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By Irene !Hoaës

WINDHOEK

A Zambian delegation will arrive in Namibia today to familiarize themselves and study Namibia’s tourism levy.

The delegation will include the permanent secretary and principal inspector of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, principal economists of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning Commission as well as the chief executive officer of the Zambian Tourism Council.

Only Namibia and Zimbabwe have statutory mandates concerning the implementation of tourism levies for the benefit of marketing and promoting tourism in the respective countries.

Tourism levies in countries such as South Africa are voluntary.

The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) tasked to collect levies was formed by an act of parliament as a statutory body responsible for bringing together both the private and public sectors in implementing the national policy on tourism.

The NTB is to promote Namibia’s tourism industry both internationally and locally and ensure that services rendered and facilities provided to tourists comply with the prescribed standards.

It is also tasked to register and grade accommodation establishments and other tourism related businesses as well as to promote the training of persons engaged in the tourism industry.

The Zambian delegation will study the legal and institutional framework and regulations pertaining to the levy as well as how the fund is utilised.

“We are willing to share our experiences in a neighbourly spirit,” said the chief executive officer of the Namibia Tourism Board, Digu //Naobeb.

Time and again, different neighbouring countries visit the Namibian tourism sector in order to learn from the countries’ experiences.

Namibia is lauded as one of the leading countries in community-based tourism activities, while the tourism sector has also surpassed some leading economic sectors in GDP contribution.

A delegation from Swaziland also visited Namibia on a similar familiarization visit two years ago.

“It seems as if Namibia is playing a pivotal role in the tourism sector in the region, judging from tourism regulations, community-based tourism and levy collection,” //Naobeb said.

The NTB is currently strategising on how to maximise on the benefits that will be offered by the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa.

Source: New Era Publication

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