Biodiversity preservation vital
According to the Minister of Environment and Tourism Hon. Uahekua Herunga, the tourism sector definitely needs to streamline Namibia’s efforts at preserving and conserving our biodiversity in the face of adversity from the impact of climate change and other environmental challenges.
Speaking at the 5th International Symposium and Annual Conference of Partners held in the capital this week he said, “our tourism industry has taken a measured approach to its growth and success. I want to emphasize that we must do everything within our power to ensure this critically important industry is sustainable.
Tourism is every one’s business it is important to note that tourism has no future if we don’t maintain a focus on sustainability”.
Over 250 delegates from across the globe attended the symposium under the theme ‘Advancing Sustainable Tourism: Securing the Legacy of Our Cultural & Natural Heritage’. The two-day event was hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), France, Morocco, the Hospitality Association of Namibia, the Tour and Safari Association of Namibia and Eco-Awards Namibia.
There are 83 registered communal conservancies in Namibia, covering over 19% of the land area of the country and directly benefiting over 250 000 rural Namibians. Of the 83 registered communal conservancies, 33 are immediately adjacent to national parks or in key corridors between protected areas.
Herunga also noted that the direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in 2013 was N$3,1 million, 3% of GDP, overall 27% of all employment in Namibia is generated through travel and tourism, and in the same year travel and tourism generated 24 000 jobs directly which is4.5% of total employment.
He emphasized that the potential that tourism offers must be exploited since it is for the well being of all Namibians through contributing to income, livelihood options, empowerment and employment not just in towns and cities but also in rural area.