VIEWPOINT

28 January 2019 | Opinion

Opportunity beckons

Otis Finck - The momentous docking of four luxury passenger cruise liners in the port of Walvis Bay recently was definitely a massive first and much welcomed occasion.

This is surely a sign of things to come in the light of the pilchards which disappeared, canning factories that closed, many stranded fishermen, and the smell of fish meal which lingers no more in the air of our beloved port city.

Even the absences of open air fresh fish markets in our harbour towns are conspicuous.

The revenue injection, multitude of opportunities, as well as advantages which go together with the tourism sector, call for increased scrutiny and better understanding by locals in times such as these.

Tourist translates to money and the more visitors, the merrier for Namport, ship agents, as well as the local and overall economy in the immediate and long run.

The visiting vessels surely took on supplies, refuelled and created money in the form of levies. Banks were filled to the brim and thousands in foreign currency exchanged hands.

Wandering tourist bought local gifts and enjoyed drinks and excursions, which generated income.

Credit is thus indeed due to Namport for increasing the safety aspect and ensuring the smooth movement of more than 7 000 tourists from and to the vessels that were moored in port during the occasion.

The port city was abuzz. The fact that no unwanted crime related incidents involving any of the passengers were recorded, is indeed a huge plus point for the image of the country and the tourism industry as a whole.

We are all custodians of this established track record which should be maintained and safeguarded at all cost.

A dedicated brand new passenger liner berth being constructed as part of the offshore container terminal in Walvis Bay will contribute to a marked increase in cruise vessel visits and could possibly result in passengers staying for longer.

Larger container ships will also come to dock once the ship to shore cranes become operational. This translates into more vessels arriving and longer stays as well.

Are businesses and residents in our harbour towns adequately equipped and actually ready to exploit the multitude of job and revenue creating opportunities heading their way?

Art dealers, tourist guides, translators, taxi drivers, businesses and every coastal community member must realise they have a role play in promoting the natural beauty of our coastal environment.

Everybody needs to be educated in order to ensure a memorable and safe stay for our visitors and to make many more happy returns for our precious guests from afar a reality.

The onus thus rests squarely and surely on the shoulders of the ministry of tourism and environment to ensure this will indeed be the case.

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