WINDHOEK – There are forecasts of an increase in employment within the travel and tourism industry, based on the assessment of what the industry contributed to employment in 2017.
The total contribution of the travel and tourism industry to employment in Namibia as of 2017 stood at 14 percent or 98,000 jobs, including indirect employment in the industry, according to Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council economic impact assessment of Namibia in 2017, a total of 3.2 percent of total employment was found within the travel and tourism industry. “This is forecast to grow to 3.3 percent this year. These figures include those employed by hotels, travel agents, airlines and hospitality services dependent on the tourist industry for their livelihood,” said Mbumba at the three-day Arts Summit of Southern Africa (ASSA) underway in Windhoek.
“If we as a country can further improve these features by enhancing the creative industries’ appeal to international visitors, we will further bolster Namibia’s economy. This can only assist in making SADC a more prosperous region,” he said.
For the creative industries to succeed in Namibia, Mbumba noted there must be a market at home.
According to him, while Namibia’s ‘Growth at Home’ strategy is focused on industrial development, the theme as originally devised encompasses accelerating economic growth, reducing income inequality and increasing employment.
Within good governance, he maintained, there are numerous opportunities for creative skills to impact and influence the trajectory of Namibia’s development.
One challenge identified in the fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) is the weakness of departmental collaboration.
Therefore, Mbumba believes creative and innovative solutions to this may be the solution to ongoing problems which impact governance in many SADC countries. He said at all levels and within all sectors there is the capacity for creativity to revolutionise the way things are done today and the way industries develop tomorrow.
Social transformation is the second pillar identified in NDP5 where arts and culture are specifically mentioned along with the aim to have 2 percent of the working population employed in this sector by 2022.
This, Mbumba says, would be an improvement on the 0.65 percent identified prior to the publication of NDP5.
“Within this analysis, the challenges facing the creative industries in Namibia are highlighted, and it is pleasing, therefore, to see so many of them on the agenda at ASSA,” he said.
The plan identifies that there is a lack of arts programmes as well as inadequate physical infrastructure for arts education.
It also highlights the lack of human capacity, limited funding and weak cultural statistics.
Lack of skilled cultural producers compromise the ability of the sector to contribute in the area of employment creation, while poverty eradication is another identified challenge.