For the past four years, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) has been making steady progress in creating awareness about its establishments within the Turkish market.
The initial drive to do this began with the encouragement of the former Turkish Ambassador to Namibia, Ambassador Deniz Cakar for NWR to go and present their establishments to the Turkish market. Soon after returning from Turkey, NWR was able to secure some tours.
To avoid losing the momentum created, NWR began attending the Travel Turkey Izmir Tourism Expo three years ago which is one of the leading tourism shows in Turkey. Just last week Ms Esther Ndilula, NWR meetings, incentives, conferences and events and tour planning manager returned from the 12th edition of the fair and was very satisfied with the leads that she made.
"One thing that came out clear was that Africa is gaining momentum within the Turkish market. Most of the tour operators and individuals I spoke to seemed to think of Africa as this exotic destination which has so much to offer but is unknown to them. By attending the fair, we had an opportunity to solidify further our position as the accommodation of choice for Turkish visitors coming to Namibia", said Ms Ndilula.
While in Turkey, Ndilula held a meeting with Levent Demirel, group head: strategic planning, coordination and marketing of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB) on what NWR can offer their more than 10 000 members.
"During our meeting, Demirel highlighted how Turkish tourists were looking at Africa as their preferred destination. Our presence at the fair showed him how serious we are about getting Turkish tourists to Namibia. It was therefore up to us to keep the brand alive", said Ndilula.
It is evident that tourism has shown resilience during the financial challenges that Namibia has been facing. It is for this reason that some thought leaders have been highlighting the benefits that countries can derive from making further investments within the industry. Quite recently, aircraft and aerospace manufacturer Airbus released a White Paper, which showed the role aerospace technology could play in addressing socio-economic challenges on the African continent.
At the launch of the paper, Elcia Grancourt, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Director, Regional Department for Africa was quoted as saying, "our long-term forecast shows that Africa is expected to more than double its arrivals to 134 million by the year 2030". Currently, Africa receives 63 million international visitors with a tourism receipt of U$ 37 billion.
"Tourism had become one of the fastest growing economic drivers across the world with about one out of 10 jobs supported by the sector and contributing to 10 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP)", she further added.
Caption: Esther Ndilula, NWR meetings, incentives, conferences and events and tour planning manager with some clients who wanted to know more about Namibia at the NWR stand in Izmir, Turkey.