OGONGO – There should be one job opportunity for every tourist visiting Namibia, the Director of Environment and Tourism Sem Shikongo told entrepreneurs at the first tourism planning meeting held in Omusati Region yesterday.
“For every one tourist in the country there is one job opportunity and for every one tourist in the region there is at least one job opportunity,” said Shikongo at the meeting that took place at the University of Namibia’s Ogongo Campus.
The meeting was held to look at increasing the tourist numbers in the region and to improve the geographic spread of tourism in the country. The meeting also looked at increasing the amount of money spent by tourists in the region and enhancing tourism transformation.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism Uahekua Herunga stressed that tourism provides opportunities for creating self-employment in small and medium-sized income-generating activities that are part of the sub-sectors of tourism.
“Today we all know that tourism has become a valuable industry of the Namibian economy. It provides for many job opportunities, often in the rural areas, where employment opportunities are otherwise few.”
Herunga said that the northern part of the country is blessed with renowned attractions, such as the Olufuko festival that has become an event that draws people to the region yearly. On the contrary, though, there is a need to develop, manage and increase tourist flow to heritage sites in the region, said Herunga.
Shikongo advised the tourism entrepreneurs in the region to embrace their cultural cuisine and practices when establishing attraction facilities to attract a wide spectrum of tourists in the region. Namibia has the fastest growing tourism sector worldwide and the sector contributes to at least 22 percent of the working population in Namibia.
Shikongo further highlighted the need to preserve tourists, adding that tourists visit the country to enjoy a wide range of different experiences hence the need to hold onto what Namibia’s cultural diversity can offer.
“Namibia has among many, the vast open spaces and wilderness areas, an abundant and diverse biodiversity and wildlife population as well as rich cultural diversity and valuable traditional knowledge that tourists can benefit from,” stressed Shikongo.
Shikongo also encouraged the local people to develop the attraction facilities that are currently in the region and in particular to venture into the creation of new attraction facilities. Herunga said the establishment of Uukwambi Cultural Heritage has started, while underway is the plan to develop the Elim Hospital Museum, which depicts the first missionary hospital constructed by Finish missionaries.
Herunga said those two projects have the potential to become major tourist attraction sites once fully developed.
By Nuusita Ashipala