HKIA should conform to international standards: Shifeta

25 Oct 2018 14:20pm
WINDHOEK, 25 OCT (NAMPA) – Amid an increase in the number of tourists flocking into Namibia, there is a need to upgrade the Hosea Kutako International Airport to cater for international airlines, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said.
Speaking at the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) industry briefing here Thursday, Shifeta said international travellers’ desire to visit Namibia has increased, posing a need for the airport to conform to international standards.
“We are all aware of the emergency measures that have been taken by Cabinet to ensure the upgrading of the Hosea Kutako International Airport,” he noted.
President Hage Geingob in September this year at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Beijing signed a five-year funding agreement for the upgrade that forms part of the US.dollars 60 billion in new development for Africa pledged by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Shifeta said in order to fulfil Namibia’s potential, key challenges such as infrastructure development, travel visa facilitation and the full usage of modern technologies to maximise marketing and services needs to be addressed.
“I am happy to note that infrastructural concerns such as airport carrying capacities, road and rail networks, ports and telecommunication are already being addressed,” he said.
The minister noted that the success of tourism as a driver of sustainable development will depend on policies, strategies and investment that meet the sector’s needs, as well as create an overall business environment that is conducive for growth.
Shifeta added that the over-arching goal is to position Namibia as a preferred destination that offers quality products and services.
“We must ensure that the quality of products and services provided by our service providers corresponds to the branding strategy of the country to be able to attract and retain tourists,” he said.
At the same occasion, NTB’s Chief Executive Officer Digu //Naobeb said Namibia must focus resolutely on the tourism industry which still remains labour intensive.
“Competition from competitively priced new tourist destinations is increasing at a time when our industry is facing challenges such as access to funding, training needs and poor customer service amongst others, therefore there is a need to join forces as stakeholders,” said //Naobeb.