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Strand Hotel closer to reality

A third five-star establishment is on the cards for Namibia as all approval processes for the Kempinski Strand Hotel has been finalised.
However, the Ohlthaver & List Group and the Swakopmund municipality are yet to decide on a date on which construction of the hotel may commence, said Roux-Che Locke, group manager of public relations at Ohlthaver & List. Ohlthaver & List initially wanted to start with construction in February.
Approval from both the Aesthetics and Heritage Committees were obtained last year. These approvals played a major part in how the hotel should be designed and the full costs of such an undertaking.
The hotel is expected to be a big player in the tourism industry.
“From a commercial point of view, the new hotel will also enhance the growth of tourism in Swakopmund, coupled with a new worldwide image of Swakopmund being a first-class and exciting holiday and travel destination. This will be the third five-star property in Namibia, introducing the five-star leisure product to Swakopmund and hence attracting a new client base,” Locke said.
The World Travel & Tourism Council has ranked Namibia as the fourth largest growing destination in Africa, with an annual growth rate of about 8%.
Locke added that as luxury travel is increasing as well, the Kempinski Hotel could entice such travellers to come to Namibia instead of neighbouring countries.
“Luxury travel is growing as well, with favourite destinations amongst luxury travellers being South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia. The new five-star approach of O&L will draw this segment to Namibia as well. Additionally, Kempinski Hotels has an existing client network that spans globally, hence creating a brand new marketing and awareness channel in the world,” she said.
The Strand Hotel will consist of 87 hotel suites and 28 apartments, a public spa and fitness centre, a heated indoor swimming pool and a public seafood restaurant. Conference facilities will include meeting rooms, a business centre and a banqueting hall which can host weddings and birthday parties.
The Kempinski Strand Hotel is expected to employ at least 350 Namibians and another 100 people at the retail outlets and restaurants.
“One of the biggest benefits will be the increase of skills – transferred by international professionals and applied by Namibians. While Namibia is still rated high as an international tourism destination, the country is still criticised for a certain lack of skills when it comes to service offer within the hospitality industry with a negative effect on the actual value for money paid. The Kempinski management will correct this perspective by setting new service standards that are on par with international levels,” said Locke.
The development has received some opposition from the Swakopmund community, as they feel that it  will have a negative impact on the Mole conservation area. A petition carrying 2000 signatures was handed over to the developers against the “massive size of the new complex and the fact that access to the sea will be blocked off by a development completely out of scale and character with the Mole setting.”
The initial cost estimate of the development is N$350 million.

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