MCA’s N$9 million plan
An amount of US$67 million was pledged to fund tourism projects in Namibia through the Compact programme. The Tourism routes development project was allocated US$1,138,711 for the entire three routes.
Millennium Challenge Account media spokesperson Ralph Hofelein said that the funding provides a structured approach to developing tourism in rural areas through local route associations.
The routes will be managed through tourism associations that enter into a joint management agreement and submit a business plan and a marketing strategy.
“The key institutions such as the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Namibia Tourism Board provide an enabling environment for the routes to function by establishing a route development programme that creates support structures to manage and support the routes while allowing for new routes to be developed and supported,” he said.
Grant Thornton and Open Africa were appointed as consultants to implement a project to develop local and regional tourism routes. The strategy is based on Open Africa’s experience in managing a network of 63 tourism routes across southern Africa and extensive consultation with tourism operators
According to the Strategy Plan, the project’s time frame of 21 months does not leave sufficient time to support the fledgling association that were established to manage the routes. If all support is withdrawn when the MCA-N compact closes in September, there is a risk of failure if there is no long-term strategy in place.
The routes will offer Fully Independent Self Drive Tours Fully Packaged Flying Safari Fully Packaged Guided Safari Hunting Domestic Family Holidays as some of the tourism products with high growth potential.
The Arid Eden Route covers the north west of the country and aims to channel visitors from well-known destinations such as Swakopmund and Etosha to the lesser known attractions in the region.
Omulunga Palm Route covers the northern part of Namibia from Ruacana in the west to Nkurenkuru in the east, but also includes Etosha National Park to the south.
The route’s vision is to develop the region as a tourism destination by encouraging a culture of cooperation and networking among tourism operators and enticing visitors to stop, stay and spend.
Four Rivers Route covers the Kavango and Zambezi Regions, but eventually links to the Victoria Falls to capitalize on one of southern Africa’s biggest attractions.
According to Hofelein to achieve this, a framework for routes needs to be established that allows routes to be supported through a national route forum, headed and supported by key government institutions and partner organisations.
“Online marketing campaigns together with NTB have been implemented to expose the new routes. Visitors to the NTB Website can also find information on the new routes including maps and are able to book directly for accommodation or contact accommodation suppliers,” he said.