Second ‘Local Tourism is Lekker’ expo coming

With international travel crippled by the pandemic, the hard-hit hospitality sector is turning its attention to domestic tourism.

18 October 2021 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The second 'Local Tourism is Lekker' expo and networking event will be held in Swakopmund at the end of this month.

Last December, the event was introduced for the first time in Windhoek with the aim to provide tourism service suppliers a platform to introduce and exhibit special offers for the local and Southern African Development Community (SADC) market.

“Last year was catastrophic for tourism and the thousands of people who depend on it. After decades of extraordinary growth, the sector was brought to a near-complete standstill by the Covid-19 pandemic,” a statement issued by the expo organisers read.

The tourism sector had shown sustained year-on-year growth culminating in a record breaking 1.596 million tourists arriving in Namibia in 2019.

According to the Tourist Statistical Report for 2020, only 169 565 tourists arrived in Namibia last year, and 81% of these arrived during January to March, before the pandemic reached the country.

“This shows an overall decline of 89% in terms of tourist arrivals to Namibia in 2020 compared to 2019.”

According to the statement, not only have tourist arrivals dropped to levels not seen before, but the recovery progress is also very slow.

Ever-changing restrictions

“International travellers’ confidence is affected by the ever-changing travel restrictions that cannot be fully lifted right now. Added to that, we have the costs of tests, the cancellation or rescheduling of flights and general uncertainty about the evolution of the virus.”

It, however, noted that tourists are desperately needed right now and ‘Local Tourism is Lekker’ recognised as early as March last year that domestic and regional tourism would play a pivotal role in mitigating the impacts of Covid-19.

The three-day expo, which will take place from 28 to 30 October, will be held at the Atlantic Villa Boutique Guest House.

Entrance fees are N$50 per adult and N$20 for children between six and 12, while exhibitors’ fees are N$1 200.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travellers, which inevitably gave rise to the need for reassessments, strategising and supportive cooperation.

“With this in mind, we are inviting tourism businesses to use the expo as a central hub to connect with customers and distribute rates.”

Network and strategise

A general networking event will be hosted on 29 October for members of the tourism sector who wish to exchange ideas and strategies amongst each other.

The ‘Local Tourism is Lekker’ platform was established in March 2020 and currently has over 23 000 members, with an average of 9 000 active members daily on Facebook and countless specials posted, along with hundreds of local and SADC travellers assisted.

The initiative is run on a pro bono basis by Yvonne von Holtz, Joseph Kafunda, Heiko Dörgeloh and Hans Soltau.

[email protected]

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