Official Launch of The National Strategy on ‘Sustainable Heritage Tourism Development and Employment Creation Opportunities at Community Level in Namibia’

The Namibian Government, through the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MEAC) and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) launched a National Strategy on Sustainable Heritage Tourism Development and Employment Creation Opportunities at Community Level – Namibia’ on 21 April 2021, 09h00 at NUST Hotel school, Windhoek. The strategy was developed in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Namibia Tourism Board. The strategy has identified three strategic objectives;

  •  To accelerate tourism’s role in economic development;
  • To broaden tourism’s role in the social inclusiveness; and
  • To boost tourism’s role in cultural values, environment, diversity and heritage management.

The launch was attended by participants from various entities ranging from representatives of national authorities, development organisations, academics, and individuals from the tourism sector in Namibia. In his remarks, Mr Djaffar Moussa-Elkadhum, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Namibia, applauded the two Ministries for their commitment towards the promotion of sustainable cultural tourism in Namibia, and he acknowledged that the Strategy came at a vital time when tourism, an important sector contributing to the Namibian economy has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. He further emphasised how the launched Strategy complements existing strategies and plans for the development of tourism with the specific focus on heritage tourism and community engagement and benefits. In conclusion, he reaffirms the commitment of UNESCO and the UN Namibia continued support towards the Namibian government to advance culture and sustainable development and the building back-better of the tourism sector amidst and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Honourable Faustina Caley, Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture attended the launch on behalf of the Honourable Ester Anna-Lisa Nghipondoka, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture. In her opening remarks, she recognized the strong partnership formed during the development of the Strategy between various institutions involved. She further accentuated the clear testimony that the country now recognizes the fundamental role that heritage and culture play in human development both as an enabler and a driver of Sustainable Development by including  Arts and Culture for the first time in the fifth National Development Plan. She concluded with confirmation of the continued commitment by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture towards investment in the promotion of cultural tourism and how the strategy will continue to serve as a reference document and an important framework for our endeavours in this sector.

In his keynote address, Honourable Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism encouraged collaboration to overcome the impact of COVID-19 on tourism. He further emphasised how collaboration will afford an opportunity to work out the best strategies, to innovate and package the cultural product because global wealth of traditions is one of the principal motivations for travel, with tourists seeking to engage with new cultures and to experience the global variety of performing arts, handicrafts, rituals and cuisines. He also motivated academic institutions to carry out research on the cultural and traditional heritage of our local communities and produce detailed documentations that can be used both for promotional purposes and as study material. In his conclusion he calls upon all the key stakeholders in the tourism sector to study Strategy carefully and to work out Action Plans to ensure its successful implementation.

Dr Erling Kavita, Consultant, presented the strategy background and methodology, key findings, and the impact of COVID-19 on the strategy and priorities for tourism recovery.  Dr Kavita emphasis on the way forward includes the followings:

  • Aggressive advocacy for heritage tourism
  • Harmonize and coordinate protocols and procedures for COVID-19 recovery                          
  • Establishing champions to rollout the implementation process of the Strategy
  • Added value jobs through innovation in culture and heritage subsector
  • Broadens resource mobilisation efforts (domestic, regional, and international)
  • Reinforce regional cooperation and cross-border tourism    

Mr. Digu //Naobeb, Chief Executive Officer, Namibia Tourism Board delivered the vote of thanks, he thanked all the parties involved in the successful development of the Strategy. He encouraged the ministry responsible for culture to continue safeguarding heritage as it contributes towards the economy and community building.  Furthermore, he emphasised that culture also plays a major role in the promotion of resilience of cultural diversity in the society. The strategy contributes towards the beginning of the crucial revival of tourism in Namibia and developing an Action Plan will contribute towards a successful implementation of the strategy.

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