Local tourism recovering faster than expected-//Naobeb

• By Erasmus Shalihaxwe

THE tourism industry which was one of the hardest hit industry by the Coivd-19 pandemic outbreak, has shown resilience and is on the recovery path faster than what was expected.

Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) Chief Executive Officer, Digu //Naobeb said this last week while addressing a group of local journalists at the conclusion of the Kalahari media tour in southern Namibia, where media practitioners visited various hospitality establishments to promote local tourism  and encourage Namibians to travel locally.

The trip was organised by NTB and according to //Naobeb the southern part of the country is an untapped good tourism destination which people are not aware of.

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“Most of time local people together with international visitors only travel to the northern and central part of the country while the south is not exposed,” he said.

//Naobeb said numbers are looking good and NTB has this far collected N$ 38 million in tourism levies compared to N$ 8 million collected last year (2021).

“This has surprised us (NTB), because we were hoping that the recovery was only going to start taking good shape in 2024, but within two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism sector has awakened,” he said.

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//Naobeb expressed that although the tourism levy was NTB’s main stream of revenue, government subsidy had declined drastically over the past five years from N$ 70 million to N$ 3 million, which puts NTB in a difficult situation to carry out its mandate of promoting and marketing the country’s tourism industry and attract international visitors.

He explained that at the moment, NTB only collects revenue from tourism accommodation establishments which are totaling over 3 000 businesses, excluding the regulated activities such as tour operators, shuttle transport and air operators and tourism activities operators.

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“Worldwide tourism bodies mandated to promote destinations are 100 percent funded by their governments but in Namibia, how the law was created, NTB is to be self-sufficient by collecting levies.

There are some draconian laws that are hampering our operations and we need to get rid of such laws,” //Naobeb said.