The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) has registered 360 members as part of the associations mandate to prompting the interests of the tourism accommodation sector and the tourism sector in general.
HAN tries to ensure that the tourism industry is recognized for the potential value it holds and registers accommodation providers such as hotels, lodges, guest farms as well as bed and breakfast camps the Chief Executives Officer of HAN, Gitta Paetzold told The Villager.
“After some years of key presentations by international travel industry experts at the HAN Congress, as well as co-hosting the Namibia Academy with the Namibia Tourism Board last year, the Hospitality Association of Namibia believes that, given the marked growth in tourist numbers this year, there is need for an “inward-focused approach during its annual Congress, to ensure that all key stakeholders of Namibia’s tourism industry, from accommodation and activity suppliers, to tour operators and destination marketing companies align themselves and unite their efforts to best respond to the global interest in Namibia as desirable and growing tourism destination,” Paetzold said.
She added that tourism is everyone’s business. As such, strong bonds have been developed between the Hospitality Association of Namibia as well as key corporate partners, , as a company adding taste, ambience and great experiences to the tourism adventure in Namibia, professional and efficient services.
However Paetzold explained that Han has recorded another record month in September with over 72% occupancy of rooms across the country.
The Village found that HAN work closely with the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to ensure that the Namibian tourism industry is well represented both locally and abroad, in terms of destination marketing.
“It is pleasing to note, that the tourism industry has seen steady growth over the past few years, 2016 promising to be one of the best tourism years, in terms of tourism numbers and room occupancies, that Namibia has seen in the past ten years,” Paetzold said.
She further added that Namibia has been marketing itself as safe, popular, unique and versatile tourism destination for many years, - with a hype of activity prior and during the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS)in Namibia in 2013, which opened more markets to our country and is still reaping the benefits from these efforts.
However The Villager understands that due to extremely limited resources for destination marketing availed to the NTB annually, the close working relationship with international agents and markets has made it possible for Namibia to maintain and grow its segment of the market, against all odds and fierce competition from other travel destinations, who spend multiple millions on marketing efforts on an annual basis.
According to Paetzold, HAN is working towards developing skills by providing training to Namibians in the tourism sector as well as in other sectors.
“A major task HAN is currently trying to address is the low level of service excellence, for which Namibia, across the service sector, not only tourism is being criticized, and together with the training institutions, both formal and vocational, we are trying to instill among Namibians a service culture, that will make Namibia to stand out for warm and friendly hospitality. Skills development and attitude is key on our agenda,” Paetzold said.
She added that that concerns such as rising crime rate, poor road conditions, entice an organisations like HAN to raise such concerns on behalf of its members with the relevant authorities. HAN has buil a good relationship with MET AND NTB and is represented an advisory board to be able to help address some of the issues of concerns to tourism.