An umbrella body for Tourism Associations

28 June 2021 | Tourism

What kind of organization is FENATA and what services does it offer?
The Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations is a voluntary organization that acts as the umbrella body for the following private sector associations:
1. ANTA - Association of Namibia Travel Agents
2. B&BAN - Bed & Breakfast Association of Namibia
3. CARAN - Car Rental Association of Namibia
4. ETEA - Emerging Tourism Enterprises Association
5. HAN - Hospitality Association of Namibia
6. NACSO - Namibia Association of CBNRM Support Organizations
7. NAPHA - Namibia Professional Hunters Association
8. NATH - Namibian Academy for Tourism and Hospitality
9. TAN - Tour Guides Association of Namibia
10. TASA - Tour & Safari Association of Namibia
11. Air Namibia (member until liquidated)

How did you get involved with FENATA?
I am the Emerging Tourism Enterprises Associations’ (ETEA) representative at FENATA, by virtue of my election at the FENATA AGM held on 23rd September 2020.

What are some of the challenges the ailing tourism industry in Namibia needs to tackle in order to ensure a sustainable revival, post Covid19?
Tourism is a main contributor to the Namibian economy (10% towards GDP, thousands employed in the sector) and the emergence of Covid19 has impacted negatively – with some businesses shutting down and inevitable retrenchments have become the order of the day. In 2019 alone, we welcomed more than 1 million visitors, whereas 2020 saw an 87% drop in our visitors. In addition, Namibia has always enjoyed a spot in the Top 5 of Best Destinations to visit, globally! The pandemic has exposed and undressed our weaknesses, some of which I have observed to be: Diversity & Inclusion, Coordinated Destination messaging/strategic repositioning of our beautiful country and Youth in Tourism.

a. Diversity and Inclusion
Historically, the sector has not been easily accessible to Previously Disadvantaged Namibians/empowerment beneficiaries. However, there has been an increased interest from these groups over the past few years to participate in organised tourism structures. It is for this reason that intentional diversity and inclusion in the industry will contribute to a sustainable transformation and ensure a more impactful, inclusive and diverse space ensues, therefore contributing to the wider society.
In efforts to spearhead positive growth; on the 28th of next month – FENATA will be facilitating a dialogue between private sector tourism entrepreneurs and NIPDB on a sector Transformation Charter (NEEEB).

b. Coordinated Namibia marketing & strategic repositioning of our beautiful country
Namibia has a lot to offer – we are considered a boutique destination around the world, this is due to our unique land of wide open spaces, right? Namibian diamonds, Namibian landscapes, Namibian food, Namibian creatives, Namibian innovators, Namibian intellects - how are we positioning and presenting our human & natural resources to the world? The UNWTO Strengthening Brand Africa Conference taking place in Windhoek on June 14th – June 16th next week, will certainly add insight and foundation, in terms of strategically repositioning Namibia to the Intra African Travel trade, for example.

c. Youth in Tourism
FENATA intentionally hosted its 2021 Dialogue Day at NUST in April this year, where the public and key stakeholders from private and government sectors engaged to listen and forge a way ahead – Namibia’s future tourism professionals and entrepreneurs are unfortunately disconnected from the practical aspects of day-to-day tourism operations. It is therefore our collective responsibility as private sector, to work hand-in-hand with tourism academia, to ensure practical efficient grooming and mentoring transpires. It’s a win-win for Destination Namibia! FENATA is engaged with some tertiary institutions and exploring collaborations in this regard.

What does the immediate future of tourism in Namibia look like?

Immediate outlook on international visitors is bleak. However, due to travel limitations imposed around the world, more Namibians are travelling locally, thus presenting an increase in domestic tourists. In addition, regional and continental travel will increase substantially – as more African countries become aware of Namibia’s existence – especially post the UNWTO Strengthening Brand Africa Conference. The AfCFTA also presents a stellar and unique opportunity to maximise on the projected influx of movement of goods and people.

Namibia’s international traditional source markets (ie.g. Germany, Italy, UK, France) are starting to trickle back, albeit at a slow pace – due to travel imposed regulations impeding on travel plans. Let us continue re-assuring all of our potential visitors of our eagerness and Covid19 compliant-readiness, to welcome them back.

5. What is your expectation for the rest of 2021 and going forward?
Namibia may see less bus-tours and an increase in smaller groups that are interested in immersive intimate experiences – this is great for our guiding fraternity for example, who have been some of the worst affected by this pandemic. Our small population and wide open spaces inspire ‘natural social distancing’ – which is what most people are yearning for, a getaway!
Ideally, we will work closely with tertiary institutions to groom and mentor future tourism professionals and entrepreneurs in the form of e.g. tourism career fairs
More intentional strategic dialogue between private sector tourism and tourism academia has to take place.

6. What is FENATA's advice to Namibian tourism operators regarding Covid19?
- Prioritise health and safety.
- Follow the regulations and protocols to ensure a safe and healthy Namibia.
- Have hope, don’t give up – we are not called the Land of the Brave in jest.
- Let’s continue to work together – more focus on solving issues rather than sowing divisions.
- Innovate. Be creative. Be open-minded. Collaborate.
- Adaptation of digitalization of services and interactions.
- More focus on domestic tourist, tailor-made packages and domestic tourist friendly pricing.

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