Increasing incidents of human-wildlife conflict will hurt the country’s image and its tourism sector, said Gitta Paetzold, chief executive officer of Hospitality Association of Namibia.
Paetzold said the tourism sector highly relies on both the people living close to national parks and the wildlife.
“If more cases of brutal poaching and killing of wildlife are reported in the country which is a tourist destination, we lose the good image we worked hard to build and thus we may lose out,” she said.
Statistics from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism shows that as at June, a total of 16 rhinos and 16 elephants had been killed for this year alone.
“The recent killings of lions and wildlife should be addressed as it diminishes the face value of the tourism sector,” she said.
According to Paetzold, there is a great need to create awareness on the importance of wildlife conservancy in Namibia.
“We need to educate our Namibian people on what conservation of our natural environment is as well as the value of wildlife and environment, which is a challenge as people do not understand its value,” she said.
Meanwhile, Romeo Muyunda, public relations officer in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, said that tackling poaching remains their priority.
Namibia aims to attract 1.8 million tourists to the country by 2022 by creating a competitive tourism sector, a target set in its fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) launched on May 31.