The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) targets a tourist influx growth of 1.5 million by 2020 compared to the current tourist arrivals of 1.3 million. Namibia recorded 1,5 million foreign arrivals for 2015, which was an increase of 3 percent from 2014 when it was 1.4 million.
Out of the total foreign arrivals recorded, the larger number of 1.3 million were tourists, while 15 580 were returning residents and 99 883 were same-day visitors. With the newly launched National Sustainable Tourism Growth and Investment Promotion Strategy 2016-2026, MET has set tourist growth targets in place. The report was launched with the National Tourism Investment Profile and Promotion Strategy 2016-2026 by Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta on Wednesday.
The National Sustainable Tourism Growth and investment Promotion Strategy 2016-2026 Report indicates that the investment growth targets are to increase overall economic value of tourism through ensuring an increase in tourist arrivals, coupled with increasing the value of tourist receipts and ultimately the yield per tourist.
The key objective of the investment strategy is to transform Namibia into the most competitive tourism destination in Africa. The reports says: “This means being competitive in skills and training development, being the country of choice for prospective investors, achieving high levels of interaction between all stakeholders, and in the development of more innovative, market-driven tourism products and in aggressive and tactical tourism marketing.”
The report also indicates that trophy hunting constitutes 14 percent of the overall tourism sector. However, it shows the sector is under increasing threat from the developed world anti-hunting fraternity and an escalating anti-hunting ethic. “The long-term future of this sector is thus precarious,” it read.
It also talks on coastal tourism, which is a sub-sector with a high impact on the unskilled, as more than 70 percent of its total jobs fall under that category. Other tourism value chains it highlights include film tourism, for which it states Namibia has significant potential. It added that Swakopmund is ideally suited for this sub-sector and areas around there, or elsewhere, can be set aside for this purpose.
Further, it indicates that Namibia is ideally suited for car testing with a view to serving as a tourism promotion anchor through the visibility it provides. It also talks of the importance of the transformation of tourism that investment be channeled to township tourism in terms of infrastructure and promotion.
‘Areas, such as Evelyn Street in Windhoek, can be developed as township tourism hubs with appropriate facilities, for example revamping Otjikaendu. These initiatives should be undertaken and budgeted for by local authorities across the country,” the report suggests.
The total indicative funding for the specific projects covered in the strategy over a five-year implementation period amounts to N$801 million. This funding excludes the funding required for critical infrastructure such as road, power and water facilities but that needs to be coordinated through other ministries.
The report further indicates that government will fund a major component (60 percent) of the required funding, especially where the investment is for enterprises in communal areas. For projects that could be funded by the private sector, such as cruise tourism, government funding could be a major leverage instrument to draw in private sector funding.
The environment and tourism sector is allocated a total of N$2.4 billion for tourism marketing and improvement of parks infrastructure and tourists facilities. Moreover, it highlights barriers to tourism investment, which include access to capital and credit, land use or tenure constraints, human resources, historical over-reliance on long-haul overseas market, restricted or limited range of economic incentives, seasonality, import of materials and supplies and limited cross-sector linkages.
The Directorate of Tourism and Gaming in MET will take the lead in monitoring the implementation of the investment strategy and will produce an annual report that measures progress against set milestones and performance indicators for each activity listed in the key action and priorities plan.