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Standard Bank pumps N$80 000 in HAN congress

by Rodney Pienaar

Standard Bank Namibia has pumped in N$80 000 in the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) congress slated for 21 and 22 June at Swakopmund.

Namibia’s tourism sector still stands a high chance of growing and contributing even more to the socio-economic development of the country, as areas of tourism such as Gem Tourism and Peace Tourism remain largely unexplored Standard Bank’s Head of Business Banking, Karen van der Merwe, said during the launch of the congress.

“We are proud to be joining hands with HAN and other corporate stakeholders in their efforts to achieving Namibia’s true growth potential in the tourism industry. We recognises and appreciate the vital role of tourism on the Namibian economy,” she said.

She also commended HAN for all its hard work pointing out that organisation has become a pillar in the Hospitality and Tourism industry because they work towards influencing policy making in Namibia, thereby optimising growth for the sector.

“We have long had a mutually beneficial relationship with HAN and believe that their activities and programs will enhance their motto and theme for this year’s congress namely Meeting of Minds to Discover the Hidden Gems of Namibia. Standard Bank is pleased to be on board in making the annual congress of the HAN a reality with our sponsorship of N$80 000 this year.It is important to ensure that through partnerships with associations such as HAN we demonstrate our commitment to enhancing this industry,” Van der Merwe stressed.

The tourism and hospitality sector contributes 15% to Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making it a major industry, albeit its potential has not been maximized.

HAN’s chief executive officer, Gitta Paetzold and HAN Vice Chairperson Janet Wilson-Moore both commended the Bank and other sponsors such as Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL), Air Namibia, Bannerman Resources and Marsh Namibia for their support, reiterating that tourism is everyone’s business as it benefits everyone.

“We want to find new things to give to our tourists. The generational changes among tourists mean that they are looking for more meaningful experiences and interactions with the community/environment around them. We want to be able to give new offerings and spread out the bookings into the off-peak season as there is a bottleneck,” Wilson-More explained.

She also pointed out that Namibia has been termed by many international operators and agents as being the best “sold-out destination”, as it seems to have become more difficult to secure forward bookings for the organized travel trade.