Namibia is taking the first steps in diversifying its tourism source markets and product offerings in an attempt to remain competitive and attractive to potential tourists at a time when the countries which make up the country’s traditional tourism markets are experiencing the effects of the economic recession.
To this end, Environment and Tourism Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah welcomed a group of tourism operators and media practitioners from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Namibia on Friday, who will be taken on a familiarisation visit of Namibia’s finest tourism offerings.
The group of 15 men and women from the UAE arrived in Windhoek on Thursday and will depart again on February 25. The visitors will be divided into two groups who will be taken on two separate routes to show off Namibia’s wildlife and scenery.
One group will focus on wildlife and will be taken to Etosha National Park, while the other group will focus on scenery and will be taken to Sossusvlei in the Namib-Naukluft Park.
The initiative is undertaken by the Namibian Tourism Board in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Welcoming the visitors to Windhoek, Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia is aiming to enter new tourism markets to reduce its dependency on the traditional markets of central Europe and the United Kingdom.
“It is critical that we as a nation must diversify both our tourism source markets and product offerings to remain competitive and attractive to potential tourists,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
Also speaking at the event was NTB chief executive officer Digu Naobeb, who said his organisation is aware that plans for the growth of tourism in Namibia, “cannot be achieved without creating the enabling environment to foster partnerships and share knowledge about Namibia’s offering to key decision makers to sell the destination.”
Naobeb said there is a “dire need” for Namibia to diversify its tourism product offering, and added that “plans are afoot to establish cultural tourism, to expand tourism nodes by developing new routes, and to broaden our source markets and tourist market segments.”
Jalal Balala, organiser and coordinator of the African Pavilion Global Village Dubai, said people in the UAE and its booming city, Dubai, have no knowledge of Namibia, and thus their aim is to create visibility for the country with the hope of having a positive impact on tourism.