Tourism Symposium underway at Swakopmund

Way forward
Rodney Pienaar
The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) is hosting a two-day, Tourism Symposium with ‘Re-imaging Stronger Together Spirit’ as theme at the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre.

The symposium which brought together 70 delegates, is a vehicle to chart the way forward to revive the tourism industry. The event encompass presentations by local and international speakers on various topics related to the industry, a one day MasterClass on Tourism Marketing course covering topics such as social media and digital marketing, Agritourism as well as a half day MasterClass on Revenue Management.

Speaking at the opening of the symposium on Tuesday, the chairperson of the NTB, Madeline /Goagoses explained that the aim of hosting the symposium is to aid the ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in supporting its tourism revival plan. “The latest ideas and developments across tourism will be shared and it is a platform for cross-sectoral deliberations and recommendations. The symposium speakers were carefully selected and will discuss global trends, challenges and opportunities facing tourism. We will work with the industry and interested parties to take some of the bright ideas forward from the symposium.”

/Goagoses said that it is imperative not to leave start-ups and already established small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in oblivion, within the tourism recovery framework. “It is crucial to empower hospitality and tourism trade with required ammunition in relation to new trends and approaches which can actively and immediately be implemented to embed sustainably successful efforts to revive their businesses, and so doing the greater tourism industry.”

She added that in order for the industry to sustain market growth the range of tourism products on offer need to be broadened. “For Namibia to remain competitive and leverage on the comparative advantage it is critical that tourism stakeholders are empowered with pricing, social media and digital marketing trends. These are vital components at this juncture to spur tourism recovery. ”

/Goagoses also highlighted that the changes in the way people spend their holidays have resulted in the industry having to rethink their marketing and pricing strategies. “In the face of constantly changing tourism demand competition becomes fierce. This is an invitation not only to review the image of known destinations and offerings but also to develop the communication of new tourist territories.”

She pointed out that that Namibia can offer a whole range of “nice” tourism opportunities such as green tourism, cultural heritage products, spa facilities and agritourism. “We need to seriously reflect on the concepts, means of implementation and methods for involving tourism in the tourism product offering stage to gain a better experience. These challenges present a real opportunity to enrich the approaches in the field of tourism product development by allowing us to confront experiences from different angles about domestic and international travellers.”

According to /Goagoses the NTB is in the process of organising a similar event during the first half of 2023. "On this occasion, we will explore best practices globally to regulate the or self-regulate the tour guides in Namibia. Whilst home grown initiatives are welcomed we must benchmark so that Namibia remain at the forefront of being competitive in the global village to avoid that we as a country do not over regulate the industry."