Tourism is becoming an increasingly important foreign exchange earner and job provider for Namibia. Border crossing data obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs shows that the total foreign arrivals (including permanent residents and day visitors) to Namibia rose from 693 777 in 1999 to 758 989 in the year 2000.
Namibia has a total of 26 parks and reserves, covering approximately 15% of the total land area. In addition to the 12 government-owned rest camps in these parks, managed by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), the tourism infrastructure throughout the rest of the country is well developed. Hotels, pensions, guest farms and rest camps are generally of a high standard and are managed on a similar basis as tourist accommodation establishments in Europe. The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) controls the grading and standards of accommodation establishments, safari companies and products offered by tour operators.
In accordance with Government's White Paper on Tourism, rigid standards of protection, conservation and control are practised to ensure sustainable utilisation of Namibia's natural assets by the tourism industry. Future tourism developments will be closely monitored with the emphasis on high-quality tourism and carrying capacity. New resorts or expanded resorts will require registration and endorsement by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Namibia Tourism Board.
The Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (FENATA) acts as an umbrella organisation for tourism associations in the private sector. As such it is the voice of the tourism industry in Namibia, serving as a communication vehicle between Government and its members. Tourism associations belonging to FENATA are the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), the Namibia Professional Hunters' Association (NAPHA), the Association of Tour and Safari Operators (TASA), Air Namibia, the official airline, the Car Rental Association of Namibia (CARAN), the Namibia Community Based Tourism Association (NACOBTA), and the Tourist Related Namibian Business Association (TRENBA). The Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality (NATH) offers training courses in tourism-related subjects according to international standards.
NACOBTA (Namibia Community Based Tourism Association) is a Namibian NGO started by community members to provide support to emerging community-based tourism enterprises. The organisation has since become a key role-player in the national CBNRM programme and tourism planning.
For Southern Africa or the SADC Region, the expected tourism arrivals according to the 2020 Vision of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) are approximately half those estimated for Africa. The growth rate for the SADC (South African Development Community) Region estimated by the WTO for the next 20 years is slightly better than that for the continent overall, namely a 7.5% growth per annum compared to one of 5.5%.
On the initiative of the SADC Tourism Unit, the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa, RETOSA, was formed in 1996. The mandate of its Executive Director, Shepherd Nyaruwata, who operates from South Africa, is to market and promote the region in close co-operation with the various national tourist organisations and private sector, creating a solid destination identity.
While RETOSA's activities are funded mainly by the regional governments, the intention is for the private sector to gradually take over this function. RETOSA currently markets the region through tourism fairs such as the World Travel Market in London and ITB in Berlin.
A tourism newsletter provides tourism information on the region. A landmark development to promote regional tourism was the acceptance of a Tourism Protocol for the SADC region by all member countries. The aim of this protocol is the facilitation of travel to and within the region and should contribute to making it a tourist-friendly destination.
The Namibia Tourism Board’s main objective is aggressive promotion of Namibia worldwide. An Act of Parliament, Act 21 of 2000 with the following mandate, formed the NTB in 2001.
To promote Namibia's tourism industry both internationally and locally;
To ensure that services rendered and facilities provided to tourists comply with the prescribed standards;
To register and grade accommodation establishments, and other tourism-related businesses;
To promote the training of persons engaged in the tourism industry;
To promote the development of environmentally sustainable tourism by actively supporting the long-term conservation, maintenance and development of the natural resources base of Namibia; and
To provide advice and guidance to persons engaged in the tourism industry.
The Tourism Board aids its function of information dissemination with materials such as the Welcome To Namibia accommodation and information guide, a Namibia tourist map, a Namibia tourism video and a variety of brochures and leaflets.
To promote tourism abroad, the NTB has four offices outside Namibia (Frankfurt in Germany, London in the UK, Johannesburg and Cape Town in the RSA) as well as two representatives situated in New York in the United States and Madrid in Spain to provide tourism information on Namibia. These offices and representatives also actively promote Namibia to the travel trade and at the various travel fairs.
Namibia's tourism infrastructure is of a high standard. Hotels, pensions, guest farms, lodges and rest camps are graded on a similar basis as tourist accommodation establishments in Europe.
There are several tourism information outlets throughout the country. During 2000 the Tourist Information Office in Post Street Mall was reopened. The office is managed and staffed by the Windhoek City Council and provides information to members of the public on all aspects of tourism in Namibia. Tourist Junction in Fidel Castro Street also provides information, as well as a reservations facility, a luggage storage area for tourists, an Internet Cafe and a small restaurant that provides light refreshments. Most of Namibia's towns have tourist information centres. These are listed at the end of Namibia Holiday & Travel's four tourist regions – Central, Namib, North and South.
Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas
The concept of Trans Frontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs, also referred to as Peace Parks) is rapidly gaining momentum in SADC countries such as Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. TFCAs are trans-frontier wildlife sanctuaries that embrace cross-border conservation areas and game parks. The objective is for them to be managed by public and private-sector partnerships backed by intergovernmental negotiations and funded by global donor organisations.
The first TFCA in the region was the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which incorporates parks in Botswana and South Africa. This park is proving highly successful in terms of bookings. The second one, the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Trans-frontier Conservation Area, was formed between South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe during 2000. Two trans-frontier parks in which Namibia stands to become involved in the near future are in the Caprivi area where four other adjacent countries could be implicated, and the Huns Mountains/Fish River/Richtersveld area with South Africa. An agreement between Namibia and South Africa was signed during 2001 linking Namibia's 310 000-ha Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park with the somewhat smaller Richtersveld National Park across the Orange River.
Hunting & hunting safaris
One of the main attractions of hunting in Namibia for the international hunting clientele is the high standard of ethics maintained by the Namibia Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA). All hunting resorts under the strict supervision of the Directorate of Resource Management of the MET. Hunting activities range from trophy to safari hunts. Hunters are accommodated at lodges or guest farms that cater for hunters only, or at guest farms offering hunting facilities as well as a variety of other activities. Last, but not least - see checklist for travellers to Namibia.
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