By: Justicia Shipena
Environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta says providing career opportunities and entrepreneurship development in tourism for the youth will open a seat on the continental stage for them.
Shifeta said this while opening the 4th Africa Youth in Tourism Summit and Challenge 2022 in the capital.
The youth in tourism summit kicked started on 27 July and is set to conclude on 29 July under the theme; ‘Developing Youth and Innovative Entrepreneurship Solutions for Inclusive Tourism Recovery in Africa.”
“Youth, you are important agents of change in society and the tourism sector. Your creativity and innovation are valuable assets required at this point in history to leverage digitalisation to transform the tourism economy,” said Shifeta.
According to him, youth empowerment in tourism is key to a resilient and sustainable recovery of the sector post-Covid-19.
“Together with the youth of Africa, we can place “Africa Brands/Destinations” for tourism at the centre of the world conversation, showing and telling great stories of the continent and positioning Africa as the global tourism destination of choice.”
He revealed that tourism was the third highest world category in export earnings in 2015, representing 10 per cent of world GDP, 30 per cent of services exports and 1 out of every ten jobs in the world.
Reports show that in Namibia, travel and tourism contribute approximately 14.7 per cent of GDP.
“The Tourist Satellite Account Report of 2015 placed the total travel and tourism contribution to the economy at about N$15 billion, representing 10.2 per cent of GDP. The total tourism contribution to the economy almost doubled in 2019 to about N$28.8 billion, growing to about 15.3 per cent of GDP,” said Shifeta.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Namibia Country Report of 2021, the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2019 and 2020 caused its contribution to slow down to about N$16.8billion of GDP in 2020.
“We must remember that around 60 per cent of Africa’s population is under 25 years old. Our young demography is a decisive comparative advantage. We must equip our young people with skills and capital to be the main drivers and beneficiaries of industries such as tourism.”
At the same event, environment and tourism deputy minister Heather Sibungo said she was confident that the attendees would use the platform to provide the necessary input and develop solution-based ideas over the next three days.
She also challenged the exhibitors from outside the border of Namibia to explore other parts of the country.
“I am inviting you to visit other parts of the country and have some fun after the event just before you depart because Namibians are welcoming.
I challenge you to break my long-standing record of the fastest time to climb Dune 7 in Walvis bay, after which you can have drives at the magnificent sandwich harbour and boat cruises. The coastal town of Namibia offers endless opportunities for adventure.”
The 4th Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge is an exclusive platform being provided to the innovative African youth and start-ups in the travel and tourism industry on the continent looking for funding, partnership and mentorship opportunities to present their project to the global marketplace to find the required support for their programmes.
The Pan-African youth tourism summit attracts 500 physical and over 1600 virtual, local and international attendees.
Local and international exhibitors in the travel and tourism sector will showcase their products and services during the summit. Delegates will further participate in business engagements, action-learning case studies, training workshops, market access and education initiatives.