Tourismus Person of the month

To share the love for my motherland

03 August 2020 | Tourism

To the person Gitta Paetzold

Born and raised in Namibia, the beauty of our country and the diversity of its people have always made me proud and from an early age I was keen to share the love for my motherland with the world. My initial dream career was to become a diplomat, hence pursuing an honours degree in Political Science in the early 1980’s and I returned to Namibia just before independence, venturing into journalism in 1989 at the National Broadcaster, the NBC, - actively living through, experiencing and covering the emergence of independent Namibia. Since 1997, I have been working for organised tourism through the Hospitality Association of Namibia.

As representative of the Hospitality Association I have the opportunity and responsibility to engage with a multitude of stakeholders, - of the strong belief that tourism is everybody’s business.

- How did you get into tourism?

Basically by default: my childhood dream was to become a diplomat and to travel the world. After studying politics, I joined the pool of journalists at the National Broadcaster to cover probably one of the most exciting times in Namibia, - the birth of a new nation. The excitement, optimism and sense of pride in a united nation, Namibia, - inspired me to discover more of my country of birth, - and tourism became my “beat. When offered a job to represent tourism accommodation through HAN, I grabbed it, and have not looked back since!

- What does tourism mean to you?

Tourism is everybody’s business, and the most multi-faceted and exciting way of showcasing a nation, through the natural and unique beauty of its country and the diversity of its people. Over the years, tourism has grown to become one of the key economic pillars and drivers of the world economy and particularly here in Namibia.

- How do you see tourism in Namibia?

At independence 30 years ago, tourism was seen as an exclusive industry, but extensive effort by private sector, government and NGO’s has since lead to the creation of a diversity of tourism products, particularly in rural areas through conservancies, where the responsibility of conservation and wildlife management, as key elements of the Namibian tourism product, was bestowed on the people of that area. Namibia has a very diverse tourism product and offers amazing opportunities for any Namibian to determine his or her own destiny by engaging in the sector, that offers a multitude of different jobs for different skills sets.

- What should be changed?

It sometimes surprises, if not saddens me to realize, that there seem to be more people outside Namibia “telling the amazing story of Namibia” and cherishing the beauty, uniqueness and diversity of this land of wide open spaces, sunshine in abundance and warm hospitality of the diversity of cultures, than the Namibians themselves. My dream is for more Namibians to become ambassadors of this uniquely beautiful land called Namibia. Diversity can be an asset and we should unite in this diversity and together promote this wonderful brand called Namibia.

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