The tourism industry has created 81 000 jobs making up 22% of the total employment in Namibia, in the last 5 years alone.
The tourism sector has shown extraordinary resilience when the Namibian economy has been under pressure, the minister of tourism Pohamba Shifeta has said.
“The benefits of this industry are furthermore incremental as there is a range of secondary economic activities generated through the consumption of products and services to offer the tourism experience,” he said.
He added that conservation hunting is another component of the tourism sector which also has an additional.
Through the manufacturing of trophies and other wildlife products, these industries in themselves provide opportunities for more than just entry level unskilled jobs.
Shifeta explained that it is well known that farms on which conservation hunting takes place have a higher level of employment and remuneration than ordinary livestock farms.
“These forms of non-consumptive and consumptive utilisation have been key to the success of the communal conservancy programme and continue to contribute a significant component of the revenue generation and thus to the inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth in these communities but in addition to the revenue generation it is the access to meat that conservancy members greatly value,” he said.
He added that although real economic value of the wildlife as a source of food is more difficult to quantify in economic terms, as much of it happens informally, it is highly significant.
The minister said in communal conservancies harvesting for own consumption has a positive impact on all conservancy members.
The tourism economy provides a viable, diversified and potentially more lucrative portfolio of business opportunities and in order to maximize the economic potential Namibia needs to ensure that the full value is extracted from every economic activity of the tourism sector.
“I am not comfortable to learn that many products are exported in raw form such as horns and hides when these can be used in manufacturing in Namibia. Here we have sustainable resources that should be used to its full potential,” Shifeta has said.
He added that the ministry is developing a new approach to identify unused potential in the biodiversity economy and to look for ways to facilitate the use of such opportunities including the strengthening of linkages between protected areas and neighboring conservancies and other land between tourism operations and conservancies.