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Tourims summit set for 30 May

The Exco of the Hospitality Association of Namibia. Back Row: Louis Nortje, Mark Muecke, Mika Shapwanale, Robert Nienaber, Rudie Putter, Christie Benade and Werner Beddies. Front row: Rogero Micheletti, Gitta Paetzold (CEO), Heidi Snyman and Janet Wilson Moore

The Exco of the Hospitality Association of Namibia. Back Row: Louis Nortje, Mark Muecke, Mika Shapwanale, Robert Nienaber, Rudie Putter, Christie Benade and Werner Beddies. Front row: Rogero Micheletti, Gitta Paetzold (CEO), Heidi Snyman and Janet Wilson Moore

Growing concerns and challenges faced by the Namibian tourism industry are some of the key issues addressed during the Annual General Meeting of the Hospitality Association of Namibia over the previous weekend. The result was a unanimous vote by the members to host a Tourism Summit during this year’s Namibia Tourism Expo.
30 May 2013 has been earmarked for a national Tourism Summit, to which all stakeholders in tourism are invited for a national debate to identify key challenges and offer solutions that will enable growth and development in the tourism sector.
Some of the key challenges facing the industry, as identified by HAN members prior to the AGM and re-confirmed during discussions include: Tendency towards over-regulation of the tourism sector with conflicting legislation complicating business flow; A growing trend towards active divestment with potential investors shying away from Namibia due to a difficult and unclear legislative environment; Home Affairs visa and work permit allocation decisions harming the  industry, with no clear explanation/motivation of reasons for many of the decisions taken; Air Namibia – the national carrier and catalyst for tourism, – which, due to recent decisions and changes to business plans has caused loss of credibility and confidence in Namibia as a travel destination of choice.
HAN believes that these issues urgently need to be tabled and debated directly with the authorities involved, to ensure that Namibia regains its position as a desired travel destination in southern Africa. “HAN, together with FENATA Tourism(Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations) and TASA (Tour & Safari Association of Namibia) have thus decided to organise a convenient platform for direct engagement with all stakeholders and relevant parties involved to pave the way for a business environment that is conducive to growth and prosperity of the Namibian tourism sector” the new Executive Committee said in their first public statement.
During the HAN AGM,  Mr Rudie Putter, General Manager of the Kalahari Sands Hotel & Casino and having served on the HAN Executive for the past 2 years, was duly elected as the new National Chairman of HAN, while Janet Wilson Moore of the Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre was elected as Vice Chairlady.
Four new executive members joined the HAN Executive for the Period 2013/15, bringing with them a diverse knowledge base and experience, each of whom have direct involvement in some of those fields that currently pose challenges to the tourism industry.

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