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Nam, A Melting Pot of Cultures To Explore Cultural Tourism

By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus

Cultural tourism is referred to as a type of tourism activity that allows the visitors to learn, discover, experience and consume the tangible and intangible cultural attractions or products in a specific tourism destination.

Ndinelao Shikemeni, an aspiring writer and researcher from a village called Ongha in Northern Namibia, provided her analysis of cultural tourism on Gondwana Collection Blog last month.

She said Namibia is aptly referred to as a melting pot of cultures due to the different traditions and communities.

Communities vary from Nama, Damara, Mbukushu, Mafwe, Coloureds, Hereros, Himbas, Germans, Afrikaaners, San, Aawambo and others.

She said these communities offer attractions or products related to a set of distinctive material, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional features of a society that encompasses arts and architecture.

Moreover, she said they also offer historical and cultural heritage, culinary heritage, literature, music, creative industries and living cultures with their lifestyles, value systems, beliefs, and traditions.

These communities are sought after by locals and international visitors, which gradually leads to cultural tourism.

Shikemeni explained that culture is a unifier, and without its presence, tourism would not be able to flourish.

“Wherever people journey to, they have a yearning to unearth the way others live, preserve vital customs, and delight in gastronomic opportunities,” wrote Shikemeni.

More so, it presents a chance for local economic development in addition to merely a traveller’s personal development throughout the journey.

The UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, last year at a conference emphasised that “culture is one of the drivers of tourism growth, so protecting cultural heritage and promoting tourism for sustainable development are part of the same equation”.

As a result, it is vital to express how cultural tourism can continuously be sustained.

Shikemeni highlighted that it is important that cultural studies are incorporated within school curriculums in both primary and secondary stages.

“This informs children from a tender age about diversity and aids in developing open-minded individuals, whereby they accept those that are unlike them, ” she wrote.

In essence, it develops a legacy over time, as these children will eventually work within various industries, which would result in a leap to a multi-ethnic and unbiased community, Shikemeni added.

The writer called on the creative industry to be involved more and for the country to facilitate tourism diversification.

She said the creative industries should be involved in the development of cultural tourism, through which they are offered an opportunity to develop distinctive cultural offerings that would intrigue various visitors.

Therefore, Shikemeni asks for opportunities and financial support to be granted to local community members to enable them to continuously flourish.

With the ever-changing world due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, non-monetary collaborations amid industries are also helpful to the creative offerings and diversification of offerings.

She said the practicality of economic development in the country can be enabled at the community level through their involvement in cultural tourism.

“When local community members are offered the assistance and opportunity to develop unique cultural tourism offerings, it allows them to freely create what they are passionate about and instantaneously take ownership of,” wrote Shikemeni.

This then leads to a generation of income and assists communities to become financially sustainable, and allows them to uphold their culture into the next generation further.

There are many other ways in which cultural tourism can be sustained, however, the hope is that the unification of the above and more measures can be accurately implemented to maintain this spectrum of tourism, she added.



Julia Heita

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