Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Big Plans for Adventure Travel Summit

With less than a year before the Adventure Travel World Summit kicks off, preparations are underway for Namibia to host an adventure travel bash never to be forgotten.

At the recent annual Trade Forum organised by the Hospitality Association of Namibia, plans for the Summit as well as criteria for tour operator engagement around the pre- and post-summit adventures were officially outlined by Digu Naobeb, CEO of Namibia Tourism Board and Sem Shikongo, the director of Tourism in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The two are part of Team Destination Namibia, the organising committe for the summit.

Around 600 delegates, including tour operators, the media and industry partners, are expected to arrive in Namibia to attend the summit which will be hosted in two tourism hubs namely Windhoek and Swakopmund. A total of 175 delegates will be hosted by the Adventure Travel World Summit Secretariat and another 175 delegates will participate in familiarisation trips known as FAM trips.

The Adventure Travel World Summit Secretariat will be working with the Tour and Safari Association of Namibia (TASA) in consultation with the Namibia Tourism Board and the Emerging Tourism Enterprise Association (ETEA). There will be pre-summit adventures where the delegates will be introduced to the local culture as well as post-summit adventures which will include knowledge and experience sharing activities. A "Windhoek Welcome" and "Swakopmund Opening Event" will be staged by each hosting venue.

According to Shikongo, the country is contractually obligated to provide 65 free of charge pre-summit adventures for the media with bona fide credentials as well as the Adventure Tourism Travel Association staff and buyers. "We must therefore expose the 'tribe' to our most successful conservation and community development as we at the same time showcase the splendor, beauty and adventure of destination Namibia," Shikongo said.

He said that tour operators and agents must provide 'agent pricing' packages as a means of marketing themselves and not for gain. "We should not try and make profit from this initiative but rather try to come up with as many innovative ideas as possible to market ourselves. Remember, you are attracting people who will go out there and promote our country," Shikongo reminded the operators who were present during the trade forum. Due date to submit packages for the summit is 15 December 2012.

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