Tourism aligns its growth with mandate of 5th National Development Plan
With the official launch of the 5th National Development Plan (NDP5) scheduled for 31 May 2017, the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) views this as an opportunity for a new round of tourism benchmarks to measure its economic contribution in sync with the development plans.
For the 5-year period of the 4th National Development Plan, the Hotels and Restaurants subsector registered an average annual growth of 8%, a growth rate the association is confident will be improved, given the substantial growth from the 3rd National Development Plan to the fourth.
After the association’s annual general meeting at the end of April this year, the HAN chief executive, Gitta Paetzold said “Namibia is a remarkable and competitive destination because of its comparative and competitive advantages. The tourism industry is an important contributor to the generation of foreign exchange earnings, investments, revenue, employment, rural development, poverty reduction and to the growth of the country’s economy. Tourism also creates strong direct and peripheral benefits because of its multiplier effect, based on its reliance on a wide spread of supplies and services. Hotels and Restaurant, a proxy for the tourism sector, grew by an average of 8% during the NDP4 period.”
Highlighting the industry’s potential for further growth, she said “it is estimated that during the NDP4 period foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector have increased to about N$ 2,746 million, N$500 million more than earnings during NDP3 period.”
“Going forward, Namibia needs to focus its efforts to priority tourist markets in order to propel growth in this sector, whilst still retaining and safeguarding its competitive advantages. Namibia currently benefits from its reputation as a boutique destination, and tourism development needs to take place in a controlled manner to ensure that Namibia as a destination retains its uniqueness” the hospitality association advised.
Anticipating trading conditions for this year, Paetzold said “It is anticipated that tourism in Namibia will continue to grow, albeit at a slow pace due to the current economic recession. This will bring about a corresponding increase in capacity requirements and demand for new products, facilities and services, thus paving the way for local and foreign investment opportunities.”
Starting in May, HAN in partnership with Venture Media will use the period leading up to the association’s gala dinner in November, to define 30 or more reasons that underscore their love for and commitment to tourism.
“HAN and its members remain committed to tell the story about the uniqueness of Namibia and to promote the growth of sustainable tourism for the next few decades going forward” Paetzold said.