Graffiti artists run amok at Garub station

28 February 2020 | Tourism

The Hospitality Association of Namibia (Han) has expressed concern regarding one of Namibia's historical buildings, the Garub railway station, that has become a target for graffiti artists.

According to Han CEO Gitta Paetzold, the railway station, located between Aus and Lüderitz, recently became the target of malicious and disrespectful graffiti artists from overseas.

The railway station is also the perfect spot for sightings of wild horses of the Namib.

“This has sent shockwaves through some communities, especially within the tourism sector, including Han.”

Paetzold said it is for this reason that the 2020 Han Tourism Congress, taking place at Lüderitz on 19 June, will focus on the value of historical heritage.

It will particularly focus on the south and the Tsau //Khaeb National Park, with its richness in fauna and flora.

“The recent events have reiterated the importance for us as Namibians to put added value to our historical heritage as the most unique feature shaping a country and a nation.

“We believe that Namibians must stand up and demonstrate that they care for and treasure their country's environmental and historical heritage, as this is what makes us unique as a travel destination.”

According to Paetzold, the history of this part of southern Africa makes Namibia one of the most sought-after destinations for historians and tourists, with intriguing, mystic and nostalgic stories of previous centuries.

“The combination of its natural beauty and historical uniqueness makes Namibia's popularity as a travel destination grow continuously.

“In an effort to satisfy the inquisitiveness of the visitor, the tourism industry is challenged to discover new attractions, develop new routes and open new paths for travellers to venture on.”

Paetzold said Han is keen to contribute to the process of new route developments, as it firmly believes that this would be the most effective way to address “over-tourism” and overexertion on certain parts of the so-called Namibian tourism hotspots, while still developing Namibia's full tourism potential.

History as well as economic and political developments have resulted in a large part of southern Namibia being inaccessible to the public for decades, she said.

She pointed out that over the past century, the so-called Sperrgebiet, an enclosed diamond area, had been kept inaccessible to tourism and the general public.

It is for this reason that Han has chosen the theme “unlocking new horizons” for the 2020 congress, Paetzold said.

A two-day event, which includes the congress and a trade forum, will be held at Lüderitz on the doorstep of the Sperrgebiet to discuss the most sensible and effective ways to unlock the potential of new and carefully designed tourism routes.

The tourism event in June will also see the Desert Express crossing the old rail-tracks past Keetmanshoop, Aus and Garub to take congress delegates to Lüderitz on the luxury train.

“This train ride alone may well be a key tourism product of the future, and we are excited about this and many other opportunities that the focus on the Tsau //Khaeb National Park will bring,” she said.

ELLANIE SMIT

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