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Opportunities abound to boost tourism sector

2019-03-20  Staff Reporter

Opportunities abound to boost tourism sector

Paheja Siririka

WINDHOEK - Chairman of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Windhoek, Martin Kaali Shipanga said discussions and input on the way forward for the tourism sector needs to be prioritised. According to Shipanga, Namibians should change the conversation surrounding the current economic situation, from one of looking for handouts to rather identify opportunities.

At a media engagement this week, Shipanga noted that tourism is important as it brings revenue and creates employment. He explained that the tourism sector is new to him, as “growing up I used to know about selling sweets at the bus stop and selling matangaras (tripe) and next, we were exposed to either being in the teaching profession or nursing,” he said. 
Shipanga said more should be done to inform people about the tourism industry, and that “apart from informing people, we need the support from the government,” he said. 

Shipanga expressed concern regarding policy-making in the country. “The intention of creating policies is great but when it comes to implementing, the intention does not normally support the policy in place,” he said. 

At the same event, environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta, said people in the tourism industry need to be innovative and come up with new ways. Shifeta said in 2018, the number of tourists traveling worldwide stood at 1.4 billion, of which “a small portion came to Africa, less than 5 percent”. 

Shifeta also said US$1,3 trillion is invested in tourism worldwide, and “a lump of that amount should come to Namibia so the onus is on the locals and the Namibian Tourism Board to take the country to the world so that more tourists can come here”. 

“In 2017, Namibia received 1,5 million tourists. The impact is huge - how many days did they spend here, where did they go, what did they eat and buy,” emphasised Shifeta. He further stated that for every 13th tourist that comes to Namibia, a job is created, directly or indirectly. Information and exposure are crucial in the tourism industry and people should work together, “those in the industry should provide mentorship to the beginners or newcomers,” Shifeta added.  The minister continued that they are fixing roads since it has been a huge concern and the fact that dilapidated roads hamper tourism in the country. 

“Roads are being fixed and that’s the responsibility of the Roads Authority but the roads in the parks, etc, are the responsibility of the tourism ministry,” he said. 

On opportunities available in the tourism sector, CEO of Namibian Tourism Board, Digu //Naobeb, said one can be a shuttle driver, tour operator where you look, bring and distribute tourists around the country. 

Another opportunity includes trophy hunting, “but it can only be done on a commercial farm where there are game animals,” he said. //Naobeb mentioned hunting farms as well, but noted that “unfortunately this does not apply to resettlement farms because they are meant for livestock farming”. 

“For any individual who wants to go into tourism, one can also go for lodges where you can establish 10 to 15 rooms, that’s if you have money or can secure funds to set it up,” he explained. The list of opportunities in tourism include hotels, bed & breakfast establishments, camping sites (only on communal areas) and guest houses. 

According to //Naobeb, Namibians should consider venturing in setting up resorts and looking at opportunities such as cruise ships. “We should also try out theme parks as there are no theme parks in Namibia,” he said.

2019-03-20  Staff Reporter

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