WINDHOEK – Namibia, after it outbid a host of other countries, has been awarded the bid to host the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit.
The news has put the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and Team Destination Namibia in a jubilant mood considering the fact that this will be the first time an African country will host the coveted Adventure Travel World Summit.
Nine countries bid for the event and only three were short-listed. Namibia is the only country that announced its bid when bids were submitted in 2011 in Chiapas, Mexico.
The annual Adventure Travel World Summit sells out every year to over 700 executive-level adventure tourism professionals. It will be the first time that an African country hosts the summit.
“Now it is time to prepare to share our compelling story with 700 members of the adventure travel trade. As Namibians, we are ready for the challenge of hosting the summit and thrilled to welcome the adventure travel tribe to the land of endless horizons where wildlife and humans are free to roam and still experience true nature,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah. Namibia has already budgeted N$10 million to host the historic event.
“In Chiapas, Namibia boldly said: ‘Let us bring the summit home.’ Today, I am happy to report that the efforts of our strong public-private partnership have resulted in Namibia being chosen as the first African country to host the summit. We are justly proud of our tourism industry and our conservation initiatives that have made this selection possible,” said the Director of Tourism, Sem Shikongo.
Namibia is already online on the African Travel and Tourism Association’s (ATTA) website since Tuesday after the signing of the agreement between the Namibia Tourism Board and ATTA.
“The hard work has just begun, and I would like to ask the nation to embrace this moment. From now on till October 2013 we will work with Team Destination Namibia to make this summit, a summit never to be forgotten,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
A team comprising of government officials and representatives of the tourism industry is now preparing to go to Switzerland where the flame of the Adventure Travel World Summit will be collected and passed on to Namibia.
Shikongo said apart from Windhoek, Swakopmund will play host to a strong programme of events that will include speakers delving into issues that affect the local and global adventure travel industry.
Shikongo said as one of the few countries in the world with conservation and environmental management mandated in the Constitution, Namibia’s approach to conservation is holistic and inclusive, both in terms of maintaining ecological integrity and the rights of communities to benefit from the natural resources.
He said globally, Namibia is recognised as a leader in community-based conservation and has generated such prestigious recognition as the 2012 Markhor Award for Outstanding Conservation Performance in recognition of its exceptional wildlife conservation programme.
To win the bid, Namibia focused on marketing the country as a safe and secure holiday destination, a country with excellent telecommunications, efficient road infrastructure, rich cultural heritage, diversity and award-winning community based natural resource management programmes.
Namibian tourism operators received the news with delight. Gitta Paetzold representing the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata) said: “We will definitely get a lot from it.”
Fenata is the umbrella organisation for tourism associations in the private sector in Namibia.
Paetzold said the event would connect many in the industry with international partners, media and buyers, thus increasing business. Chief Executive of the Namibia Tourism Board Digu //Naobeb said his office has received quite a number requests to host a number of events in Namibia.