19.06.2007 Namibia Supports Sustainable Tourism
Community Based Tourism On The Rise
Namibia is the first country in the world that guarantees nature conservation in its constitution. Article 95 of the constitution determines the protection of nature and biological diversity in the country as well as the utilization of living natural resources
on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians. The government thus sets a
frame for sustainable tourism protecting the environment and empowering the local population in deprived regions.
The "Namibia Community Based Tourism Association" (NACOBTA) - founded as a non-profit organisation in 1995 - plays a major role in establishing these alternative tourism projects. The organisation acts as a mediator between local communitiesand private businesses creating a win-win cooperation for both parties. As an example, private investors get permission of a local community to build a lodge or a camp on a touristically attractive piece of land. In exchange, part of the profit will flow back to the local population. Often staff is recruited from the region and the lodges buy locally produced goods for the hotel business. Some camps are even completely managed by the local community itself. As a result, employment opportunities are created in many deprived and remote areas. The communities profit from further sources of income and their tourism value grows. At the same time, local awareness for nature conservation is strengthened. NACOBTA offers help regarding staff training providing locals with basic tourism knowledge and e.g. tour guiding skills. Many of the 50 NACOBTA projects are located off the beaten track and therefore offer the opportunity to experience a piece of undiscovered Namibia.
Community Based projects have grown significantly in numbers and variety over the last years: Tourism products reach from locally managed lodges and small tour operators to arts and crafts centres. The projects are usually based upon co-operations between governmental, private or foreign partners and the local population. Especially many micro businesses offer visitors authentic and unique experiences showing the diversity of the country. High quality standards indicate
that the restructuring of the tourism industry is progressing allowing a growing number of formerly deprived communities to profit from this growth.
In Namibia’s north, near Ondangwa, lies the Nakambale Open Air Museum, which celebrates the traditional culture of the Owambo. Besides the homestead, the former Finnish mission station Olukonda - today an interesting museum - gives insights into the life of the Finnish missionary Matti Rautanen.
At „Big Mama’s“, a traditional kitchen and Shebeen in the centre of Ondangwa, visitors can taste the home-brewed beer, called Ehutu, in an authentic atmosphere.
As part of the traditional dinner, Oshafima porridge full of vitamins is served alongside wild spinach and delicious chicken.
At the Community Trust in Onankali, 13 women produce paper from Mahango to create quality greeting cards, bookmarks, photo books and other gifts. The paper making process and printing of African designs is demonstrated in detail to visitors. Furthermore, various artworks are created and sold in a small shop. The local Ovambo men have set up a small nursery and they grow trees to sell them to local farmers. Wood is one of the most important resources in the area.
In Tsandi, in the south of Outapi, another NACOBTA project welcomes visitors from abroad. The Tsandi Homestead is the home of king Uukwaluudhi and his 20 family
members. Visitors have the chance to see the greatest part of the homestead. Guided
tours provide interesting information on the settlement.
The variety of Community Based projects is immense. It spans from small restaurants serving typical African dishes to hiking tours through the bush guided by San Bushmen and visits to traditional homesteads. Visitors get the opportunity to experience the different cultures of Namibia in an authentic environment. These niche products have great potential in the German and international markets.
Further information on all mentioned attractions as well as other Community Based
projects can be found in the internet:
Web Info www.namibia-tourism.com or www.namibiatourism.com.na
Media Info email@example.com
Consumer Info Requests from Continental Europe as well as from all the
Nordic countries are handled by the
Namibia Tourism Board
60313 Frankfurt am Main
Tel 00 49 – (0)69 / 13 37 360
Fax 00 49 – (0)69 / 13 37 36 15