Opening the Namibia tourism industry to the North American travel market with a focus on community tourism and increasing household income
- Client: Millennium Challenge Account – Namibia
- Partners: Namibia Tourism Board, Cardno, DCI, and Sustainable Travel International
- Project Duration: November 2010 – September 2014
In Namibia, tourism is important to conservation, community development and employment, particularly in rural areas, and vital to the country’s overall economy. While the Namibian tourism sector has grown at a steady rate since independence in 1990, it has underperformed relative to regional competitors and it remains especially susceptible to seasonal fluctuations. Due to a lack of resources and a dedicated North American sales representative, the Namibian Tourism Board (NTB) has focused its efforts primarily on strategically engaging the European travel trade. As a result, the biggest challenge among the North American travel trade and travellers themselves is simply a lack of awareness.
The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), with support from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), decided to aggressively pursue the North American tourism market to boost their visitor numbers through a comprehensive marketing program. As part of a team led by Cardno, Solimar developed and implemented an innovative, trade-focused marketing campaign to increase both arrivals from the North American market and the number of the North American travel trade that offer tours and packages to Namibia. More specifically, Solimar developed a series of online tools that support the travel trade in their selling and promotion of Namibia. Each tool brings the Namibia positioning strategy to life and helps educate, excite, and motivate the North American travel trade to work in partnership with the Namibian Tourism Board (NTB) to promote the country.
Along with the Namibian Tourism Board and industry stakeholders, Solimar:
- Developed a Destination Specialist Program: This online educational course provided the trade with the basic information they need to sell Namibia and formalized trade partnerships with NTB. At the end of the course, each user was certified as a Destination Specialist and received a range of benefits.
- Developed Online Tools: a suite of marketing campaigns and 20 high-quality online tools were developed to target specific groups of North American travelers with the greatest propensity to visit Namibia.
- Incentivized the Travel Trade: The specialist program, targeted marketing campaigns and online tools effectively strengthened partnerships between the North American trade and the NTB. The tools also served as an incentive for trade participation in the Destination Specialist Program.
- Utilized inventive digital marketing techniques. Utilized social media (including Facebook and Twitter) and mobile applications (apps) as platforms to help the NTB reach the North American market.
The principal goal of NADM campaign is to increase tourist arrivals to Namibia from North America, by expanding marketing of Namibia in the North American market through an intensive, innovative, trade-focused campaign. Targets acheived by the end of the program include:
- Tourist arrivals from the North American market grew from 19,342 at the beginning of the project to a total of 26,116 in 2013 (with numbers expected to grow significantly in 2014 and 2015);
- To foster public private partnerships around the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) in Namibia and carry out a successful event, Solimar raised close to $500,000 from private sector companies ranging from Windhoek Lager to Standard Bank Namibia.
- To bring more visitors to Namibia from North America, Solimar has conducted targeted outreach to promote Namiiba and encourage tour operators to become Namibia Destination Specialists. Over four years our team developed 20 online marketing tools, sent 10,000 emails, made 900 phone calls, and held 475 meetings with members of the North American trade resulting in:
- 141 new companies now selling Namibia
- 291 Destination Specialists have partnered with the Namibia Tourism Board
- 158 unique itineraries to Namibia have been developed focused on conservation and special interests and are currently being promoted to a range of North American travelers