Tourism Ministry looks to hook-in more tourists
The Ministry of Environment & Tourism launched its National Sustainable Tourism growth and development strategy for the year 2016 – 2026. The policy which entails two strategic documents approved by Parliament in July 2016 and namely includes, The National Sustainable Tourism Growth and Development strategy & the National Tourism Investment Profile and Promotion strategy.
Speaking at the launch of the strategies, the Director of Tourism and Gaming, Dr. Sem Shikongo gave an overview of the strategy and explained that the overall goal of the two documents is to instill a collaborative way of working in the tourism sector between the public and private sector to ensure sustainable growth.
Shikongo outlined that tourism is the 3rd largest contributor the Namibian economy, both in terms of contributions to GDP as well as foreign revenue. The implementation of the strategies by all stakeholders will be based on five key principles that emanate from National Tourism Policy of 2008 which includes: Private sector driven implementation, whole government approach towards implementation, a culture of hospitality and excellent customer care, focus on priority markets that yield highest return on investment, and Focus on sustainability (Environmental, Economic and Social).
Shikongo gave an academic presentation of the strategies and outlined the key barriers to tourism growth and development and said issues such as administrative and bureaucratic inefficiencies, access to permits, and a lack of understanding of the tourism market are things that hinder the market. “We don’t understand tourism & the market structure of sector, therefore when we invest we may not yield the wanted results.”
He stated that Namibia needs to develop a focused national marketing strategy with a specific focus on priority markets. Furthermore he advised a diversification of the markets to prolong the stay of tourists, removal of barriers in tourism growth and for bi-annual analysis of timely, credible market intelligence.
Meanwhile, in his keynote address to officiate the launch of the policy, the Minister of Environment & Tourism Hon. Pohamba Shifeta explained that the strategy will create a favorable and conducive regulatory environment for tourism investment with the objective with lowering transaction costs to allow the private sector to invest and grow the tourism sector through a tourism superstructure.
“The strategy demonstrates a commitment to remove barriers to investment and provide attractive incentives, especially in priority areas referred to as Tourism Entry Point Projects/Value Chains (TEPPs),” he added.