The functions of the Community-based Tourism sub-division include efforts to develop, promote and facilitate community-based tourism with the aim of contributing to poverty reduction, spreading the benefits of tourism and to enhance rural development.  This sub-division also has the responsibility of monitoring and evaluating Community-based Tourism Enterprises and joint venture agreements.

In this important growing sector of tourism, the Community-based tourism sub-division also facilitates capacity building of the community management committees, awareness raising on the joint venture process and tourism in general, and advises communities on tourism trends. Communities are mostly engaged in craft production, running camp sites, Guesthouses/B&Bs, Cultural villages, Joint Venture Lodges/Trophy hunting, and Tour guiding.

In 2010, Namibia’s Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector was nominated for World Travel & Tourism Council’s prestigious Tourism for Tomorrow awards.

Within the Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector, at the end of 2014 there were 41 formal joint-venture (JV) lodges and campsites that work in collaboration with their host communities.  Demand for investment in communal areas continues to grow with some JV’s operating in principle without signed agreements, and others in negotiating stages.

All the JV’s in the communal conservancies combined represent 1,356 bed nights, 789 full-time jobs and over 250 seasonal positions.  More than N$ 145 million (US$ 20 million) has been invested in tourism JV’s in communal conservancies by the private sector since 1998.  The number of joint venture lodge agreements has increased exponentially since 2005.

Tourism ventures contribute to livelihoods in the regions where they operate in multiple ways, including direct contractual cash payments to conservancies, salaries for employees, staff training, and related benefits such as payments of cash and in-kind contributions (equipment, donated services, etc.) to village development committees, local schools, etc.