A safe destination

08 February 2021 | Tourism

How are the constituencies in Namibia set up?

Namibia has 20 state-run protected areas (PA) covering about 17 % of the country's land surface, which exceeds the mean PA coverage per nation of 12.2 %. Communal conservancies are self-governing, democratic entities, run by community members to conserve our wildlife and at the same time derive economic benefits through trophy hunting and tourism enterprises. Based on the success of this initiative, communities have come together to form conservancies, and at present there are 86 registered by the MEFT, covering 19.6 % of the country. As per our conservation principles, we do not impose but rather engage relevant stakeholders, whether or not it is feasible to establish a national park or conservancy.

How can the conflict between humans and animals be reduced in the conservation areas?

Our biggest challenge is to minimise and manage these interactions to acceptable levels. It is for this reason that Namibia developed a national Human Wildlife Conflict Policy in 2009 which was reviewed in 2018 to address the current challenges. Some of the interventions the ministry is implementing as per the policy include the relocation of problem causing animals, the implementation of early warning systems, the provision of separate water points for game and people with their livestock, rapid response to conflict reports, public education and awareness, offsetting of loses through the policy’s self-reliance scheme and the assistance with funeral expenses.

What can Namibia do to stimulate tourism in times of Corona?

We have been engaging with the private sector since the beginning of the pandemic to exchange views on how we can ensure Namibia’s tourism survives. These engagements have led to the implementation of the tourism revival initiative and the establishment of the tourism revival initiative taskforce. Through this task force we are monitoring the situation and are making recommendations to adjust policy decisions. In the current circumstances, Namibia must sell itself as a safe destination and we therefore need to have safety measures implemented in our tourism establishments.

How do you see the tourism development for Namibia?

Namibia’s tourism development is on track amid the pandemic. We are confident that the sector will withstand the pressure of the pandemic and will continue to contribute not only to the economy of the country but also to empower our people through employment creation and income generation. Namibia has a competitive advantage with is conservation successes offering an abundance of wildlife species and scenic places. Furthermore, Namibia is a huge country with one of the smallest populations in the world, offering natural social distancing.

How can each individual contribute to the environment and tourism?

We all need to recognise that the environment enables life with all its social and economic sectors. For this reason, the environment is one single significant resource that requires our care and protection. The human element of pollution, deforestation and unsustainable mining impacts the environment and therefore reduces the ability to sustain our livelihoods.

More about the Person Pohamba Shifeta

Pohamba Penomwenyo Shifeta is a political figure and a legal practitioner who is serving as Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in the Cabinet of Namibia since 2015.

Shifeta was born at Ongenga in the Ohangwena Region. He has been active in the SWAPO-led National Union of Namibian Workers and the Namibia National Students Organisation since 1988. Shifeta has a diploma in Public Administration. He has a BA degree in Political Sciences and he holds an LLB Honours. He has also been involved in the SWAPO Party Youth League.