Impressive growth of visitors from nontraditional places, including China, have now put tourism ahead of gold mining in Namibia.
“As more people jump into the region’s growing tourism sector, countries are starting to shift their attention away from the region’s old colonial masters and toward newer markets. Tourism, they say, is not only supporting widespread growth – it is supporting new global relationships, as well.”
“According to the UN’s World Tourism Organization, almost 26 million international tourists visited sub-Saharan Africa in 2006. This was a 10 percent increase over 2005, which is almost twice the average global tourism growth rate, according to the organization.”
“Namibia saw its highest-ever tourism numbers in 2007, with around 600,000 visitors. Today, 17.9 percent of Namibia’s jobs are connected to tourism, according to Jacqueline Asheeke, CEO of the Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations. In neighboring South Africa, tourism has surpassed gold mining as the country’s No. 1 foreign currency earner, says Michael Tatalias, the CEO of Southern African Tourism Services, an association of private tourism businesses.”
“‘Tourism is the new gold,’ he says.”