Over the past year, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) underwent an introspection on how to serve its domestic and international tourist market better. This reflection led to the organisation to better equipped to withstand the economic downturn in continuing to deliver on its mandate given to it by the shareholder, the Namibian Government.
In staying true to this year’s theme of Accountability, the company held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 April 2019. During the AGM, NWR reported on its performance throughout the 2018 financial year. At the AGM, the shareholder was represented by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Honourable Pohamba Shifeta, as well as the Minister of Public Enterprises, Honourable Leon Jooste, and their respective team members in their ministries.
During his statement to the shareholder, NWR Chairman Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu said, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that, with the tabling of the 2018 Annual Financial Statements to the AGM, we are now in statutory compliance with regard to Financial Statements as per the requirements of the Companies Act, 2004, the Public Enterprises Governance Act, Act 2006 (as amended) and the Namibia Wildlife Resorts Company Act, Act 3 of 1998.
As per the Namcode, legal compliance is a critical component of good corporate governance. It is therefore pleasing that the Board managed to bring the Annual Financial Statements up to date in compliance with the required statutory provisions”.
He further emphasised that “compared to 2017, the occupancy rates in the Namibian Tourism Industry showed a decrease of about 4% in 2018. In general, the annual national occupancy in 2018 was about 53% compared to almost 57% in 2017. Therefore, the economic contractions that are affecting most of the economic sectors in the world in general and Namibia in particular, are also affecting the tourism
sector. However, despite the world economic contractions, we managed to show significant improvements in our financial performance.
For instance, the total comprehensive loss in 2017 was N$ 40 million, and N$ 22 million in 2018 which represents a 45% improvement”.
Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Acting Managing Director, further highlighted the company’s performance. “We managed to maintain similar revenue levels in 2018 like in the previous 2017 financial year. Revenue in the 2018 financial year stood at N$ 360 million while the average occupancy was 50% at our 26 facilities”.
“Over the years, we have been challenged with our cost of sales which, for instance, stood at 58% in 2014. During the past financial year, we were able to reduce the cost of sales to the industry norm of 35%. These efforts, resulted in us realising an Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) profit of N$ 30 million compared to that of N$ 18 million in 2017. This improved position is greatly assisting us in repaying our past obligations which had previously made it difficult for us to operate effectively”.
To realise these results, NWR attended some targeted road shows and trade fairs both domestic and international and included two new markets being the Nordics and South East Asia. In some cases, marketing efforts in the SADC region, Europe, North America and the rest of the world were done in conjunction with Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) as well as Air Namibia. In the same year, the number of absolute guests visiting NWR facilities increased from 370 777 in 2017 to 380 705 in 2018 which represents a 3% growth in absolute guests visiting NWR facilities.