TOURISM operations that require significant levels of water, sometimes in pristine and dry areas, are feeling the brunt of the ongoing drought situation in the country as wildlife has been affected severely.
While tourism statistics are showing stagnation or even a decline, CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), Gitta Paetzold, said apart from the drought situation, this may also be due to the ever-increasing offerings in terms of accommodation, car rental and other modes of travel across the country on platforms, such as AirBnB and others.
Paetzold added that although much is being done already to make tourists and citizens aware of the need to save water, visitors are bemoaning the sad and upsetting sight of dying and emaciated wildlife and other animals across the regions.
“While there is not much that tourism can do to change the situation, there are increasing and continued efforts in place to be water-wise, act responsibly and sustainable in terms of the use of natural resources, waste management and create awareness about the need to conserve and preserve fauna, flora and Namibia’s natural habitat in general,” she said.
Paetzold added that some tourism operations have already achieved much in enticing both staff and tourists to contribute to a responsible behaviour when travelling through our fragile and pristine Namibia.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism says the current drought situation has severely affected the country’s wildlife species.
The ministry is now looking at interventions such as providing water to game in conservancy areas and national parks.
According to Paetzold, in the long run, only a tourism industry that contributes equally to job creation, tax revenue and contribution to the upkeep and expansion of national infrastructure, can be a successful one.
“HAN remains positive that Namibia still holds many hidden gems and undiscovered places that could enrich the tourism portfolio and relieve the bottleneck in some areas, where reference to over-tourism has already emerged,” she concluded.