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Namibia meets United Emirates

by Khaula Nhongo


The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) is increasingly looking for potential development partners in previously untapped international tourism destinations while consolidating its presence in traditional tourism markets.
The NTB hosted a networking event with stakeholders in tourism and international decision-makers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the capital last week.
This comes just a few days after the minister announced the ministry’s intention to bid to host the 2013 Adventure World Travel Summit.
Speaking at the networking event the Minister of Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah called on local tour operators to step up multi-dimensional development to enable the country to attract the long haul markets of the world.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the NTB should embark on a targeted and focused marketing campaign for the UAE market while conducting underpinning research on the Middle East tourism market.
The minister said: “I am delighted to join today’s event finally;  a hall mark for Namibia’s attempt to enter the new tourism source markets to break free from concentrating on the traditional source markets.” The partnership between these two countries will help the Namibian tourism sector tap into other markets around the world and get more people trickling in from other countries.
“This  is one of the exploratory projects for Namibia to enter new emerging markets to reduce its dependency on the traditional source markets being predominately central Europe and UK,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah  
Even though the number of tourists visiting the country has increased tremendously since 2003 from about 150 000 to close to one million in 2010 Nandi-Ndaitwah feels that there is still room for more growth.
This networking platform is a stepping stone for the Namibian tourism sector to ensure that it becomes the first ‘Gateway to Africa’ for those coming to Africa for the first time.
Home to 160 nationalities, Dubai has a population of six million people with five million of them are foreigners.
Jalal Balala, organiser of the group unit to Namibia from the United Emirates emphasised that Namibian people should utilise this opportunity.
“Dubai is like a magnet... it attracts people, businesses from around the world and unlimited investment opportunities. Our main purpose is to know something about Namibia, to go back and tell our people what you have to offer. We all know Namibia is bidding to host the 2013 World Travel Summit. Therefore, we will do our best to help the media play its advocacy role to achieve that goal,” said Balala.
Meanwhile, NTB CEO, Digu //Naobeb said that the tourism parastatal is unleashing plans - its marketing arsenal to test the waters in Nordic and Baltic, China and the North American markets besides the Middle East.
“We are keenly aware that our plans and desires for growth and development of tourism in Namibia cannot be achieved without  enabling the environment to foster partnerships and share knowledge about Namibia’s offerings to key decision makers to sell the destination,” //Naobeb said.
Namibia is geared up to win the bid to host the 2013 summit as it is not leaving anything to chance.