Industry should be empowered and encouraged to engage more online to create a powerful tourism profile – Shifeta
The Environment, Forestry, and Tourism Minister, Pohamba Shifeta on Wednesday officially launched the new Namibia Tourism Board’s new website as well as the Digital Marketing Campaign and Foreign Missions Toolkit, in an attempt to drive a swift travel recovery and create a better experience for visitors.
According to Shifeta, the launch of the new website boasts inherent features like improved interaction with potential visitors via various widgets that are integrated to drive traffic and reengage existing visitors.
He also explained that just as websites are essential, social media presence is also a must for Namibia to be properly represented online.
“The industry should be empowered and encouraged to engage more online to create a powerful tourism profile of the country,” Shifeta said at the launch in Windhoek.
This comes as the tourism minister formally announced that Namibia is open for tourism business and looking forward to welcoming all travelers to the country.
“Now that our economy and society have reopened, it is an opportune time to show Namibians and international travelers what they have been missing,” he said.
“The new website has been enriched with updated content and will serve as an authoritative source for providing current general country information about border crossing, our foreign missions, national parks, major attractions, business directory as well as a marketing toolkit, among others,” Shifeta said, adding that this will improve general service delivery as information will now be available online, making it easily accessible to our visitors.
On the other hand, the Ministry of International Relations’ Executive Director, Penda Naanda, said these actions present a good opportunity for Namibian companies to increase sales and find a strategic foothold in various countries abroad, or on the African continent, more specifically through the newly established African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, which was realized through the collective engagement of all African countries.
“Through the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, the largest free trade area in the world, connecting 1.3 billion people across 55 countries, with a combined GDP valued at 3.4 trillion dollars, our tourism sector is certainly geared to benefit from this vast continental undertaking, as we recover from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Naanda.
The Executive Director added that as for the tourism industry, “your goal is to actively contribute to making tourism a strategic backbone industry of the national economy, and to make it a more modern service industry to meet the demands of the people”.
Moreover, the tourism minister noted that NTB made large efforts in activating its marketing strategy aimed at deploying actionable initiatives earmarked to revive travel and tourism that was hard hit by COVID-19. Additionally, he revealed that it gives him great pleasure to note that the tourism industry desires to be at the very edge of innovation leadership in digital travel technology, as the “industry rethinks and reimagines travel and destination marketing in the era of Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
The new website unveiled by NTB recently also entails a relief to community-based tourism enterprises through a dedicated section geared at promoting community-based tourism initiatives. Accordingly, this undertaking will benefit these communities as it will complement their marketing efforts by promoting their products on the website, the minister noted.
“The new NTB website will also serve as a resource centre for students and academic researchers who are looking for verified information about the history, culture, heritage, tourism destinations as well as general information on the destination Namibia,” added Shifeta.
Meanwhile, despite the difficult external and domestic environment, Namibia retains its core strengths as an unrivaled geographical location as a tourism destination, he maintained.
“In particular, the use of social media in tourism continues to rise and it has many benefits over traditional marketing channels. Most notably, these include its cost-effectiveness and attraction to all groupings and demographics – niche and mass markets, business and leisure travel, men and women of all age groups.”
“I can assure you that Namibia’s institutional strengths and core competitiveness are still intact and widely recognized by many internationally, as we have been resilient, we shall emerge victories,” Shifeta concluded.