Tourists ski at the Guaipo ski resort in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, Nov. 21, 2015. (Xinhua/Zhang Wenkui)
Tourists ski at the Guaipo ski resort in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, Nov. 21, 2015. (Xinhua/Zhang Wenkui)

More Chinese tourists arrivals in Namibia have created opportunities for enterprises in the country.

Namibia recorded a total of 14,584 tourist arrivals from China in 2017, representing an increase of 16.6 percent from 2016, the country’s 2017 Tourist Statistical report shows.

Chen Xingyu, general manager of Sun Sail Catamarans Namibia, said that the agency witnessed an increase in the volume of Chinese tourists over the years as Namibia becomes a popular destination.

Chinese invested Sun Sail Catamarans Namibia specializes in marine dolphin cruise and sandwich harbor tours since its establishment three years ago.

Business ventures and locals in Namibia are now capitalizing on the influx of Chinese tourists to boost growth by adjusting to market demands.

“We provide tailor-made services, and pay attention to details,” Chen said on Thursday.

For John Shilongo, his ability to speak the Chinese language has created a niche in the tourism sector amid the boom.

“I also previously enrolled for a course with the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia, from which I also learned about the Chinese culture and traditions, hence my ability to relate to clients,” Shilongo said.

“I can offer what Chinese tourists seek in Namibia, adding value to our products as we can bespeak to their needs,” Chen said.

Investment in infrastructure development also aids business development in the tourism sector.

Digu //Noabeb, Chief Executive Officer of Namibian Tourism Board, said that Chinese tourists are among those that frequently visit Namibia due to easy access flights between Namibia and China, efforts by Namibia to diversify their tourism market from the traditional European market to include other continents as well as Chinese investment development in Namibia.

Referrals of services by clients have been instrumental in creating a snowball effect for the enterprise whose majority of customers come from the Southern Africa Development Community region, Germany, Europe, and China, according to Chen.

Meanwhile, partnerships with Chinese-based companies have contributed to business prosperity.

“We work together with many Chinese tour operators and agents, who include our products and services in their itinerary. That way we can show tourists what we do and why Namibia is a magical place,” Chen added.

Building local capacity is also attributed to improved service delivery. According to Chen, the team of 15 staff members at the company gained support through constant training in the areas of hospitality and first aid.

Local institutions such as the Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia also provided training on operating radios.

Namibia’s Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said that the country developed the National Tourism Investment Profile and Promotion Strategy 2016-2026 to transform Namibia into a competitive tourism destination in Africa and strengthen the presence of Namibia in existing and new tourism markets and niche markets.

Shifeta added that investment growth targets are to increase the overall economic value of tourism by ensuring an increase in tourists’ arrivals to 1.5 million by 2020.

Records by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism shows that Namibia received 1.4 million visitors during 2018.

Namibia won the Best Stand: Southern African Development Community and Africa prize at the recently held 2019 Africa’s Travel Indaba. Enditem

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