By Jana-Mari Smith
The face of tourism, as we know it, is changing. And it’s in Namibia’s best interests to position itself in just the right spot to benefit from this. This, and more, was the message of National Chairman of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) Rudi Putter at the annual HAN congress this week.
Putter noted that tourism is a competative business, but that a lot of tourism products have become over commercialised. The evolving face of tourism reflects the need of people to discover wide open spaces, to interact with different cultures and to feel part of the tourism story.
Putter said Namibia is ideally placed to give these new tourists what they are looking for, and that the recent international conferences hosted in Namibia, specifically the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), has created new impressions of Namibia which should be fostered.
He said that going forward, the new challenge now that the world’s eyes are on the country, is to “remove the stumbling blocks that might stop us from reaching our true potential”.
Promises have been made. “Now we have to deliver”.
New markets have been awakened to the tourism potential in Namibia, the wide open spaces, the adventure, the people, unique conservation strategies. “We have as a country bowled over the world”, he said. He said it’s important to remember that in “tourism we introduce, educate, inspire. If people leave without this they have not have the full experience of our country”.
What it all boils down to, Putter observed, is that now, more than ever, a united voice has to be formulated and spread to world in terms of marketing efforts. The industry has to agree on a vision and together translate Namibia to the world. “We have to achieve an alignment in our strategy on how and what to market for its maximum potential”.