Namibia Tourism Board looks to domestic tourism for revival
To get the once-thriving tourism sector back on its feet again, the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) launched the 'Domestic Tourism Campaign' at Swakopmund on Friday.
The campaign aims to get locals to visit the country's various tourist sites.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism industry has seen a sharp decline in international tourists visiting.
NTB board chairperson Madelein /Goagoses at the launch said the number of international tourists will decline further as the pandemic continues to result in more lockdowns in various countries.
"Tourists will have doubts about travelling internationally. Hence, promotional activities should concentrate on domestic and regional tourism," she said.
Launching the strategy, the minister of environment, forestry and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said domestic tourism can greatly contribute to the revival of the industry.
"Domestic tourism is being sparked for several reasons. A primary trend is what I deem 'revenge tourism', which is caused by frustrations due to lockdowns that limited domestic travel. People want to break free and enjoy themselves," the minister said.
Another reason, Shifeta said, is the trend of 'staycations', which involves that people prefer to travel closer to home.
For the industry to thrive again, the minister called on public-private collaboration to convey the message that the country is open to domestic and foreign tourists.
"... that it is safe and attractive to travel. We also need to give reassurance of where tourists can travel, that cancellation policies are lenient, and that they will be safe wherever they opt to go," Shifeta said.
Tour operators like Kenneth Kapitako, the owner of Sandwich Dune Tours and Safari, said local tour operators have dropped their prices to accommodate the domestic market.
"It has helped Namibians to realise the beauty of the country and to experience what international tourists have been experiencing. We are going to keep our prices low for locals, and we appreciate them keeping us afloat," he said.
German development bank KfW is funding the campaign with N$2,3 million.
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) came on board to assist NTB with a smart partnership in television and radio.
The multimedia campaign will be broadcasted on NBC's three television channels, its radio stations, social media platforms, as well as NTB's social media channels.
It will run from this month to March next year, showcasing Namibia and its diversities.
This will be coupled with special rates for Southern African Development Community and local tourists.
To revive the industry, the government has extended the period during which Covid-19 PCR tests are valid.
Test results should not be older than seven days.