Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

22 February 2013

Namibia Ready to Host Adventure Travel World Summit

Plans are underway to host the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) and tourist accomodation have been selected and as of 1 March 2013, participants will be able to book for places on the official ATWS online portal. The ATWS will take place from 26 to 31 October in Swakopmund and Windhoek.

After bidding with 8 other countries and being short listed in the top three, Namibia eventually won the bid to host the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit. This is the first time the ATWS will be hosted in Africa since its inception in 2005.The country's commitment to conservation as represented by the establishment of national private conservation and the formation of communal conservancy areas played a crucial part in its achievement to host the Summit.

It is believed that over 42% of land in Namibia is under some form of conservation management. According to Chris Doyle, Vice President of Adventure Travel Trade Association, Namibia is one of the best stories ever told. He says the country sustains its environment through unity, team work and collaboration. "Namibia's proposal was one of the most professional bid ever received, the message presented during the bid was 'we are unified'," Doyle said. He was speaking at a preparation event to host the ATWS, held recently in the capital.

Doyle, who presented his strategies for destination and operators to maximise the benefits of hosting a summit, highlighted that adventure tourism is not all about bungee jumping and having fun. "Adventure tourism is interacting with and appreciating the environment, that is what ATWS stands for," he said.

Doyle informed the Namibian delegates taking part in the summit to be open to suggestions about new marketing ideas and products that delegates from around the world will bring along. "Ask for feedback and try to learn from their experiences, take advantage of the situation to conduct business with different people. You will have 700 delegates going back and saying, "you need to look to Namibia for answers" this is your chance to leave an impression and promote Namibia as one of the preferred adventure destinations in the world,"said Doyle.

First National Bank of Namibia (FNB) allocated N$ 500 000 to support the tourism industry. According to FNB CEO, Ian Leyenaar, the contribution will effectively support tour operators, lodges and conservancies to offer the best possible experience to the international delegates.

"The unique experiences that are available across the country are part of what gives Namibia a competitive advantage. The scheduled Pre Summit Adventures will help share our communal conservancies and special interest activities.How thrilling to think that people from Argentina, Norway and China will be learning about community based natural resource management or how people from Mexico, Italy and Canada will be hiking along places such as Epupa falls," he said.

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