Following the success of the Commonwealth Secretariat funded capacity building train-the-trainers programme, the Namibia Tourism Board commissioned further research into customer services and the delivery of a capacity building customer service training programme in September 2013.
Namibia is known for its stunning natural environment and it was named fifth best tourism destination in the world by the Lonely Planet in 2010. The Customer Service Train the Trainers Programme builds on the idea that the way holidaymakers are treated can be vital in how they experience a destination, and in encouraging them to return to it in the future and recommend it to friends and relatives.
The Commonwealth Secretariat commissioned Professor Marina Novelli and Mike Taylor to develop a programme to enable Namibians involved in the visitor industry to gain core customer service skills.
Based on priorities identified by the Tourism human resource strategy for Namibia, published in 2011, the project aimed to enhance the visitor experience by improving customer service skills and destination knowledge of employees and volunteers through a high-profile customer service training initiative.
The Train the Trainers project began in Namibia's capital, Windhoek, in September with a stakeholders' workshop led by Dr Novelli. This focused on understanding the issues on the ground and involved key players from the destination who helped identify key components of the training needed.
Senior figures who spoke at the workshop included Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Namibia's Honourable Minister of Tourism and the Environment; Digu Naobeb, Chief Executive of the Namibia Tourist Board (NTB) and Dr Davis Barasa from the Commonwealth Secretariat. Dr Novelli gave a keynote address on best practices in service standards and the role played by customer services in the tourism experience.
The team finalised the training material and the Train the Trainer programme started in January 2013. It was delivered in three locations across Namibia and enabled 60 Namibians to become certified customer service trainers to work with the NTB in the future.
As part of the drive to enhance Namibia’s image and in preparation for the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), in September 2013, Namibian Tourist Board, with technical support from the University of Brighton, trained a further 25 tourism and shuttle operators and Immigration officials in Swakopmund and Windhoek.
Professor Marina Novelli
The Commonwealth Secretariat