By Loide Jason
Ongwediva — Namibia’s tourism sector will grow vigorously and would employ 64 160 people by 2022, according to predictions contained in the drafted Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5).
The recently released draft indicates that a proxy for the tourism sector grew by an average of eight percent during the NDP4 period, contributing about 1.7 percent to GDP.
The tourism industry is an important contributor to the generation of foreign exchange earnings, investment, revenue, employment, rural development, poverty reduction and growth of the country’s economy.
Tourism also creates strong direct and peripheral benefits because of its multiplier effect, based on its reliance on widespread supplies and services.
The report says this would be achieved through the promotion of economic empowerment that will include policy design and implementation to support emerging entrepreneurs in the tourism sector.
“Promotion of enforcement and self-enforcement to and by operators with regard to the standards quality of facilities and services to meet international best practices,” the report says.
The report further indicated that the marketing and promotion efforts in Europe and southern Africa would remain a core part of tourism efforts in Namibia.
“The activities will include awareness among the domestic population of the power of tourism, ensure conservation as a key policy priority for tourism in Namibia and promote communal conservancies and cultural tourism,” it says.
Awareness will further promote ecotourism to ensure that Namibia protects its environment and uniqueness.
In accordance with the National Tourism Investment Profile and Promotion Strategy 2016-2026, the government will promote public-private-partnerships to attract foreign investment, invest in roads linking tourist destinations and infrastructure with communal conservancies.
However, the tourism sector is also faced with challenges of seasonality, which means that incomes do not flow throughout the year.
The report further indicated that international, regional and national incidents could have serious impacts on tourism, such as potential security threats.
In addition, the land tenure system in communal areas hampers development growth and investment in the tourism sector.