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HAN fears high-risk classification… as industry sees some positive signs

2021-06-08  Albertina Nakale

HAN fears high-risk classification… as industry sees some positive signs
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The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) fears the country could be classified as a high-risk destination due to rising Covid-19 cases and a slow vaccination campaign due to vaccine apathy. 

“This alone is already leading to cancellations of bookings in the system for July to September, a reason for great concern currently in tourism,” HAN CEO Gitta 

Paetzold told New Era yesterday. 

In October last year, Germany listed Namibia as one of the high-risk coronavirus destinations that should be avoided by tourists. 

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) eventually removed Namibia from the list of high-risk destinations for Covid-19, with effect from 17 October 2020. 

Despite the trying times of the upsurge of Covid-19 cases and deaths reported daily in Namibia, the tourism and hospitality industry has something to celebrate, as Namibians are taking up space in terms of accommodation occupancy. 

By the end of the third quarter of last year, 64% of businesses reported a revenue loss of over 50%. 

The hardest hit was the tourism (including restaurants and hotels), manufacturing, transport, and construction sectors. 

In an attempt to revive the economy through tourism and hospitality sectors, Namibia has managed to attract 23 997 tourists since the launch of the country’s international tourism revival initiative, which commenced on 1 September 2020. 

The country recorded a decline of about 87% in international tourist arrivals in 2020 and a loss of thousands of jobs, with some establishments having closed completely, while others have not opened for business.   

Paetzold also shared the latest report on tourism accommodation occupancy for April 2021.  

Namibia’s main source market, namely central Europe, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy, formed some 19% of all guests to establishments last month. 

“If compared to the 45% they represented in April 2019, it may seem low, but Namibia is thankful to see so many international travellers bracing the long-haul journey to Namibia, despite the persistent international restrictions and uncertainties, which is a sign that the tourism revival initiative of Namibia is bearing some fruit,” she stated. 

Going forward, she suggested, all stakeholders should actively promote and market Namibia as a safe, open and easily accessible destination with clear entry requirements. 

She stated an average occupancy of just over 26% for April is a satisfactory result, given that there is still much anxiety and uncertainty both regionally and internationally, in terms of travel by road and air. 

“As was to be expected, the local market still forms the majority of guests at establishments, with almost 58% of all guests being Namibian, compared to 27% in the last normal tourism year, 2019,” Paetzold noted. 

The South African market also constituted a valuable part of the tourism and hospitality business in April, with over 15% of guests coming from South Africa, compared to 8% in April 2019. anakale@nepc.com.na


2021-06-08  Albertina Nakale

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