Namibia To Host the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit
Namibia: Where Wildlife and Humans Are Free to Roam!
An adventure that began in Chiapas, Mexico, when a delegation from Namibia lead by the Honourable Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah attended the 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit, has culminated with Namibia being selected to host the 2013 ATWS.
The 2013 ATWS is scheduled for late October 2013 and is expected to draw 600 decision makers in the adventure travel industry for pre- and post- Summit trips, and a gala event on Independence Avenue in Windhoek. Swakopmund will play host to a strong programme of events that will include speakers delving into issues that affect the local and global adventure travel industry.
“In Chiapas, Namibia boldly said, “let us bring the Summit home.” Today I am happy to report that the efforts of our strong public-private partnership have resulted in Namibia being chosen as the FIRST African country to host the Summit. We are justly proud of our tourism industry and our conservation initiatives that have made this selection possible.”
As one of the few countries in the world with conservation and environmental management mandated in the Constitution, Namibia’s approach to conservation is holistic and inclusive, both in terms of maintaining ecological integrity and the rights of communities to benefit from our natural resources. This is derived from our constitution article 95 (l) states: The State shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting, inter alia, policies aimed at the following: maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future.
Since Independence in 1990, the percentage of land area under some form of conservation management has expanded from 13% to an outstanding 42%. Nowhere else in the world comes close to this level of protection, and this is just one of the countless examples where Namibia’s well considered approach to conservation, the environment, our people and their resources have proven successful not just for our nation, but in setting an international example of protection and responsible resource utilization.
Namibia’s conservation policies and community based natural resource management have not only changed the conservation landscape, they have changed lives. Through conservancies, previously disadvantaged communities have a voice in the management and benefits of living with wildlife, and have set a global example for environmental stewardship.
The first four conservancies were registered in 1998. Today, there are 76 registered communal conservancies in Namibia, covering over 18% of the land area of the country and directly benefitting over 250,000 rural Namibians.
Conservancies and community-based natural resource management is enabling the growth of a new rural economy, and the tourism industry has played a significant role in its success. Today there are over 40 joint-venture lodges and campsites emerging or operating in communal conservancies across Namibia, providing jobs, training, income to conservancy members and a stake in the future.
Namibia’s approach to sustainable utilization has seen our elephant, black rhino and lion populations increase substantially since Independence. We are known as “the cheetah capital in the world” and have the world’s largest free roaming lion population. Namibia is the only country in Africa that is actively translocation game from national park into communal lands with the full assurance that our policy of sustainable use has unlocked an unparallel awareness and zeal for conservation and biodiversity management that is breaking and pushing new boundaries even beyond our borders.
Globally, Namibia is recognized as a leader in community-based conservation and has garnered such prestigious recognition as the 2012 Markhor Award for Outstanding Conservation Performance in recognition of its exceptional wildlife conservation programme.
“Namibia offers one of the most compelling success stories in tourism today, one of joint venture tourism and partnerships between communal conservancies and tourism enterprises,” said ATTA President Shannon Stowell, who returned from Namibia in June 2012. “Namibia’s model of conservancies, joint venture partnerships and conservation is a model that we should put on display. It’s a story that should be told. I’d previously heard the discussions, watched the films and I still didn’t understand it fully it until I came and saw it in action. Our delegates are sure to gain immense insights from their experiences in Namibia.”
Now it is time to prepare to share our compelling story with 600 members of the Adventure travel trade, the “adventure tribe,” and, as the Honourable Minister said, “the hard work has just begun.”
“As Namibians we are ready for the challenge of hosting the Summit and thrilled to welcome the Adventure Travel Tribe to the land of endless horizons where wildlife and humans are free to roam and still experience true nature, “ added the Honourable Minister. “Together with the ATTA and the overall Adventure Travel Trade, Namibia is ready to showcase to the world the spirit and essence of a nation committed to conservation, community empowerment and social and economic transformation through partnerships and innovation.”
For more information on becoming involved in Namibia’s national preparations to host the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit, please contact:
Maggy Mbako & Sem Shikongo
PRO, the Namibia Tourism Board Director of Tourism
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