Ongwediva — The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said the establishment of the Endjala Lodge and Traditional House in the north shows the tourism sector has the potential to transform the lives of rural people.
The tourism minister said the new lodge further demonstrates the individual potential to meet government halfway in addressingsocial-economic challenges.
Shifeta made the remarks at the Endjala Lodge and Traditional House at Okapya in the Oshana Region over the weekend.
The first of its kind establishment in the north is under the John and Penny Group.
Speaking fondly about cultural tourism, Shifeta said cultural diversity should be developed and utilized as an economic opportunity through tourism, citing that cultural tourism has become a sought-after activity by many travellers around the world.
"The northern part of our country is sitting on a gold mine and it is time that we take advantage of our culture for the benefit of our community. There are so many interesting untold stories in our community that can be incorporated in the activities, such as this establishment for tourists who travel from different parts of the world to learn about the traditions, history and lifestyle of our people," Shifeta said.
He said cultural tourism is often ignored despite the huge potential it has to contribute to economic growth and development.
He said the establishment by the John and Penny Group will complement the existing tourism products to fully render the Namibian experience to visiting tourists.
He added that cultural tourism revives cultural and traditional practices that were long forgotten, and hopes the establishment will give locals an opportunity to demonstrate and share their knowledge with visitors.