Namibia Is Every Namibian’s Business
Every single Namibian is in the business of promoting the country’s tourism industry. I felt this right after arriving at the Hosea Kutako International Airport. It is not surprising the country recorded nearly 1.6 million tourist arrivals in 2019.
Unlike my experiences in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, an Immigration Officer at the Namibian Airport met me with smiles, did their job, and even recommended places I shouldn’t miss in the country.
I thought that was just an immigration officer trying to be nice but after I spent a few days in the country, I realized that Namibia is every Namibian’s business. You never end a conversation with a Namibian without them telling you to stay longer, recommending places to visit, or even going ahead to help you plan your visit by connecting you to the right people or organizations.
I attended the Africa Youth In Tourism Innovation Summit And Challenge as a delegate. Only the Namibian speakers encouraged attendants to visit some of the Namibian attractions, and none of the Namibian speakers ended their speech without urging us to stay longer and explore the country. All speakers from other countries didn’t sell their countries to us despite delivering exciting speeches and engaging in interesting conversations as panelists.
The National Museum of Namibia is closed on weekends. The restaurant at the museum was opened and I promised my tour guide that I won’t mention that they had no water available, which I am not mentioning.
A lady (can’t recall the name) who was seated next to me, after finding out that I’m from Ghana, engaged me in a conversation and by the time I realized, she had registered me to join a free city tour of Windhoek and connected me with a driver guide.
After a series of recommendations and requests to stay longer and explore the country, I met Xeroltha, an accountant and a Travel Blogger. We had a lot to share about travel blogging, and she took me on a guided tour of the city. She has been insistently urging me to obtain a Namibian discount card (NamLeisure Cards, not too sure of the name) with 5 years validity that offers me up to 50% discounts on accommodation and visits to the country’s Wildlife resorts.
Xeroltha is not earning a commission on the sales of this card but her interest lies in getting a tourist to keep visiting her country.
Surely, I am visiting again very soon as my visit was short, and only had a day after the summit to explore.
These acts of patriotism are the reason tourism accounted for 14.7% of GDP in Namibia in 2019.