City of Windhoek promotes tourism through the youth

WINDHOEK: In order to emphasise the importance of the tourism sector in Namibia, the City of Windhoek hosted a tourism awareness tour with the 2014/15 Junior Councillors at the N/a’ an ku se Lodge and Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday.

The lodge is situated about 45 kilometres outside Windhoek.

Since its inception in 2003, the objective of this initiative has been to expose teenagers of various schools to the importance of the tourism sector and its significance to the country.

Speaking during the event, City of Windhoek tourism officer Gladys Capuyan said the reason they chose teenagers is because children are pro-active, innovative and in their own way, influential as they influence their counterparts, peers and even parents to be tourists in their own country.

“If you come to think of it, some of us perhaps go to the same tourist destination every year. This could actually influence people to appreciate their own country, learn about their heritage and be tourists,” she noted.

Speaking at the same event, Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gitta Paetzold said making the youth ambassadors of tourism by taking them out of their classrooms and “into real-life tourism” can win the battle for Namibia in terms of what the preferred destination for tourists is in Africa.

“We just want to make sure that the message of ‘Tourism is everybody’s business’ reaches the locals and we want our youth to carry that message for us,” she added.

Paetzold explained that they chose Grade 9 learners to help with their career choice by making them realise there are opportunities in the tourism sector.

“Giving them an insight of what tourism is actually about will possibly help them make a decision about what kind of career in tourism they want to pursue in future,” she said.

The activities commenced with a game drive, and the junior councillors also had the opportunity to observe some of Africa’s top predators behind enclosures. Thereafter, they were given group practical assignments such as gardening, catering, marketing and maintenance at the lodge.

The event was jointly hosted by the City of Windhoek, Hospitality Association of Namibia, Tour and Safari Association of Namibia (TASA), First National Bank of Namibia (FNB), Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), N/a’an ku se Lodge and Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.