The overall sense of travel in the USA was surprisingly optimistic. Numbers are however drastically down from 2008, but most agents are seeing a slow return of business. One operator, was definitely confident that this year will end better than the year before and was doing lots of quoting for 2012 to Africa and trusting it will convert.
However, having said that, business to Namibia is slow and not prolific. The majority of the agents who attended the workshops were incredibly eager to learn more about the country, logistics and
general conditions, but all admitted that they were not getting many requests forNamibia, and if they did, they didn’t feel confident to sell it. Clients don’t generally walk into an agency requesting Namibia, it needs some selling. I certainly found it a harder trip than any other I had done to the USA from a selling/conversion perspective and attribute this to the economic climate and the lack of exposure of Namibia, as a destination, to the market.
The Namibian Tourism Board have big plans to run a large campaign in North America in 2012 and are gearing up their collateral and resources. This can only benefit Namibian properties and we have to ensure we ride the wave of consumer awareness they create for us. Continued education of the agents and exposure of the destination to the consumer, is vital to ensure growth in this geographic market.