Tourism and rural community development in Namibia: Policy issues review
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During the past decades, the tourism sector has become an increasing important issue for governments and regional agencies searching for socio-economic development. Especially in the Global South the increasing tourism demand has been seen highly beneficial as evolving tourism can create direct and indirect income and employment effects to the host regions and previously marginalised communities, with potential to aid with the poverty reduction targets. This research note reviews the existing policy and planning frameworks in relation to tourism and rural development in Namibia. Especially the policy aims towards rural community development are overviewed with focus on Community-Based Tourism (CBT) initiatives. The research note involves a retrospective review of tourism policies and rural local development initiatives in Namibia where the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) initiated a community-based tourism policy. The policy emphasises structures and processes helping local communities to benefit from the tourism sector, and the active and coordinating involvement of communities, especially, is expected to ensure that the benefits of tourism trickle down to the local level where tourist activities take place. However, it is noted that in addition to public policy-makers also other tourism developers and private business environment in Namibia need to recognize the full potential of rural tourism development in order to meet the created politically driven promises at the policy level. In this respect, a national tourism policy could provide an enabling framework, integrating the tourism sector’s development aims to rural and community development needs in future. In addition, there is a need to coordinate a comprehensive vision of what type of rural tourism development or tourism in rural environments holds the most potential to benefit both local communities and the mainstream sector.
- Travel & Tourism