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Hospitality Association brings unity back to tourism

The HAN Executive Committee and staff: Back Row: Rudie Putter, (Kalahari Sands Hotel), Kallie Nel (LLA) Janet Wilson Moore, (SHEC) and Werner Beddies, (LLA), Middle: Merrilyn Leippert, (Coast) Christie Benade, (HAN chairman/Lake Oanob Resort), Heidi Snyman, (Hotel Schweizerhaus) and Robert Nienaber, (Arebbusch Travel Lodge), Front: Gitta Paetzold, (CEO) and Samantha Benade, HAN office assistant, at the HAN AGM on 28 April.Members of the Hospitality Association of Namibia voted in favour of the association’s return to the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (FENATA). This unanimous and historic vote was passed during HAN’s annual general meeting on Saturday, 28 April 2012 in Windhoek.
The Hospitality Association of Namibia concluded its 24th annual general meeting last week – paving the way for a united future in tourism, as well as discussing plans for its 25th anniversary at the end of the year.
According to the association, 2012 is a challenging year for tourism, and the private sector tourism industry has, over the past week, come together to discuss ways of meeting these challenges.
Rejoining FENATA is the culmination of intense debate, discussions and negotiations among stakeholders in the Namibian tourism industry since late 2011. Hospitality operators came together to discuss ways of meeting the high expectations on the Namibian tourism sector. This is due to the sector having been identified as one of the three key economic sectors with the potential to deliver in terms of job creation, skills development and social upliftment of the Namibian people.
“The Namibian tourism sector is willing and ready to step up the game to meet the high expectations in terms of commercial and social interests” said the HAN members after concluding their meeting.
Stakeholders have however jointly identified a number of challenges and obstacles in the way of developing the sector’s full potential, and HAN and FENATA have agreed that in pursuance of growth and development of the sector, there is a great need for private operators to take a joint stand on issues of interests in terms of marketing, regulating and assessing the sector’s role within the Namibian economy and the country’s development plan.
Due to challenges faced by the sector, both from a global economic and local perspective, HAN has realised that concerted efforts are needed now more than ever to ensure that Namibia creates and sustains an enabling environment, conducive to good tourism business and the viability and sustainability of commercial operations within this sector.
Close engagement with decision makers and the public sector in multiple spheres are needed to create such an environment, and the Namibian tourism private sector stands ready to raise and promote issues of interest to the tourism industry, – in its strive to make Namibia a destination of choice for all international travellers, and the tourism industry a primary choice for entrepreneurs, incentives and investment.
The partnership of tourism private sector stakeholders has been strengthened in the recent past with HAN establishing a City Office in Windhoek’s CBD area last year, and offering to share such office space with FENATA to enable close co-operation and joint promotion efforts.
Private sector tourism in Namibia is committed to build on, strengthen and support tourism growth, opening up the sector to a wider community and meeting quality standards and expectations from international travellers and the policy makers alike.  This can however only be successful if all stakeholders join hands to contribute to the creation of a business environment, that enables the tourism industry to grow and prosper and HAN and its partners stand ready to work towards the realisation of tourism’s full potential with all authorities and stakeholders involved, – as “tourism is everybody’s business.

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