If temperatures increase due to global warming, it may lead to a decline in the number of tourists coming to Namibia, since most tourists visit during Namibia’s winter when temperatures are not too high for them, says Environment and Tourism Minister Netumbo Nandi- Ndaitwah.
She was speaking at a World Tourism Day event held at Swakopmund on Saturday.
The theme of this year’s event was ‘Tourism responding to climate change’.
“Namibia, being a small country and not yet industrialised, may argue that our impact on world [CO2] emissions is insignificant – that is true.
However, we are talking of the global village and our people need to be aware of the fact,” she said.
According to her, it was important for Namibia to make its voice heard internationally for industrial countries to find affordable and environmentally friendly methods of energy generation to assist developing countries, like Namibia, to develop their industries.
She said activities that generate carbon dioxide, such as travel, transport and using energy for heating, lighting and power, were closely linked to the tourism sector.
“We need to understand this, and find ways to mitigate the effects,” she stated.
Multi-level awareness was crucial to allow the tourism sector to respond positively to the challenge of climate change.
In his message read at the occasion, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Secretary General, Francesco Frangialli, said climate change was one of the greatest global challenges to sustainable development and achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals.
“Tourism is one of the few sectors that cuts across a whole range of economic and social activities.
It is furthermore a key economic and job driver in the developing world.
“We therefore can and must play an active role to tackle the double challenge of climate response and poverty alleviation.
“Our call to action is hence to change habits and position renewable energy at the forefront of international response by encouraging tourism stakeholders to adapt, to mitigate and use new technology and secure financing for the poorest countries to face the challenge of climate change,” he said.
Environment and Tourism Permanent Secretary Kalumbi Shangula referred to certain climatic events during the past decade, particularly at the coast, “to help us realise that we’re also affected by climate change”.
He referred to the heavy rains at Swakopmund in 2001 and 2006 when several homes were flooded, and municipal and beachside infrastructure was damaged.
He also mentioned the event a couple of weeks ago when rough seas, said to be related to climate change and global warming, flooded part of the road between Swakopmund and Henties Bay and damaged campsites along the coast.