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NTB ranks high on sustainability

The Namibian Tourism Board achieved a respectable 15th position out of 50 countries in the first Tourist Board League table published this week by Responsible Travel. The survey and ranking focused on Responsible Tourism.
The best ranked national tourist boards were Bhutan, South Africa, Sweden and England. Namibia is ranked in 15th position and Botswana in 5th. The USA is ranked last. Only 8 African countries feature in the rankings. The National Tourist Board websites of Responsible Travel’s top 50 destinations were examined and six questions were asked, relating to tourists boards’ vision, policies and activity in responsible and sustainable tourism.

The six survey questions inspect various elements of responsible or sustainable tourism, looking specifically whether national tourist boards cover these aspects among the marketing and promotional material available on their respective websites. Tourist Boards could score a maximum of 6 points (all covered) and a minimum of 0. Seven Tourist Boards scored 0 – China, Finland, Ethiopia, Vietnam, France, Japan and the USA, meaning they had no reference to responsible or sustainable tourism anywhere on their sites. They have no published policies; no evidence of any achievement and provide no information for tourists. Bhutan, South Africa and Sweden all scored 6 points. Commenting on the results, Responsible Travel CEO Justin Francis said: “We are very surprised that so many Tourist Boards’ vision statements include no or little reference to sustainability; and how many have no published responsible tourism policies or activities.” “We think that serious questions should be asked of the tourist boards at the bottom of our league table. Their tax-payers’ money is potentially being spent  developing and promoting tourism with no regard to whether it’s contributing to creating local jobs or expat jobs; whether they source locally to support local suppliers/producers or source from global markets; or whether they contribute to sustaining natural and cultural heritage or to destroying it.” “In many cases around the world we think responsibility in tourism is being achieved despite the tourist board not because of it. South Africa is a real exception. They have national and local strategies for responsible tourism enshrined in law and policy and with real programmes of work to deliver it, although delivery is still patchy.” Without any clearly visible published policies for responsible tourism we can not be sure tourist boards have any way to manage tourism for the benefit of local communities.”
“In other destinations there are excellent examples of highly responsible local businesses, yet their hard work and commitment is not reflected in their tourist boards communications. Our research looks at the tourist board’s ability to communicate policies and action around responsible tourism – not local businesses.” The full ranking of tourist boards’ assessed, in descending order, comprises South Africa, Bhutan, Sweden, England, Botswana, Costa Rica, Chile, Marocco, Norway, Laos, Indonesia, India, Peru, Burma, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Canada, Kenya, Spain, Madagascar, Scotland, Jordan, Nepal, Australia, Croatia, Ecuador, Thailand, Cambodia, Romania, Zambia, Italy, Cuba, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Portugal, Trinidad & Tobago, Greece, Iceland, Bolivia, Tibet, Montenegro, Finland, Vietnam, Japan, France, China, Ethiopia and the USA.

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