After two years of being in the throes of a global pandemic, there are many, reassuring signs to make us cautiously optimistic that, from here on out, we could see governments look at ways of living WITH Covid, rather than trying to lock the borders and throw away the keys – one thing we have learned is that travel bans and lockdowns have not managed to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Two years of panic, loss, fear and stress – but as the signs are looking more positive, it is travellers’ own risk aversion that seems to be dictating travel trends.
So WHY should we travel abroad, rather than domestically?
Namibia is just one of the many Southern African countries that rely heavily on tourism as a contributor to their GDP. 47% of our country’s landmass is under some sort of conservation – National Parks, Private Nature reserves and community conservancies. In the field of community conservancy tourism, Namibia is a global leader – Namibia was the first country in the world to enshrine conservation in its constitution and by involving local, grassroots communities, the government has empowered and enabled these communities to reap benefits from tourism activities on their ancestral lands.
In a number of instances these local communities have gone into partnership with private-sector tourism enterprises, who help create employment, generate income for the local communities, improve their standards of living, medical care and even offer educational opportunities. Even if a lodge is not in a joint venture with a local community, tourism is a labour intensive industry; it is made up of people, personalities and story-tellers. It employs people from local communities – from cleaners to guides and lodge managers, these people all have a deep-seated love for our country and a passion for sharing their stories and experiences.
Before the pandemic, tourism contributed 20% of Namibia’s GDP and more than 10% of the country’s population was directly employed in tourism – this does not take into account the knock on to auxiliary industries – restaurants, super markets, filling stations (you get the idea)
Namibia is 4 times the size of the UK, twice the size of California, but has a population of around 3 million people. We have the second lowest population density in the World…You can go for hours without seeing another soul. In a post-pandemic world, you know that tourism dollars are benefitting and uplifting grassroots communities, and by choosing Namibia as your next destination, you are making a very real and tangible positive impact on local communities and wildlife.