The Namibia Tourism Board as well as tourism operators in the private sector should not only promote leisure travelling and wildlife but the country’s diverse cultural heritage and adventure travel as well, said Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister of Environment and Tourism.
The Minister said there is a lot that Namibia can offer and tourists have shown keen interest in adventure and culture.
“Therefore, as we engage today and in future, our promotion should focus on including and pushing trekking, cultural and adventure, but authentic and natural experiences. In other words, the industry must be innovative and constantly introduce new products into the market,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said at a meeting with a delegation from United Arab Emirates (UAE), last week.
The meeting was attended by tour operators and media representatives from the UAE, staff of the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and local tourism representatives.
The meeting was aimed at finding ways of reducing Namibia’s dependency on its traditional source markets such as central Europe and the United Kingdom.
“It is critical that we as a nation must diversify both our tourism source markets and product offerings to remain competitive and attractive to potential tourists. This platform that is presented to Namibian operators to meet with tour operators from the UAE should step up multi-destination development for Namibia to attract the long haul market.
“It should be noted that entering new markets does not mean a shift in Namibian dollars from existing markets, which shall be given maintenance support, but that newly generated Namibian dollars must be invested in new markets,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
About 1.07 million tourists are expected to visit the country this year.
Namibia is increasingly known for its sophistication, safety, security and diversity, said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
She said a major reason to invest in Namibia’s tourism industry, is its efficient service industries.
“It is well known that tourism requires a safe and secure environment, ease of access, attractive products and quality service for it to flourish and that is what Namibia can offer. We have a stable and peaceful political environment, based on a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy and 21 years after independence we still see continuous peace and harmony in our multi-cultured nation,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
The NTB is engaging in activities to diversify the country’s tourism markets and is now exploring tourism markets in China, North America, the United Arab Emirates and the North American markets.
Digu //Naobeb, CEO of NTB, said if Namibia wants to develop its tourism sector, it has to share knowledge about its offerings with key decision-makers, hence the decision to engage the delegation from the Emirates.
The UAE group will go on a week-long familiarisation visit to parts of the country in order to explore the country’s wildlife and scenery.