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Destination Namibia: unique and exclusive

CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), Gitta Paetzold, said conservation in action must be used by the tourism industry to promote Namibia as a tourism brand. (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), Gitta Paetzold, said conservation in action must be used by the tourism industry to promote Namibia as a tourism brand. (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Due to the recent global economic recession, the tourism industry worldwide has seen a decline in recent years, making it even crucial for countries to market and expose themselves as ideal tourism destinations to the international market.
According to the CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), Gitta Paetzold, targeted marketing is key and while many other Southern African countries offer wildlife, scenery and sunshine, Namibia has done well to supplement its strong marketing presence in the traditional market from Central Europe, to the USA through the North-American Destination Marketing campaign launched by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) with assistant from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) funds and programmes. Following the success of the campaign in North America, the NTB now targets the Middle East and Central Asia.
Paetzold said Namibia has managed to promote its unique splendour to a wider “audience” and the unique successes of Namibia in terms of conservation efforts, trans-locating endangered animals from parks to private game reserves and the country’s success story on cheetah research and conservation, are what is being picked up internationally.
“Namibia is a tourism destination worth visiting as it offers wonderful opportunities for people who travel with conscience and meaning and who wish to have an engaging experience and be part of and witness conservation in action, rather than just coming for “consumptive tourism trips”,” said Paetzold.
As Namibia prepares to host the Adventure Travel World Summit, Paetzold is confident that this will be the biggest marketing effort the country will run collectively. “We are confident that by September, all tours and accommodation available will be reserved. We are told that this is the first time in Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) history that a summit has had such demand with 90% of the delegates already booking their space more than four months ahead of the summit,” she noted.
To show support in hosting the Summit, the City of Windhoek Tourism Division is hard at work to plan for a National Welcoming Event on Saturday, 26 October 2013 in the Parliament Gardens, while the host town of the summit, Swakopmund, is preparing for a dune-dinner under stars for the night of 28 October, ahead of the 3 days of plenary and debate during the Summit.
“While we all know that given the economic situation, cash seems to be tight at all levels, it has been extremely encouraging to see how various companies have offered their input and willingness to assist and engage in this national endeavour,” said Paetzold, adding that both FNB and Standard Bank have already made their financial contributions to the Summit and Bannerman Resources has made firm commitments to sponsor the event.
Negotiations with Namibia Breweries Limited, Cymot Namibia and Telecom are currently under way and a surprise gift from Nakara made from true Namibian leather awaits the 700 delegates.
Paetzold said however that there is still ignorance about the value of tourism in general thus Team Destination Namibia is busy planning awareness events to get the public more involved and excited about the Summit. “We want all Namibians to share in the excitement and help us as Team Destination Namibia, to showcase Namibia as a unique and worthy tourism destination, with beautiful landscapes, wildlife in abundance, and what’s very important, friendly and hospitable people!” Paetzold remarked.

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