfortunately, the third wave of the pandemic has hit the region and our business, like many others, hard especially during the second quarter of the year.”
During the entirety of the crisis until recently, O&L Leisure has reduced overtime costs and adjusted work schedules, amongst others, while choosing not to resort to restructuring, retrenchments, or mandatory salary reductions.
“In an effort to alleviate the pressure and safeguard the wellbeing of our employees and sustain our business, we, unfortunately, have no other choice but to take necessary measures to ensure we overcome the short-term challenges facing us. Having exhausted all other alternatives, our focus remains on securing jobs and livelihoods in a sustainable manner while requiring a collective sacrifice by all, whereby we urgently need to reduce our operating requirements in line with forecasted activity and in terms of Section 12 of the Labour Act,” Wurm said.
“These are trying times and while we had hoped to overcome this crisis. We now have the opportunity to become more resilient than ever before by collectively taking hands and pushing through this crisis, together… I am confident and inspired by our team’s passion and resilience that speaks for itself, and therefore have no doubt that we will unite in finding breakthroughs to overcome this crisis as we cannot afford to put our jobs and livelihoods; and, indeed the future of our business, at risk.” Wurm added that the measures implemented are only temporary and noted that the Chobe Water Villas and Mokuti Etosha Lodge will reopen on 01 October.