Windhoek to Host Tourism Conference

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By Stanley Kwenda WINDHOEK The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tourism Conference is to be held in Windhoek early October. The conference, to be attended by SADC tourism ministers, will include various meetings and workshops under the theme “Tourism 2006.” The conference is one of the five sector partnership meetings being organized by the EU-SADC Investment Promotion Programme (ESIPP), an initiative meant to boost investment in the region. The Namibian conference will provide a forum for entrepreneurs from the southern African region to showcase a variety of new and high-quality business development projects in the tourism, hospitality and related sectors to interested European and other international investors. Countries such as Zimbabwe which for the past six years has been experiencing a recession in tourist arrivals, will take the opportunity to showcase some of its tourist products such as the Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe. Namibia, now considered a tourist’s paradise on the African continent, will have an opportunity to further boost its fledgling industry. Combined, the southern African region has some of the world’s best tourist attractions. Recently, the governments of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe signed a tourism pact, which saw the merging of the Kruger, Limpopo and Gonarezhou National Parks into the giant Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP). In another southern African region tourism pact success story, Mozambique and South Africa recently opened the Grimondi Tourist Access Facility, a border post that links southern Africa’s two major national parks. About 300 delegates from the southern African region are expected to attend. Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba is expected to grace the event’s opening session.