WINDHOEK: Namibia has been selected to host the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit, an international gathering of over 700 influential voices in the adventure travel industry.
The summit will be held in Namibia from 26 to 31 October 2013, and marks the first time that the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) brings this global gathering to Africa.
Environment and Tourism Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah made the announcement at a media conference in the capital on Wednesday.
“The hard work has just begun, and I would like to ask the nation to embrace this moment. From now till October 2013, we will work with Team Destination Namibia to make this summit, a summit never to be forgotten. A summit people will speak about long after that moment has passed,” she said.
In selecting Namibia, ATTA in part, is recognising the developing nation’s achievements in becoming one of the world’s most progressive destinations working to find the most effective balance between conservation, tourism and community development, noted Nandi-Ndaitwah.
The minister said the bidding was a team effort, and she praised the committee ‘Team Destination Namibia’ for their hard work, as well as President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Prime Minister Nahas Angula for their continuous support during the bidding process.
Nandi-Ndaitwah and members of Team Destination Namibia will now travel to Switzerland, where the flame of the ATWS will be passed on to Namibia.
The Environment and Tourism minister said the summit will help prepare Namibia to penetrate markets such a North America, and it will also ensure that tourists will enjoy adventurous travelling in the country.
She called on the local tourism industry to provide and market quality and affordable packages for tourists now already, in order to capitalise on the meetings that will take place ahead of the big event in October 2013.
“Marketing Namibia as the best adventurous travel destination is very important from now on in preparations of the summit,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s (MET) Director of Environment Affairs, Sem Shikongo, who spoke at the same occasion, said Namibia is now once again on the map of the global tourism industry.
“Namibia has made it!” he exclaimed.
Shikongo explained that the estimated benefits for Namibia in hosting the summit are priceless, while the country budgeted some N.dollars 10 million for the hosting of the international event.
When minister Nandi-Ndaitwah returned from Chiapas, Mexico in October last year after leading a delegation made up of members from the Namibian public and private sectors to the 2011 ATWS, she remarked that “the time is right to bring this summit to Namibia, where we can showcase Africa and adventure travel at its very best.”
Since then, the public and private sector have been galvanised in their preparations to bid to host the summit.
The Tourism Minister was informed on 23 March that Namibia has been shortlisted as one of three potential destinations to host the summit in 2013.
When the President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), Shannon Stowel visited Namibia in June this year, he also noted that Namibia offers one of the most compelling success stories in tourism at present. He made particular mention of the country’s joint venture tourism initiatives and partnerships between communal conservancies and tourism enterprises.
The conference has a great marketing value for Namibia, as it attracts tourism executives from around the world who specialise in adventure tourism, including nature, wildlife, volunteer tourism, adventure sports as well as ecotourism.
Representatives from different tourism operators, the media, tourism boards and airline representatives will also attend the event to discuss global industry issues.