Namibian tourism everyone’s business – President Pohamba
Windhoek – Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba says tourism is one of the priority and strategic sectors of Namibia, which forms part of the central pillars of the economic development of the fourth National Development Plan.
The President, therefore, has urged stakeholders in the Namibian tourism sector to implement the National Tourism Sustainable Growth Strategy and the National Tourism Investment Promotion Strategy in order for the country to attract foreign investors.
He made the call in a speech read on his behalf by Presidential Affairs Minister, Dr Albert Kawana, during the Adventure Travel World Summit 2013 review meeting in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, on July 8, 2014.
Late last year, Namibia hosted the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit, which brought together stakeholders in tourism and international travel.
“Tourism is one of the priority and strategic sectors for Namibia. It has been identified as one of the central pillars of economic development in terms of our Fourth National Development Plan.
“In recent years, tourism has become one of the most resilient industries in terms of boosting economic growth, generating incomes and improving the livelihoods of millions of people around the world. Therefore, we should spare no effort to fully develop the potential of this industry here at home and to make Namibia more competitive,” he said.
The Head of State added that: “We must put shoulder to the wheel and work as a team to promote the central theme of the National Tourism Investment Promotion Strategy, which focuses on Destination Namibia. Through hard work and the full implementation of our strategies, we can make this strategic sector the most competitive in Africa.
“One of the unique attributes of the tourism sector is the fact that opportunities exist for Namibians from all walks of life to participate in the industry. We can, therefore, say that tourism is everyone’s business. It requires full partnership, involving government and other sectors, working together to drive the implementation of our strategies to realise our shared goals.”
In the speech, President Pohamba noted that: “Tourism is everyone’s business and must benefit all Namibians. Naturally, the growth in tourist numbers and tourism activities will result in the creation of direct and indirect jobs, which will have a multiplier effect on economic growth.”
He said tourism sector growth, higher levels of sustainable economic growth and social empowerment could be achieved by attracting more tourists from the country’s traditional markets, identifying and developing new source markets regionally and internationally, and promoting domestic tourism.
Furthermore, President Pohamba said in order to enhance sustainability, it is prudent to reduce seasonality and encourage the geographical spread of tourists and benefits from tourism throughout Namibia.
Meanwhile, the Namibian leader thanked all stakeholders who made the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit a success, adding that the gathering provided Namibia the opportunity to shift “our tourism sector into higher gear and to showcase our best tourism assets”.
He advised that the country form strong partnerships with the Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA), and other international tourism bodies, as part of ongoing efforts to market the country’s tourism potential.
“More efforts should be made to bring similar events to Namibia in order to enhance our country’s visibility as an attractive tourist destination,” he said.
The tourism sector is the fastest growing industry in Namibia considering its contribution towards the Gross Domestic Product and was identified as a strategic sector in the country’s blueprint NDP4 with promise for growth and job creation.
According to the fourth edition of the Namibia Tourism Satellite Account, which retrieved data from a host of stakeholders and surveys, Namibia’s tourism industry directly contributed R3.8 billion to the gross domestic product in 2012. Furthermore, the tourism industry directly contributed to the creation of 22 856 jobs in 2012.
Other figures released by the Tourism Satellite Account were the indirect contributions of the tourism industry. The document indicates that the combined indirect and direct GDP contributions topped at R15.5 billion in 2012.