On 4 November 2020, the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Zurab Pololikashvili, officially launched Namibia's biggest tourism event, the Namibian Tourism Expo 2020. This years theme is 10 degrees South. At the occasion, the Secretary General applauded Namibia for being one of the few countries in the world to hold the travel expo amid the Covid-19 pandemic and for being one of the few countries in the world to open up for international tourist arrivals. He also launched a Covid-19 Tourism Safety Protocols and Guidelines Toolkit to ensure adverse of Covid-19 prevention measures by Namibia’s tourism industry.
For the first time, Mr Pololikashvili had been on an official 3-day visit to help strengthen Namibia’s tourism revival strategy and to pay tribute to the local efforts so far to save livelihoods and jobs. He paid a courtesy visit to the Vice President, Hon. Nangolo Mbumba and confirmed the hosting of ‘Brand Africa Conference’ in Namibia IN 2021. He also shared planned efforts to support tourism conservation initiatives for developing rural tourism. Brand Africa is an intergenerational movement to inspire a great Africa through promoting a positive image of Africa, celebrating its diversity and driving its competitiveness. The Secretary General emphasized the importance of making Africa’s tourism potential more visible to the world to encourage tourist to visit to create jobs and safeguard livelihoods.
During his stay, he visited the UNESCO World Heritage site at Sossusvlei desert called Namib Sand Sea. It is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog. Thereafter, he flew to one of Namibia’s main tourist attractions, Swakopmund where he launched Namibia’s Gastronomy booklet, a project that the UNWTO has been working on with Namibia to promote African Gastronomy to the world. He also paid a visit to the Ramsar Wetland site at the Walvis Bay lagoon where he expressed fascination over Namibia’s progress on biodiversity.
The Secretary General was amazed by Namibia’s unique contrasting landscapes and diverse cultures. He said that it’s like seeing the world in one country as you see a bit of different parts of the world in Namibia and that it makes Namibia deserve a lot more tourists to visit. Mr Pololikashvili says he is confident that Namibia is ready for international tourist arrivals because the country is safe in terms of tourists’ personal safety and Covid-19 prevention.
Mr Pololikashvili is convinced that Namibian’s tourism industry is in good hands which has made it strong as he was surprised by the high quality of the industry in terms of organization and accommodation establishments. He could tell that by the way his travel logistics in Namibia were well arranged and of high standard.