NWR Plans Million-Dollar Face-Lift

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK With N$115 million in its purse, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) has embarked on a turnaround strategy to revamp the company’s operations and image. The latest rescue plan comes after the company’s board of directors in compliance with a directive from Cabinet decided to address the company’s existing infrastructural deficiencies, lack of staff training and reorganisation of the entire business units of NWR with the aim to convert it from a loss-making to a profitable entity. Announcing these new developments to the media last Friday, new Managing Director of NWR Tobie Aupindi said that despite the huge costs involved in reorganising the company, the economic spin-offs would be far greater not only for NWR but for other sectors linked to the tourism sector as well. “This company is the most important project in the socio-economic development of Namibia. “The spin-offs from the tourism sector are immeasurable and therefore we saw the need to implement a turnaround strategy to also help other sectors of the economy,” explained Aupindi. Given the negative history that the NWR had faced in the past with regard to infrastructural deficiencies leading to substantial financial losses, Aupindi said that his mission since his appointment as MD on the first of April this year is to adopt a strategy to turn the company around for success. “We want to reorganise the company from a product point of view for both the clients and the shareholders. In essence, we have to make this product compatible for a high quality destination like Namibia. This is a very dynamic, interesting and resourceful industry,” elaborated Aupindi He is therefore optimistic that this turnaround strategy would work once the company puts its house in order in overcoming its challenges. Although he could not give more details, Aupindi noted that the reorganisation will entail the training of staff members, redeploying right people at the right places for certain positions that are redundant as well as for the general renovation of resorts throughout the country. The youngest resort was constructed forty years ago while the oldest one is now reaching 100 years and in need of renovation. Cabinet endorsed the new turnaround strategy in March 2006. With assistance from experts, namely, Dr Pauline Lindeque and Deon Gerber, the NWR has formulated a strategy that will essentially focus on revamping physical infrastructure, service delivery and human resources to make it compatible with the needs of the tourism sector. “We need to up our game,” he said, adding that in order to keep up with the challenging trends of the tourism sector, the company needs to reorganise itself completely. Aupindi also urged Namibians to make use of the 25 percent discount at all its resorts and lodges countrywide.