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Namibia: National Tourism Policy


Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism

(via EU Namibia Tourism Development Programme/Emerging Markets Group  – 2004/2005)


Namibia had begun to develop a successful inbound tourism industry. The challenge was now to identify how tourism could help achieve the government’s economic and social development objectives. This meant identifying the type of tourism Namibia wanted. It also meant finding a way to ensure that tourism benefits truly reached local communities throughout the country. Tourism had to improve opportunities for previously disadvantaged* Namibians to participate in the economic mainstream. Black economic empowerment (BEE) had to extend further into the community than it had in South Africa. 


  • Eco-tourism was identified as a major opportunity
  • A future policy direction was developed with stakeholders (public and private)
  • A “pro-poor” / “community-based” approach was adopted to tourism development
  • Policy principles were established, which aimed to:

- Increase employment opportunities and skills development for previously disadvantaged Namibians

- Provide access to capital for previously disadvantaged Namibians

- Maintain Namibia’s international competitiveness throughout this transformation process

- Recognise the market-driven natured of inbound tourism

- Ensure previously disadvantaged Namibians might benefit economically from inbound tourism in their country

- Recognise wildlife and the natural environment as sustainable economic assets

- Ensure conservation of the natural environment and wildlife

- Balance traditional hunting rights with the need for animal conservation and visitor safety

- Minimise points of human-wildlife conflict (e.g. crop destruction by elephants, and predator attacks on cattle, at the edge of national parks)

- Ensure equitable returns to communities from the profitable operation of business concessions on community land

  • Broad-based black economic empowerment (BBEE) principles were developed with the tourism industry and incorporated into the policy
  • Trans-frontier tourism projects were proposed with neighbouring countries


A national tourism policy that:

- Mainstreamed tourism as a major driver of the Namibian economy

- Clearly articulated how tourism could contribute towards the government’s economic and social development objectives

- Set the conditions for previously disadvantaged Namibians to participate more fully in the development of Namibian tourism

- Secured the participation and agreement of key Namibian stakeholders in the public and private sectors, including the Namibian tourism industry, to a new policy direction

-  Set out guidelines for ensuring Namibia remained internationally competitive throughout the process of transformation

[* The term “previously disadvantaged” refers to those Namibians who, largely by virtue of their ethnicity, had suffered or been excluded from the economic mainstream under the former apartheid regime.]
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