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Can local tourism sector cream off 1.4 billion world travelers?

By: Kelvin Chiringa

The local tourism sector will have to put its house in order if it is to cut a bigger slice off the cake of 1.4 billion travelers all over the world and have them come over to Namibia.

Speaking to industry players this week at a Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry business meeting, tourism minister, Pohamba Shifeta said this translated to US$1.3 trillion dollars.

Latest indications are that Namibia managed to secure 1.4 million tourists from that global figure, with each 13th tourist creating a job.

In 2015 the sector generated some N$7.6 billion, which represents 60% of total services exports in the country.

The industry contributed N$5.2 billion directly to GDP, which is equivalent to 3.5% of total GDP, while to the broader economy, it contributed N$15.ow 1 billion, representing 10.2% of total GDP.

The impact on the economy is serious, the minister reiterated.

“How do we get something from this investment? Namibia Tourism Board will have to market Namibia outside. We need to organise ourselves. We want to have a sector that lives in harmony, which shares information and understands each other,” he said.

The minister appealed to old guards within the sector to step up and provide mentorship to new entrants.

He also appealed for locals to be more vigorous in selling their products and never let off the guard of the best standards.

As local players expand, so should the products on offer, which according to Shifeta should be diverse and unique.

However some feel there is damage being done already to part of the cake as immigration officials continue to mishandle visitors at the country’s prime port of entry.

Some have also repeated the call to refurbish roads frequented by tourists to limit accident statistics.

Kelvin Chiringa

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