New Board to boost local tourism
The new board, was appointed in accordance with section 4 of the Namibia Tourism Board Act. The incoming Board Chairperson for NTB is Daniel Nghidinua, who currently serves as the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and will be deputised by Theo Meriam Namases, the current Managing Director at Air Namibia.
Other board members are Merial Onesus, who currently serves as Deputy for Assets at the Ministry of Finance,Mr Sem Shikongo, the Director of Tourism and gaming at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and Mr Paul Brinkmann, the Chief Executive Officer at Sense of Africa Tour Company.
During the announcement, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Uakua, Herunga said, “The newly named appointees are qualified individuals who will continue to further the board’s priorities of diversifying tourism source markets and ensuring facilitation of broad base participation by various groups of Namibia population in the main stream tourism for beneficiation while providing robust regulatory oversight for the development of tourism industry.”
The minister outlined that the board plays a key role in providing general oversight of the strategic planning, financial and accounting matters, and risk management through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism as the portfolio custodian.
“My ministry will continue to work with the Board to ensure that issues important to the tourism development are addressed in the best interest of the people of Namibia. The task at hand for the Board members is to maximize the economic National Development Plan 4, of being competitive by the year 2017.
Challenges lie ahead particularly given the economic climate we now find ourselves in, but it is imperative we grasp rare opportunities such as cultural and adventure tourism, entry into new markets, industry transformation interventions to aid growth and promote prosperity. I am confident that the experience and skills mix of the Board members will help transform the tourism industry,” said Herunga.
The country has received accolades in the past, among them, the Lonely Planet Award ranking the country as one of the top destinations in the world to visit. Herunga added that given the resounding praise, it is not shocking that in 2013, the country will have registered about 1.3 million tourist arrivals by all indications, thus making another new record.
“With the momentum that we are now experiencing, we have full confidence that we will achieve our targets both for domestic and international travelers. Thus Namibia Tourism Board is expected to develop a strategic business plan that will spell out strategies and actions how we can attract more tourists,” said Herunga. He also thanked the outgoing board, under the Chairmanship of Graham Howard for their commitment and hard work in taking Namibia Tourism Board to greater heights.
“You have steered this organisation during the world financial trouble time ensuring that Namibia, together with the rest of Africa, recorded positive growth. You also ventured into new markets and commenced with the project to bring in previously disadvantaged Namibians in main stream tourism, which must be consolidated and enhanced,” Herunga concluded.