AviaDev will help improve tourism and connectivity for Namibia and Africa – Bisey Uirab

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Bisey Uirab, the Chief Executive Officer of Namibia Airports Company has expressed his elation at the successful hosting of AviaDev Africa 2024 and the potential benefits the event would bring to Namibia and Africa’s tourism and connectivity

“We as the Namibia Airports Company and indeed as the aviation industry in Namibia are very proud of hosting AviaDev Africa 2024. AviaDev basically brings together all the key players in aviation across Africa and of course from Europe and elsewhere,” said Bisey Uirab.

Namibia successfully hosted the 2024 edition of the premier aviation event with the objective of driving connectivity and tourism in Africa. The event, held in Windhoek from 19th to 21st June, 2024, brought together key players in the aviation industry from across Africa, Europe, and beyond.

Hosted by the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) this year, AviaDev brings together airports, airlines, tourism authorities, governments and industry suppliers, and offers attendees the ability to pre-arrange meetings, learn from industry peers and make important connections.

According to the NAC, the 2024 edition of AviaDev was attended by 408 delegates, 46 countries represented, with 75% attendance from Africa, 36 airlines participated and over 1200 pre-arranged meetings were delivered

The CEO noted that the event serves as a platform for Namibia to promote tourism and business opportunities. “What it means for us is really to showcase to the world and Africa what Namibia can offer in the first place in terms of tourism, business opportunities, but most importantly our bigger aim is to develop connectivity between Namibia and the rest of the world and of course within Namibia.” He added that this opportunity is crucial for encouraging Africa to visit Namibia and to open up Namibia to the rest of the world.

Uirab highlighted the collaboration with various partners, including those in the tourism sector, Namibia Tourism Board(NTB), the regulator NCAA, and the Namibia Investment Promotion Development Board. “Everybody is on board and really it strengthens the partnership that we have developed over the past two years in terms of developing Namibia as a connectivity hub for our region,” he said.

He emphasized the importance of connectivity, both within Namibia and with the rest of the world. “We need to connect Namibians within Namibia and the more we have got this conversation with Namibians, with the world, it really opens up those opportunities for us. And it also addresses the bigger vision of the government to make Namibia a logistics hub,” he explained.

The Namibia government’s initiatives through the port of Walvis Bay, the port of Lüderitz, and developments in road and rail infrastructure are now complemented by a focus on aviation, Uirab observed. “That really builds to enhance all the modes of transport to position Namibia as a significant player.”

According to Uirab, hosting AviaDev Africa 2024 also opens up other business opportunities for Namibia, including positioning the country as a conference hub. “We can organize conferences, we can organize conventions, bring the rest of the world to come and see the beauty that we offer as a country,” he said.

Looking ahead, the NAC CEO sees several short to long-term opportunities arising from this event. “We have created awareness about Namibia amongst all its delegates. There was a question earlier in the day as to who is here for the first time and there were quite a number of people who were here for the first time. There was a follow-up question which said who wants to come back, and the response was overwhelming,” he shared.

In the short term, the Namibia Airports Company aims to bring back more participants and their associates. Medium to long term, the goal is to attract more airlines to use Windhoek’s international airport as a distribution hub for the subcontinent.

“We want to attract more airlines to come to Namibia so that we can use Windhoek, our international airport, as a distribution hub where we get wide-body airlines and from here we distribute travellers within the rest of the subcontinent,” Uirab explained.

This will require significant improvements in airport infrastructure, including expanding runways and terminal facilities. “We should probably fast-track the development of the third terminal that we have been wishing to put up for a long time,” he added.

He highlighted the broader impact of these developments. “There are many opportunities that are coming up, but not only for us as the airport company. It opens up other industries as well. As I said, the tourism industry will be great and more and more people will come and will want to come and do business in our country,” he said

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