Windhoek – A momentous occasion in the relationship between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) was marked earlier this month when MET handed over three vacuum trucks to NWR to assist the company with the supply of potable water and servicing of ablution facilities at Sossusvlei and the Fish River Canyon View Point.
About 11 months ago, NWR and MET jointly embarked on a project to improve the infrastructure at our southern resorts of /Ai- /Ais and Hobas, located in the //Karas Region, along with their Sesriem Camp site, which is in the Hardap region. This initiative involved erecting new as well as upgrading existing infrastructure.
During the handover of the trucks Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta highlighted the importance the tourism sector plays within the Namibian economy and the world over.
“The tourism industry worldwide, is recognized as an important contributor to foreign earnings, employment creation, rural development, poverty reduction and the overall growth of the country’s economy”, said the minister.
In a show of how strong the bond is between NWR and MET, the minister acknowledged the continued assistance his ministry has been giving to NWR through the directorate of planning and technical services, which has embarked on the infrastructure development aimed at addressing the hazardous environmental situation at the Etosha National Park, /Ai-/Ais Game Park, Hardap Game Park and Namib Naukluft Park.
He further stated that the ministry took note of the recent report regarding the toilets in the Etosha National Park.
He was happy to note that a feasibility study was conducted and approved by MET in 2014 and that the Ministry is working towards replacing the current public toilets with more tourist environmental friendly ablution facilities.
NWR Board chairperson Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu spoke on behalf of NWR and expressed the company’s profound appreciation to MET for procuring and donating these valuable assets to the company.
“This could not have come at a more opportune time as our camps are struggling to cope with the increasing challenges of water and wastewater management. The procured trucks that we are happily receiving will contribute hugely to enhanced management of our sewage systems given the pressure from the increasing number of visitors to our camps”, he said.
He further went on to say the investment from the ministry had a combined value of N$4.5 million and was highly appreciated as it will ensure uninterrupted supply of portable water as well as servicing our ablution facilities for years to come. This support is so critical for NWR to ensure that we manage properly our sensitive arid environment in terms of minimising our ecological footprint in our parks.
At the same occasion Iipumbu informed the minister of the progress the company has made ever since they as a board were appointed. He was happy to mention to the minister that one of its resorts within the Etosha National Park, Okaukuejo, had generated N$100 million dollars in revenue during the 2015/2016 financial year.
He attributed this to the strong leadership qualities of the managing director Zelna Hengari, whom he said the Board had total confidence in.
He also assured the minister that their sole aim as a board is to get NWR to declare a profit during their time in office, as they want to pay a dividend to government.