The Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations (FENATA), has explained the reason behind the appointment of South Africa’s singer, Lerato Molapo, also known professionally as Lira, as the country’s Tourism Ambassador following public outcry.
The group said the appointment became necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted the tourism sector noting that Lira was appointed as Namibia’s tourism ambassador to attract international markets, as the “new normal” of the Covid-19 pandemic consequences demand innovative strategies to revive the tourism sector.
According to iol.co.za, ) Chairperson, FENATA Netumbo Nashandi made the clarification following an outcry by the Namibian public who queried why a South African national was appointed over many Namibian influencers.
Nashandi in a media statement on Monday said according to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism 2019 Tourist Statistical Report, 79.1 percent of total arrivals were from Africa, noting that this prompted Fenata to initiate a Travel Ambassador Initiative (TAI) to market Namibia as a destination to the African continent to increase the demand and awareness of the beauty of the country.
“The TAI is a new concept with a focus on finding alternative means to boost, regenerate and build resilience for destination Namibia, explore cross-marketing platforms with the tourism, conservative, arts and cultural heritage spaces as well as to complement traditional marketing methods with new marketing tools.”
This is to further collaborate with Namibian and international influencers to have them share their personal Namibian travel experiences and to have them promote Namibia to their audiences in their respective countries and global audiences at large through social media platforms, Nashandi said.
The impact of Covid-19 has been catastrophic for the tourism economy with local guides who have no work, communal rural accommodation and leisure establishment businesses are at a standstill and the domino effect is devastating, the chairperson stressed.
Quoted in the statement, SA’s multi-platinum award winner Lerato Molapo known by her stage name as Lira said she has been staying in Namibia for the past six months since the pandemic outbreak in March on a trip that was meant for 21 days. However, the beauty of the country extended her stay.
“I have come to feel very much at home in Namibia, I cannot wait to tell everyone about this gem of a place which I describe as pristine,” she said.
Fenata is the national umbrella organisation of all tourism-related institutions and acts as the voice of tourism in Namibia.