Standard Bank has for the 15th year running committed itself to the growth of the local tourism and hospitality sector by sponsoring the two-day Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) Tourism Congress and Tourism Awards Gala which will take place from the 20th to the 21st of June.
Speaking at the recent launch of the 2019 HAN Tourism Congress and Tourism Awards Gala, Standard Bank Head of Cards, ATM and Fleet Services, Hendrik du Plessis, said the bank is proud to partner with HAN which represents about 400 members in the hospitality industry, from hotels, to guest houses, guest farms, lodges, rest camps, restaurants, conference centres and catering services.
“Our association with HAN is a strategic one, borne out of the realisation that tourism has the potential to become the biggest forex earner for the country. As an institution whose primary aim is to drive Namibia’s growth, we strongly believe that our association with the tourism sector will result in more benefits to the economy through revenue generation, business opportunities and employment creation,” said Du Plessis, adding that this year’s congress’ theme, ‘Tourism begins at Home’, ties in with Standard Bank’s motto, Namibia is our home we drive her growth.
Standard Bank sponsored N$92,000 towards the successful hosting of the annual tourism congress and gala dinner, up from the N$80,000 sponsorship last year.
Du Plessis said the strategic relationship between Standard Bank and the tourism hospitality industry is set to deepen further going forward following the recent launch of The I Go Namibia campaign by Standard Bank.
The ‘I Go Namibia’ campaign is aimed at cementing trade ties, boost investment flows and encourage tourism between Namibia and China. It seeks to capitalise on the growing appetite among Chinese travellers to visit Namibia by offering a range of discounts and special offers from Namibian merchants across the travel, hospitality and lifestyle sectors.
“The ‘I Go Namibia’ campaign is a timely intervention for the tourism industry as it comes at a time when the country is making concerted efforts to grow the sector by securing more high-end tourists including those from the second largest economy in the world, China,” Du Plessis said.
Speaking at the same occasion, HAN CEO Gitta Paetzold said tourism is everyone’s business, and that everyone stands to benefit from this lively and diverse industry.
She said focus at this year’s congress will be on identifying together with partners in the tour operating space some of the challenges that may obstruct growth and to find opportunities that will grow the sector.
‘’The discussions are to reveal whether Namibia and all the tourism stakeholders are ready for the increasing demand put on a travel destination such as Namibia, which has an established market, but now finds itself at the crossroads in terms of a way forward. Where do Namibia’s opportunities lie – is it in growing numbers, or aiming for exclusivity and the high-end, low impact tourism market?’’ said Paetzold.
HAN said only truly Namibian producers will be allowed to display their arts, crafts, cosmetics and beverages at the congress as part of the focus on “Home”.
The same will also happen at the Awards Gala, where outstanding Namibian personalities will be awarded for their valuable contribution to tourism and Namibia as a whole.
“The event will thus shines a light on a wide spectrum of Namibia’s economy, and the value in building synergies and partnerships to strengthen Namibia’s markets and its image as a Destination of Choice,” Paetzold said.