The University of Namibia (UNAM) in partnership with Futouris, a sustainability initiative of the German travel industry, DKKV, the German Committee for Disaster Reduction and GIZ hosted a stakeholder engagement workshop earlier this year, at the UNAM Leisure Centre. This workshop was part of the Destination Risk and Resilience Project which is a collaboration between the entities aimed at building tourism destination resilience and the promotion of sustainable development in emerging economies. On its part, UNAM as the designated local partner in the initiative has thus far managed to collect critical data from the tourism sector, non-governmental organisations, government entities, development partners, and financial institutions as part of the input in the study.
The workshop was conducted to work closely and collaboratively with the tourism industry stakeholders to address challenges and needs aimed at enhancing Namibia as a resilient tourist destination. The main highlight of the event was the presentation on the state of the tourism sector that was conducted in the form of a gallery walk. The gallery work presented a holistic picture of the state of the economy in chronological order to give not only a full picture but also how the sector evolved especially during the current global COVID19 pandemic. This exhibition was to build a solid foundation on the concept of tourism destination resilience. In accordance with the World Bank (2020) resilience requires sector-wide commitments and actions from stakeholders in the most critical areas. The workshop, therefore, discussed issues around tourism’s key risk priorities, the risk drivers, and options for action. There was an understanding that resilience needs to be built for the tourism sector to stay competitive in the face of growing risks and hazards.
The Erongo region of Namibia, as an important domestic tourism destination, has been selected to pilot the project. The stratified clustered data collection will be carried out in Uis, Omaruru Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Henties Bay, Karibib-Usakos (the conservancies within the Erongo region have also been included in the study).
The workshop had 50 attendees inclusive of representatives from key sectors such as the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (FENATA), Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Namibian Tourism Board, and Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
Due to the overwhelming turnout of tourism sector-wide stakeholders at the workshop and the insightful, engaging, and thought-provoking inputs, the workshop was considered a great success.
The collective discussions from this workshop including data collected from the tourism, industry players will be used in the development of a manual that can be used by tourism stakeholders to reduce risks, losses and damages and make the Namibian tourism destination resilient by building continuity and growth in the industry even in the face of disasters.
The Destination Risk and Resilience Project intends to use the data collected, to assist in creating a Destination Risk and Resilience Manual which can be replicated for use in other parts of the country within the tourism sector.
We wish to thank the funders: Futouris, DKKV, and GIZ, special guests: Ms Eva Posche and Mr Noah Herschbach, and the project team members: Dr Selma Lendelvo, Prof. Godfrey Tawodzera, Dr Simon Chiutsi, Prof. Lawrence Kazembe, Mr Lawrence Mutjavikua, Ms Catherine Malulu, Dr Wanjiru Muhoho, Mr Mally Likukela, Ms Martha Mosha, Mr Jona Heita and Ms Mary Ellen Kimaro.