Hafeni Cultural Tours ready for Adventure Travel World Summit
Between 26 and 31 October, Namibia will serve as host to at least 700 tourism industry professionals for the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s first-ever Adventure Travel World Summit on the continent of Africa.
Heinrich Hafeni, sole owner of Hafeni Cultural Tours, a community-based tourism operator situated in the historical Woerman Haus building in Swakopmund, says his business is ready to host the delegates of the Adventure Travel World Summit by showcasing Namibia as a cultural destination.
After years of experience working in the tourism and hospitality industry, Heinrich obtained his permit from the Namibian Tourism Board and fulfilled his dream of establishing his own tourism business. “I had always wanted to venture into tourism and had promised myself that by the age of 28, I will have my own business. So with all my savings from working as a tour guide and some financial contributions from my grandmother, I was able to purchase a second hand micro-bus to transport my clients and construct a traditional dining room where my clients could enjoy a traditional home-made meal while being entertained by traditional dancers,” Heinrich elaborated.
Established in 2010, Hafeni Cultural Tours specializes in guided township tours in and around the historic tourist attractions in Swakopmund. The business also provides qualified training to young aspiring tourist guides. “At times, we motivate our youth from the communities to find their purpose and give them hope of achieving their dreams,” said Hafeni.
The company employs five full-time employees, mostly youth who are trained as tourist guides and three community groups namely, Tears of Hope which is an orphanage, the Vocal Galore African Choir and the Traditional Dress Women.
“Hafeni Cultural Tours cannot progress without the initiative from the community. The community benefits directly because the tourists who visit their traditional market stands also purchase goods on their guided tours. Our tours also include a visit by the tourists to different traditional homesteads and to the local community. The tourists are all eager to experience the diverse cultures our country has to offer,” Hafeni stated.
He said he is aware of the challenges that come with operating in the tourism industry which is fast becoming more competitive. “From my experience, I know this industry is all about time, offering an excellent service and of course, professionalism is very important. At the end of the day, you should know who your customers are and come up with innovative ideas to attract them,” he said.
He added that at times it becomes difficult to maintain his business as an upcoming entrepreneur in the industry and singled out funding which he needs to purchase equipment to run the business effectively. “I urge established businesses to give a chance to those that are just starting out because we all know that without the involvement of the more established businesses as well as the government, the barriers to enter the tourism industry become even more tougher,” Hafeni pointed out. He applauded the Namibia Tourism Board for helping small and medium enterprises in the tourism industry by providing them with opportunities for training through the New Venture Creation of the University of the Witwatersrand and said that more initiatives such as this are needed.
Hafeni encouraged promising young entrepreneurs wanting to venture into the tourism industry to have a positive mindset and associate themselves with winners. “Opportunities are there for everyone but one just need to believe in your dreams and persevere. The time for young people to play their part in the economic transformation is now! he said.