BECAUSE of our country’s political stability, countless tourist attractions such as the Etosha National Park and the contrasting beauty of our country with its abundance of fauna and flora have cemented our reputation as a global leader in quality tourism on the continent.
Namibia remains a top tourism market for African and European tourists of whom Angolans and South Africans account for its lion’s share of tourists. Germany stills accounts for the largest proportion of European tourists who want to experience a truly African adventure.
Tourists from North America, Scandinavia, Belgium, Switzerland and from other African countries, namely, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ghana also travel to our country for leisure and holiday and can not resist our tourism lure and our unrivalled hospitality.
The Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) that ends today in Swakopmund with hundreds of delegates in attendance serves to further underscore Namibia’s reputation as a tourism destination of note because of our country’s scenic beauty and staggering array of wildlife
While the majority of all tourists enter Namibia for a holiday, the majority of tourists who travel from Africa come to visit friends and relatives and want a change of scenery.
The majority of tourists from Africa stay between 22 and 365 days, while those from overseas stay in Namibia between 8 and 14 days and between 4 and 7 days.
The most commonly used mode of entry was by road (71%) due to the large number of tourists coming from Angola and South Africa who prefer to use ground transportation. However, the majority of tourists arriving from overseas use Air Namibia.
Hotel statistics collected by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) indicate the peak of bed occupancy rate is usually during August and July. The tourism sector is the fastest growing industry in Namibia that is fully supported by our progressive government.
Tourism in Namibia has the ability to generate foreign exchange (hard currency), it creates much needed jobs, is essential for rural development and eventually poverty alleviation.
Our government is committed to sustainable tourism and it is in this vein that Namibia, which is committed to the sustainable use of its wildlife, bagged several tourism awards. Like the current Minister of Foreign Affairs Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah rightly told the ATWS our elephant population that stood at 7 500 of these majestic beasts in 1996 has now grown exponentially to the current 16 000 African elephants if not more.
Our government is also cognizant of the fact the tourism sector is the fastest growing sector of the economy with the potential to contribute considerably to national development objectives. Swapo has identified and prioritized cultural villages and eco-tourism as growth areas for new tourism products in Namibia and has undertaken to purse policies and programmes intended to expand tourism to increase tourism’s contribution towards our GDP.
Because of our commitment to sustainable wildlife management and conservation we have the largest number of cheetah in the world and not to mention lions, giraffes, hippos, impala, hyenas, black and white rhinos and the breathtaking beauty of our landscape and of course the hospitality of our people and a committed and mature political leadership.
That said Namibia deserves a round of applause from all people who appreciate the God-given fauna and flora bequeathed on our beautiful country by the Almighty.
By The Editor