File photo shows elephants in the Etosha National Park, northwestern Namibia, Aug. 26, 2016. (Xinhua/Wu Changwei)
WINDHOEK, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tourists are now among those that frequently visit Namibia thanks to concerted engagements between the two countries coupled with the availability of easy access flights between Namibia and China, according to a Namibian tourism official.
Speaking to Xinhua, Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Tourism Board (NTB) Digu //Noabeb said there are now about nine Chinese tour guiding operators in Namibia, adding that this has immensely assisted in dealing with the language barrier.
According to NTB, the improvement in the Asian tourist arrival is a result of efforts by Namibia to diversify their tourism market from the traditional European market to include other regions in the world.
"Although I am not at liberty to talk about the hard figures off head, I can safely confirm that arrivals from Asia specifically China into Namibia has significantly improved and this is proof that our quest for market diversification is working," he said.
The NTB CEO added that unlike in the past, most Chinese businessmen are now showing keen interest in the Namibian market through investing in infrastructure.
"If you notice of late you will find out that there are now many more Chinese business people who now own hotels and lodges in Namibia and this is positive sign. What it simply means is that they are also impressed with the levels of business brought about by the Chinese tourists. We now have Marigold Hotel here in Windhoek and another one in Swakopmund and this is good sign of growth," //Noabeb said.
Meanwhile, statistics released in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's latest report show that Namibia received a total of 1.4 million visitors in the better part of 2018.
Commenting on the improved tourist arrivals from a spectrum of visitors, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said Namibia needs to take advantage of the increasing tourist numbers to improve the sector, which is one of the country's major foreign currency earners.
"As Namibians we need to develop a positive and more appreciative approach towards our travellers and tourists by changing our attitudes and mindsets," said the minister.
"We should adopt right attitudes on our roads and develop a conductive environment for the safety and security of our travellers by combating crime," said Shifeta.
"Tourists who can travel safely and freely tend to be happier and enjoy their stay and this will encourage return visits as well as convince others to visit our beautiful country through word of mouth," Shifeta added.