Tourism recovery needs global cooperation- Geingob

By Hilary Mare

POST Covid-19 tourism level recovery requires global cooperation and evidence-based solutions that will enable the safe lifting of travel restrictions, President Hage Geingob has said.

Geingob was speaking at the official opening of the UNWTO Brand Africa regional tourism conference this week where he further highlighted that in the aftermath of the pandemic, the ability to foster resilience within tourism will be key to ensuring not only the sustained growth of this sector but also enhance preparedness for any future shocks.

“Therefore, we should all be cognizant of the value of strong dialogue between government, industry, and civil society in the development, implementation and monitoring phases of comprehensive tourism policies.

“By pursuing a multi-sectoral approach to tourism policy development, we will be able to ensure robust security emergency planning and coordination mechanisms, as well as better coordinated tourism-related messaging and communication between key disaster management groups and the tourism industry. This collaborative approach should extend towards supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) within the tourism sector through capacity building, and innovative product development as a means of enhancing their competitiveness within global value chains,” Geingob said.

He went on to emphasise the importance of collectively branding the African continent and establishing it as a premier destination, not only for leisure travel but business as well.

“Thus, we need to be fully committed to advocating the Brand Africa, which is one of the priorities of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa. To achieve this, we need to use our media platforms to showcase and celebrate African capabilities, innovations and achievements.

“Given that tourism is a cross-cutting sector with a high impact on national and regional branding, the promotion of Brand Africa will require a unified and collaborative effort between Africa and diaspora leaders, academics, decision makers, influencers, the private and public sectors, as well as youth, to shape and drive the African agenda as a means of enhancing the overall image of Africa.

“I am confident that this conference provides the ideal platform for us to further unpack these concepts so as to add value to the UNWTO strategic roadmap for Africa,” further explained Geingob adding that although there are numerous challenges, he believes that Namibia has the capacity to emerge from this crisis with a more robust and resilient tourism sector that will play an integral role in driving Africa’s economic development.

Since the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 as a global pandemic in March 2020, the world witnessed a 96 percent reduction in travel as many member states decided to close their borders. These measures have had consequences beyond the tourism economy, with many other sectors that support, and are supported by tourism significantly impacted.