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Tourism Sector On Recovery Path – Shifeta

By:Fransina Nghidengwa
Environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta, during his new year’s address to the staffon Friday, said the tourism sector is on a recovery course after being battered by Covid-19.
Shifeta said international tourist arrivals increased by almost 38% in 2021 compared to 2020.
About 233692 tourist arrivals were recorded in 2021 compared to over 1.5 million arrivals in 2019.
Tourist arrivals have seen a steady trend of around 1.5 million per year from 2014 to 2019.
The overall statistics for 2022 are expected to be released by the ministry later this year. However, according to the Trading Economics global macro models and analysis, last year’s tourist arrivals were expected at 1.3 million.
“I am confident that there will be a dramatic and sustained recovery of the sector during 2022,”Shifeta said.
He further said protected areas require a well-maintained road network for tourists to have a good experience.
A total of 142 km of roads in the Etosha National Park was constructed and completed, but the minister said there are still sections of the road network that are in a very poor condition and needed full rehabilitation.
“Therefore, the ministry, with its strategic partners, is working around the clock sourcing for funding to complete the upgrading of the remaining sections. It is anticipated that the road network will be better able to cope with the increasing volumes of tourists expected as the recovery of the sector from Covid-19 picks up momentum,” Shifeta said.
He also revealed that approximately 140 km of Etosha fencing have been upgraded and much still has to be done.
Through the ministry’s in-house capacity and with the National Youth Service and volunteers from adjacent conservancies, a pilot project to upgrade 7.5km of the fence in the Onanke area north of the Park was completed.
The minister also revealed that between May 2020 and January 2023, the ministry has spent N$222 million on the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) sector during the pandemic.
Namibia has 86 conservancies covering a total area of 166179km and benefitting approximately 233100 people from the rural communities.
“The facility has provided financial relief to communal conservancies and community forests worth N$57 million to meet their operational costs as their income pool was crippled by the pandemic. To this effect, 760 game guards and over 1000 conservancy committee members were supported.”
He said to reduce job losses within conservancies in tourism enterprises of joint venture partners like lodges, campsites, craft centres, hunting operators and cultural villages, the ministry supported these with a total of N$27 million benefiting 2200 people.
According to the minister, there has been a reduction in human-wildlife conflict cases from 590 in 2021 to 372 cases in 2022.
Human-wildlife conflict cases reported in 2022/23 include 126 cases of crop damages for which over N$356000 was paid. Over N$580000 was paid for the 206 cases of livestock losses recorded, while N$180000 was paid to 18 people for injuries caused by wild animals and 15 peoples’ lives were lost due to crocodile, hippo, and elephant attacks.
A total of N$1.5 million was paid out to the families as funeral assistance.

Fransina Nghidengwa

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