By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Travel and tourism (T&T) in Namibia this year is expected to post N$9.1 billion into the total economic activity, making Namibia the 13th fastest growing country in the world in terms of T&T demand. This represents all components of travel and tourism, such as consumption, investment, government spending and exports, which in ten years’ time would grow to N$22.4 billion. Tourism and travel in the country by end of this year will contribute 3.7 percent of total GDP (N$1.6 billion), which when combined with the direct and indirect impacts of the travel and tourism economy should reach 16 percent in 2006. These statistics are contained in the just released Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which documents the impact of travel and tourism on jobs and the economy. The account projects that the sector will grow by 6.9 percent per year between 2007 and 2016 and also employ 18 800 people in 2006 with 72 000 people employed in the broader travel and tourism economy in 2006, which is 17.9 percent of total employment or one in every 5.6 jobs. In ten years’ time, every one in every 4.8 people employed in Namibia will be in the tourism sector, representing a total of 108 000 jobs. This puts Namibia in a leading position as far as tourism and travel is concerned, which gives the country an opportunity to make it one of the leading destinations as far as quality products are concerned. “This would comfortably exceed expected worldwide growth of 4.2 percent per annum, as well as the 4.7 percent annual growth forecast for sub-Saharan Africa,” the account says. The TSA is a comprehensive qualification of the contribution that travel and tourism makes to the economy, in terms of national income, employment and others. This will enable the tourism industry in Namibia to be reflected separately in the country’s accounts as is the case with other industries such as fishing, agriculture and mining. Unlike in the past, when tourism was only seen in terms of the hospitality sector and inbound visitors, in the TSA the benefits are throughout the economy and it encompasses Namibian residents as well as visitors from abroad. The President of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Jean Claude Baumgarten, who read through the recommendations, urged Namibia not to miss the opportunity of creating a high quality product. “You have an opportunity to make Namibia one of the most leading and quality destinations. “In the end you can create jobs which can give an opportunity to a family and give dignity to the people,” said he. In order for Namibia to achieve these projections, the TSA, which was conducted by the World Travel and Tourism Council, makes several policy recommendations, which include increasing the understanding at top government level about the impact of T&T on the economy, incorporating T&T into the mainstream policies of employment, trade, investment and education, and adopting as cabinet directive a Master Plan or Tourism Growth Strategy for Namibian travel and tourism. The account also recommends that the government should ensure that it gives sufficient funding to the Namibia Tourism Board, explore the full range of aviation business options to develop a dependable and profitable air service to Namibia, make the most of Namibia’s credentials in terms of sustainable tourism development and ensure a long-term vision. Launching the TSA, Angula said Namibia should seize the opportunity and expeditiously implement the recommendations of the study to ensure that tourism becomes a leading catalyst for economic growth and employment creation. He said Namibia should ensure that the findings in the report become a reality and that Namibia really becomes the 13th fastest growing country in the world in terms of travel and tourism’s total demand. The TSA was welcomed by the Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations (Fenata), which can now manage the growth and scrap the data that was being used before.
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