Although relatively unheard of when compared to certain African nations, Namibia is now amongst the world’s top 10 destinations and is growing at a steady rate. Two studies at a recent international fair in Germany highlighted the South African paradise as an extremely fast-growing economy. It has the largest GDP in the Southern African region at 8.1%, closely followed by Zambia at 7.4%. The question remains as to just why the Namibians are enjoying such success, for they have high fuel prices, inadequate provision of internet facilities for business and air travel taxes are high.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, there are open visa requirements for the higher-spending visitors from Europe and North America. For potential tourists aiming to visit Africa for the first time, Namibia is likely to be chosen in order to avoid unnecessary paperwork, expense and delays. It is perhaps surprising that neighbouring nations have not yet followed suit and reduced their visa demands.
Secondly, Namibia boasts clear-cut policies in terms of environmental protection and has a well-established infrastructure. Perhaps more importantly, the country is considered to be safe and secure, in stark contrast to many neighbouring countries suffering from political unrest and high crime rates.
Thirdly, Namibia boasts some of the world’s most incredible natural beauty. Travel agencies and tourist organisations tend to describe it as ‘rugged, natural, soulful and liberating’. This beauty can, of course, be enjoyed at a relatively low price by visitors from North America and Europe. There is a range of specialised wildlife, mountain and trekking trips arranged by the Namibians for tourists to make full use of the time - and the money - they spend there. Until other South African countries follow the example of Namibia, the country is set to remain streets ahead in the African tourism market.