The Namibian Tourism Board (NTB) is exhausting all avenues in an attempt to diversify the country’s traditional tourism market, and is currently exhibiting at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The NTB says Namibia is commanding a significant presence at the exhibition and has been attracting a significant number of visitors since the opening of the exhibition. The Namibian stand is one of more than 80 countries exhibiting at the travel market that started on May 06.
“The stand is overwhelmed with a number of queries from outbound tour operators, travel agents, hunting enthusiasts and media houses, which want to include Namibia in their brochures, both from the Middle East and other participating countries,” NTB public relations officer Maggy Mbako said.
The Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, officially opened the trade fair, which is one of the biggest tourism expos in the Middle East. This year, the show attracted around 2700 exhibitors. In 2012, the show attracted around 19 000 visitors, which was an increase of 8 percent from the previous year.
“We are expecting a tremendous increase in the number of visitors this year, which will be as a result of many travelers who are keen to explore new destinations, more especially in Africa,” a member of the organizing committee responsible for the African Pavilion, Anand Al Najjar, said.
The number of exhibitors increased from 2 436 in 2012 to 2 700 in 2013. When the NTB participated for the first time in 2012, very few people visited the Namibian stand.
Enquiries at the NTB stand are from individuals who wish to plan their holidays to Namibia on their own, with the highest interest being exclusive hunting safaris. “This is a wake-up call to the Namibia tourism industry to start working hard in adjusting to the necessary services that accommodate Arabian travelers. I am excited about so much interest in Namibia at the Arabian Travel Market, while I was under the impression that we have to work hard to even get them to pronounce the word Namibia. Come 2014, I am encouraging more Namibian operators to join the Namibia Tourism Board to market Namibia fully and at its best to the Middle East,” said NTB board member, Benita Herma.
|Fast Facts about Namibia:|
|Area of Namibia||824,292 sq. km (318,259 sq. mi)|
|Population||Approx. 2.2 million|
|Date of Independence||21 March 1990|
Klemens /Awarab, head of marketing at NTB, says the Arabian market presents business opportunities for the upper-market tourism sector and the hunting industry. “It is a definite must for the two sectors to attend the ATM. Namibia is using the ATM platform to maximize on the awareness of it being the host of the Adventure Travel World Summit in October,” /Awarab said. He said the ATM is a great experience and platform for Namibian enterprises, since Namibia has the opportunity to reach an untouched market in the Middle East and Asia.
“The people in the Middle East and Asia are looking strongly for new experiences and Namibia can provide such experiences,” said Heiko Emmel of the Ovita Conservancy Game Ranch, one of the Namibian operators attending the ATM with the NTB.
Date: 11 May 2013