Tourism is a vital industry that contributes to many countries in various ways, Namibia is one of the countries that benefit from tourism.
Tourism simply means the business of providing services such as transport, places to stay or entertainment for people who are on holiday. (Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary, 2013). Tourism also involves the movement that involves the travelling of people outside their residential places to other countries, towns or even continents for various reasons such as pleasure, leisure, vacation, business, personal affairs, etc. Tourism is very important towards the growth and expansion of Namibia.
Over 1.5 million people arrived in Namibia in 2015, therefore bringing an increase of 3 percent from the previous year of 2014 when 1.4 million tourists were recorded. From the total foreign arrivals recorded, 1.38 million were tourists, 15580 were returning residents and 99 883 were same day visitors.
This essay aims at outlining the effects (both positive and negative) of tourism in Namibia. The positive effects of Tourism in Namibia include the growth of the service sector, economic growth, cultural exchange and spending time with the family.
The growth of the service sectors is of great significance to the nation of Namibia. Services that are rendered by lodges, guest houses, game reserves, hotels, hospitals, transport agencies, communication companies and many more SME's that carter for the tourists needs and wants make a lot of profit enabling them to expand their businesses from time to time. Through this, they hire more members of staff hence leading to job creation in the nation. A good example is the Etosha National Park. They gain greatly from tourists as the tourists find joy in the game drives and other services they offer which they pay for. The money is used to pay the employees such as the game drivers, tour guides, receptionists etc and to improve their services.
Tourism offers a platform for different people from far and near to learn and exchange information regarding their culture. This helps one in broadening their outlook and understanding of different people of this world. For example, tourism in Namibia helps Namibians to learn and gain respect and understanding of people that come to visit the nation. It also helps to learn how other people live. Cultural exchange encourages unity, understanding, peace, respect, acceptance and tolerance. Through this Namibians learn to be flexible with different kinds of people and be able to adapt to different kinds of lifestyles.
The Namibian economy benefits greatly from the tourism sector. Namibia receives foreign currency through the Foreign Exchange Market which brings a change or increase in the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This money is made from services rendered to tourists by SME's and other business entities that are in one way or the other connected to the tourism industry. Other business that are connected to the tourism industry include, Transport, Arts, Hospitality businesses (Hotels and Lodges) and communication. (Sanjo Roy, 2014).
SPENDING TIME WITH THE FAMILY
Namibia is a fast growing nation and its people are always busy contributing to this. As a result they end up spending less time with their families. Children too experience a lot pressure from school and have no or little time to engage and spend quality time with their families. Forms of tourism such as a family vacation to some place away from home allows the family to have time to know each other more and spend some time to bond and have unforgettable experience to cherish with their loved ones.
In as much as there is a lot to gain from tourism, it can also be very bad as it has some negative effects on the nation. The negative effects of Tourism in Namibia include Crime, Prostitution, Diseases and Cultural Erosion.
Tourists arrive in Namibia with their way of living, values, traditions and morals which in one way or the other knowingly or unknowingly influence us to cope or even follow their way of doing things. This happens mainly as we interact with them. This is so evident in the way we dress, dance, talk and even the music we listen to. All this is very different from what we used to do way back before tourism was so big in Namibia. For example, our dress code, many years ago, as Namibians and Africans we used animal skin to cover our bodies and our way of life was hunting, fishing and gathering of fruits. Nowadays, due to tourism we no longer do these things. We now cover our bodies with cotton made clothes and our activities have changed. Our new activities include going to school, working in offices and being religious. Tourism erodes our identity. Culture is our identity and it is slowly being eroded as we embrace tourism.
PROSTITUTION AND DISEASES
Many tourist destinations in Namibia are flooded with sex workers. The country sees it to be a disgrace but for the sex workers, tourists are seen as business partners and they see tourism as a business opportunity because tourists are associated with money and other valuable things. Prostitutes take advantage of these tourists as they often have foreign money which works to their advantage especially if the currency is stronger than our Namibian dollar. Prostitutes are associated with diseases (STI's and HIV and AIDS) and these diseases lead to illnesses which in turn contributes negatively to the productivity of the nation. For example, when one is ill he or she is lying in bed and is not working (unproductive) and even the people who are by the bedside also become unproductive until the person is healed. Prostitution may result in unplanned pregnancies that sometimes leads to the child being abandoned or being fatherless. These children end up being street kids and that is not good. All this is uncalled for as it dents the country's image.
Due to the high levels of poverty in certain parts of the country most youths turn to crime to make ends meet. Knowing that tourist often have money and other valuable items, these youths engage in crime increasing the already high crime rates in the country and denting the country's image. According to Albertina Nakale of the New Era Newspaper, a family of four German tourists survived an attempted robbery on the western bypass in upon their arrival on their way to Etosha National Park by a bunch of Namibian youths. The criminals assaulted the father and demanded money from him. The driver of a bus behind them noticed the commotion and stopped to help the tourists. The driver of the bus was armed and he fired two shots in the air to chase away the criminals and rescue the tourists.
In conclusion, this essay outlined the advantages and disadvantages of tourism in Namibia. It also reports about how tourism is in the country and the effects it has on the Namibian society. Tourism is a very health and extremely beneficial source of income as a sector. However, in as much as it is beneficial to the nation it comes at a cost as it can be very costly and bad to the nation.
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