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Exceptional service key in tourism - official

19 Nov 2023

Exceptional service to tourists remains critical in efforts to improve Botswana’s competitive advantage in the global tourism space.

It was on such a backdrop that Okavango Research Institute (ORI) director, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa implored travel and tourism industry players and stakeholders to be professional in providing service to tourists given that Botswana was not only regarded as one of the most exclusive safari destinations in Africa, but among the most remarkable wilderness areas on earth.

Prof. Mbaiwa was speaking at the 16th Botswana Guides Association (BOGA) annual general meeting held under the theme; Upholding the Good Reputation of Botswana as a Tourism Destination, in Maun recently.

“Poor customer service could ruin the reputation of businesses. Tourism is an industry that helps the country to get economic stability hence industry players should up their game and provide high level customer service,” he said.

He also noted that the level of customer service in Botswana was recently described as extremely low and poor in different forums.

“Poor customer service is described as one of the major challenges contributing to the sluggish economic growth in the country and it is further reported that every minute there is a customer who is complaining about poor service in Botswana, and this happens both in private and public sector,” he added.

He expressed concern about some organisations and companies, which he said had indirectly and unconsciously adopted poor customer service because they did not use customer complaints as positive feedback for continual improvement.

However, he encouraged Air Botswana, immigration and citizenship department, Botswana Unified Revenue Service, public transport drivers, lodging facilities and those who received visitors to improve customer service in their respective areas of operation.

He said tourism was a service-intensive industry and its fundamental product was tourist experience at the destination and therefore the tourism service of a destination involved participation of multiple stakeholders including BOGA.

Furthermore, the gathering learnt that the tourism industry was characterised by numerous actors, such as tourism customers, service providers, other economic stakeholders and regulatory bodies hence the need to ensure that appropriate service was provided to customers and guests.

“We should be mindful that there are six common characteristics of tourist destinations which can attract tourists. These include appeal, comfort, accessibility, tourism resources and facilities, as well as transport.

In the event we fail to meet the demands of any one of these six requirements, we run the risk of compromising the good name of a destination, an aspect which all of us involved in the tourism industry should avoid with the hope of protecting the good name and reputation of Botswana as good tourism destination,” he said.

On the theme, Prof. Mbaiwa said it was appropriate given that Botswana’s tourism industry was recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The theme suggests that as the tourism industry is bouncing back, all those involved in tourism development should ensure that good reputation of Botswana as a tourism destination should be upheld,” he said.

He added that the theme also challenged those involved in the tourism industry, including BOGA, to undertake tourism development activities with the highest degree of professionalism and respect to uphold the good reputation of Botswana as a tourism destination.

He recommended some measures which he said would improve customer service such as training for workers, building leadership systems that were customer focused as well as manage performance as well as valuing and accepting customer feedback.

“Tourism operators and stakeholders should always listen to the voice of customers. Botswana and Southern Africa have a big market especially that of wildlife-based tourism which as a result BOGA must exploit the market to its advantage by increasing service delivery,” he added.

As a result, he said dialogue between government and BOGA should be encouraged to remove all the obstacles that hindered good service delivery in the association’s operations. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : MAUN

Event : BOGA annual general meeting

Date : 19 Nov 2023