KEETMANSHOOP, 01 SEP – The Namibian tourism sector was the only sector that grew in this time of economic turmoil, while other sector contracted the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Bernadette Jagger has said.
Jagger, who was speaking at the Keetmanshoop Agricultural Industrial and Tourism Expo (KAITE) gala dinner here on Friday, added that despite this reality, tourism in Namibia is underappreciated as an economic driver and this is reflected in the limited budget allocation and the barriers the sector is facing.
“This year we have truly seen that tourism is an engine for economic growth,” she said.
The deputy minister pointed out that according to the latest fifth edition of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), the direct contribution of the sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is N.dollars 5.2 billion, while indirectly it contributes N.dollars 15.1 billion to GDP.
She also added that the sector creates 44 700 direct jobs, while indirect jobs created were 100 720.
“While appreciating the good business performance in the tourism sector, I would like to see more investments in the social benefits initiatives. Private sector should do more to help in addressing the social evils that this region faces. We have a responsibility to help those that are less fortunate and contribute to the common good of our nation,” she said.
Jagger called upon all tourism establishments and farmers within the //Kharas region to support KAITE expo by partaking in the exhibition which will grow the noble project and continue providing much-needed jobs for the youth.
The deputy minister further expressed her belief that initiatives such as KAITE should be supported by both the private and public sector, as they add great value to the national economy.
“I therefore urge all exhibitors to use this expo as an additional platform to showcase their products and services and to create networks with potential clients and suppliers,” she urged.