The tourist industry in Namibia is growing steadily. The Namibian government is encouraging more upscale lodges to be built, attracting travelers of the upper class. The mix between the government’s desires and the primary players (mostly who are white and well established) encourages the economic benefits to be unevenly distributed, never reaching the people who need it the most.
So how do you get your business into the hands of those who need it more?
Recently, there is a new wave of programs designed to incorporate more of the locals into the wealthy tourism industry. Many lodges have taken small steps towards creating partnerships with communities. Although a small step, it is still a step forward. The truth of the matter is the local entrepreneurs and communities simply don’t have access to startup capital, resulting in 95% of tourism in Namibia being owned by white people. When looking for places to spend your money, look first to community ventures and support the locals who need the employment, purpose, and money much more than the upscale lodges owned by those who already have it all.
Here are three ways to have a more responsible travel experience in Namibia.
1. Namibia Community Based Tourism Assistance Trust or NACOBTA is a uniquely designed organization which reaches out to communities looking to join the larger tourism industry. NACOBTA has grown considerably in the last few years in an effort to develop and operate enterprises for both profit and sustainability. NACOBTA is found with selected tour operators, craft centers, and places of accommodation. Members of NACOBTA provide travelers with unique cultural experiences and in return you help support those who need it most.
2. Open markets are known for selling all sorts of meat. Game meats are limited, if apparent at all, however it is here you will see birds for sale. It is difficult to know exactly what kind of bird the people are selling. The kill and selling of these birds is illegal, lightly controlled by the government, and should not be purchased for consumption. Don’t hesitate to ask the restaurant or market vendor if the meat is regulated. When uncertain, it’s best to just stay away.
3. Namibia, like the rest of Africa, is in many respects are ahead of other countries around the world in terms of eco-friendly practices. Make it a point to stay at Eco-friendly establishments in hopes you will support those who are making efforts to protect the environment.
Source by Jeremiah Allen