Namibia among top countries for adventure

06 October 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



While the coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted the Namibian tourism industry, the country has been ranked among the top five sub-Saharan African countries for adventure tourism.

In the 2020 Adventure Tourism Development Index, Namibia was ranked 66th among 163 developing countries across the globe.

The index examines how safe and welcoming a country is to adventure tourists, what type and quality of adventure is on offer and the country's readiness to offer sustainable tourism focusing on elements such as infrastructure and cultural resources.

This year, Namibia ranked fourth in sub- Saharan Africa, with only Botswana (25th globally), Rwanda (55th) and Cape Verde (60th) ranked above it. The top five highest ranked developing countries were the Czech Republic, Chile, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Israel, while the lowest ranked countries were the Congo, Iraq and Somalia.

The top five highest-rated developed countries for adventure tourism in 2020 were Iceland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany and Norway. Here the lowest ranking countries were Mali, Honduras and Timor-Leste.

According to the index, adventure tourism activities include bird watching, camping, caving, climbing, kayaking, white-water rafting, sailing, scuba diving, surfing and trekking. As destinations design their path to re-starting tourism in a post-pandemic world, the index can be used in two ways. “Firstly, when tourists are able to travel again, they will be seeking out nature-based, adventure activities, which will be safer than crowded destinations. Destinations around the world will compete to capture the attention and the dollars of adventure tourists.” Secondly, the index can be used as a tool for examining destination resilience. In particular, health, entrepreneurship and humanitarianism provide important insight into a destination's readiness to cope with a public health crisis.

“It is likely that elements measured within these pillars, such as the number of hospital beds per resident, will become real concerns of future travellers when they select destinations,” the report said.

It further suggested there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of adventure tourism as countries are increasing their share of protected marine and terrestrial areas and efforts to mitigate climate change, as well as extending support to entrepreneurs.

“As our world faces increasingly severe crises – due to climate change, health pandemics, terrorism, and other mega-threats – only destinations that are healthy and have a solid sustainable management plan in place are likely to remain competitive in the long-term,” said Seleni Matus, the executive director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University.

The Adventure Travel Trade Association and George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies release the index yearly.

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