Shifeta urges tourism sector to promote KAZA

The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta has invited and urged tourism operators to promote, market and continue to develop new tourist routes, services and products in the Kavango- Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) region to attract more visitors and increase tourism economic activities.

Officially opening the Tourism Expo last week, Shifeta further advised the Namibian tourism sector, the youth and communities to play its part and eventually absorb business opportunities within the KAZA area.

“Although, KAZA is mainly situated in the Okavango and Zambezi River basins where the borders of the five countries converge, on the Namibian side however, this includes other river systems, namely, the Linyati, Kwando River systems, Zambezi-Chobe floodplain of which ecosystems enrich the quality of visitor experiences and increases the value of money for the tourism offering in the area.

“Moreover, KAZA provides enormous economic opportunities to the rural communities and youth within the (KAZA) region to establish community-based tourism enterprises for economic benefits. In my opinion, KAZA is a tourism destination that provides a significant economic link or hub for building robust ecological systems and sustainable tourism economy to benefit the peoples of our five countries,” Shifeta said.

Tourism is one of the prioritized sectors in the National Development Plans (NDPs) and the Harambee Prosperity Plans (HPPs). Tourism is recognized as a significant contributor to the generation of foreign exchange earnings, investments, revenue, employment creation, rural development, poverty reduction and to the growth of the country’s economy.

“Tourism in Namibia is a large industry directly contributing 6.9 percent of the GDP or N$14.3 billion in monetary value. The total direct employment by tourism related industries stands at 57 277 people, which translates to 7.9% of total employment in 2022 as revealed by the 2022 Namibia Tourist Satellite Account Report,” Shifeta further said.

In Namibia, tourism related industries include accommodation services, transport services, food and beverage services, travel agencies and other reservation services, transport equipment rental services, cultural services and sport and recreational services, amongst others.

“The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism remains committed to its mandate to create enabling environment for doing business in the sector and to improve its economic performance in as far as to increase its direct and indirect contribution to the national GDP, create much needed employment and business opportunities. 

“Additionally, the Ministry will continue to initiate Policy interventions and strategies to promote the participation of previously disadvantaged Namibians in tourism, especially women, youth and vulnerable groups, previously marginalized groups, traditional communities resettled out of National parks, through concessions, conservancies and other forms of ownership participation,” further said Shifeta.

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