First woman chairperson for Han

15 July 2021 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The Hospitality Association of Namibia (Han) has for the first time in its 34 years of existence elected a woman as its chairperson.

Janet Wilson-Moore, general manager of Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre, was elected to the position last week at Han’s AGM.

Han CEO Gitta Paetzold said despite the incredibly challenging times the tourism sector is facing at the moment, Han remains determined to strive and fight for tourism recovery and the promotion of Namibia as desirable and safe travel destination.

“As such, Han hosted its regular AGM last week, once again virtually, due to Covid-related restrictions on public gatherings, while it was decided to postpone the annual Tourism Congress, Han Tourism Trade Forum and Awards Gala to later in the year, when face-to-face meetings are possible.”

The two-day Han event is now scheduled for early September, should the Covid-situation in Namibia allow.

Unlocking new horizons

According to Paetzold, Han was founded by some 16 individuals in 1987 with a shared interest and investment in tourism accommodation in Namibia, mainly from the hotel and guest-farming categories.

“Over the years Han has grown into an association of just under 400 companies, 300 of which are direct accommodation businesses, with a collective estimated capital investment and fixed assets in Namibia of some N$7 billion, making this sector one of the most committed and attached sectors to business development for the country.”

Paetzold says that associate and affiliate Han members include industry suppliers, catering and restaurants, as well as tourism publishing and marketing companies, which over the years joined Han voluntarily to contribute to efforts to develop and promote the commercial tourism accommodation sector and in particular and Namibia’s tourism industry in general.

“As such, the current full Han membership represents some 7 000 rooms and 15 000 commercial beds offered as part of the Namibian tourism product on any given day.”

She says while Han primarily focuses on the tourism accommodation sector, all its efforts and achievements ultimately target and benefit the development and promotion of the Namibian tourism industry in general.

Tourism recovery

Paetzold adds that apart from an active role in the efforts for a tourism revival and recovery for the Namibian tourism industry, the Han executive and its members are committed to uphold the positive and safe image of Namibia as a unique and high-quality tourism destination.

Furthermore, Han continues to engage in projects and events to develop and promote new tourism trends and ideas.

As such, Han is focusing on efforts that “unlock new horizons”, the motto applied to the HAN Congress, HAN Tourism Trade Forum and Tourism Gala for this year, to put the Tsau / Khaeb National Park in the Karas Region on the map.

Mika Shapwanale, the general manager of Mushara Lodges, was elected as the vice-chairperson of Han, while the new members elected to the Han Executive are Anna Kankondi, the O&L group manager for stakeholder relations, Ally Karaerua, managing director of Natural Selection, Herman Kalipa, owner of Kali Guesthouse, Shuttle and Tours, and Suzanne Bonitz, owner of Reservation Destination.

They join Anett Koetting of Taleni Africa Holdings, general manager of Hotel Zum Kaiser, who is also the Han coastal chairperson, Johan Fourie of Wilderness Safaris, Ruggero Micheletti of Nkasa Lupala /Jackalberry Camp and Heidi Snyman of Café Anton/Schweizerhaus Hotel. She is also the longest serving Han Executive member and co-founder of the association over 30 years ago.