Tourism forum to be established

Promoting ecotourism

17 November 2019 | Tourism

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

The Walvis Bay Municipality will be establishing the Walvis Bay Tourism Forum in February 2020.

At the announcement on Thursday, general manager for community and economic development Augostino Victor, said that the forum is an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to meet and exchange views, to establish partnerships, to share good experiences and to learn from each other.

“When managed and planned effectively, the tourism industry has the potential to unlock doors to other aspects of our economy, development partnerships and most importantly, employment creation. However, the success of the tourism industry is based on the ability of industry players to innovate, diversify, seize new opportunities and attract new clients. We should be in sync with global tourism trends and industry demands while maintaining our uniqueness and competitiveness.”

Victor said that tourism is an important source of income, a marketing tool for the development potential of the town, a means to improve the welfare of residents and an important activity with the significant potential to generate sustainable growth and employment.

“Discussing tourism development is no trivial activity and it is for this reason that the Municipality of Walvis Bay felt it important to create a body that will drive and spearhead further development of this industry.”

The forum was announced under the theme of promoting eco- and sustainable tourism, while capturing emerging trends.
Victor said that the forum hopes to collect data for policy-makers and regulators to gain a clear understanding of what can be done better to create an enabling environment to help tourism thrive.

“It is a platform for us all to strategize on how to grow the industry and elevate its importance as a major economic and social development driver for Walvis Bay. Although the town is currently one of the top travel destinations in the country, our aim is to make it a destination of choice. Our strategic location, our history, the God-given sites and scenery have given us a head start with comparative and competitive advantages.”

He added that the sites and sceneries need to be managed in a sustainable and innovative manner that supports ecotourism.
“We need to continuously reinvent strategies and be innovative in maintaining these sites, while creating attractive incentives for our visitors to stay longer and participate in other activities, which will inevitably attract them back again.”

Walvis Bay is home to three internationally declared Ramsar Convention sites namely the Dorob National Park, Sandwich Harbour and the Walvis Bay Lagoon within town limits.

“With the changes coming with the 21st century, this calls for competition in the big league. Hence, we need to create a product unique to Walvis Bay; a product that illustrates our innovativeness with regards to environmental protection, sustainability, the quality of our products and the town’s ability to respond to market needs. Our competitiveness can only be secured by the type of strategies we employ and the type of synergies we build between the development of a competitive economic product and its long-term sustainability. We need to understand that the municipality cannot do this alone and this is where the Tourism Forum comes in.”

The municipality’s manager for economic development Tulimekondjo Iishitile, said that the forum needs to be the voice of the tourism industry.

“This forum is important in closing the gap in the availability of tourism data, encourages innovation and diversification of tourism activities, and promotes inter-linkage between tourism and the entertainment industry while appealing to new markets such as attracting millennials.”

She explained that as soon as the forum is established, a steering committee will be selected.

“Thereafter we will decided on consultative platforms, draw up an annual plan and decide on meeting frequency for the forum and the steering committee.”

The steering committee, with a maximum of 15 members, will consist of a chairperson, secretary, and a representative from each of the sectors within the tourism industry.

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