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The recently launched Tourist Exit Survey findings pointed to a number of possible actions that can be taken by the industry to harness and improve tourist experiences in Namibia.
The report, released by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and funded by the MCA-Namibia fund, reported the following:
The possible actions could be as follows”
1. Shopping is high on the priority list for African visitors (excluding South African). In this area, Namibians could encourage these tourists to stay longer and to offer specials for accommodation and other activities.
2. Tourists from South Africa make up 36% of all leisure tourists. They are a market that should be looked after, despite the fact that the findings show they stay for shorter durations than visitors from Europe and North American markets, these visitors are precious because they might provide a lifeline for the tourism business during economic downturns.
3. Seek out new holiday markets, as the first time visitor has a greater impact on the country in terms of expenditure than those who have visited before. This recommendation stems from the fact that the survey showed that around 50% of all leisure visitors have not been to Namibia before and that first time visitors spend longer times in the country than those who have been before.
4. Tourists stated that infrastructure was the most important thing to address in order to improve Namibia as a tourist destination. It would appear from the survey that roads and accommodation are important areas where improvement is required to move the tourism sector to a more upmarket position.
5. Tourists from the USA spend more than those from Europe, although they tend to stay for 2 or 3 days less. Therefore it would be important to increase marketing to the United States and to focus on increasing the length of stay of these tourists.
6. Overall, satisfaction with Namibia as a tourist destination is high. However, safety (theft and road accidents) did feature as a concern. Nevertheless, this must be kept in perspective, as only 3.5% of all respondents mentioned these negatives. However, action should be taken in the form of increasing awareness of basic safety and security through well designed, non-alarmist but sensible leaflets placed in accommodation bedrooms.
7. Immigration, especially at land borders, was an area that caused high dissatisfaction amongst those who reported bad experiences. It would be advisable to train immigration officers in politeness and basic courtesy.
8. Signage and information points were often mentioned by a number of tourists as possible areas of improvement.