Windhoek — Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) and Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) have just returned from the South African Airways (SAA) Africa Showcase.
The Showcase is the largest travel trade event in North America featuring exclusively African suppliers that represent hotels, safari lodges, destination tourism organisations and other attractions that are popular with North American travellers. This year's showcase took place between 4 September to 17 September and covered Washington DC, Toronto and Los Angeles, with over 300 tour operators attending the events.
The Africa Showcase encompassed two unique opportunities for Namibia to put itself at the forefront. NTB highlighted why Namibia is one of the leading travel destinations in Africa while NWR presented why their facilities are the most favourable ones to stay in due to their exclusive location within the National Parks of Namibia.
According to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) Tourist Statistical Report 2015, North American travellers are in the top ten tourist visitors to Namibia. During the reporting period, 24,430 travellers from North America visited Namibia in 2015 which is a 12.4% increase from the previous year.
Zelna Hengari, NWR's managing director, was highly impressed with the renewed interest that tour operators showed. Many of them were quick to point out that a number of their clients have been asking that Namibia and NWR establishments be added to their itineraries when they travel to southern Africa.
"What came out strongly is that Namibia is a destination that North Americans want to visit. This was shown by the number of tour operators who showed interest in marketing Namibia due to its vast wildlife, space and various cultural groups. I, therefore, see NWR using this as a key competitive advantage as we offer these things within our establishments", said Hengari.
During the same trip, Hengari paid a courtesy visit to Neville Gertze, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations. He advised her that NWR should consider hosting a Namibian event next year that focuses on culture, music and tourism as this would present further opportunities for NWR to make inroads into the American market.
It was also during this same time that Hengari was interviewed by Voice of America (VOA) where she highlighted the strengths Namibia has over its neighbouring countries. The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation and Namibia Press Agency who are currently in New York for the United Nations General Assembly also interviewed Hengari regarding the outcome of the roadshow.