Namibia is really capitalizing on president Donald Trump’s diplomatic gaffes.
Trump allegedly referred to African countries as “shithole countries” along with Haiti and El Salvador in a White House meeting to discuss the US immigration reform last week. Where Namibia’s neighbors took a stronger diplomatic stance, Namibia saw a marketing opportunity.
Namibian tourism agents released a video advertising their shithole country to potential tourists, specifically visitors from the US. Narrated by a Trump imitator, the short video advertises all the country’s “shithole” features. It may be mildly crass, but Namibia really drives home the point as “one of the best shithole countries out there.”
Created by the Gondwana Collection tourism group, the video features attractions from the underground Lake Oshikoto (also spelled Otjikoto) that could resemble a large picturesque shithole, to elephants roaming freely and dropping their feces over the 42% of the country converted to conservation, and lodges that offer open air toilets with magnificent views. There’s also a dig about how a country that is mostly desert could benefit from climate change denial.
It’s exactly the kind of video that would attract attention in a geopolitical climate where the word “shithole” has been in rotation in the news cycle for about a week. Namibia, a country with little upheaval and an even smaller population, rarely gets the world’s attention. It’s also why Namibia jumped on Trump’s “Nambia” gaffe last year, releasing a video extolling the virtues of the country, even if it was being mispronounced.
“We just jumped on the opportunity,” Digu Noabeb, CEO of the Namibian tourism board told Quartz about the Nambia dig.
“As a country we’ve been trying to enter the US market, and with our budget it’s been a daunting task.”
While the rest of the world tries to make sense of a president so unprecedented, Namibia’s strategy seems to be there’s no such thing as bad publicity.