The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) has no specific focus on promoting local tourism as it caters for the local and foreign tourism services equally, according to its Manager of Regional and Domestic Operations and Marketing, Nicolae Tambrescu.
“Owning a business is at the disposal of anyone who takes the risk to invest in Namibia, by using local or foreign capital,” he said, adding that any establishment which provides tourism services in Namibia is considered local. He added that with cultural tourism, NTB buys local packages to offer them as prizes for their marketing campaigns when the budgets are available.
Tambrescu explained that the board uses national events such as the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMA) as a platform to promote local tourism to locals, under its campaign program called ‘Local Tourism is Nawa’ which has been functional for few years now, “This campaign program has several activities such as competitions with prizes, publications of specials for local and regional clients bi-annually, road shows and poitjie competitions with local chefs,” he said.
The NTB, according to Tambrescu, also has a platform where they publish the specials offered by the local and regional market.
He further added that NTB has an Annual Calendar of local events where they base their promotion program for local tourism promotion. Tambrescu said that through the trade fair participation and radio exposure of the local tourism services available in the regions where they go for various actions. “NTB educates the consumers on what attractions Namibia has to offer and encourage them to travel,” says Tambrescu.
The Villager established a few years ago that the Namibian tourism sector has seen a considerable increase in local companies joining as tour guide operators and service providers since the Ministry of Environment instituted the Tourism Policy in 2008.
It was also reported that Namibia had covered enough ground in implementing the tourism policy to create a leeway for the locals to play a meaningful role in the sector.
One of the principles in the policy is to promote local empowerment in the tourism industry as stated in the Tourism Policy of 2008. The 2008 tourism policy states that increased local participation and equity are essential to spread the benefits of tourism. Broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) will underpin the future of society and the economy. Both men and women must develop appropriate skills, which equip them to become fully involved in profitable business operation, management and ownership. It was reported that, in order to include more locals in the industry, one of the strategies being used by the ministry was to include more conservancies into the tourism products offered to tourists.