New Era (Windhoek)

29 November 2012

Namibia: Walvis Scoops Swiss Tourism Award

Walvis Bay — Walvis Bay has received a 2012 Swiss Tourism Award and was also recognized as a natural paradise that should be preserved for tourism.

The award was handed over to the Mayor of Walvis Bay Derek Klazen last week in Lugano in Switzerland.

The award is expected to significantly boost the port city's prominence and attractiveness as a much sought after tourism destination in Africa by Swiss tourists.

Walvis Bay received the award in recognition of the Walvis Bay Lagoon as an international Ramsar Site, and in view of the municipality's efforts to preserve the wetland, during a gala evening that coincided with the Swiss International Holiday Exhibition that also took place last week.

The prestigious Swiss Tourism Awards are assigned every year during the Swiss International Holiday Exhibition in the southern city of Lugano, in order to reward international destinations displaying distinct natural, cultural, and artistic characteristics and for their strong tourism vocation.

According to Klazen, the award is internationally recognized and given on the basis of a careful selection carried out by the scientific committee of the Swiss Tourism Awards.

Klazen said the awards are aimed at promoting high-level tourism and "presenting destinations still to be discovered".

"We have learned valuable lessons from the exhibition and will certainly capitalize on the opportunity and the award itself to promote Walvis Bay as a destination of choice," Klazen said. He also said it is time for Walvis Bay to consider constructing a facility that will accommodate all expo-related activities, for the benefit of all sectors of the economy.

Walvis Bay is an oasis flanked by the golden dunes of the Namib desert and the scintillating currents of the Atlantic Ocean. The casual visitor is always quickly captured by the wide open spaces, angling opportunities and unique plants and animal life. The world-renowned lagoon is a Ramsar Site and hosts thousands of birds, including flamingos, pelicans, terns, seagulls and other bird life. In the harsh dunes the Welwitschia plant reaches the age of 2 000 years, while shifting sands ripple over the bones of horse graves.

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