An investigation of the volunteer tourism industry in Namibia with specific focus on nature conservation projects
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.
This research investigates the volunteer tourism industry in Namibia, a niche market of the tourism industry. The tourism industry is the fastest growing sector in the economy (Travel News Namibia, 2012: 9), and it is also the second largest contributor to GDP (Ministry of Environment and Tourism Annual Report, 2010: 14). Although the volunteer tourism industry has been active for more than 20 years, it is currently having trouble with its status as a recognised sector of the tourism industry. Industry members mostly fear that investments to grow the industry are at risk due to uncertain entry visa requirements for international volunteers. There is also a concern that the industry is not regulated like other sectors of the tourism industry and that volunteer tourism is not recognised with equal status. Industry members feel ignored when it comes to national marketing campaigns and when representative bodies act in their interest. Industry members also expressed concern being left out when it comes to drafting new laws that affect the industry. To understand the industry, it is vital to analyse the industry from an internal and external perspective. This includes an analysis of the current status of the strategic architecture of the industry and an environmental analysis. The report also presents innovations to a typical strategic architecture model. Information and data for this research report was gathered from tourism industry stakeholders and experts, managers of five of the biggest industry players, and international volunteers. The findings of the investigation reveal that the business model of the industry is working well. Initiatives for continuous improvement, however, remain small due to uncertainties experienced in the macro-environment. The competitive environment of the industry is conducive to performance, as well as price and costing models. Demand for volunteering in Namibia is on the increase and the industry has realised that it needs to prepare itself to capture its full potential. The establishment of the Namibia VolunTourism Forum, which is represented through important stakeholders of the industry, is a first step to find solutions to the many challenges. This report serves as a working paper for the tourism industry and in particular for the volunteer tourism industry with the aim to increase stakeholder value.