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Tourism tells its incredible story looking back 30 years

Tourism tells its incredible story looking back 30 years

The tourism industry came out in force last week for a two-day deliberation and celebration of the numerous achievements of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) over its incredible 30-year journey, as the most representative industry body for this vital economic sector.

The association’s Chief Executive, Gitta Paetzold said “for the first time, this two-day event was completely sold out, and is generally described as very successful, inspiring and forward-thinking, while the special Gala night allowed for some nostalgic reflection on the history of HAN.

The industry get-together comprised the association’s annual general meeting, the HAN Tourism Trade Forum, and the Gala dinner where numerous people who has walked the association’s full journey, were present.

Warming up for the climax, professional business coach, Saffron Baggally took the delegates on a mind-expanding tour of the limitless potential of tourism to be an even bigger growth catalyst in a fast changing world.

For the bigger picture, the Chief Executive of the Southern African Tourism Services Association, David Frost explained how legislative and political decisions influence the regional tourism sector.

During the trade forum it was the turn of HAN members to strategise on marketing and operational issues to ensure both growth and sustainability.

At the end of the very productive two days, everybody who is anybody in tourism, converged at the Safari Hotel for the auspicious and glamorous Gala evening where awards and accolades recognised the contributions of both individuals and establishments.

TOURISM Personality of the Year

In the lead-up to make this all-important announcement, the recipient’s immense contribution, through his own effort and that of his company, his consistent support of the Namibia brand, and his generous financial support to a plethora of local projects, were named as the reason why Wessie van der Westhuizen, the Chief Executive of Namibia Breweries Ltd, was chosen unanimously as the Tourism Personality of the Year.

HOTELIER of the Year

While many outstanding individuals were nominated for this award, it became obvious during the adjudication process, that an extraordinary large number of colleagues all named one specific individual. This is Tristan Böhme of Okonjima Lodge who is universally appreciated in the industry for his unwavering commitment to keep Namibian tourism at the highest possible standard.

HAN Personality of the Year.

Specifically mentioning her unlimited ability to spread enthusiasm to her staff, this award went to a woman who is an icon in the industry. During her career she has served at a large number of establishments, always remembered by her staff for her unique approach and her caring disposition. It was thus no surprise when Anett Kötting, the General Manager at Hotel Zum Kaiser in Swakopmund was named the HAN Personality of the Year.

Eco Awards

These special awards to companies and establishment, recognised the leaders in the hospitality trade by awarding desert flowers similar to the star rating system for hotels.

For Accommodation:

Two Flowers: Auas Safari Lodge.
Four Flowers: Chameleon Backpackers and Guesthouse, Wilderness Safaris Kulala Adventure Camp, Wilderness Safaris Little Kulala Lodge.
Five Flowers: Gondwana Namib Desert Lodge, Grootberg Lodge, Hoada Campsite, Meike’s Guesthouse, Onjala Lodge, RiverDance Lodge, RiverDance Campsite, Wilderness Safaris Damaraland Adventure Camp, Wilderness Safaris Damaraland Camp, Wilderness Safaris Desert Rhino Camp, Wilderness Safaris Doro !Nawas Camp, Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge.

For Touring:

Five Flowers: Abenteuer Afrika Safari.

Finally, the Gala evening paid tribute to the larger-than-life personalities who have shaped HAN and the industry at large.

Singled out for their enormous contribution and effort were HAN founding Chairman, Johnnie Hamman, his Vice, Tom Mutavdzic, the first Secretary, Tim Parkhouse and the first Treasurer, Ria von Seydlitz.

The Hospitality Association of Namibia has been sponsored over many years by Namibia Breweries Ltd, Standard Bank Namibia, Bannerman Resources, Marsh Namibia, House of Wines and the national carrier, Air Namibia.

Pictured are the recipients of the three HAN awards for individuals, from the left, Tristan Böhme of Okonjima Lodge (Hotelier of the Year), Anett Kötting, the General Manager of Hotel Zum Kaiser (HAN Personality of the Year) and Wessie van der Westhuizen, the Chief Executive of Namibia Breweries Ltd (Tourism Personality of the Year).



About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA (hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees in Philosophy and Divinity. Publisher and Editor of the Namibia Economist since February 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 32 years. The Economist started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at It is the first Namibian newspaper to go fully digital. He is an authority on macro-economics having established a sound record of budget analysis, strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored hundreds of journalism students as interns and as young professional journalists. From time to time he helps economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. Since October 2021, he conducts a weekly talkshow on Radio Energy, again for a lay audience. On 04 September 2022, he was ordained as a Minister of the Dutch Reformed Church of Africa (NHKA). Send comments or enquiries to [email protected]