Gondwana architect says its time for younger blood
The Gondwana Collection, the innovative ownership concept in accommodation, announced this week that its pioneering Managing Director, Manfred Goldbeck, will retire by the end of the year. His retirement coincides with the company 21st anniversary.
Gondwana said it began humbly with a single lodge, a handful of staff and a dream, and has grown over the last two decades to become what is today the successful Gondwana Collection.
Over the years, Gondwana has created one of the largest privately protected areas in Africa, the 127,000 hectare Gondwana Canyon Park. It has established 14 lodges countrywide and The Delight Hotel in Swakopmund. Furthermore, its staff has grown to over 600 people while some two million visitors have stayed at one or more of the fifteen establishments.
Land that was previously owned by just 11 people is now jointly owned by 64 shareholders representing all sectors of Namibian society. Gondwana has also been the forerunner in making tourism available to Namibians with its popular Gondwana Card. With so many lodges dotted throughout the country, it has enabled people to experience the new Namibia, the positive Namibia, the “yes we can” Namibia as they travel from place to place.
The company has received many accolades over the years including the Equity Empowerment, Investor of the Year and the Most Innovative Tourist Company in Africa awards, as well as a number of environmental honours.
Goldbeck as founding member and Managing Director has steered the company in innovative new directions with his energy, warmth and vision. He has taken the company on an incredible journey and seen many of its dreams materialise. As Gondwana moves into the next decade – and the next part of its journey, he has decided to hand over the reins to new blood. Goldbeck will remain with the company as a senior executive and focus his energy on Gondwana Branding and Marketing, as well as on further improving its Environmental practices with the aim of achieving truly sustainable tourism. He will also be focusing on building a Gondwana Hospitality Academy at Stampriet, to ensure that Gondwana’s well-renowned service quality continues to improve by providing young Namibians with new opportunities and skills. “These areas of brand profile underpinned by meeting and exceeding guest expectations, sustainable environmental management and investing in the people of Namibia are at the heart of Gondwana’s values and are the soul of the company” he said adding that he will now have more time to redefine and grow the core elements of these values, strengthen the synergy between them and help lift the company to greater heights.
“In Brand and Marketing lie opportunities for new growth to unlock potential, attracting even more guests eager to discover and explore Namibia,” he said describing how his love for Namibia will be of benefit to all.
As Gondwana has grown to its present size, the company recognises that it is now a time to restructure. It will soon start advertising for the new position of MD; the process to be facilitated over the next six months by the Gondwana Board.
Said Gondwana “Applications from those with the relevant qualifications and experience are welcome. Essential requirements for candidates are a passion for the new Namibia, commitment to the company, understanding of tourism, leadership and vision, the distinctive human approach that exemplifies Gondwana and the ability to lead the company into the next decade, retaining its place among the top tourism companies in Namibia.”
Goldbeck expresses his gratitude to all those who have made it possible over the years: the staff, Gondwana fans and friends, the shareholders, the directors, the media and the public.