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Namibia premiers 'Walk for Love' initiative to propel tourism growth

File photo: According to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the tourist arrival trends from January to December 2021 indicated an upward increase of 37.81 percent compared to 2020 figures. Picture: AP

File photo: According to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the tourist arrival trends from January to December 2021 indicated an upward increase of 37.81 percent compared to 2020 figures. Picture: AP

Published Feb 14, 2022

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WINDHOEK - Tourism and hospitality operators in Namibia this weekend joined other African countries in the first-ever 'Walk for Love' initiative held to propel the growth of the sector hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Walk for Love, a Pan-African project run in 23 countries, was initiated to create a network pool of operators in the tourism and hospitality sector, said its coordinator Joseph Kafunda.

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"The 'Walk for Love' initiative brings together operators in the tourism and hospitality industry to sit down and re-build relations in powering up business after the devastating effects of Covid-19 in the last two years. Tourism is about networking," Kafunda said on Sunday.

In Namibia, the event was held in Windhoek, the nation's capital, and the coastal town of Swakopmund.

Helena Amadhila, the coordinator for the Windhoek edition of the 'Walk for Love', said that the participants, although cautiously optimistic about high-quality growth, maximized on the platform to re-strategize.

Namibia, whose travel and tourism sector had been hit the hardest by the outbreak of the Covid-19 since 2020, witnessed a positive trend in international tourists' arrivals in 2021.

According to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the tourist arrival trends from January to December 2021 indicated an upward increase of 37.81 percent compared to 2020 figures.

Local tour operators are optimistic about the initiative, hoping that the sector will re-emerge and yield steady growth through new customer-centric approaches.

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"I participated in the walk to connect with other operators in the country and beyond. We engaged and shared information and tips on improving customer service and giving our clients a better experience," said Johannes Hamutenya, a local tour guide based in Namibia.

Kafunda, the coordinator, is confident that the initiative provided operators with tremendous opportunities to widen their influence across borders.

"This is a Pan-African project run in 23 countries. This meant that, through social media and other platforms, people from 23 countries and beyond are connecting as one for a common goal relating to tourism. People in Nigeria will know who the people in Namibia are, and it is the synergy of connection that we hope to show out of this," Kafunda said.

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