The tourism industry, which is often referred as an "invisible export", is significant in the economic and social development of a country. In Namibia, tourism is ranked the third highest foreign currency earner and constitutes one of the economy's cornerstones of revenue generation. Traditionally developing countries such as Namibia have relied heavily on international tourist arrivals, often at the expense of promoting domestic tourism. In spite of this, domestic tourism has grown rapidly to become one of the world's foremost economic phenomena. A significant number of countries in Africa have already realized the potentially positive economic impacts of domestic tourism and have taken steps to develop and implement domestic tourism strategies. Such a strategy has however not yet been formulated in Namibia, in spite of the fact that, according to the available statistics, domestic tourism in Namibia has considerable growth potential.
To get more clarity on Namibia's domestic tourism potential, a study was undertaken to determine domestic tourism expenditure patterns in Namibia; to identify the current constraints; and to ascertain the potential contribution of domestic tourism business. .The empirical survey was conducted among 200 key tourism stakeholders involved in and/or impacting on Namibia's current and potential domestic tourism market. The stakeholders included tourism representative bodies, tour operators, lodges, hotels, attractions facilities, travel agents and other relevant stakeholders.
The results show that there is a great potential for domestic tourism in Namibia. However, there is a need to develop a participative and integrated domestic tourism strategy that will enable the industry to tap this market potential in a sustainable and competitive manner. Key recommendations emanating from the study focus on the identification and prioritization of preferred destinations and attractions for the domestic market; the need to ensure accessible and affordable transport to tourism attractions and routes; and the importance of ensuring value for money and affordability of the current offerings to current and prospective domestic tourists. Based on the outcomes of the study, marketing guidelines are proposed that can lead to an increase in domestic tourism business capacity and enhance Namibia's overall tourism sustainable competitiveness.