DURBAN - Regional Director for Africa at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Jillian Blackbeard has praised Namibia for being one of the best self-drive destinations in Africa. In tourism terms, self-drive means renting and driving a car yourself, rather than being driven by someone else to your destination.
In an interview with New Era on the sidelines of the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF) held in Durban’s International Convention Centre (ICC) last week, Blackbeard commended Namibia’s great self-drive roads, ample car hires and exceptional record on safety which make the country a fantastic destination for travellers who like to have some flexibility in their itinerary and explore places off the beaten path.
Most of Namibia’s’ self-drive roads are well graded and easy enough to drive on.
“We look at statistics and the amount of self-drives coming into Namibia are very high. Namibia has a well-established self-drive market. When we talk about intra-Africa travel is how many Batswana don’t travel in Botswana, they go all the way to Namibia to do the self-drive campaign trip. So, during Christmas and New Year’s Eve, you find a lot of Batswana driving there because Namibia has national parks structures that work and the roads are good,” Blackbeard cpmmented.
She suggested that Namibia’s well-established self-drive campaign trips is something other African countries could learn from.
“Namibia has fantastic self-catering opportunities and the roads are good. This is something that Africans could learn from. Maintain your roads, maintain your borders, open up a product for self-drive market, you need to diversify and Namibia has done that really well throughout their park systems,” Blackbeard recommended.
According to her, it’s crucial to have good road infrastructure as it boosts the regional tourism market.
Further, she maintained that once tourists have challenges with air access, one can still opt to drive.
Budgets for self-drive safaris will vary depending on accommodation, dining and other miscellaneous expenses.
In the process, she said, the self-drive market brings a lot of economic benefits in terms of car hire, accommodation, fuelling the vehicle, food tourists buy on the road.
“The indirect benefit of self-drive market is really important. The money goes directly to the people selling and that’s supply chain. That’s what you want, the money is not going out of the country,” she emphasised.
ATLF is a Pan-African dialogue platform that brings together key stakeholders of Africa’s travel, tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors to network, share insights and devise strategies for intra-Africa travel and tourism growth across the continent, whilst enhancing the brand equity of “Destination Africa”.
The forum of its kind in Africa puts the spotlight on tourism as a major economic pillar for diversifying African economies.
With the inaugural Africa Tourism Leadership Awards held in Accra, Ghana on August 30, 2018, the forum highlights and recognises game-changing initiatives being pursued across the sector.
These included progressive policy-making, thought leadership, innovation, sustainable investments and public-private community partnerships that are making waves across Africa’s tourism sector.
2019-09-10 07:34:10 13 days ago