04 Dec 2014 11:30am
WINDHOEK, 04 DEC (NAMPA) - Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) on Wednesday reopened the Gross Barmen Resort to the public after it was closed in December 2010 for renovations.
The N.dollars 220 million refurbishment of the now state-of-the-art facility was funded by Government through the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG), which was initiated by Government in 2011.
Gross Barmen is situated about 100 kilometres (km) outside Windhoek, and some 25km south-west of Okahandja.
Officially reopening the resort, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said Government will continue to pay specific attention to the development of the tourism sector and upgrade facilities to enable people to participate in and draw economic benefits from tourism-related activities.
He explained that the tourism sector facilitates the entry of Namibia's previously disadvantaged communities into the mainstream economy, for example artisans and woodcarvers who are able to sell their products in different parts of the country at public markets, curio shops and other outlets.
The tourism sector continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country's economy.
Our government recognises the vast potential of this sector to our economy in terms of its capacity to create employment opportunities, the generation of wealth for our people as well as its capacity to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he stated.
The president stressed that as the tourism sector grows, Namibia has become a regular host to major international events, including the hosting of the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit.
In this context, there is a need for world-class conference and accommodation facilities as such facilities will enable Namibia to fully realise the potential of business and conference tourism.
Pohamba thus urged the NWR to continue promoting domestic tourism so that Namibians could enjoy the beauty and natural attractions which the country is endowed with.
This will, in turn, foster national pride and contribute to cultural awareness and unity amongst the people.
Meanwhile, the services which are now available include bush chalets, camping sites, indoor and outdoor thermal pools, conference facilities, a restaurant, bar, shop and a service station.
The facility also has five staff houses, of which one is for the resort manager, while the other four are used by staff members who work 24-hours.
Speaking at the same occasion, NWR Managing Director Zelna Hengari said the NWR has 26 facilities, of which seven are outsourced to Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).
The NWR currently employs over 1 000 people, and Hengari said it is working around the clock to ensure that those employees who have worked for many years and are going on retirement acquire their own properties.
These people have worked for many years at the resorts and by the time they must go on retirement, they do not know where to go.
We are looking at establishing an NWR village to cater for such workers, she noted.